Pet owners

Rottweiler Temperament: A Dog Owners’ Guide

    When it comes to selecting the ideal dog breed for your family, there are dozens of considerations that all prospective pet parents need to keep in mind before bringing their furry family member home.

    Is your home or apartment suitable for the size of the dog breed you're looking at? What kind of training will they require? How much exercise will they need each day, and will you have the time to ensure that need is met?

    It's important to address these questions before bringing any dog home, but it's especially important if you want to add a large dog like a Rottweiler into your family's ranks.

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    Thankfully, our team of passionate animal experts from PetScreening is here to help make the process easier for you. In the article below, we’ll delve into everything future pet owners need to know about Rottweiler temperament, trainability, grooming, energy levels, and more. 

    A brief history of the Rottweiler

    While there’s no officially recognized documentation of Rottweiler origins, experts generally agree the breed descended from Asian mastiffs and were herding dogs used to protect livestock in ancient Rome. 

    Since then, Rottweilers (affectionately known as Rotties) have functioned as working dogs throughout much of the world.

    Around the Middle Ages, the breed obtained the nickname “butcher dogs” because they’d travel with butchers to protect and even help pull carts filled with meat to markets. Butchers would also put their earnings in a leather purse attached to the dog’s collar to ensure no one would take it.

    In the more recent history of the early 20th century, Rottweilers predominantly served as search and rescue dogs and police dogs throughout the United States and Europe.

    They even served as military guard dogs during World War I, thanks to their size, intelligence, and training capabilities. 

    Eventually, other dog breeds steadily started to replace Rottweilers within the military and police forces. While many Rottweilers are still found in K9 units, they now primarily serve as favored companion animals for individuals and families around the world. 

    In fact, according to the American Kennel Club, Rottweilers were the eighth most popular dog breed in 2021, ranking just between beagles and German shorthaired pointers.

    Rottweilers: basic breed information for pet owners

    We’ll delve into all of the key information that future Rottweiler owners should know about the breed’s temperament and general personality characteristics later in this article.

    But first, we want to explore other essential information people need to know before deciding whether Rottweilers are truly the ideal dog breed for their family.

    An infographic about Rottweilers.
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    Knowing about a breed's temperament or personality is essential to selecting the perfect pet. However, we'd argue that there are a lot of other factors that prospective dog owners should consider carefully before ever worrying about those specific characteristics.

    In the section below, we'll provide a selection of basic Rottweiler information on everything from the breed's size and weight to their life expectancy and exercise needs. We'll also explore grooming information and provide a list of common health issues Rotties can encounter.

    Key physical features

    Rottweilers are a dog breed that has an easily recognizable appearance.They feature strong, stocky bodies with massive heads and are slightly longer than they are tall. Their heads sport a square muzzle that’s prone to drooling, thanks to their loose flews (upper lips). Rottweilers also have medium ears that lie close to the head and hang down slightly. 

    Rottweilers commonly have their tails docked (cut short) at birth. While this once served a purpose when the breed regularly served as working dogs to prevent injury, the process is now mainly for cosmetic purposes, and many animal advocates are strongly against the practice. 

    Types of Rottweilers 

    While Rottweilers are a single dog breed, it’s important for future Rottie owners to know that there are three different types of Rottweilers, including German Rottweilers, American Rottweilers and Roman Rottweilers.

    American and German Rottweilers are very similar appearance-wise, though there are some differences between the two Rottweiler types that dog aficionados can identify.

    German Rottweilers often have thicker necks and shorter noses than their American counterparts. Their bodies are also on the stockier side, while American Rottweilers generally feature more sleek, slender builds. 

    Compared to their American and German variants, Roman Rottweilers have a larger build and are more similar to their mastiff ancestors. They sometimes grow so large that they classify as giant (or extra-large) dogs. When they reach their full size, Roman Rottweilers can become some of the largest dogs on Earth.

    Overall, Rottweilers are a medium to large breed, though individual Rotties can fall firmly into one category or the other, depending on which type of Rottweiler they are.

    Size, height, and weight

    Setting aside the different types of Rottweilers for a moment, let’s explore the average size of Rottweilers as a singular breed.

    Regarding the breed's weight, male Rottweilers typically range from a minimum of 95 to a maximum of 135 pounds. Comparatively, females typically range from a minimum of 80 to a maximum of 115 pounds. 

    A diagram of how big Rottweilers are.
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    When it comes to height, a male adult Rottweiler will typically range from 24–27 inches tall, and females range from 22–25 inches tall. In some cases, individual Rottweilers can grow to as much as 30 inches tall, though this is more typical for Roman Rottweilers. 


    Rottweilers have smooth, dense, medium-length black coats with straight, tightly packed fur. While their neck and thighs feature an undercoat, it isn’t visible through their outer coat.

    Alongside their black coat, Rottweilers feature markings that can come in a small range of colors, including tan, brown, mahogany, rust, and blue-gray. These markings give the breed an overall bi-coloration that helps make them visually distinct from other breeds. 

    While markings can vary between Rottweilers, some markings are highly common, including:

    • Two triangle-shaped markings on either side of their chest
    • Dots above the eyes 
    • A stripe on each side of their muzzle
    • Alternating color marking on their lower tail 
    • Markings on the lower front paws and the inner thighs of the back legs


    While their shedding isn’t nearly as bad as many other dog breeds, Rotties are still moderate shedders and experience more intense seasonal shedding in the fall and spring. Unfortunately for Rottweiler lovers with allergies, they’re not hypoallergenic.

    As a baseline, it’s best to brush your Rottweiler at least weekly with a quality shedding brush. This routine will help control shedding and keep their fur healthy and clean.

    A chart of Rottweiler shedding and grooming information.
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    Aside from brushing, experts recommend Rottweiler owners should also trim their claws weekly and brush their teeth up to two times a day to help prevent periodontal disease and other dental issues.

    Exercise and nutritional needs

    As a breed, Rottweilers are medium to high-energy dogs and require a minimum of two hours of daily exercise to stay happy, fit, and healthy.

    Because of their innate athletic nature, Rottweilers love running, hiking, swimming, and playing. So there are plenty of great activities for pet parents to enjoy with their Rottie when it's time for them to work off their daily energy. 

    Because they need plenty of fuel to support their high energy levels and exercise habits, Rottweilers do best with food that’s high in protein. That said, keep an eye on portion control and ensure they’re active enough to burn off their food and avoid gaining excess weight.

    Life expectancy and general health information 

    Unfortunately, like many larger dog breeds, Rottweilers are highly susceptible to several common health issues, especially as they age. 

    A list of common Rottweiler health risks.
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    Some of these illnesses can include: 

    • Allergies
    • Certain types of cancer
    • Heart disease and other defects
    • Nerve pain
    • Head tremors
    • Hip dysplasia 
    • Elbow dysplasia 
    • Folliculitis
    • Bloat
    • Obesity
    • Weakness
    • Loss of limb control
    • Eye problems (including entropion and ectropion)
    • Pyometra and other types of uterine infections
    • Aortic Stenosis/Subaortic Stenosis (AS/SAS)
    • Osteochondrosis (OCD)
    • Cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) injury
    • Panosteitis (Pano)

    As a general rule, it’s important for Rottweiler owners to ensure their dog receives annual vet visits so that a medical professional can check for these conditions.

    Because Rottweilers are a larger breed, their average life expectancy is, unfortunately, shorter than many other breeds. But when appropriately cared for by their owners and with the help of a vet to keep them healthy, Rottweilers will typically live for between 8 to 10 years on average.

    In some cases, healthy and highly active Rottweilers can live as long as 12 years. 

    Rottweiler temperament, personality, and behavior traits

    Unfortunately, Rottweilers carry a bad reputation.

    These characterizations eventually led to several insurance companies refusing coverage to Rottweiler owners. Many municipalities also outlaw the breed's presence, and they're a common feature on restricted breed lists for rental properties. 

    But while Rottweilers can be trained to be highly effective guard dogs, their current reputation as a breed doesn’t predict their behavior and is primarily fueled by harmful stereotypes that don’t truly apply to most Rottweilers.

    A graphic explaining Rottweiler temperament.
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    In the sections below, we’ll explore the real information that prospective dog owners should know about the Rottweiler personality, temperament, and overall behavior.

    But before we start, we ask you to put aside anything negative you might have heard about Rottweilers and to be open to learning about how lovable and caring the breed truly is. 

    Rottweilers are wonderful and intelligent, and the negative stereotypes their breed carries shouldn’t keep people from considering adding one to the family.

    Rottweiler temperament and personality

    Due to the breed's guard dog history, Rottweilers can sometimes come off as initially cautious and highly reserved. Rottweilers are also incredibly confident, dignified, and powerful, but that doesn't mean they're unfriendly.

    In fact, Rottweilers are incredibly loving dogs and can, at times, be quite sensitive and needy.

    Even though they’re prone to protective behaviors, Rottweilers are extremely playful and silly. They’re also more than happy to plop into their owner’s lap for an extended cuddle session.

    That said, a dog’s personal characteristics aren’t strictly determined by breed.

    Whether you’re talking about a Rottweiler or a chihuahua, a dog’s individual temperament and personality primarily depend on its upbringing and environment. When treated well by their families, even dog breeds with the worst reputations can easily become the perfect pets.

    When it comes to Rottweilers, proper training, socialization with people and animals, and a happy home life are the keys to a well-rounded and well-behaved pet that’s the perfect mix of loyal and loving.

    Differences between Rottweiler males and females

    Many people have observed key differences between male and female Rottweilers that prospective owners should know about.

    For example, male Rottweilers take longer to mature and can maintain their boisterous, puppy-like nature for a longer period than females. Males are also more mischievous, whereas females typically exhibit more docile, friendly, and trusting behavior toward others.

    Additionally, males often exhibit more protective personalities than females do. This characteristic may make female Rotties a better choice for some families looking for a Rottweiler with a more mild or gentle personality.

    That said, with the right training from an early age, Rottweiler males can learn how to be just as calm and collected as their female counterparts. 

    Friendliness and socialization

    When properly trained and socialized from puppyhood, and when they’re part of a loving family willing to put in the time to nurture them, Rottweilers are incredibly friendly and affectionate with those they care about.

    A chart explaining Rottweiler affection levels.
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    However, prospective Rottie owners should know that their guard dog history can make them prone to showing their emotions in a way that may intimidate someone unfamiliar with the breed.

    For example, Rottweilers are a particularly vocal breed, and their grunting and whining can quickly turn into growling or barking if they’re upset. Dog owners should learn to recognize these signs and train their pets early on to try and avoid behavior that could be seen as aggressive. 

    Intelligence and trainability

    Due to their historical role as working dogs, Rottweilers are exceedingly intelligent and are well known for their high awareness, sharp perception, and extreme sense of loyalty.

    According to the renowned professor and canine researcher Stanley Coren, Ph.D., Rottweilers are the ninth most intelligent dog breed. They rank just behind the papillon and right before Australian cattle dogs.

    Coren states that there are three types of intelligence in dogs — instinctive intelligence, adaptive intelligence, and working/obedience intelligence. Overall, Rottweilers score very well in all three categories, which plays a major part in why they are so easy to train.

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    Rottweilers especially excel at obedience training, and because they are so eager to please, they often enjoy having a job to do throughout the day.

    Together, the Rottweiler’s high intelligence and trainability both play a key element in why they make such excellent additions to search and rescue teams and police K9 units. It’s also why they are so commonly used as assistance and service dogs.

    Due to their high intelligence, Rottweilers also need a lot of regular mental stimulation to stave off boredom. Without this stimulation, Rottweilers can grow destructive and anxious during the day.

    How to raise a happy Rottweiler

    To raise a happy, healthy, and well-behaved Rottweiler, obedience training from a young age is an absolute must. We recommend working with a professional dog trainer to make the most out of their early years, especially if you're new to Rottweiler ownership. 

    You can find professional trainers and training programs at places like your local pet store, whether it’s a mom-and-pop store or a bigger chain like Petsmart. You can also find them at puppy or doggy boot camps. You can even try to train your dog at home with books, online videos, or other similar resources. If you can afford it, though, it’s still always best to consult a professional to make sure you’re raising your pooch the right way.

    Creating a consistent schedule for them, reinforcing good behavior with treats, and using affirmative hand gestures can also improve training outcomes and teach them to respect your authority. 

    As working dogs, disobedience and rebellion aren’t in a Rottweiler’s nature, so once they’re trained, their training sticks for life.

    An infographic of dog training tips.
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    Beyond training, early socialization with other people and animals also helps ensure Rottweilers grow into gentle, well-mannered companions. It can also make them less likely to immediately fall into their protective instincts in every situation.

    Additionally, introducing Rottweiler puppies to and letting them explore new environments will help their development into adaptive pets who can be comfortable wherever they are. 

    Is a Rottweiler the best dog for your family?

    While Rottweilers would make a wonderful addition to any family, that doesn’t mean every family is equipped to house and effectively provide for one. 

    As a baseline, Rottweilers would thrive best in a home where they can get a lot of attention from their owner. Meaning their owner needs a lot of free time to dedicate to the dog’s training, daily exercise needs, and mental stimulation.

    Because Rottweilers are a medium to large-sized (and sometimes even extra-large-sized) dog breed, they need a lot of room to play in and be comfortable. 

    As such larger apartments, condominiums, and homes with access to yards and open space are the best environment for Rottweilers to live in. Access to a nearby dog park is also a major plus!

    While Rottweilers can live in smaller accommodations with their owners, there’s a much higher chance for them to cause accidental destruction in a smaller space. It may also mean that they’ll require even more time out of the house each day to get their needed daily exercise. 

    Explore PetScreening’s resource collection for more info on other great dog breeds 

    Even though Rottweilers often get a bad rap, they make truly wonderful, loving, and loyal family dogs that anyone would be lucky to have in their home.

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    If you think that a Rottweiler is an ideal breed for your family, please let our dedicated animal experts at PetScreening help make the process of bringing them home all the easier! Sign up for an account to take advantage of our unique services!

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