Complete Guide To Rottweilers: Care, Feeding, Exercise Needs and More

The Rottweiler is an active, lovable, and highly intelligent dog. . This breed can learn highly desirable skills and behaviors working in capacities ranging from a therapy dog to a law enforcement dog. The Rottweiler is sizable yet still believes he is a toy dog, ready to climb up and sit in your lap for his much-needed nap. Inviting the Rottweiler into your home and family is a great way to have a loving and loyal family pet for years to come.  

I’ve seen many Rottweilers over the past 20 years as a veterinarian and I’ve seen all the possible issues as well as their wonderful qualities. I don’t recommend this breed for anyone that is a first-time dog owner or who has physical limitations that would make it more difficult to live with this large rambunctious dog.

How Big Can Rottweilers Get?

Male24″ – 27″ at the shoulder95-135 lbs
Female22″ – 25″ at the shoulder80-100 lbs

What Do Rottweilers Look Like?

This breed of dog has a short coat with extremely identifiable coloration patterns. The coat is a double coat that consists of an outer coat that is dense and thick. The undercoat is smooth and downy. The undercoat can be seen on the neck and legs and is extremely soft to the touch.

The coat is short around the head, legs, and ears but has slightly longer fur, or feathering, around the hind legs. This dog has a trademark black and tan coloration.  

What’s The Typical Personality Of A Rottweiler?

Although this breed has been portrayed as a tough dog with an aggressive personality, a Rottweiler’s persona could not be further from the truth. While this breed of dog is certainly confident, loyal, and courageous, it is not an aggressive breed by nature. In fact, the Rottweiler is an incredibly loving, playful, and sometimes silly breed of dog that can become remarkably close to friends and family that it calls its own.

The Rottweiler loves to play and loves to be the center of attention, making him a fun and lively family pet. Although the Rottweiler can easily tip the scales at 100 pounds or more, this playful and loving pup believes he is a toy dog and will happily climb in your lap for some much-needed cuddle time.  

To strangers, the Rottweiler can appear aloof and uninterested. This breed of dog likes to vet new strangers to his house to ensure they will not threaten his family. Although the dog may regularly appear portrayed as a guard dog, the Rottweiler’s first instinct is to take a step back and examine the situation before acting. This dog is thoughtful, calculating, and intelligent.

Because of their large size, it is best to start training and socialization with this dog at a young age. Start basic obedience classes with the puppy, and be sure to take your puppy to meet as many new people as possible in the six months of this puppy’s life.  

At their heart, the Rottweiler is a very active and loving dog. This breed is an intelligent breed that needs plenty of mental stimulation. The Rottweiler likes to be close to his family members and is considered a “people dog.” If you do not have the time or energy to dedicate to the Rottweiler, strongly consider another breed.

This dog thrives on social interaction with his people and can become anxious and destructive if left alone for long periods throughout the day. This dog should not be isolated from his people and family and should be allowed to share in his people’s adventures and experiences. This breed of dog is a people pleaser, and because of this characteristic, it is very easy to train.  

How Long Do Rottweilers Generally Live?

11-12 years based on information provided by the American Kennel Club. Life expectancy is affected by various issues such as body condition (are they chronically obese), genetics, and how well the pet owner takes care of their dog.

What Health Conditions Do Rottweilers Commonly Get?

The most common diseases that can affect any Rottweiler include:

  • Heart Disease/Subaortic Stenosis
  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
  • Obesity
  • Cancer (osteosarcoma)
  • Entropion
  • ACL Tears

This list encompasses both the recognized diseases that many vets see in Rottweilers as well as my personal experience as a vet. For a more in-depth discussion of these health conditions and how you can get your Rottweiler to live a longer and healthier life, check out my article here.

This is a breed that absolutely should have pet insurance at a young age. Check out my overview of pet insurance options here.

What Is The Best Food For A Rottweiler?

For Rottweiler puppies, you will need to make sure you don’t feed them too much too fast. It’s easy because they are usually chow hounds, but you want to control their growth. Growing too fast can cause some early bone and joint problems that are easily avoided.

Best Puppy Food For Rottweilers:

Best Adult Food For Rottweilers:

Please don’t listen to the folks at the pet store trying to convince you to buy a grain-free diet for your dog. There’s zero science behind that and vets are actually seeing diseases now related to feeding grain-free foods.

What Kind Of Grooming Do Rottweilers Need?

When it comes to grooming needs, the Rottweiler is a low maintenance dog. The short yet dense coat is easy to maintain, and this dog is only prone to moderate shedding levels. The coarse and straight outercoat remains largely intact, but the fluffy undercoat visible on the legs and neck will shed. Expect shedding to be worse than usual about twice per year, usually when the seasons change.  

To minimize the amount of loose hair tumbling through the house, regular brushing is essential. Try to brush your Rottweiler about once per week to reduce the amount of loose fur in his coat. Using a rubber, soft brush, or brushing glove will be the best way to manage this dog’s short hair. Bathe this dog regularly, about once per month, to further reduce the amount of shedding. Further, make sure you bathe the dog when he gets dirty or muddy. Be mindful that bathing your dog too often can strip the coat of the natural oils needed to keep his coat shiny and healthy.  

If your dog is not walking over a rough surface regularly with daily exercise, you may need to keep his nails trimmed. Make sure that nails stay short and manageable to keep your Rotty healthy. Although this dog can be a chewer and will regularly accept chewing toys and treats, getting your pet’s teeth professionally cleaned every few years is a great way to keep your pet healthy and happy. Supplement professional dental cleaning with teeth cleaning at home, about once a week if your Rottweiler is not regularly chewing hard toys designed to clean the teeth.  

How Much Exercise Do Rottweilers Need?

The Rottweiler is a large and athletic dog with loads of energy. This dog must have regular exercise to keep him healthy and fit. Try taking your Rotty for a regular, fast-paced walk at least once per day. Your walk should be at least 40 minutes to an hour to allow your pet to flex his muscles and stretch his legs. Be sure to mix up your exercise routine too. The Rottweiler is just as happy walking alongside his favorite human as he is going for a short jog or a swim.  

The Rotty is also incredibly intelligent and easy to train because it likes to please its people. Enroll this dog in obedience and exercise classes to really give him the physical and mental stimulation he needs. This dog excels at obedience training, agility, tracking, and herding. Learning new physical activities is a great way for you to bond with your dog while keeping your dog healthy.

Because of their large size and propensity to overeat, the Rottweiler is a breed of dog that can quickly pack on the pounds. An overweight dog can lead to ongoing joint disease and conditions and can lead to diabetes that can shorten your dog’s lifespan. Obesity is a common problem in this breed of dog, so regular physical and mental stimulation is vital for this dog’s long-term health. With a regular walk and short daily training session in the backyard, you will be able to keep your dog a fit weight and reduce the risk of developing painful joint conditions later in life.  

Like any large breed dog, it is important to limit and monitor their exercise level at a young age. This breed is a fast-growing dog and will develop fully within the first two years of life. If you subject your puppy to high-impact exercises, like jogging, it can damage the bones and growth plates and prevent them from fully forming. Malformed joints, bones, and tendons can lead to painful orthopedic conditions later in life that are compounded due to this dog’s large weight.  

Where Can I Find a Rottweiler?

Like many dog breeds, the Rottweiler can regularly be found from breeders that specialize in this particular breed. Before choosing any puppy for a breeder, make sure the breeder has screened both the parent dogs and the puppies for genetic orthopedic diseases and conditions. This dog has a high occurrence of hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, so ensure that this dog has passed his medical exams and has a clear certification.  

AKC List Of Puppies

Further, if possible, try to meet both the litter of puppies and the puppies’ parents. Choose a Rottweiler puppy that is confident and bold without being overly aggressive. This dog should be courageous if need be but loyal and dedicated to his family members. An overly aggressive Rotty is considered a flaw with the breed. Meeting the parents will give you a good indication of how your pup will grow and develop. Most of the attributes from the mother are passed to the litter of puppies.  

American Rottweiler Club List Of Local Clubs

Rescuing a Rottweiler is also an option. The American Rottweiler Club regularly offers adoptable purebred Rottweiler dogs of all ages that need a loving family to call their own. You may also be able to search for Rottweiler rescues in your particular area. By rescuing a Rottweiler, you can get the breed of dog you want, and you can help a dog in need of a home.  

Special Notes About Rottweilers

Although this dog makes a wonderful family member, it can be a lot of dog to handle. Although the Rotty has good intentions, an exuberant puppy can easily knock over a small child or an elderly adult who is unsure of their footing. Be careful with this large dog that may bump into adults and children attempting to herd his people together playfully.  

The Rotty is an intelligent and easily trained dog that is loving by nature and not overly aggressive. Still, they have earned a reputation through ongoing police work of being protective and dangerous. Some home insurance companies will not sell policies to people who own a Rottweiler or offer policies at a premium.  

Loyal and loving, the Rottweiler is a big and silly dog that makes a wonderful family member. This dog is incredibly popular in the United States and is firmly ranked 8th most popular dog of 197 recognized breeds.

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