Dog Health & More
Rottweilers were originally dogs bred to drive cattle to market. Later they were used to pull carts for butchers. They were among the earliest police dogs and serve with honor in the military. Most important, they are popular family guardians and friends.
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Like the mythical Greek hero Hercules, the Rottweiler is strong and true with a loving heart. Affectionately called Rotties or Rotts, the breed originated in Germany, where it was used to drive cattle and pull carts for farmers and butchers. That heritage is reflected in the Rottie's broad chest and heavily muscled body. When he moves, he displays strength and stamina, but when you look into his eyes you see warm, dark-brown pools reflecting a mellow, intelligent, alert, and fearless expression.
A well-bred Rottweiler is calm and confident. He's typically aloof toward strangers, but never timid or fearful. Rottweilers exhibit a "wait-and-see" attitude when confronted with new people and situations. When these characteristics come together as they should, the Rottweiler is a natural guard dog with a mellow disposition who is successful not only in police, military, and customs work, but also as a family friend and protector.
Rotties have a natural instinct to protect their families and can be ferocious in their defense. It's essential to channel their power and protectiveness by providing early socialization, firm, fair, consistent training and leadership, and a regular job to perform. When this doesn't happen, Rottweilers can become dangerous bullies rather than the companionable guardians they're meant to be.
Rottweilers walk a fine line between protectiveness and aggressiveness. If they aren't carefully bred for a calm, intelligent temperament and properly socialized and trained, they can become overly protective. That might sound like what you want, but a Rottie who lacks the ability to discriminate is dangerous to everyone he encounters, not just the bad guys.
You must be able to provide your Rottweiler with leadership he can trust and respect without resorting to anger or physical force. Otherwise, he'll take the role of top dog for himself. With a dog as powerful and intelligent as the Rottweiler, this is a recipe for disaster.
Despite what you might have heard, Rottweilers are not temperamentally unsound or inherently vicious. Well-bred, well-socialized Rotties are playful, gentle, and loving to their families. They are easy to train if treated with respect and make great companions.
As wonderful as Rottweilers can be, they aren't the dog for everyone. You must not only be dedicated to training and socializing your Rottie, you must also deal with people who don't understand the breed and pre-judge it. Because of bad or tragic experiences with Rottweilers or other large breeds, some cities have banned the breed. It's unfair to judge an entire breed by the actions of a few, but it's a reality you will have to deal with if you own a Rottweiler.
You can do your part to redeem the reputation of the breed by training your Rottweiler to obey and respect people. Most important, don't put your Rottie in the backyard and forget about him. This is a dog who is loyal to his people and wants to be with them. If you give him the guidance and structure he needs, you'll be rewarded with one of the finest companions in the world.