Written by Dr. Marcelle Landestoy, DVM
The Rottweiler is one of the oldest domesticated dog breeds once used for herding livestock and transporting butchered meat to market, but today, they’re commonly used in law enforcement.
Because fictional films often portray Rottweilers as vicious dogs, the breed has gotten a bad reputation.
So, does that mean Rottweilers aren’t dangerous and can make the perfect family dog?
Rottweilers can become the perfect family dog if trained, loved, and cared for properly. If you have babies or young children, early socialization is crucial. Rottweilers are not suitable for novice dog owners, so you shouldn’t buy one as your first dog, especially if you have young kids.
Like any other dog, Rottweilers need to be adequately trained to ensure that they’re safe around people, especially senior citizens and young children.
With my background as a veterinary doctor, I’ll explore this breed’s characteristics and tell you whether or not Rottweilers will be perfect for your family.
Are They Good With Kids?
Like any other dog, Rottweilers must be cared for, loved, and trained correctly to ensure they’re safe around people.
Early training isn’t optional. You must train your Rottweiler how to behave around your family and make sure they listen to your commands.
Rottweilers like to please their owners. If you own one, you’ll learn they’ll always want to keep everyone in the family happy.
Rottweilers are highly energetic dogs, so they’ll always be excited to play with you or your kids.
Bear in mind, though, that they tend to chase after anything that runs. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll attack your kids when they see them running.
However, they’re big and strong and can accidentally hurt someone during playtime, so you want to keep an eye on them when they’re around small children.
Rottweilers are very protective of their family, provided that they were exposed to people and children from a very young age.
Rottweilers can get along with babies if they’re socialized from a very early age.
If you’re raising a baby with a Rottweiler puppy, let your puppy get familiar with your baby’s scent and give them both the love, care, and attention they need.
Dogs can get jealous, so you don’t want your puppy to feel neglected or unhappy with your baby around.
It’s safe to raise a baby with an adult Rottweiler, too.
However, you must never leave your baby unattended.
Helping Your Rottweiler Adjust to a New Baby
Rottweilers can get jealous of new babies, but that doesn’t mean they’ll harm them out of jealousy.
When bringing home a newborn, hold your baby safely in your arms while introducing them to your Rottweiler.
Before you let your Rottweiler get close to the new baby, perhaps let it smell the baby’s hat first to let it get familiar with the baby’s scent.
During the socialization period, you must shower your dog with the same amount of love and attention to avoid jealousy towards the baby.
Whenever the baby is napping, give your dog cuddles.
Toddlers and Rottweilers can get along as long as they’re introduced properly.
Don’t force your dog and toddler to spend time together; Rottweilers need their space, too.
This way, you’ll teach your dog to respect your toddler’s space as well.
And of course, you must teach your baby to be nice to the dog, like how to pet them gently with nice words.
Kids can be rough, so you want to supervise your children when they play around the Rottweiler.
If you notice your dog is overprotective of their toys, teach the kids not to take your dog’s toys, and the same goes the other way round.
Rottweilers are protective of their owners, and they’ll always protect you and your family.
Older kids and Rottweilers who grow up together can get along very well.
However, your kids must know their boundaries so that the dog doesn’t feel threatened.
For example, you must teach your kids to respect the dog’s privacy.
Children often see everything as a toy or food, so while it is unlikely for kids to bite the dog, they might pull their tail or fur.
Plus, since dogs are sensitive to sounds, teach your kids not to scream in your Rottweiler’s ears; otherwise, they may overreact and start chasing the kids.
Is the Rottweiler the Right Size for Your Family?
Rottweilers are medium and large dogs, with the male Rottweilers standing between 24 and 27 inches (60.96 and 68.58 cm) and weighing between 95 and 135 pounds (43.09 and 61.24 kilograms).
The females can reach 25 inches (63.5 cm) and weigh between 80 and 100 pounds (36.29 and 45.36 kilograms).
It’s essential to consider the Rottweiler’s weight and size to decide if the breed is suitable for your family and lifestyle.
Make sure you have the time to bring them out for their daily exercise.
You can’t rely on your kids to bathe or walk the dog if they’re still very young.
If your dog falls ill, you can’t expect your kids to help either.
If you prefer your kids to be involved, maybe the Rottweiler isn’t the right breed for you.
You might want to get a smaller dog to make it easier for everyone to be part of the fun.
If you must have a Rottweiler, hire a pet sitter who can help you with the daily tasks, at least until your children are much older.
How Much Living Space Does the Rottweiler Need?
Apartments are more suitable for adult Rottweilers since they have lower energy levels than their puppies.
Make sure you take the time to get your puppy or young Rottweiler out regularly and let them exercise in the open.
Small spaces can distress a Rottweiler and cause aggressive behavior.
Rottweilers are working dogs, so they can live outside, too. Landed houses are the best for Rottweilers since they’ll have more space to roam around.
Thanks to their coat, they can stay outdoors safely in temperatures over 40° F (4.44° C).
Still, prolonged exposure under 20° F (-6.67° C) can be dangerous.
Can Rottweilers Cause Allergies?
Rottweilers aren’t hypoallergenic. So, if you have allergies, you may want to consider getting a different breed.
Sure, no dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic, but certain dog breeds don’t shed as much as others.
That said, even if you or someone in your family have allergies, you can still keep a Rottweiler unless the condition is severe.
Regular grooming will help. When brushing your Rottweiler’s coat, do it outside and avoid doing it around the person with allergies.
Bathe your dog but not too often. And collect any fur you find on your couch, clothes, or anywhere in the house.
Do They Bark a Lot?
Rottweilers may look aggressive, but they tend to be quiet creatures.
They only bark when necessary, so if you have babies, toddlers, or elderly members who need much sleep, you don’t need to worry about excessive barking.
However, that doesn’t mean you can skip training your Rottweiler on appropriate behavior.
Are Rottweilers Aggressive?
Rottweilers aren’t aggressive by nature, but they can get into guard mode when they sense danger against their family members.
There’s no reason for Rottweilers to attack their family members unless they’re abused.
When cared for properly, they can be a loving breed.
What About Families With Seniors?
Rottweilers are big and strong, but they’re typically calm and quiet.
They’re not only helpful as rescue or police dogs but also make great companions for senior citizens.
They’ve even been used as assistance dogs.
If you have a senior living with you, train your Rottweiler to behave appropriately.
For instance, teach them that it’s not okay to bark at the older family members or scare them.
Do They Get Along With Other Dogs?
Male Rottweilers may not get along with other male dogs for dominance reasons, but proper training usually fixes most problems.
If you have another dog, it’ll help to introduce your Rottweiler early.
If you’re introducing an adult Rottweiler to another dog (say at the park), then you want to keep them on a leash during the introduction.
If you have a small dog, you must introduce them to your Rottweiler carefully as they might consider the other dog prey.
To avoid territorial behavior, neuter both dogs.
Remember, early, and proper socialization is key to a successful partnership between the two dogs, even if they’re from the same breed.
Are They Good With Cats?
Rottweilers may want to chase animals they consider prey (like rabbits), and they may do the same to cats.
You can get a Rottweiler even if you have a family cat as long as you introduce them early.
Rottweilers can get along with cats better than they usually can with same-sex dogs, especially when the two species are raised together.
Rottweilers are excellent for families, thanks to their wonderful personality.
Given their height and weight, they need plenty of space to move around, so factor this into your decision if you live in an apartment.
Plus, if you have small children, you can’t rely on them to help you bathe or walk your Rottweiler due to the dog’s height and weight.
Early socialization is essential when introducing a Rottweiler to children or other pets.
Proper training from an early age is also important. This breed is more suitable for experienced dog owners.
- Wikipedia: Rottweiler
- Journals. Plos: Jealousy in Dogs
- Akc: Rottweiler
Click here to read my one-page Rottweiler parent’s guide
Veterinary Hospital Director at UCE
Dr. Marcelle is a general veterinarian with a Small Animal Medicine Specialty | Director of the UCE School of Veterinary Medicine | Certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society