Rottweilers are renowned among their fans for being superb family dogs that are great with kids, but is this breed really a good pick for your family dog? Here is what you need to know about choosing the Rottweiler as a family dog and what families this breed is best suited to.
Are Rottweilers Good with Children
According to the American Rottweiler Club, the Rottweiler is a good protector and playmate to older children. However, Rottweilers are big, powerful dogs with some natural herding instincts that could be problematic around younger children. In general, it is said that Rottweilers will not intentionally harm children and are very tolerant. They tend to fit better with children big enough to not be knocked around by them.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Rottweiler for a Family
Many families have had success with children of all ages with their Rottweiler. Remember though that every family and every Rottweiler is different. There are no guarantees how any animal will interact with humans.
Here are a few factors that may help you as you try to decide whether this is the right breed for your family.
Size of Your Children
Perhaps the most essential factor to consider when you are trying to decide whether a Rottweiler is a good choice for your children is the size of your children. Very small children are more likely to be accidentally injured by a Rottweiler than older children.
Since Rottweilers are rarely intentionally aggressive towards their own family’s children, the primary concern is accidental injuries. Some breeders encourage you to wait until your children are at least school age before bringing home a Rottweiler.
Younger children may simply be overwhelmed by this boisterous breed. Physically injury is not the only concern. For a child, sharing a home with a big powerful Rottweiler puppy is something to plan for. You want to encourage your children to love and respect your family dog. This may not be possible with a younger child.
Maturity of Your Children
The Rottweiler can be a strong-willed dog who needs an owner who is equally strong-willed. While your children won’t be directly responsible for handling and training your Rottweiler, it is still important that they can enforce the rules and show leadership with the family Rottweiler.
Therefore, it is best not to bring a Rottweiler home until your children are a bit more mature and capable of understanding the situation. Some kids may be physically large enough to have a Rottweiler in the home but may not be emotionally able to handle this sometimes headstrong breed.
The Space Available
Rottweilers tend to be great when living in all kinds of situations, even apartment living. However, when it comes to Rottweilers and kids, it may be better to have more space unless you intend to spend a lot of time outside of the home exercising your dog.
Rottweilers are big dogs that are rambunctious into young adulthood. The combination of a large dog that enjoys bumping into people with a kid that just wants to be left alone to play is less than ideal.
Having enough room in your home so that your Rottweiler and children can play by themselves without constantly being in each other’s way is important. You’re likely to find it much easier for you to navigate the relationship between them if you have ample space.
If you have a large yard and think that you can toss your Rottie outside when he’s frustrating the family, think again. This is a dog that thrives on human companionship and will cry and develop behavior problems when left alone too often.
According to the AKC, the Rottweiler is descended from Roman herding and war dogs that went with them as they conquered various lands. When the Roman Empire fell, their dogs became the source of a number of German breeds.
As they stopped herding, they became police dogs, personal projectors, and all-purpose working dogs. Throughout all of these roles, one characteristic remained very important to the breed’s success and why it was so valuable to so many people.
This characteristic is the dog’s territorial instincts. Rottweilers needed to protect their families, livestock, and properties from potential threats. This characteristic still exists in the breed today.
Is a Rottweiler A Good Family Dog?
Rottweilers can make a great family dog for the right family. However, the Rottweiler isn’t a good choice for every family. This dog has some characteristics that make it excellent as a family dog as well as some characteristics that aren’t desirable for every family.
Here are some things to consider when you are deciding whether the Rottweiler is right for your family.
Are Rottweilers Dangerous?
All Rottweilers have territorial instincts. How these instincts affect their life as your family dog depends on the individual dog, your family, and your expectations. Remember, animals can be unpredictable.
Can a Rottweiler Kill a Human?
According to a study by the American Veterinary Medical Association, at least 27 people died from dog attacks between 1997 and 1998. Of those 27 people, 10 were incidents with Rottweilers. 70% of the 27 people that died were children.
Are Rottweilers Good Guard Dogs?
While not all Rottweilers aggressively defend the home and property, many will. This is one of the characteristics that makes them such a wonderful family dog. You can count on your Rottweiler to do as much as it can to protect your children as well as your property.
There are many occasions in which Rottweilers have saved children from all sorts of dangers from kidnappers to snakes and everything in between. A Rottweiler’s territorial instincts is one of the reasons that many people love this breed as a family dog.
Are Rottweilers Aggressive?
There are some important downsides to a strong territorial instinct. Your Rottweiler may not be very good at telling friend from foe.
Your guests or your children’s friends may meet the same kind of greeting that a burglar would get. This could be an extremely frightening experience for anybody, but especially for a young child.
It is possible that some dogs may even hurt your friends or family even if they know them because they see them as an intruder. It is essential that you take your Rottweiler’s warnings seriously and teach them how to interact appropriately with your guests. Good training is key.
At What Age do Rottweilers Become Aggressive?
Most Rottweilers begin experiencing stronger instinctual urges as they enter sexual maturity. This may be anywhere from about one to three years old but it can vary with each dog.
During this time your Rottweiler may be more likely to be defensive of territory.
Rottweilers may also become more aggressive in other ways, particularly with members of the home, when they enter adolescence. During this time, your dog is loaded with hormones, which can cause all kinds of changes in their behavior.
Don’t be surprised if your Rottweiler suddenly begins testing you in adolescence or as they achieve adulthood. Rottweilers are even known to be bullies as puppies. They can be demanding with their owners and even show aggression, especially around prized objects.
It is very important to constantly be aware of changes in your Rottweiler’s aggressive behavior. In general, they are not a good breed for new dog owners.
Are Rottweilers Easy To Train?
When trained well, the Rottweiler is not only a tractable family dog but can be downright functional. You can teach your Rottweiler to pull your kids around in a cart, get you a drink from the fridge, and all kinds of other handy and fun behaviors.
This is a highly versatile breed that has excelled in all kinds of jobs throughout history. You can expect the same sort of versatile trainability in your Rottweiler.
When you consider the fact that the Rottweiler is a powerful dog that can be prone to territorial aggression, it should come as no surprise that this breed requires some very firm and consistent handling. This is a breed that will get away with things if they can.
Rottweiler obedience training
If you do pick a Rottweiler as a family pet it is highly recommended that you work with an experienced trainer. Experienced trainers can help you direct your Rottweiler’s instincts constructively and prevent a dangerous situation from developing.
You need to be able to predict your Rottweiler’s behavior, including instincts like herding and territorial drives. It will be your responsibility to predict and control your Rottweiler’s behavior.
If family life is too hectic for you to be able to provide the kind of training that your Rottweiler needs, you may find that your dog is finding ways to outsmart you and causing mischief in your family.
Intelligence and trainability is a double-edged sword when it comes to a family dog. You may decide NOT to choose a Rottweiler as a family pet since they can be a bit more headstrong than some other intelligent breeds.
One of the unfortunate downsides of choosing a Rottweiler as your kids’ next dog is the Rottweiler’s lifespan. Saying goodbye to a family dog is a trying experience for anybody, but it can be especially hard for kids.
Since Rottweilers only live nine to 10 years on average, you will need to say goodbye to your family dog earlier than you may prefer. Added to this the fact that Rottweilers don’t completely mature until they are as old as three, you may experience some disappointment with choosing this dog.
Hav a relatively short amount of time that you will get to spend with your dog may not be ideal for a family pet when you have children. Just something to consider.
Rottweilers and Other Animals
Another important consideration for you if you are choosing a Rottweiler as your next family pet is how they interact with other animals. Whether you have other pets in the home or not, this is a relevant question for many families.
If your children someday want a second dog or a cat, you need to be able to decide whether you can safely bring another animal into your home with your Rottweiler. Here are some considerations about Rottweilers and other animals.
Are Rottweilers Good With Cats?
Rottweilers are highly trainable, and for many individuals, this trainability also extends to their relationships with other species that they may otherwise not get along with, such as cats.
Be aware though that Rottweilers often have a strong prey drive, which could lead them to perceive a family cat as prey.
However, your Rottweiler is more likely to get along with the family cat if you raise them together from a young age. Some Rottweilers can still show aggression to cats even after having known them their entire lives.
My opinion: It may not be best to get a Rottweiler if it is important to you to have cats in your life. Many people are still able to make it work though.
Are Rottweilers Good With Other Dogs?
Historically, Rottweilers may have been more likely to need to protect their property from other dogs than to get along with them. Some Rottweilers get along just fine with other dogs while others may have trouble.
Rottweilers often get along better with dogs of the opposite gender from themselves.
Some Rottweilers may have prey drive with very small dogs, especially dogs that run away while yapping or crying.
It is really dependent on the individual Rottweiler how well they’ll get along with other dogs. Rottweilers that are socialized from an early age in many different situations are more likely to get along well with other dogs.
Keep in mind that your Rottweiler’s territorial instincts may also affect how they interact with other dogs. Rottweilers that always play at the same dog park with the same dogs may become protective and defensive against outsiders.
An idea is that you continuously mix up your Rottweiler’s socialization. Give them opportunities to meet lots of different dogs in different situations. This may help increase the possibility that your Rottweiler will enjoy the company of other dogs.
The well-trained and socialized Rottweiler is likely to be a dog that handles stressful situations without anxiety. This should be a dog that is more prone to boldness and braveness than it is insecurity.
A normal Rottweiler is a dog that enjoys challenges and is utterly devoted to their family.
While strangers may find these dogs to be aloof and intimidating, in my experience, they are nonstop comedians and hams with their families. They will be sure to cheer you up even on your worst day.
In my opinion, the devotion of the Rottweiler makes them a great dog for many families. This is a dog that tends to be very patient, willing to tolerate a long day with equal good humor.
The Rottweiler’s instincts to protect home and family can cause aggressive behavior. On the contrary, my personal experiences show these are stable dogs that are unlikely to show aggression without a highly predictable cause.
Here is a brief list of the most notable Rottweiler characteristics you should be aware of.
- Can be Silly and Fun Loving
- Protective of Home and Family
- Can Be Cuddly with Family Members
- Aloof with Strangers
- Can be Aggressive
Are Rottweilers Good Dogs?
Rottweilers often get a reputation as “junkyard dogs” that are aggressive and untrainable. This is just not a true depiction of the dog from my experience with them.
I have found the Rottweiler to be a loving, intelligent dog that likes nothing better than to make its family happy.
If you can be a firm and consistent leader to your Rottweiler, you are likely to find them to be delightful pets that meaningfully improve your life and the lives of your family for years to come.