Animal Awareness

What are Rottweilers like?

Meet Cody, the Rottweiler

…or as we often called him, the Not-weiler because we was nothing like we expected a Rottie to be.  We have since changed our perceptions on this and understand them to be the sweetest and most gentle dogs around.  So what do you get with a Rottweiler?  Are Rottweilers good dogs? What can you expect of your Rottie? A faithful companion who will become the best watchdog you can imagine.

How Cody came to live with us

We were outside, playing with all of the other dogs and a rather large, beautiful Rottie just walked up our driveway, went into our carport, laid down and went to sleep.  He didn’t bother any of the other dogs.  Later, when he woke up we fed him and he just never left.  He quickly became the alpha dog and got along great with the rest of the pack, humans and canines.  We like to think that he adopted us.

Is a Rottweiler a good watchdog?

We’ve only had a single Rottie so all of my personal experience stems from that. We had a friend down the road who used to walk hers past our house daily so I had the chance to talk with her about “Axle” on occasion and our experiences were similar.  Rottweilers make excellent watchdogs, plain and simple.  The first thing to consider is what the sight of a Rottweiler does to a potential intruder.  I’m always of the mindset that an intruder chooses the path of least resistance and a house with a Rottweiler is not that. There’s a house down the road or around the corner or in a different neighborhood that does not have a Rottweiler so it’s an easier target.  Just the presence of Cody in our house, I have zero doubt, prevented any thought to intruders coming around our property

Cody the RottweilerAside from looking the part, Cody was also quite alert and would let us know when anybody came around.  As long as that person was on the other side of the door or window, Cody was not their friend.  When folks came into the house, though, and Cody saw that we welcomed them, his demeanor changed.  It didn’t always help our visitors however, as they saw him as a Rottweiler so were usually a bit anxious until Cody sat in their lap or curled up at their feet.  When that same person went back outside, Cody was no longer their friend.

Is the Rottweiler a good companion?

This was perhaps the most unexpected part for us about living with a Rottie although after considerable research it is something that Rottie owners know well. They are amazing companions.  They are as lovable as a dog can possibly be, gentle with children, and loyal through and through.  They get sad when you leave and will spin in ungainly and seemingly impossible circles when you come home. They will snuggle on the couch with you to watch a movie, or snuggle with another dog on the floor for warmth and companionship.

The Rottweiler as a protector

I never saw Cody actually have to protect anybody, but on the occasions he felt that I was playing or rough housing with my wife or kids too much, he was quick to insert himself between us and give me that low growl that let me know he didn’t like what I was doing.  When you get a warning like that from a Rottie, you just can’t help but tone it down a bit.  I can only imagine what he would have done to anybody that was actually trying to hurt one of them.  I have no doubt Cody would have fought to the death to protect any of us. Would I have considered Cody a good protector?  Without a doubt.

Do Rottweilers drool?

Yep, or at least Cody did.  At first it was always keeping a towel handy.  Later, we tried tying a scarf around his neck and this became his lifelong drool protector.  Of course, it also became quite fashionable as we would buy more and more colorful and outrageous scarves and he loved every one of them.  He showed a real sense of pride when we tied a new one around his neck. He seemed to actually parade his new scarf in front of the other dogs.  Like just about everything else with Cody, it was cute.

Are Rottweilers good with kids?

Yes, yes, and yes.  We found Cody to be the most gentle of any big dog around our youngsters and, since we now have a 3 year old granddaughter as of the time of writing this, Cody was around since she was born and alway showed a keen interest in what she was doing, maintained a respectful distance from her, but was ever watchful over her.  It was actually quite a sweet sight to see, this 90 pound Rottie being so gentle and caring around her.  And not just the granddaughter. Our niece and nephew and their crew of friends always welcomed and enjoyed Cody into their circle and made him a part of anything they did.

Are Rottweilers good with other dogs?

We run an informal rescue and during the time we had Cody, we also had (from smallest to largest) a Dachshund, a Schipperke, a red thing we don’t know what she is, three Pit Bulls, a Boxer and several labs (one was 120 pounds).  Cody got along with all of them.  There were scuffles to be sure and one of our Pit Bulls is food aggressive so we separated them during feeding times, but other than that they played well together.  We got a new puppy about a  year before Cody past away…Blitz…and Cody and her became fast friends.  Some of our earliest pictures of Blitz are of Cody with Blitz’s entire head in Cody’s mouth, playing of course.

Our Dachshund, Baron, latched onto Cody early and they were fast friends from day one.  Cody was Baron’s protector and you could often see them romping in the yards together, having a great time.  Nap time found Baron often snuggled up under or around Cody.  It was cute.

Our three Pit Bulls had a kind of love/hate relationship with Cody.  Cody was like that guy in high school that was the perfect athlete, great looking and all the girls loved him.  Rusty, our Alpha dog Pit Bull feels the same way about himself so he and Cody squared off a time or two and eventually ended up with a mutual respect and left each other alone.  Rocket, Rusty’s sister, loved Cody and often snuggled and played with him. Our third Pit Bull, Jake, was an oddity in every respect and despite a knock-down drag-out fight early on where they earned each other’s respect, they later became pretty much best friends and spent a lot of time together.  Two male dogs, notorious for being “mean” and/or “tough” dogs, spent the later years playing and having a great time together.  They are both gone now.  I hope they are still romping through fields with each other on the other side of that rainbow bridge.

Are Rottweilers aggressive

No more than any other dog.  The most aggressive dog I’ve ever had was a Schnauzer. That damn dog bit for absolutely no reason.  But, you don’t see that in the news because it doesn’t sell as well as “Rottweiler mauls postman”.  So “aggressive” is a tough term to deal with. A mildly aggressive Rottie could cause a lot more damage than a maniacally aggressive Dachshund.  Are Rottweilers, as a breed, aggressive?  I’d have to say no.  Again, this is the experience of a single rescue Rottie who had a lot of reason to be aggressive, and simply was not.  Also, again, talking to many other owners of Rotties, this simply is not the case and is something most of us have learned incorrectly from movies and TV shows.  That’s not to say that a Rottie doesn’t become aggressive or that they don’t fight.  They do, and when they do it’s a terrible sight.  A little known fact is that the Rottie, not the Pit Bull, has the strongest jaw muscles and the hardest bite of any dog.  So yes, they can do some damage and so should be raised in such a way that they are not put in positions where they feel they need to.

What is the average lifespan of a Rottweiler

Cody lived to be about 12 which is a couple years longer than the average Rottie.  He remained healthy and active right up to the end and never really had any problems at all.  He got stung on the face by a bee once which was pitiful.  But overall he led a bit of a charmed life where he had constant companionship, lots of room to roam and run, a pack to lead and humans to take care of.  He even died in a noble sort of way.  Our daughter and grand daughter hadn’t seen him for awhile.  They came to visit, took him outside in the front yard for some play, although Cody was, at this point, not much up for play he did try. When they brought him back into the house, he simply laid down in our foyer and quietly passed away.  To us, it was clear he wanted to see our daughter and grand daughter just one last time.

Are Rottweilers good dogs?

Well, Cody certainly was and every single other person we have talked to about their Rotties tell the same tale. Rotties are the best.  Of course, you’ll see in the news where a Rottie wasn’t such a good dog from time to time but I blame the owner, not the dog and certainly not the breed.  For that matter, I think this applies to all breeds.  We’ve had a lot of breeds that are notorious for being dangerous or aggressive and we’ve found that with proper care and friendship, and a strong alpha leadership stance that puts you in absolute control of the pack, any dog, regardless of breed, can be a good dog.

What’s it like living with a Rottweiler?

I cannot say enough good things about our experience with Cody as he was simply one of the best dogs we’ve ever had in every aspect. I’ve talked with many other Rottie owners and the sentiment is always the same.  If you are on the fence I would urge you to make the leap and go for it, you will not be disappointed.  As long as there are people in the house for the Rottie to love and look out for, and there’s a bit of a yard for him to romp around in, you’ll be choosing a companion that will be your best friend for about 10 years or so.