I am new to this forum and ?I have found it to be very educational. My question: A friend of mine is offering me a Female Rottweiler (Free). I have never had one before. She thought of me because I have been looking into getting a puppy for me and the family. I have a 2 year old girl and a 6 year old boy. When I was like 10 years old we had a German Shepard and Cocker Spaniard. I loved them very much and I want my kids to have the same experiences. My concerns are that we have read lots of stuff about rotties been vicious and all these negatives stuff....Can some of share with me their experience with a rottweiler as a Family Dog...is it a good idea?
Also, we are looking into German Shepards, Labs or Golden Ret.
I love rotts though I'm a dobe girl myself:) If raised right there is no reason it wouldn't be a great family dog. Like with any dog go to obediendce classes and involve the whole family. Hope it works out great!
If the breeder has not done the proper homework before the breeding, you may be buying expensive vet bills and lots of heartache.
Rottweilers should be certified by the OFA to be free of hip dysplasia, and evaluated for elbow status as well.
In addition, responsible breeders usually do cardiac screening to rule out SubAortic Stenosis, and have breeding stock checked for hereditary eye diseases.
Responsible breeders sell only with a contract and a guarantee, and require that any puppies graded as pets by spayed or neutered.
If proper pedigree research was not done, there can be temperament issues.
Much of how a Rottweiler ends up is also determined by their early socialization and training experiences.
Fencing is not optional with these dogs, and neither is early and consistent obedience training.
I personally do not recommend Rottweilers to people with children under school age. Not because I feel the dog may be a danger to the child, but because Rottweilers need and require quite a bit of attention and upbringing during the first 18 mos or so of their lives. People with toddlers may have trouble finding the time for the puppy. If puppies don't get the training, structure, and socialization they need, they can suffer for it, and so can their owners.
I'm not sure I agree with everything but thats me. I think early and consistent obedience training works very well with rottweilers if not better than any other dog I've worked with but every dog is different. I also would reccomend socializing your rottweiler to a child under school age before your dog reaches the age of 2 for that is when "they say" rottweilers become more independant and gain that "protective" instinct and early socialization would make things smoother as I have a 10mo rotti and a 4mo daughter that get along beautifully. I'm not sure if I understood everything you said correctly and I'm just ranting but this is my oppinion on the matter.
Is the Rottie you are going to be getting a puppy? My Rottie is 10 months old and honestly, she is one of the best dogs we have ever had. I have 2 kids ages 10 and 8 and she loves them dearly. Rotties are very smart and very loyal. Training is a constant thing but she loves learning and they learn very fast but they can also be very stubborn. She has learned how to open the screen door and the cabinet where her food is now has to be locked like you would do for a toddler because she figured out how to open it. She is very protective but once we tell her that someone is okay she is fine. They do get big. If they are trained to be mean and viscious then they will be, ours is not. This is the 2nd Rottie we've had and we love the breed.
***Edited By: Debi0825 on 10/26/2005 9:10:59 AM*** Reason: spelling
"I'm not sure I agree with everything but thats me. I think early and consistent obedience training works very well with rottweilers if not better than any other dog I've worked with but every dog is different. I also would reccomend socializing your rottweiler to a child under school age before your dog reaches the age of 2 for that is when "they say" rottweilers become more independant and gain that "protective" instinct and early socialization would make things smoother as I have a 10mo rotti and a 4mo daughter that get along beautifully. I'm not sure if I understood everything you said correctly and I'm just ranting but this is my oppinion on the matter."
I presume you are addressing my post when you say you are not sure you agree with everything.
What exactly do you not agree with?
How much experience do you have with the Rottweiler breed?
Does your experience with Rottweilers and children consist of the 4 months you have had a puppy and a baby together?
Trust me, things will be different once the child is toddling around and dog toys look interesting.
Socialization with children should take place before the age of 16 WEEKS with dogs who will be expected to co exist with children.
RIGOROUS supervision, and careful training of both dog AND child is imperitive. Dogs must learn how to behave around children, and children must learn how to behave, and how to respect the space of the dog.
Most of the time issues between Rottweilers and children are not with the children who live in the home, but with visiting children. If there is any altercation, the dog can feel a need to intervene on the behalf of the child who is his pack member, and the results can be disastrous.
Emergence of territorial and protective instincts varies from dog to dog, but in general it is before 2 years of age. The latest I had a dog "bloom" is 18 mos, but these instincts can be less occasionally in some dogs.
It is very important that dogs and children and infants NEVER be left together unsupervised, not even for one second. The power of these animals must never be underestimated. Most dogs never bite anyone, but the potential for catastrophic injury is very high if a dog ever decides to take a piece out of a child or an infant.
Rottweilers can be great dogs if they are properly bred, socialized, trained, and confined, but the record stands, and there are about 40 dead people in the US who got that way being attacked by a Rottweiler. The majority of fatalities are elderly and children.
It pays to understand the risks, and behave accordingly. Many Rottweilers have lived and grown up with many children with no incident. However, it is a situation that deserves consideration and proper handling, for the safety of all concerned.
***Edited By: Redyre_Rotties on 10/26/2005 9:13:05 AM*** Reason: -----
The Rottweiler is a robust, powerful, and loyal dog with strong protective instincts. Rottweilers are outstanding companions and protectors. Because of the Rottweiler's size, strength, and protectiveness, owning a Rottweiler carries a great deal of responsibility and commitment.
Your first consideration in buying a Rottweiler should be the knowledge that for the next ten or more years, that dog will be a part of your household. Unlike your automobile, you can not trade in your Rottweiler for a newer model. As a companion to your whole family, your Rottweiler will reflect the love and affection you show him. He will represent an emotional investment as well as a financial investment. Therefore, choose him carefully. Know as much as possible about the breed and his breeder before you buy. Deal only with a reputable breeder!
Selecting a Breeder
Much of the success you will have with your Rottweiler depends upon what happened to your dog before it came to you. Its genetic background, early conditioning, and socialization are the result of the breeder's efforts.
Reputable breeders are those who:
Study genetics, nutrition, structure, and movement because their primary concern is producing dogs that measure up against the breed's standard of perfection. See the breed standard, further down in this document. 2.
See that all their animals receive the proper inoculations at the appointed intervals in consultation with their veterinarian. 3.
Give evidence of their concern with the humane treatment of dogs by shipping only to individual parties, shipping puppies in safe, comfortable enclosures with adequate ventilation, and never shipping puppies under seven weeks of age. 4.
Give individual attention to raising and socializing each puppy in clean and healthy surroundings where it can live happily with people and with other dogs. 5.
Are happy to assist you with directions for the feeding, training, and grooming of your puppy. 6.
Occasionally have young adults as well as puppies available. They will help you select a quality animal at a price comparable with, and ultimately better than, that offered by a commercial pet store. 7.
Will openly discuss pricing and financial arrangements. They will provide proof of American Kennel Club (AKC) registration. 8.
Never mass produce puppies to be sold as a commodity. 9.
Never deal in gimmicks or unreasonable guarantees. 10.
Never use high pressure sales practices to sell you on a breed or a particular puppy. Rather, they will encourage you to study, visit other breeders, and attend an all-breed dog show before you decide.
Not all breeders are conscientious. Commercial establishments, like those specializing in “attack” or "aggressive" Rottweilers, pet shops, and 'puppy mills" seldom have the time to give the individualized attention that puppies and new puppy owners need.
Visiting the Kennel
Whenever you visit a kennel there are certain things you have a right to know about the breeder. You may want to ask some of these questions:
Why did you breed this litter? 2.
How many litters do you breed a year? 3.
Do you show your own puppies and dogs and with what success? 4.
Do you belong to a local or national breed club? 5.
Has your veterinarian checked these puppies? 6.
If a hereditary defect appears in the puppy, will there be a refund or replacement?
Decide before you buy whether you want a pet quality puppy or a show potential puppy. A pet quality puppy is a healthy example of the breed which falls just a little short of the standard of perfection in some way. A show potential puppy is one which measures up strongly against the breed standard and has no disqualifying faults. If you intend to show your dog, study the breed standard carefully. Visit several breeders. Observe the offspring produced by various breeders at American Kennel Club sanctioned matches and shows. For a list of informative pamphlets, please visit the American Kennel Club Website, or contact them by writing to 51 Madison Avenue, New York, New York I0010.
Some Terms You Need to Know
Purebred: A dog of known quality and ancestry, with both parents of the same breed for many generations.
Pedigree: A form which has the names and the registration numbers of a dog's ancestors. Sometimes referred to as the dog's "papers". A pedigree is not acceptable for registration with the AKC.
Registration Papers: Forms which entitle you to register your purebred dog. If these papers are not available at the time you purchase your puppy, be certain that they are forthcoming. Do not buy the dog unless you receive:
1. Full identification of the dog in writing.
2. Signature of the seller including the co-owner-, if any.
3. Names of the sire and dam of the dog and their registration numbers.
4. Name, address, and telephone number of the breeder.
5. The AKC litter number or registration number.
Breed Standard: A description of the desired characteristics of a breed. Breeders use the standard to ensure they are producing dogs that have these desired characteristics. They continuously measure the quality of their dogs against this standard of excellence. You should read the standard closely before you look at the first puppy, particularly if there is a chance you will become interested in showing your dog in conformation shows. You can find the standard for each breed in your library's copy of The Complete Dog Book published by the American Kennel Club, or on the World Wide Web, at http://www.akc.org/rotty.html. The breed standard for the Rottweiler is included at the end of this document.
Conformation Shows: Events at which AKC registered dogs compete for points toward a championship through a prescribed system. A judge compares dogs with the breed standard in terms of conformation, movement, and temperament. Animals which have been neutered are not eligible to compete In these shows.
Obedience Trials: Events in which AKC registered dogs compete by performing specific exercises at various levels of difficulty. . Obedience trials can be held separately or in conjunction with all-breed shows. Neutered animals are eligible to be shown in obedience trials.
A Rottweiler will not eat you out of house and home." Depending upon the size, age, sex, and activity level of your dog, it will eat between 5 and 10 pounds of high quality kibble a week. This would generally be between 4 and 10 cups of kibble divided into two feedings a day. High quality kibble costs between $25 and $30 for a 40 pound bag. Most breeders and veterinarians do not recommend adding supplements to high quality dog food.
How big are they?
Males range from 24 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 95 and 135 pounds. Females are somewhat smaller measuring 22 to 25 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 80 and I 00 pounds. Rottweilers can be found that are larger or smaller than the sizes given, however they are not considered typical by the breed standard. The Rottweiler is very strong for its size. Rottweilers were used in Europe to herd cattle and pull carts. They still retain the compact musculature needed in a herding or draft animal. A full grown Rottweiler can easily knock a person down. For this reason, the breed is not recommended for the elderly or physically infirm.
What color are they?
Rottweilers must always be black with tan to rust or mahogany markings. The darker markings are more desirable. Any base color other than black constitutes a disqualification and should be avoided.
Are they good with children?
How Rottweilers adapt to children varies from individual to individual. Many are very tolerant and loving towards children. Others resent the occasional rough treatment an unknowing child can inflict.
The dog's size can be a serious problem. Rottweilers have accidentally caused injuries to small children in the family by bumping into them and knocking them down or into furniture. This bumping is a natural behavior of the Rottweiler, a legacy from the days when the breed was used to herd cattle. Rottweilers will bump and herd children or elderly family members.
Some breeders recommend waiting until children are at least school age or older before bringing a Rottweiler into your home. The amount of space in your home, the age of your children, and the amount of time the dog will be in contact with your children should be part of your decision making process.
What is their temperament like?
Rottweilers vary from natural clowns, affectionate to almost everyone, to the very reserved one-man dog. Rottweilers are calm and alert companions. Rottweilers often follow their masters around the house keeping a constant and sometimes obtrusive watch over their loved ones.
Avoid Rottweilers who are nervous, shy, very excitable, or hyperactive. They are exhibiting traits that are undesirable.
Are they aggressive?
This trait varies among individuals. All Rottweilers have strong territorial instincts. If socialized properly as a puppy, your Rottweiler will defend you and your property against intruders. Rottweilers have been known to bully or bluff their owners. This trait can be most disconcerting and needs to be overcome when the puppy is very young.
Are they easy to train?
Because of the size and strength of the animal, the Rottweiler must be trained early in his life. Fortunately, Rottweilers are intelligent working dogs and begin responding to commands as soon as they understand what you want of them. Occasionally there are exceptions. It is very important to establish control over your dog. Obedience training is the easiest and best way to do this.
Your breeder should be able to help you find a training class. Avoid very rough trainers. Rottweilers can often be controlled using verbal reprimands. While they occasionally require strong physical corrections, some trainers tend to be much rougher than necessary. Physical mastery of the dog often less important than sensitive and positive training methods, time, and patience.
Children and small adults have been very successful with Rottweilers in all phases of dog training. Physical mastery of the dog is often less important than time, patience, and positive and sensitive training methods.
The Rottweiler is an intelligent and loyal animal and usually wants to please its owner. Occasionally, a Rottweiler can be very stubborn and may require stronger measures. It is very important that discipline be consistent, fair, and firm, without being rough. Owning a Rottweiler is not for you if you are timid or do not have the time or interest to carefully supervise him.
Do they shed?
Rottweilers shed twice a year. Usually in Spring and Fall they lose much of their coats to help them adjust to the changing seasons. For the remainder of the year there is seldom any annoyance from shedding.
Are they good watchdogs?
The Rottweilers' size and bark will discourage most intruders, yet he will learn to recognize your friends and receive them cordially. If an intruder gets by the size and bark, your Rottweiler will fiercely defend your family and home. The Rottweiler's instinct to protect those he loves becomes very apparent as he matures.
However, problems can arise quickly. Strangers must never come into your home or yard unannounced. Roughhousing with your Rottweiler should be avoided. Rough play encourages aggressive behavior.
People expected to be in contact with the dog while you are absent should be well known to the dog. Although Rottweilers are unlikely to bite without provocation, being cornered and held by one of these dogs is very unnerving.
How much room do they need?
A large yard with a six-foot fence is ideal, but Rottweilers have been successfully kept in large apartments. A yard is essential if you are getting a puppy or young dog. A yard will help keep the dog exercised and reduces boredom, possibly preventing some destructive behavior. If you do not have enough space for a Rottweiler consider another breed.
Personal commitment on your part is most important. Walking your dog on a regular basis develops a better bond and more personal relationship with your dog than just letting him run in the yard.
Should I get a male or a female?
This is strictly a matter of personal preference. Both are equal in pet qualities. The male is larger, stronger, and more impressive when first seen. The female, however, should be considered as equal in all other respects. Modern veterinary practice recommends neutering of non-breeding animals of both sexes as a means to a healthier, better pet.
How do they handle heat and cold?
Rottweilers can tolerate cool temperatures better than warm temperatures. Rottweilers should never be left outside in direct sun during the summer. Heat stroke comes on very quickly because of the dog's black color. Dogs must have shelter regardless of where you live. Rottweilers were bred to be companions, and are not physically or emotionally equipped to be left outdoors away from people. In warm weather leaving your dog in a car with the windows closed or barely open can be extremely dangerous. Rottweilers, with their black coats and short muzzles are more susceptible to heat stroke than many other breeds.
Will my Rottweiler get along with other pets in my home?
Rottweiler puppies frequently adapt well to older dogs or cats me your home. However, older Rottweilers can be more difficult to integrate into a new home with other pets, Bringing in a new dog after your Rottweiler has been "ruler of the roost" for awhile can also be a problem.
Dog-to-dog aggression is affected by your dog's socialization experience as a puppy, bloodlines, and sex. Males tend to be less tolerant of other males than they are of females. Bitches may be intolerant of either sex. Rottweilers who are aggressive toward other dogs must be carefully watched when around other dogs. Neutering can lessen aggressive behavior toward other dogs without diminishing territorial protectiveness.
What is Hip Dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is a hereditary, developmental disease in Rottweilers and most other large dog breeds. It is a malformation of the hip joint(s). It often causes pain as the dog ages.
Parents and grandparents of the puppy you purchase should be free of the disease. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) is an organization that evaluates x-rays of dog's hips and grades the hip structure as either free of dysplasia or as having some degree of the disease. A dog can not be certified as being free of dysplasia until it is at least two years old. Your breeder should be able to show you reports from the OFA describing the certification of both parents' hips.
Buying a puppy from a litter whose parents are dysplasia free is not a guarantee that your puppy won't develop dysplasia later on. Research has shown that normal adults produce litters with one-third or more of the pups dysplastic as adults. Dysplastic adults, however, tend to produce more severely dysplastic offspring than normal adults.
Genetics may contribute to hip dysplasia, but over-weight, too much exercise, and injuries may also contribute to this disease. Hip dysplasia is almost never detectable in puppies younger than six months, and then only in the most severe cases.
What is Elbow Dysplasia?
Like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplastic is an hereditary disease. It Is a malformation of the elbow joint(s). OFA certifies elbow conformation on a pass/fail basis. As with hip dysplasia, your breeder should be able to show you reports from the OFA defining the conformation of both parents' elbows.
What is the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF)?
CERF maintains a registry of dogs who have been certified free of inheritable eye diseases by members of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO). CERF recommends eye examination and registration of breeding animals be repeated annually.
Perhaps by now you are thinking of purchasing a Rottweiler. Good! Rottweilers are a perfect family dog, gentle, yet powerful enough to pull a sled or give a prowler second thoughts. They are good with children; a combination "babysitter" (with adult supervision), protector, and playmate. Those of us who own them find they are wonderful pets and dearly love them.
BUT ... although we believe the Rottweiler approaches being the perfect dog, THEY ARE NOT FOR EVERYONE. Owning any dog involves certain responsibilities and this is particularly true of a large, protective breed. YOU AS A ROTTWEILER OWNER, HAVE THE OBLIGATION OF CARING FOR AND CONTROLLING A DOG WHO IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE STRONGER THAN YOU ARE. Unless you take this responsibility very seriously and are willing to put the time, energy, and thought needed into raising your dog properly, your Rottweiler will be a burden instead of a joy.
Some Questions You Should Ask Yourself
So, before you go any further, here is a list of things to consider. This is not meant to frighten you, but rather to make certain that you understand what is required of you as a Rottweiler owner.
AM I WILLING TO GIVE MY DOG REGULAR DISCIPLINE AND BASIC OBEDIENCE TRAINING?
We believe that any dog, and especially a large protective dog, needs regular day-to-day discipline. Every dog must grow up knowing that he has limits of behavior, that he must respect people and property, and that he is, after all, a dog.
WILL I SEE TO IT THAT BOTH THE KIDS AND THE DOG TREAT EACH OTHER PROPERLY?
Although a Rottweiler makes an excellent pet for families with children, and while they are sturdier than most other dogs they are not punching bags and are NOT meant to be tormented or harassed any more than is any other living thing. By the same token, the playful pup should not be allowed to jump on the kids, pull their britches, or steal their toys. Too often, when puppy still looks like a fuzzy toy, these antics are cute, but they aren't so funny when the dog hits 100 pounds.
AM I WILLING TO INVEST THE TIME NECESSARY TO RAISE MY ROTTWEILER?
Rottweilers need human companionship and attention. If your idea of raising a dog is to tie him to a stake in the backyard and feed him once in awhile, do yourself a favor and don't buy a dog. He will be miserable, you won't have any fun, and the dog will turn into a problem instead of a joy.
Rottweilers need regular grooming. This should be part of their routine from the time they get home. Regular brushing wi Ii reduce the dog hair problem, help eliminate doggy odors, and reduce the chances of skin problems. If you don't know how to groom a Rottweiler, check with your breeder or veterinarian.
AM I WILLING TO PROVIDE A GOOD HOME FOR MY ROTTWEILER?
While a Rottweiler is happy to live in the house with the rest of the family, there are times when you will want to keep him outside. A fenced-in yard is ideal when you are not outdoors with him. A ROTTWEILER SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED TO RUN LOOSE! His size and demeanor may frighten someone. His big feet and inquisitive nose can be disastrous to a neighbor's flower bed. He has no fear of cars and could easily become a casualty. And a loose dog is an open invitation to dognappers. Your Rottweiler represents a substantial investment - one which you should protect.
Although it is not an ideal situation, if your Rottweiler is to live outdoors, be sure that he has a well-insulated doghouse that is clean, draft-free, and provides a cool shady retreat. He must always have fresh drinking water and some protection from insects.
WILL I PROVIDE PROPER VETERINARY CARE FOR MY DOG?
Your Rottweiler will require certain routine health care. Dogs are subject to many of the same diseases as man, plus some of their own. In addition to your regular visits to the vet for "shots" to protect against various diseases, a regular check-up by the veterinarian is certainly desirable for your dog. Preventive medication against Heartworm can also be provided by your vet. Your veterinarian should also be contacted whenever you see any signs of illness or abnormal behavior.
AM I SURE THAT ALL OF MY FAMILY WILL SHARE IN THIS VENTURE?
It is a big mistake to "buy the dog for the kids" when it requires the management of responsible adults. It is also unfortunate for a pup to go into a home where it is resented by one family member who might have preferred another breed.
UNLESS YOUR ANSWERS TO ALL OF THESE QUESTIONS ARE AN UNQUALIFIED "YES", WE URGE YOU TO CONSIDER SOME OTHER BREED OF DOG.
You may think it strange that we seem to be discouraging you. In a way, we are, but only because we want to be sure Rottweilers only go to people who will care enough to be suitable owners for a Rottweiler. A fine dog, like a child, does not raise itself. Please take the time to consider carefully if you have the time, the interest, and the resources to devote to your Rottweiler.
Observe the behavior of the sire (if he is on the premises) and the dam. Ideally the dam will be calm and steady, possibly even curious and friendly. It is quite correct for her to be reserved. An openly hostile bitch who does not respond to her master's reassurances is undesirable. Cowardice and shyness are also undesirable traits. The sire's temperament is as important as the dam's.
Puppies should be playful, inquisitive, and trusting of people. They should submit to gentle handling and respond to their environment. Clarence Pfaffenberger's book New Knowledge of Dog Behavior will help you pick the best puppy for you.
A Word About Breeding
All too often, the owner of a dog will want to breed it "just to have puppies" or 'to teach the kids about the facts of life". NEITHER OF THESE ARE REASONS TO BREED A DOG! In fact, your dog will be as happy and will probably be healthier if it isn't bred.
lf you bought your dog as a pet, or if your dog isn't suitable for breeding, you should consider spaying or neutering. Don't believe most of the old tales about the bad effects of neutering animals. A brief discussion with your veterinarian will convince you that your dog will live a longer, healthier life and be a better pet if neutered.
If you love your Rottweiler, it is because all the breeders of your dog's parents, grandparents, etc. cared enough about Rottweilers to breed only the best dogs they possibly could. The responsibility for continuing this tradition is in your hands.
Interested in buying a Rottweiler? You must be or you wouldn't be reading this. You've already heard how wonderful Rottweilers are. Well, I think you should also hear, before it's too late, that Rottweilers ARE NOT THE PERFECT BREED FOR EVERYONE. As a breed they have a few features that some people find charming, but that some people find mildly unpleasant and some people find downright intolerable.
There are different breeds for different needs. There are over 200 purebred breeds of dogs in the world. Each breed was created with some specific purposes in mind. There are lap dogs, hound dogs, herding dogs, hunting dogs, and many varied combinations of these and other functions. Before you decide on one specific breed, investigate it's history, temperament, and uses to make sure that they mesh well with your own lifestyle. Just because a breed is currently popular does not mean it's the right one for you, and the choice of a dog should be made with the intention of caring for that dog throughout it's lifetime.
DON'T BUY A ROTTWEILER IF YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO THE BREED *CHIEFLY* BECAUSE OF IT'S REPUTATION AS A PROTECTIVE DOG. While a Rottweiler is a large, impressive breed, true protection is only obtained through a lifetime of training. Even if you do not choose to train in protection, a Rottweiler requires many hours of obedience training and socialization, and can be expected at some point in his/her life to challenge it's owner. Some Rottweilers are also slow to bark, coming into their voice at two to three years of age - do not expect your Rottweiler puppy to instinctively warn you of an approaching stranger. There are many other breeds whose "watch dog" capabilities far exceed that of the Rottweiler. If all you are seeking is a dog that will bark at strangers approaching your home, you may want to look at the
DON'T BUY A ROTTWEILER IF YOU ARE UNWILLING TO SHARE YOUR HOUSE AND YOUR LIFE WITH YOUR DOG. Rottweilers were bred to share in many aspects of a family's daily life, as protective guardians, willing workers, and happy playmates. They thrive on companionship and they want to be wherever you are. They are happiest living with you in your house and going with you when you go out. While they usually tolerate being kenneled for periods of time, or crated inside the house by themselves, they need human contact and socialization in order to remain well-rounded. A Rottweiler who does not receive adequate socialization and attention is likely to grow up to be unsociable (fearful and/or unprovokedly aggressive), unruly, and unhappy. He may well develop pastimes, such as digging or barking, that will displease you and/or your neighbors. An adult so exiled will be miserable too. If you don't strongly prefer to have your dog's companionship as much as possible, enjoy having him sleep in your bedroom at night and sharing many of your activities by day, you should choose a breed less oriented to human companionship. Likewise, if your job or other obligations prevent you from spending much time with your dog. No dog is really happy without companionship but the pack hounds are more tolerant of being kenneled or yarded so long as it is in groups of 2 or more. A better choice would be a cat, as they are solitary by nature.
DON'T BUY A ROTTWEILER IF YOU DON'T INTEND TO EDUCATE (TRAIN) YOUR DOG. Basic obedience and household rules training is NOT optional for the Rottweiler. As an absolute minimum, you must teach him to reliably respond to commands to come, to lie down, to stay, and to walk at your side, on or off leash and regardless of temptations. You must also teach him to respect your household rules: e.g. is he allowed to get on the furniture? is he allowed to beg at the table? What you allow or forbid is unimportant; but it is *critical* that you, not the dog, make these choices and that you enforce your rules consistently. You must commit yourself to attending an 8 to 10 week series of weekly lessons at a local obedience club or professional trainer and to doing one or two short (5 to 20 minutes) homework sessions per day. As commands are learned, they must be integrated into your daily life by being used whenever appropriate and enforced consistently. Young Rottweiler puppies are relatively easy to train: they are eager to please, intelligent, and calm-natured, with a relatively good attention span. Once a Rottweiler has learned something, he tends to retain it well. Your cute, sweet little Rottweiler puppy will grow up to be a large, powerful dog with a highly self-assertive personality, and the determination to finish whatever he starts. If he has grown up respecting you and your rules, then all his physical and mental strength will work for you. But if he has grown up without rules and guidance from you, surely he will make his own rules and his physical and mental powers will often act in opposition to your needs and desires. For example: he may tow you down the street as if competing in a sled-dog race; he may grab food off the table; he may forbid your guests entry to his home. This training cannot be delegated to someone else, e.g. by sending the dog away to "boarding school", because the relationship of respect and obedience is personal between the dog and the individual who does the training. This is true of all dogs to a greater or lesser degree, but definitely to a very great degree in Rottweilers. While you definitely may want the help of an experienced trainer to teach you how to train your dog, you yourself must actually train your Rottweiler. As each lesson is well learned, then the rest of the household (except very young children) must also work with the dog, insisting he obey them as well.
Many of the Rottweilers that are rescued from Pounds and Shelters show clearly that they have received little or no basic training, neither in obedience nor in household deportment; yet these same dogs respond well to such training by the rescuer or the adopter. It seems likely that a failure to train the dog is a significant cause of Rottweiler abandonment .
If you don't intend to educate your dog, preferably during puppyhood, you would be better off with a breed that is both small and socially submissive, e.g. a Shetland Sheepdog. Such a dog does require training, but a little bit goes further than with a Rott. In the opposite direction, if your goals in obedience training are oriented towards success at high level competition (HIT, OTCh, and Gaines), please realize that while some Rottweilers can and do accomplish these goals, they are few and far between. The Rott is not among the half dozen breeds best suited to such highly polished performance.
DON'T BUY A ROTTWEILER IF YOU LACK LEADERSHIP (SELF-ASSERTIVE) PERSONALITY. Dogs do not believe in social equality. They live in a social hierarchy led by a pack-leader (Alpha). The alpha dog is generally benevolent, affectionate, and non-bullying towards his subordinates; but there is never any doubt in his mind or in theirs that the alpha is the boss and makes the rules. Whatever the breed, if you do not assume the leadership, the dog will do so sooner or later and with more or less unpleasant consequences for the abdicating owner. Like the untrained dog, the pack-leader dog makes his own rules and enforces them against other members of the household by means of a dominant physical posture and a hard-eyed stare, followed by a snarl, then a knockdown blow or a bite. Breeds differ in tendencies towards social dominance; and individuals within a breed differ considerably. Rottweilers as a breed tend to be of a socially dominant personality. You really cannot afford to let a Rottweiler become your boss. You do not have to have the personality or mannerisms of a Marine boot camp Sergeant, but you do have to have the calm, quiet self-assurance and self-assertion of the successful parent ("Because I'm your mother, that's why.") or successful grade-school teacher. If you think you might have difficulty asserting yourself calmly and confidently to exercise leadership, then choose a breed known for its socially subordinate disposition, such as a Golden Retriever or a Shetland Sheepdog, and be sure to ask the breeder to select one of the more submissive pups in the litter for you.
Leadership and training are inextricably intertwined: leadership personality enables you to train your dog, and being trained by you reinforces your dog's perception of you as the alpha.
DON'T BUY A ROTTWEILER IF YOU DON'T VALUE CONSTANT COMPANIONSHIP AND SOMETIMES PHYSICAL AFFECTION . A Rottweiler becomes deeply attached and devoted to his own family, and will show this affection in a variety of ways. Some Rottweilers are noticeably reserved, however most are more outgoing, and a few may be exuberantly demonstrative of their affections. They like to be near you, usually in the same room, an almost always with a head or paw in your lap. They will follow you from room to room, and if you are standing still, will lean against your leg. They have been known to upend morning coffee cups by deciding that it's time your hand touched their heads. They are emotionally sensitive to their favorite people: when you are joyful, proud, angry, or grief-stricken, your Rott will immediately perceive it and may respond to your mood. As puppies, of course, they will be more dependent, clownish, and given to testing the limits of their surrounding.
A number of breeds retain into adulthood a less puppyish and playful disposition, e.g. Sheepdogs, Mastiffs and others. Quite a few are far more dramatically demonstrative and/or more clingingly dependent, e.g. the Golden Retriever.
DON'T BUY A ROTTWEILER IF YOU ARE FASTIDIOUS ABOUT THE NEATNESS OF YOUR HOME. The Rottweiler's short coarse coat and undercoat do shed . Generally shedding is confined to once or twice per year, but Rottweiler females may "blow coat" during their heat cycles, and some Rotties shed more than others. I don't mean to imply that you must be a slob or slattern to live happily with a Rott, but you do have to have the attitude that your dog's company means more to you than does neatness and you do have to be comfortable with a less than immaculate house.
While all dogs, like all children, create a greater or lesser degree of household mess, many other breeds of dog are less troublesome than the Rottweiler in this respect. The Basenji is perhaps the cleanest, due to its cat-like habits.
DON'T BUY A ROTTWEILER IF YOU DISLIKE DAILY PHYSICAL EXERCISE. Rottweilers need exercise to maintain the health of heart and lungs, and to maintain muscle tone. Because of his mellow, laid-back, often lazy, disposition, your Rottweiler will not give himself enough exercise unless you accompany him or play with him. An adult Rottweiler should have a morning outing of a mile or more, as you walk briskly, jog, or bicycle beside him, and a similar evening outing. For puppies, shorter and slower walks, several times a day are preferred for exercise and housebreaking.
All dogs need daily exercise of greater or lesser length and vigor. If providing this exercise is beyond you, physically or temperamentally, then choose one of the many small and energetic breeds that can exercise itself within your fenced yard. Most of the Toys and Terriers fit this description, but don't be surprised if a Terrier is inclined to dig in the earth since digging out critters is the job that they were bred to do.
DON'T BUY A ROTTWEILER IF YOU BELIEVE THAT DOGS SHOULD RUN "FREE". Whether you live in town or country, no dog can safely be left to run "free" outside your fenced property and without your direct supervision and control. The price of such "freedom" is inevitably injury or death: from dogfights, from automobiles, from the pound or from justifiably irate neighbors. Even though Rotts are home-loving and less inclined to roam than most breeds, an unfenced Rott is destined for disaster. Like other breeds developed for livestock herding, most Rotts have inherited a substantial amount of "herding instinct", which is a strengthened and slightly modified instinct to chase and capture suitable large prey. The unfenced country-living Rott will sooner or later discover the neighbor's livestock (sheep, cattle, horses, poultry) and respond to his genetic urge to chase and harass such stock. State law almost always gives the livestock owner the legal right to kill any dog chasing or "worrying" his stock, and almost all livestock owners are quick to act on this! The unfenced city Rott is likely to exercise his inherited herding instinct on joggers, bicyclists, and automobiles. A thoroughly obedience-trained Rottweiler can enjoy the limited and supervised freedom of off-leash walks with you in appropriately chosen environments.
If you don't want the responsibility of confining and supervising your pet, then no breed of dog is suitable for you. A neutered cat will survive such irresponsibly given "freedom" somewhat longer than a dog, but will eventually come to grief.
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DON'T BUY A ROTTWEILER IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO BUY, FEED, AND PROVIDE HEALTHCARE FOR ONE. Rottweilers are not a cheap breed to buy, as running a careful breeding program with due regard for temperament, trainability, and physical soundness (hips especially) cannot be done cheaply. The time the breeder should put into each puppy's "pre-school" and socialization is also costly. The "bargain" puppy from a "back-yard breeder" who unselectively mates any two Rotts who happen to be of opposite sex may well prove to be extremely costly in terms of bad temperament, bad health, and lack of essential socialization. In contrast, the occasional adult or older pup is available at modest price from a disenchanted owner or from a breeder, shelter, or rescuer to whom the dog was abandoned; most of these "used" Rottweilers, after evaluation by an experienced handler and vet check, are capable of becoming a marvelous dog for you if you can provide training, leadership, and understanding. Whatever the initial cost of your Rottweiler, the upkeep will not be cheap. Being large dogs, Rotts eat relatively large meals. (Need I add that what goes in one end must eventually come out the other?) Large dogs tend to have larger veterinary bills, as the amount of anesthesia and of most medications is proportional to body weight. Spaying or neutering, which costs more for larger dogs, is an essential expense for virtually all pet Rottweilers, as it "takes the worry out of being close", prevents serious health problems in later life, and makes the dog a more pleasant companion.
Rottweilers are subject to quite a few genetically derived health disorders, however, two conditions in particular are extremely prevalent and can be costly to treat: hip dysplasia and parvovirus. Your best insurance against dysplasia is to buy only from a litter bred from OFA or foreign hip certified parents and [if possible], grandparents. Yes, this generally means paying more. While suceptibility to parvovirus may have a genetic predisposition, there are no predictive tests allowing selective breeding against it. Your best prevention is to follow the vaccination schedule recommended by your breeder in concordance with their veterinarian. As far as other genetically dreived health disorders, such as entropian, elbow dysplsia, cataracts, von Willebrand's disease (a bleeding disorder), and heart disorders, ALWAYS buy from a breeder who gives you a written contract guaranteeing against these disorders. Finally, the modest fee for participation in a series of basic obedience training classes is an essential investment in harmonious living with your dog; such fees are the same for all breeds, though conceivably you will need to travel a bit further from home to find a training class teacher who is competent with the more formidable breeds, such as Rottweiler. The modest annual outlays for immunizations and for local licensing are generally the same for all breeds, though some counties have a lower license fee for spayed/neutered dogs.
All dogs, of whatever breed and however cheaply acquired, require significant upkeep costs, and all are subject to highly expensive veterinary emergencies. Likewise all cats.
DON'T BUY A ROTTWEILER IF YOU WANT THE "LATEST, GREATEST FEROCIOUS KILLER ATTACK DOG". Although the Rottweiler's capability as a personal protection dog and as a police dog have been justifiably well publicized, and occasionally dramatically over-stated, the Rottweiler is not any more capable in these respects than are half a dozen other protection breeds. Nor are all Rottweilers equally capable: some are highly so and some moderately so, but many have insufficient natural capacity for such work. Due to his laid-back disposition, the Rottweiler is, if anything, a bit slower to respond aggressively to a threat than are most other protection breeds. For the same reason, however, the Rottie is perhaps somewhat more amenable to control by the handler and somewhat more willing to follow commands to refrain from biting or to stop biting when told to do so. Whatever the breed, before the dog can be safely protection trained, he must have great respect for the leadership of his handler and must be solidly trained in basic obedience to that handler. Equally essential, he must have a rock-solidly stable temperament and he must also have been "socialized" out in the world enough to know that most people are friendly and harmless, so that he can later learn to distinguish the bad guys from the good guys. Even with such a dog, safe protection training demands several hundred hours of dedicated work by the handler, much of it under the direct supervision of a profoundly expert trainer. Please don't buy any dog for protection training unless you are absolutely committed to the extreme amount of work that will be required of you personally. Also talk to your lawyer and your insurance agent first.
In contrast to the protection-trained dog, trained to bite on direct command or in reaction to direct physical assault on his master, the "deterrent dog" dissuades the vast majority of aspiring burglars, rapists, and assailants by his presence, his appearance, and his demeanor. Seeing such dog, the potential wrong-doer simply decides to look for a safer victim elsewhere. For this job, all that is needed is a dog that is large and that appears to be well-trained and unafraid. The Rottweiler can serve this role admirably, with the added assets of generally dark color and "bestial" appearance adding to the impression of formidability and fearsomeness. If the dog has been taught to bark a few times on command, eg "Fang, watch him!" rather than "Fifi, speak for a cookie", this skill can be useful to augment the deterrent effect.
DON'T BUY A ROTTWEILER IF YOU WANT A TOTALLY UNAGGRESSIVE AND UNPROTECTIVE DOG. Most Rottweilers have an assertive and confident personality. When confronted with a threat, a proper Rottweiler will be somewhat more ready to fight than to flee. Thus he may respond aggressively in situations where many other breeds back down. Most Rottweilers have some inclination to act aggressively to repel intruders on their territory (i.e. your home) and to counter-act assaults upon their pack mates (you and your family). Without training and leadership from you to guide him, the dog cannot judge correctly whom to repel and whom to tolerate. Without training and leadership, sooner or later he may injure an innocent person who will successfully sue you for more than you own. With good training and leadership from you, he can be profoundly valuable as a defender of your home and family. (See also remarks on stability and socialization above.)
If you feel no need of an assertive dog or if you have the slightest doubts of your ability and willingness to supply the essential socialization, training and leadership, then please choose one of the many breeds noted for thoroughly unaggressive temperament, such as a Sheltie or a Golden Retriever.
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DON'T BUY A ROTTWEILER IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO COMMIT YOURSELF FOR THE DOG'S ENTIRE LIFETIME. No dog deserves to be cast out because his owners want to move to a no-pet apartment or because he is no longer a cute puppy or didn't grow up to be a beauty contest winner or because his owners through lack of leadership and training have allowed him to become an unruly juvenile delinquent, with a repertoire of undesirable behaviors. The prospects of a responsible and affectionate second home for a "used" dog are never very bright, but they are especially dim for a large, poorly mannered dog. A Rottweiler dumped into a Pound or Shelter has almost no chance of survival -- unless he has the great good fortune to be spotted by someone dedicated to Rottweiler Rescue. The prospects for adoption for a youngish, well-trained, and well-groomed Rottweiler whose owner seeks the assistance of the nearest Rottweiler Club or Rescue group are fairly good; but an older Rott has diminishing prospects. Be sure to contact your local Rottweiler club or Rescue group if you are diagnosed with a chronic illness or have other equally valid reason for seeking an adoptive home. Be sure to contact your local Rottweiler club if you are beginning to have difficulties in training your Rottweiler, so these can be resolved. Be sure to make arrangements in your will or with your family to ensure continued care or adoptive home for your Rottweiler if you should pre-decease him.
The life span of a Rottweiler is from 9 to 12 years. If that seems too long a time for you to give an unequivocal loyalty to your Rottweiler, then please do not get one! Indeed, as most dogs have a life expectancy that is as long or longer, please do not get any dog!
In Conclusion :
If all the preceding "bad news" about Rottweilers hasn't turned you away from the breed, then by all means DO GET A Rottweiler! They are every bit as wonderful as you have heard!
If buying a puppy, be sure to shop carefully for a *responsible* and *knowledgeable* breeder who places high priority on breeding for sound temperament and trainability and good health in all matings. Such a breeder will interrogate and educate potential buyers carefully. Such a breeder will continue to be available for advice and consultation for the rest of the puppy's life and will insist on receiving the dog back if ever you are unable to keep it .
However, as an alternative to buying a Rottweiler puppy, you may want to give some serious consideration to adopting a rescued Rottweiler. Despite the responsibility of their previous owner, rescued Rottweilers who have been evaluated by experienced Rottweiler handlers/breeders and vet checked have proven to be readily rehabilitated so as to become superb family companions for responsible and affectionate adopters. Many rescuers are skilled trainers who evaluate temperament and provide remedial training before offering dogs for placement, and who offer continued advisory support afterwards. Contact local Rottweiler breeders, Rottweiler club members, the local humane society, or your local all breed kennel club to learn who is doing Rescue work.
This article was originally written by Pam Green, a caring and involved Bouvier des Flandres owner, and has been adapted in order to assist in Rottweiler education by Liz Bauer in 1994 with assistance from Lucy Newton of Cornell University.
Pam first wrote this article nearly 14 years ago. Since then it has become a classic of Bouvier literature, reprinted many times. Pam has spent nearly 8 years in Bouvier Rescue, personally rescuing, rehabilitating, and placing 3 or 4 per year and assisting in the placement of others.
Liz has been involved with Rottweilers since the early 1980's, purchasing her first Rottweiler in 1991, and breeding her first solo litter in 1997. She became involved in Rottweiler Rescue in 1986, retired from active rescue in 1996 and currently assists with the evaluation and placement of over 50 Rottweilers per year in association with Joan Sweeney of Wisconsin Rottweiler Rescue. Liz can be contacted at email@example.com
Lucy has owned rottweilers since the early 1990's and is involved with Search and Rescue in the Ithaca, New York area. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My experience is not limited as I run a website for rottweilers and I have dealt with my fair share of them. I choose to socialize the rottweilers I work with to many children of various ages at every stage of its development. Yet after the dog is 2yo it will have already made its mind up on children (usually). Once again every dog is different. I agree that yes children and animals should be supervised together.
I myself loves all dogs, Athough I have a chi/ and would love to have other large dogs but I can't .B/C of the type of owner that I'm . I have my chi spoil to death so I know what would happen to me. If I had a roc, dobe etc. GIVE YOU A LITTLE EXAMPLE; Sitting on the couch and all of a sudden here's comes Teacup out of nowhere and jumps dead on my lap. oops! There goes the last of my pop.sniff.. sniff.. going up the stairs there he goes again racing me up there...getting mad at me b/c I won't let him in the bed room with me .so he decide to nipp at my feet, of course I laugh. Yes members teacup is going to obe/ school.i was just waiting for him to get a little older that's all. i just wanted to explain why i can't have a large dog so my advice to her would be if you have a dog of that nature I would def/ send him to school esp/ around children's.since tee is so small I can handle him.
Gee...I know there's a lot of breed bias out there, but i would advise that if you get a Rottie, to get a puppy about 12 weeks old, old enough to have some bulk, but young enough to grow up with it's "pack" an adult? I wouldn't, because you don't know absolutley sure what goes on 24 hours a day at this friend's home,the kids may tease or annoy it and Mom wouldn't know. I'd take my kid's to a shelter and pick out a pup or buy a purebreed from a reputable breeder, most breeders have pups that they might part with at a discount for a children's pet.Good luck.
I had one before. it was a great dog, but was before kids. I myself would not have one with kids, but falls on how they are raised, there are a lot of myths and stories out there about them, if i were you i would look into a lab or golden ret. they are good family dogs from what i heard