Over the past few decades, Rottweilers have developed a less than favorable reputation among the general public, but many Rottweiler lovers are also out there. Due to their tendencies to attack humans — particularly children — some consider them bad dogs. But is that really true?
While Rottweilers can be excellent pets when properly trained and cared for, there are a few reasons to avoid getting them. Unfortunately, Rotties have aggressive tendencies, are highly territorial, require a lot of training, can be difficult to manage, and aren’t always family-friendly.
Adding a Rottweiler to your family is a big decision, so you must be sure you’re making the right choice. This article will discuss some of the main downsides of owning a Rottweiler, so keep reading to learn more.
Are Rottweilers Bad Dogs?
No “good” or “bad” breed exists, but some dogs can be a bad fit for your household or lifestyle.
7 Downsides of Owning a Rottweiler
If you’re considering adding a new Rottie to the family, you’re probably wondering — are Rottweilers bad dogs?
Well, many Rottweilers are considered “bad” dogs due to their aggressive nature, but others live their entire lives without hurting anyone. To be as objective as possible, I’ve compiled a list of some downsides people owning Rottweilers have experienced.
1. Rottweilers Have Aggressive Tendencies
Originally, Rottweilers were bred as protectors of cattle and other livestock, so it’s partly in their nature to be aggressive toward people they feel are invading their (or their owner’s) space.
Due to their breeding history, many Rottweilers are predisposed to be protectors of their families. This can sometimes result in aggressive behaviors toward strangers and house guests.
Of course, the more well-trained a Rottweiler is, the less likely it is to be aggressive toward humans.
However, a study suggests that certain behavioral traits (including aggression) can be linked to genetics in dogs. If you’re interested in getting a Rottweiler anytime soon, you must be willing to train it extensively to reduce the chances of it getting aggressive with people.
2. Rottweilers Are Highly Territorial
Rottweilers are some of the most territorial dogs in the world, which is why many choose them as guard dogs. A Rottweiler’s territorial nature can be seen as a good thing because it increases the safety of family members in the event of a home intrusion. However, it can also lead to problems, some more uncontrollable than others.
For example, a territorial Rottweiler is more likely to attack an innocent mail or delivery person as they deliver something to your home.
The dog might think it’s protecting you and the family, but in reality, it’s causing stress to an innocent person.
One of the best ways to get ahead of these behavioral issues is to train your Rottweiler early. As soon as you take it home, begin the training. All bad behavior should be punished to ensure your puppy learns. The best way to punish a puppy is to say “no” with a scolding tone or put it in timeout.
If you fail to train and supervise your Rottweiler, territorial displays can become hard to manage and may include the following:
3. Rottweilers Require a Lot of Training
While Rottweilers are generally easy to train due to their high intelligence levels, they still require plenty.
Thoroughly training a Rottweiler can take months, so owners must be willing to put the work in to ensure their dog doesn’t bark at or attack strangers as it gets older.
Training a Rottweiler entails the following:
- Lots of time
- Socialization with other dogs
- Authority. You must be in control.
Since they are highly energetic, strong, and territorial, owners must be highly confident and strong-willed when handling and training these dogs. They need at least 2 hours a day for physical activities, such as walking and playing fetch. Otherwise, your Rottie will become bored, stressed, and overweight.
You shouldn’t get a Rottweiler if you aren’t prepared to create and stick to a strict training plan.
4. Rottweilers Can Be Difficult To Manage
Rottweiler owners should not be faint-hearted or nervous, as these feisty dogs are generally difficult to manage initially. Therefore, consider getting a different breed if you’re a first-time dog owner with little to no experience training dogs.
Only experienced individuals who know what they’re doing should consider adding a Rottweiler to the family. According to the PDSA, all Rottweiler owners should be experienced and know how to use reward-based training methods.
If you submit to a Rottweiler’s dominance, it’ll quickly learn to take advantage to get what it wants. You must be able to control and punish dangerous or inappropriate behavior — otherwise, the situation will get continuously worse.
Rottweilers are also challenging to control when they try to chase or attack something. If you’re walking your Rottie and it suddenly starts pulling on the leash, trying to charge at something, you might not have the strength to pull it back.
Since they’re so strong, Rottweilers can forcefully escape their leashes if they want to chase something. If that happens, there’s not much you can do.
The best solution is to avoid the issue by leash training your Rottweiler early.
However, it becomes more challenging to control once it’s fully grown.
5. Rottweilers Are Not Always Family Friendly
Plenty of families own Rottweilers without any issues. This likely means that the Rottweiler has been appropriately trained and treated with care. Still, they’re generally not considered the most family-friendly dogs, so avoid getting one if you have young children.
Families with young children should avoid getting Rottweilers because kids are more likely to accidentally provoke a dog, thereby causing an aggressive reaction. Kids are curious, and they might pull the dog’s tail or even hit it.
Since older kids are more mature and, if you teach them, will understand how to treat a dog with respect, older families tend to fare better with Rottweilers.
6. Rottweilers Don’t Always Get Along With Other Dogs
As mentioned earlier, Rottweilers can be territorial because it’s in their nature. As a result, they don’t always get along well with other dogs. So, if you already have a dog and plan to get a Rottie, introduce them slowly and make sure it will be a good fit.
Also, the Rottweiler must be a small puppy. The younger it is, the better.
Socializing a Rottweiler at a young age is one of the best ways to ensure it gets along with other dogs, so be sure to introduce it to other animals when it’s a puppy if you decide to get one. Reputable breeders should allow and encourage Rottweiler puppies to socialize with each other from the day they’re born.
7. Statistics Indicate Rottweilers Are Prone to Fatal Attacks
Over the years, countless studies have been carried out on dog bites and attacks against humans. For example, a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics states that Rottweilers were the second most common breed that causes fatal attacks.
Such statistics cannot be ignored, especially if you’re seriously considering getting a Rottweiler. The above study also states that 57% of the victims were below the age of 10.
This indicates that Rottweilers and other dangerous breeds are unsuitable if you have small kids.
Pitbulls were considered the most dangerous in the aforementioned study. To learn more about the pros and cons of this controversial breed, be sure to check out my article on the pros and cons of Pitbulls.
Another study by the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology indicates that Rottweilers are one of the primary breeds that constitute canine fatalities in this particular study.
According to this study, young children and the elderly are the most common victims of canine attacks. So, while Rottweilers are not generally recommended for young families, they might also not be appropriate for families with older people.
Indications a Rottweiler Might Be a Good Choice for You
Although owning one has many downsides, some people can handle these strong, frisky dogs.
If you’re still asking yourself whether you should get a Rottie, I made a quick list:
- You don’t have young children. Small kids can easily provoke a Rottie, leading to accidents and even fatalities.
- You are an experienced dog owner/trainer. A Rottie should never be somebody’s first dog. They demand responsibility and commitment.
- You are prepared to put in the work. The first couple of years are the hardest because you’ll have to train your Rottweiler. Also, it’ll need 2 hours of exercise, so avoid getting one if you have a busy schedule.
- You are level-headed. An aggressive Rottweiler is hard to control, so knowing what to do in difficult situations is vital.
Can Rottweilers Be Left Alone?
Rottweilers can be left alone if they are well-trained and don’t get separation anxiety. The best way to train a Rottie to be alone is to leave it alone for short periods when it’s a puppy, slowly increasing the amount of alone time over a few weeks. Eventually, they become accustomed to it.
If you never leave a Rottweiler alone, it’ll get highly attached to you and may get nervous when you’re not around. So, early training is imperative!
While trained Rotties are generally fine when left alone, you don’t want to leave them alone for too long. Four hours is the maximum time an adult Rottweiler should be left alone because it will eventually need a toilet break, food, and fresh air.
What Not to Do With a Rottweiler
Even after reading this guide, you might still be considering adding a Rottweiler to your family. If that’s the case, there are some things to avoid doing. Below is a list of some of them!
Reward Bad Behavior
Sometimes, giving in to the loud barking and snarling by giving your Rottie what it wants is the easiest solution. However, giving a dog what it wants when it misbehaves encourages continuous bad behavior.
Any time your Rottie misbehaves, whether through excessive barking or snarling at someone, be sure to punish it accordingly instead of giving it a treat to keep it quiet. Eventually, your Rottweiler will associate the bad behavior with punishment, so it will likely stop acting that way.
Rewarding bad behavior and allowing it to continue is one of the biggest mistakes a Rottie owner can make because it is often the quickest resolution.
Wait Too Long to Train It
The saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” isn’t necessarily true in all cases, but it certainly becomes more challenging to train a Rottie once it has already developed bad habits. By waiting until later in life to train a Rottweiler, you’re not guaranteed to get the best results because you may be past the point of no return.
The best thing to do is train your puppy from the second it gets home. That way, you can avoid any potential bad behaviors and habits.
Start With Complicated Training Commands
Rottweilers are smart, but they aren’t so smart that you can start teaching them complex commands and actions right off the bat. When training, begin with easy commands like “sit” and “lie down.”
Once your Rottie has learned one simple command, move to another. Avoid teaching multiple commands at the same time because it can get confusing.
Other Breeds To Avoid if a Rottweiler Isn’t for You
Rottweilers aren’t the only dog breeds with dangerous reputations and a history of fatal and near-fatal attacks. Below is a list of other breeds to be aware of in case your options are open to them.
German Shepherds are highly popular, with many going their entire lives without causing harm to anyone. However, if not trained correctly, they may have more aggressive tendencies and are even restricted in certain countries and regions.
Like Rottweilers, German Shepherds have been linked with many attacks over the years, so they should only be handled by experienced dog owners and trainers or those prepared to put the work in.
Pitbulls were originally bred to be aggressive, and to this day, many people use them as fighter dogs. As a result, they are often classed as the most dangerous breed. In 2016, Pitbulls caused approximately 71% of dog-related fatalities, so consider this before getting one.
Bulldogs might not be as aggressive or dangerous as Pitbulls or Rottweilers, but they still have a long history of causing injuries and fatalities. If you’ve realized that a Rottweiler isn’t the right choice, a Bulldog likely won’t be, either, for the same reasons.
Besides the above-mentioned, most breeds should be less aggressive than a Rottweiler.
Rottweilers are often considered bad and dangerous dogs because they have a proven history of biting, attacking, and killing humans. Those at risk the most are children and the elderly, so these groups should avoid getting a Rottweiler.
Other downsides of Rottweilers include the fact that they’re territorial and challenging to manage and handle.
However, they have many pros as well as cons, and you should consider all the facts before making a final decision.