After more than three decades with Rottweilers, I sometimes think I am part Rottweiler myself. I’ve had eight of my own in that time, and fostered dozens more through my work in breed rescue. While each dog is an individual—some are serious, some are more playful, some are social—there are breed traits and facts that you can pretty much expect with a Rottweiler.
1. Rottweilers are smart. Very smart.
Yep, they’re smart—sometimes smarter than their owners. Rottweilers are thinking dogs. They’re clever and will take their time working out a situation before they act. This is why you’ll see some version of “Rottweilers are not for everyone” or “Rottweilers are not for first-time dog owners” on pretty much every informational site and book about Rottweilers. It’s often hard to keep up with them, and more than one trainer has noted that they tend to be smarter and learn faster than their owners. (I am a little bit embarrassed to admit this has been true for me at times.)
2. Rottweilers can be stubborn
Willful is a term often used. These are dogs that must have training and socialization. They are generally easy to train (see the first point above) but don’t go overboard with the repetitions or response time will get slower and slower. He may even drag his feet.
3. Rottweilers like their groceries
Rottweilers like to eat and will work you for more food every chance they get. It’s not unusual to see chubby Rottweilers who’ve convinced their owners they need to be fed more. One Rottweiler I met was so obese she could have doubled as a tea table. Of course, even though keeping your Rottweiler trim will be better for her overall health as well as her hips and joints, she’ll try to convince you she is starving.
4. Rottweilers are loyal
They are honest and deeply devoted to their humans. Rottweilers have a reputation for being intimidating and aggressive because they are natural guard dogs and can be protective of their home and family, but they thrive on attention and being with their people, and the more time they spend with their family the happier they’ll be.
5. They always think they’re lap dogs
No matter how big they get.
6. You have a responsibility to the breed
Training and socializing your Rottweiler is your responsibility to the breed and the breed’s reputation. If you love the breed, you will make sure your dog is a good canine citizen, showing others they are not the slavering monster of Hollywood movies.
7. Rottweilers are strong, physical dogs
Rottweilers are very physical and often play with other dogs like linebackers, with body slams and full-body blocks. They can learn to be gentle with older or smaller dogs and small children, but young Rottweilers are generally a little bit of a bull in a china shop.
8. Rottweilers are house pets
They are indoor dogs. Because of their size and demeanor, people often think they should be kept as outside dogs, but it’s about the worst thing you can do to a Rottweiler. They are members of the family and need to feel that way (see point number four above).
9. Rottweilers don’t bark a lot
They are calm, quiet dogs. Rottweilers are not a vocal breed; indeed, many owners rarely hear their Rottweiler bark. They bark if there’s a reason to bark, but generally respond quietly to their environment.
10. Rottweilers like eye contact
Rottweilers give good eye contact. They are a breed that watches everything, and they don’t have a problem with looking you directly in the eye when many dogs would look away in submission.
11. Rottweilers are athletic
Rottweilers are strong, athletic, alert dogs, with a desire to please (even with that independent streak). They enjoy dog sports like barn hunt, herding, agility, dock diving, nose work and tracking, and carting. But most of all they like to be with you.