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Deciding which dog breed is the best fit for you isn’t easy.
As pet parentage is a privilege and responsibility, your duties begin even before a new pet enters your home. Research and careful consideration are needed to ensure the dog you choose is a good fit for you and vice versa.
We here at Spot Pet Insurance are excited to provide dog breed guides to help make these decisions easier. We’ve collected essential information on numerous breeds. Today, our exploration takes us to the Rottweiler.
Thanks to their imposing figure and alert expression, the Rottweiler’s guard dog purpose is immediately obvious. However, they aren't mean — a dopey demeanor and playful innocence often come out when a Rottie is with family. These large working dogs are some of the most popular today (#8 in the AKC’s (American Kennel Club) rankings, in fact!), but is one of these pooches the right fit for your family? Read on to find out what it takes to parent a Rottweiler.
Where do Rottweilers come from?
Understanding the history of a breed can be helpful in understanding their instincts and temperament. In the case of Rottweilers, there's a lot of history to consider.
This breed is one of the oldest still found today. Not many dog breeds would remain favored through so many periods of history.
The oldest records of the breed tie them to ancient Romans, where they were used as herding and cattle-driving dogs. They would also help protect their humans and were brought along with the Roman legions as they marched across Europe.
In the town of Rottweil (now Germany), the descendants of the Rottweilers interbred with dogs native to the area, leading to the pups we know today.
In Rottweil, the breed took up jobs with local butchers as guard dogs, drovers (cattle drivers), and even messengers or money carriers, leading to their nicknames of butcher’s dogs and drover dogs.
As World War I approached, Rottweilers were used as police dogs and search-and-rescue dogs. Today they are still used for a wide variety of similar jobs.
Though the breed is beautiful, Rotties were bred for pragmatism. Their instincts and demeanor are tailored towards being a guardian and herder.
Average Sizes and Life Expentancy of The Breed
- Males: 24-27 inches
- Females: 22-25 inches
- Males: 95-135 pounds
- Females: 80-100 pounds
- 8-11 years
What are the potential health conditions for Rottweilers?
Rottweilers have certain predispositions regarding health issues, even though they are generally a healthy breed. Knowing these dispositions and how to identify high-risk conditions can help you care for your Rottie’s health and respond when needed.
If you’re buying a puppy, you should ask for health test results from the Rottweiler breeder. Many shelters can also provide this info when you go to adopt.
Tests to ask for include areas such as the hip, heart, and eyes. The American Rottweiler Club has a specific health statement that sets a standard for reputable breeders.
What is it?
One of the most common conditions affecting all dog breeds is hip dysplasia. The condition occurs when the hip joint and thigh bone aren’t properly aligned, causing friction and pain.
Hip dysplasia is usually inherited but can also arise from injury.
Treatment options vary based on the severity of the condition and your dog’s age and health. However, this condition shouldn’t limit your dog’s ability to live a high-quality life!
% Dogs affected:
- Abnormal gait (limping, hopping, swaying)
- Avoidance of physical activity
- Reduced use of hind legs
- Aversion to jumping, running, or climbing
- Unusual sounds from the hip (clicking, popping, grating)
- Trouble laying down or standing up
- Reduced coordination and range of motion
- Reduced muscle mass in legs
- Compensation in front legs leading to enlarged shoulders
- Physical therapy
- Limited exercise
- Weight reduction
- Surgery: Double or triple pelvic osteotomy (DPO/TPO)
- Surgery: Femoral head ostectomy (FHO)
- Surgery: Total hip replacement (THR)
- Long-term damage could occur if treatment is not prompt
- Surgery is better for younger dogs and riskier for older dogs
Average Vet Bill
90% = $2,160
80% = $1,920
70% = $1,680
Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)
What is it?
Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV), also known as Gastric Torsion or Bloat, is a life-threatening condition that needs immediate treatment should it occur, so being aware of the signs is imperative to protecting your Rottie’s health.
GDV typically results in your dog going into shock as blood flow is blocked by a twisted stomach caused by gas and air. It often occurs during hard exercise immediately following a big meal. Deep chested and large dogs (such as the Rottweiler) are most commonly affected.
% Dogs affected:
- Dry heaving (retching with no projectiles)
- Swelling abdomen
- Difficulty breathing/panting
- Physical weakness
- Shock or collapse
- Signs of abdominal pain
- Poor pulse quality
- Increased heart rate
- IV (Intravenous fluids)
- Supplemental oxygen
- Decompression of the stomach
- Fluid and air drainage
- Partial Gastrectomy
Don’t wait if you notice signs – seek immediate treatment.
Average Vet Bill
90% = $4,500
80% = $4,000
70% = $3,500
How well do Rottweilers get along with their owners?
As with many watchdogs, Rottweilers are loving, gentle, and protective with their pack, your family.
Rotties are very affectionate. They may even see themselves as lap dogs despite their huge stature.
Are Rottweilers aggressive towards strangers?
Due to the same instincts that give them such strong bonds with family, Rottweilers aren’t always accepting of strangers.
The Rottweiler's reputation sometimes labels it an aggressive breed — but don't pay the Hollywood stereotypes much mind. There's no question Rottweilers have an intimidating figure, and their strength should be respected, but that doesn't necessarily make them dangerous.
With proper training, Rottweilers have an ideal temperament for a guardian family dog, balancing fearless confidence with poise and restraint.
How well do Rottweilers adapt to new situations?
Rottweilers appreciate having room to roam. Houses with yards are an ideal environment for this big, energetic, playful pup. Apartments may be a struggle.
Hot or cold climates can be a concern for Rottweilers. This large breed doesn't tolerate extreme weather well, so it's best to bring them into a relatively moderate or temperate environment or provide lots of climate control and protection from the weather.
Rotties hate to be alone, so you should also ensure your schedule includes plenty of time at home, giving them attention.
Do Rottweilers make good guard dogs?
These dogs are bred to be guardians. They are vigilant, protective, strong, intimidating (when needed), and brave.
Will a Rottweiler be a fun dog to have around?
Rottweilers are one of the most fun breeds, especially amongst big dogs. They are highly affectionate towards their family and quite playful.
However, if you cannot keep up with their fairly high energy level, these traits may feel like more of a burden than a joy.
Are Rottweilers good with children?
Just as they treat their human adults in the family with love, Rotties will also love their young human siblings.
However, due to their high energy levels and size, you should always keep a close eye on them. Never let children and dogs be alone together unsupervised.
How are Rottweilers with other dogs?
Rottweilers are even more cautious around other dogs than around human strangers. Socialization is crucial to this breed, especially when they are young.
In general, this breed does best in a single dog home. Cats are particularly unwelcome by most Rotties, and smaller dogs are less of a fit than larger canine siblings.
Coat:Rottweilers have a short, smooth double coat. Coat colors include: Black & Mahogany Black & Rust Black & Tan They often have tan markings on the face, chest, and paws.
Grooming:Daily brushing, occasional bath, regular nail trims
Training:Easy to train.
Life Time Care Cost:
Are Rottweilers hypoallergenic?
No, the Rottweiler breed is not hypoallergenic.
How often do Rottweilers have to be groomed?
Despite some shedding, caring for your Rottie's coat is relatively easy. Occasional or regular brushing is recommended, especially during shedding season, which is likely to come just before the turn of winter and summer.
Drooling is also frequent for Rottweilers. Keep a towel handy when you can, and be ready to clean any furniture or floors behind your dog regularly.
Otherwise, Rottweilers are easy to groom. Standard frequency for nail clipping, dental cleaning, and ear cleaning is best practice to keep your pup healthy, happy, and hygienic.
What is the lifetime care cost of a Rottweiler?
Caring for a Rottweiler throughout its life will cost around $21,670.
How to be the best pet parent for a Rottweiler?
Let’s talk about a few other areas you should know about in order to take great care of a Rottweiler.
How much does a Rottweiler dog or puppy cost?
Adoption fee (puppy): $600-2000
Yearly care cost (first year): $4,390
Yearly care cost (following years): $1,920
Basic training and behavior etiquette for your Rottweiler
Rottweiler training is an absolute must and should start at an early age. This is typical of large dogs with a history of being bred for tasks that require physical aggression, such as hunting or guarding.
- Start early. Without guidance and consistent boundaries, immature Rottweiler puppy behavior could carry into a much bigger adult and cause problems.
- Use positive reinforcement and a gentle demeanor. Rewarding good behavior is the best way to form lasting good habits, while punishment and harsh rebuke can be less productive or even lead to destructive behaviors. The Rottie breed is exceptionally intelligent and trainable but also highly sensitive and doesn't take well to negative interactions with their family.
- Self-control around strangers is also a good habit for animals with guard-dog tendencies, so proper socialization is key from an early age. The more new things they experience with your guidance, the better they will be at handling surprising new situations if they arise.
- Throughout your pup's life, they will need mental stimulation at every stage. Any working dog has an innate desire for tasks and purpose. If you don't give your Rottweiler anything to occupy this energy, destructive behaviors are likely to follow.
- Interactive toys and plenty of play sessions are great tools to promote mental stimulation. Engaging your Rottweiler in sports or an actual job is another way to satisfy their needs while strengthening your bond.
What types of foods should Rottweilers never eat?
Rottweilers are known for their predisposition to sensitive stomachs and food allergies, but this varies from pup to pup. Talk to a trusted vet if you see signs of food allergy or wish to approach their diet cautiously.
There are also certain foods that all dog owners should avoid due to general health concerns or toxicity. Here are some examples:
- Meat Bones
- Fatty foods
- Apple seeds
- Apple core
- Coffee grinds
Exercising tips to keep your Rottweilers staying fit and healthy
Exercise should be frequent and will need to be intense to satisfy your Rottweiler's energy levels. They play hard and sometimes rough, so confidence and firm training will be needed to keep this in check, especially when smaller children or animals are nearby.
Even an adult can be easily swept to the ground by a Rottweiler at full speed with no ill-intent, so everyone involved or nearby a Rottweiler play session should be fully alert.
Playfulness is high, and Rotties love to interact with their family members during playtime. Games such as tug-of-war are great inside the house, while fetch, disc catching, and chase can be fun outside.
Sports or jobs are another great way to match your Rottie's high activity level while simultaneously providing mental stimulation and purpose. This will keep your pup happy and thriving.
Rottweiler life stages
Puppy: 2 - 3 years
Adult: 3 - 8 years
Senior: 8 years - end of life
With the information in this guide, we hope you feel equipped to make the right decision when it comes to adding a Rottweiler to your family. Consider whether Spot Pet Insurance may also be a great fit for you to help keep your pet safe and healthy! Learn more by reading our FAQs and getting a quote today.