The strong and loyal Rottweiler is one of the best guard dogs to be found. This tough powerhouse of a breed is known for its strength, but underneath that solidly built exterior is a truly devoted dog that is both playful and loving.

The Rottweiler can quickly be picked out of a crowd by its shiny black coat, rust colored markings, and strongly-built frame.  Incredibly intelligent, confident, and adaptable this breed is an excellent choice for working, and for families alike. Read on to learn more about the Rottweiler.

Description of the Rottweiler

More affectionately known as the Rottie, this breed is a medium-large size and is immediately recognizable by its rust colored markings around the face, chest, and legs.

Broad chested and compactly built, this breed can pack a punch in its power and strength! But they love to use all of their energy for things like playing with the family or working hard. They are working dogs, and like to be given direction. Provide them enough exercise, mental stimulation, and time, and they will be your loyal companions forever.

One of the oldest herding breeds, the Rottweiler is an excellent working dog with power, endurance, and intelligence. Originally brought with armies travelling to what is now modern Germany, the Rottweiler was tasked with guarding and herding livestock. Even after the war ended they continued working by hauling meat to markets in Germany. They are named after the German town Rottweil.

This breed’s herding blood makes them loyal and naturally protective over their families, which is an excellent trait in those seeking a strong guard dog. But it is important to temper this strength and protective instinct with proper socialization and training, to teach your dog how to respond properly in all manner of situations.

Life Expectancy and Size

The Rottweiler is a large breed, with females clocking in at 77-110 pounds, and males at 110-130 pounds. The female stands at around 22-25 inches tall, and the male 24-27 inches.

These dogs are large and built for working, but that won’t stop them from trying to jump into your lap for love and affection. This large size typically correlates to a shorter life expectancy, and that holds true for the Rottweiler whose average lifespan is 8-10 years.

Protective Ability

This is the business of the Rottweiler. They are incredibly loyal and protective over their families. But this is not to be confused with aggression or mean behavior. The Rottweiler is a very docile and kind breed that just wants to look out for its loved ones.

With proper training they do well with meeting strangers, and are not naturally skittish or aggressive. Working with a breeder can help you find the right personality traits, but once the dog is in your home, the most important thing is to ensure proper training and socialization.


The Rottweiler is a fearless, confident breed that is eager to work and learns quickly. It is important to recognize that this large, exuberant breed expects a skilled owner. Rottweilers love to be a part of the family, and when he receives love and respect he will be happy to listen to whatever you say.

If you teach your dog that he will receive kindness (and treats) from you, he will be happy to do whatever job you ask of him. This type of positive reward goes a long way for this breed. Once your dog learns that you are a good trainer he will want to follow you, and the rest of his training will fall right into place.

The Rottweiler responds very well to rewards-based training. Whether this is a treat, a game, or praise, Rottweilers love to be given love and affection, and will do anything for an owner who gives them these things. Just be careful that you don’t feed your pup too many treats! Rottweilers are known for easily becoming overweight, and this will not do them any health favors.

Rotties are smart and learn quickly. It is important to ensure you never use physical discipline or yelling to train your dog. This will only frighten and confuse him, and lead to a scared dog that is very difficult to train.

Whether training a puppy or an adult, the key is patience. Do not expect results overnight. Be consistent and patient with your pup and he will learn. The best thing you can do for your dog is to remain positive, loving, and patient.

Energy Level

As a work dog, this breed can withstand pretty long days and heavy loads. With that said, they adapt well to home life, and are perfectly happy lazing around with you all day. Just don’t let this be the downfall of your Rottweiler! They may not always show it but they need daily exercise to remain healthy.

These dogs love to be mentally stimulated, so incorporating fun physical activities with mental challenges is an excellent way to keep your dog both healthy and happy.

What Living with a Rottweiler is Like

This is a true all-purpose breed.

These dogs adore kids, and love being in the center of the action. This makes them an excellent choice for families, though their large size and tendency to growl around food make them a poor choice for young children in an inexperienced home. The key is early socialization and training. A well-socialized and trained Rottweiler is no threat to your family; he is actually quite the opposite, in that he will be nurturing and patient.

Prepare to be looked after if you get a Rottweiler. This breed has natural protective instincts from its herding blood, and will always be looking out to protect you. They have a self-assured aloofness through which they view the world, and take time to interpret their surroundings before leaping in. Making sure your dog regularly gets to meet and play with other dogs and people will help keep him open and friendly to many different situations.

A fun fact about Rotties is that they make a low rumble deep in their chests. To those unfamiliar with the breed it may sound like a warning, but is actually the complete opposite! More like a purr, Rottweilers often make this sound when they are content.

Care of the Rottweiler

Whether hauling loads or hanging with the family, the Rottweiler can make itself at home in almost any environment. As long as they are provided with love and respect, these dogs will be your ever-loyal companions.

Environmental Needs

The Rottweiler does not have many specific environmental needs. They are good-natured, calm, and require an owner who is willing to give them the time of day. Hailing from Germany, this dog was bred for the winter. With heat-absorbing black fur and a double coat, they don’t have a problem frolicking in the snow.

Where it is important to be careful is in extreme heat. The same fur that keeps them so warm in the winter also makes them prone to overheating on hot summer days. Limit time outside in the hot sun, and always provide ample amounts of fresh water.

Exercise Needs

With herding blood, this breed is used to working long hard days, but that doesn’t mean they need to! They are quite adaptable, and are fine with moderate exercise to keep them fit and happy. Daily walks and/or playtime in the yard should be plenty to keep these big dogs happy.

Offer different types of activities for your Rottweiler to keep him engaged. This could be playing fetch, finding hidden objects, or just chasing you around the yard. They love to be a part of the family, so keep them involved.

To avoid ending up more exhausted than your Rottweiler on walks, be sure to begin teaching your pup to walk nicely on leash. It’s also a good idea to incorporate training games and puzzle toys to tire him out without too much extra effort from you.

Shedding and Grooming

The Rottweiler is a short-coat breed, but because they have a double coat they tend to shed more than other short-coat breeds. This undercoat is shed twice a year, so be prepared for more hair flying at this time of the year. Brushing 2-3 times per week at these times of year will help keep the dust down.

The rest of the months your Rottweiler only needs to be brushed weekly. This removes loose hairs and ensures that his natural oils are being distributed evenly to keep his coat shiny and healthy. Bathing only has to occur every 6-8 weeks, or if they get into something messy.

Ideal Home Environment

Rotties are good with families. Their docile temperament, protective instincts, and intelligence make them great companions. This dog also makes a great watchdog. This means they will require introductions with strangers to become open with them. Calm and steady, they are thoughtful about their surroundings and, when trained well, should never act nervously or unpredictably towards unknown surroundings or people.

It is important to acknowledge that this breed, like most, has potential health issues. These are not always cheap to deal with, and it is important to understand and accept this financial responsibility before getting a Rottweiler.

Health Concerns

As a bigger dog there is a decent amount of stress put on the Rottweiler’s joints over the years. This can lead to some of the biggest problems that face Rotties: orthopedic diseases. These include everything from arthritis to hip dysplasia. As a Rottweiler ages, one of the first things to begin giving out is his joints.

This breed is also very susceptible to eye problems like Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), which can lead to blindness, and cataracts. By screening your dog regularly for these types of health issues you can help give your pup the healthiest, happiest life possible.

Other issues that can be common in this breed are heart problems, cancer, and allergies. Many can be expensive to treat so prevention is the best option, when possible. If your dog suffers from a genetic or incurable illness there are often many options to help manage the illness.

Behavior Problems

It’s important to teach all large breed dogs to politely and gently interact with people. This is best done using rewards-based training – paying the dog for good behavior, and removing him from the situation if he’s struggling to behave.

Rotties are also known to growl around food or toys – the number of dogs with this concern in the breed suggests there’s a genetic component. Ask your breeder if any of your puppy’s relatives have this issue. If they do (or if you start seeing it in your own dog), start rewarding him with tastier food before he growls.

You can also teach exchange games or work with a trainer to keep everyone safe. Never fuss with a dog’s food to teach him not to growl around the food bowl – this erodes his trust in you, and often has the opposite effect.

It is also important to begin early socialization with people and other dogs to make sure your Rottweiler doesn’t begin to display any undesirable behaviors, like growling around other people and dogs.

Rotties love to be given affection, so if left alone for long periods of time they may turn to chewing or other destructive behaviors to pass the time. Be sure to give them mentally stimulating activities and attention to avoid these unwanted diversions.