10 Things You Should Know Before Owning a Rottweiler
Are you considering a Rottweiler? These dogs are some of the most recognizable and well-known breeds in the U.S., and is known for its courage, loyalty and impressive and commanding presence. Rottweiler enthusiasts call their dogs, “Rotties,” and though he or she might look a bit intimidating and have a bad reputation, this isn’t exactly the truth when you really start to look into owning this breed.
According to the American Kennel Club, the Rottweiler is the 9th most popular breed in the United States, and they were first recognized as a breed in 1931. Personality and temperament wise, the Rottie is known to be loyal, trainable and a confident guardian. They were used as police dogs for many years, too, thanks to their strength.
Once you know them, you can’t help to love a Rottie, and these dogs, which can turn into gentle giants, will give their owners a lot of love in return. However, these are very large dogs, and not recommended for those who are not willing to put in the time and effort into training them, as this is a necessity when you take responsibility for a dog of this size and reputation. Rotties do have a certain reputation, and because of this, you may find that they are not permitted in certain areas or in certain homes, especially if you rent.
If you are thinking about adding a Rottie to your home, you must make sure that you know what you are getting into. Here are the top 10 things you should know before owning a Rottweiler:
10Rottweilers Remain Puppies for a Long Time
Though most people will agree that puppies of any kind are the cutest, raising a dog from puppyhood to adulthood can be trying to your patience. Most dogs move into their adulthood around the age of one, but for Rotties, they have an extended puppy stage that lasts for about two years. Not only do these dogs have their puppy exuberance for an extended period of time, they will not fully grow into adult dogs for a while.
The breed standard for Rottweiler size is standing about 27 inches for males and 25 inches tall for females. The weight for a Rottweiler should range, on average, from about 90 to 110 pounds. Though they take a long time to get out of puppyhood, they don’t live a very long time, as most big dogs don’t, and a Rottie’s life expectancy is about 8 to 10 years.
As your new Rottie puppy remains in puppyhood for a couple of years, you must make sure that you know how to handle a dog of this size who might be a bit unwilling to follow commands or listen. As with most puppies, a Rottie will not always listen to their human when it comes to commands, so you must be prepared for this as you bring this breed into your home. Also, keep in mind that puppies require a lot of extra training TLC that adult dogs don’t always require, so you will have to set aside extra time for this.
9Rottweilers Come With Legal Liabilities
Before you even consider bringing a Rottie into your home, you also have to know that there are some legal liabilities that you might have to take on when you own one of these dogs. There are some communities in the United States, for instance, that do not allow any resident to own a Rottweiler. Even if your community allows you to legally own a Rottie, keep in mind, if you rent, that your landlord may not allow you to have this dog in a rental property. If you own your home, you also must know that some home insurance companies will not insure those who have Rotties, which could affect your mortgage standing, or cause you to have to pay extra fees for insurance.
Even if your legal ducks are all in a row, you will might find that friends, neighbors and others might be uncomfortable around your dog, and there is always a risk of being sued due to the behavior of the dog.
As a Rottie owner, there are some things that you can do to lower the chances of being sued when owning this dog breed. For instance, you should get your Rottie spayed or neutered as soon as possible, and always keep your dog muzzled when in public. You should also keep your dog away from young children and infants, and avoid bringing your dog into situations where he or she is unfamiliar with. You should also not allow teens or small adults to walk the Rottie, as they will not have the physical strength to control the dog.
8Rottweiler’s Require A Lot of Exercise
Exercise is something that all Rottweiler’s require and it will help to keep the dog both healthy and happy. If you are thinking of bringing home a new Rottweiler puppy, you need to factor exercise into the equation. Rotties are large dogs, and they require a good amount of exercise, a minimum of two walks a day, but, they are not the most energetic of the breeds.
In addition to the walks, there are other ways to give your Rottie exercise, too. For instance, Rotties love chasing things, so consider getting a laser pointer and having your dog chase it. However, since a Rottie is so large, you have to make sure that you are using the laser pointer in an open space. Another good exercise for Rottweilers is playing fetch. This is a traditional game that is great exercise for your dog, and it can be fun for you, too. Keep in mind, however, that you must also have an open space for this, and your dog must be well trained. You don’t want to take your Rottie to a public park and play fetch with him or her when others are around. This may be illegal, and in some cases, it might be dangerous.
If you have friends or family members with large dogs, you also might want to consider a play date. Again, however, make sure that you are doing this on private property, and that you only allow your Rottie to play with dogs that are similar in size to them. Also, make sure that you go through the proper socialization with the other dogs, as some Rotties can be aggressive towards them, especially those of the same gender.
7Rottweilers Aren’t as Aggressive as Some May Make You Think
If you listen to the media, you might have noticed that Rottweiler’s have gained a reputation for being an aggressive breed. This is not exactly true, however. Instead, most Rotties are quite aloof, and is happy to simply walk behind their owner, just to stay on alert and make sure the owner is safe.
It is surprising to some that a Rottie is not a guard dog at its core, and instead, it is a dog that thinks before moving, and to observe the situation before acting. In fact, when you see Rottweiler’s being aggressive immediately, it is highly likely that the dog has been trained to do so.
Rotties are not generally barkers, so if you hear a Rottweiler bark, you should pay attention to what has caught his or her attention. Also, keep in mind that Rotties are territorial and do not often allow strangers onto their property unless his or her owner welcomes the stranger. However, you might find that some Rotties will not allow a person in the home or on the property if the owner is not there, which can be a bit problematic with babysitters or utility workers who come into the home.
Those who try to train their Rotties to fight or to be guard dogs often come up short, because for the most part, these dogs are quite gentle and non-aggressive. Instead, they are alert and protective, which means they will constantly be observing and will only become aggressive when they deem their property or owner is in danger.
6Rottweilers are not Easy to Train
Rottweilers are a bit hard-headed, and because of this, they can be difficult dogs to train. You must start training your Rottie puppy from the day you bring him or her home. Though the dog looks like a little ball of fluff right now, they won’t always be this small and easy to train. As these dogs get older, they become more headstrong, and thus, more difficult to train. Even waiting until he or she is 6 months old can set you back with their training schedule.
Experts in training recommend that you should do house training at home in the first few weeks your Rottie is part of the family, and by the time the dog is 10 to 12 weeks old, he or she should be in puppy kindergarten. This is important for two reasons. First, you want to get an expert to help with the training of this dog, and two, you want to make sure you are socializing the dog as much as possible. At this point, the dog is still small enough to interact with most other dogs, and since they are young, they are much more willing to accept other dogs, which will stay with them as they age.
Keep in mind, that most training centers require that dogs have their vaccines before enrolling, so get the dog to the vet before you put him or her in puppy kindergarten.
5Rottweilers Eat a Lot
Due to the size of Rotties, you can expect your dog to eat a lot, and this can get expensive as they require high quality food to remain healthy. Rottweilers are energetic and muscular dogs that require a diet that is very high in protein, something you won’t find in a lot of “grocery store” brand dog foods. Instead, you will need to buy the dog food from pet stores that sell premium foods. These dogs require a food that is approximately 22 to 26 percent whole protein and the food should have little to no grain. Rottweiler puppies do not require puppy food, in most cases, because they grow so quickly, and can be fed adult food when you bring them home.
As for how much to feed them, most Rotties need about 2100 calories a day, but they are prone to obesity, so you must make sure that you are watching that they do not get overweight. Also, active dogs will require more calories, up to 2800 in some cases. This equates to 5-8 cups of food each day. A 30-pound bag of food has 120 cups, which will last, on average, 15-20 days for most dogs. For one year, feeding a Rottweiler a premium food would cost about $1,095, and per month, that would be about $90 – $100, on average.
Keep in mind, many Rotties have food allergies, so some foods might not work with some dogs, and you may need to choose special foods based on those allergies.
4Rottweilers are Prone to Some Serious Health Problems
You should also know that Rotties are prone to a number of health problems, some of them much more severe than others. For instance, cancer is a very common problem in Rotties, and the most common cancer is bone cancer. Orthopedic diseases are also very common in Rottweilers, and these include elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, laxating patella, and intervertebral disk disease.
Heart disease is a very serious problem when it comes to Rotties, and this breed has a higher than normal risk of developing bloat, an emergency condition in the gastrointestinal tract.
The most common health issue in the endocrine/hormonal system with Rotties is hypothyroidism, and according to research from Michigan State, approximately 14 percent of these dogs have low thyroid levels. You will also find that diabetes is found occasionally with Rotties, as is Addison’s disease.
You should watch out for skin diseases in Rottweilers, which may include allergies, sebaceous cysts, mange, skin infections, and sometimes vitiligo. Many Rottweilers also develop colitis, which is inflammatory bowel disease. This causes chronic diarrhea. Pancreas difficulties, epilepsy and blood-clotting disease are also concerns for those who bring a Rottie into their life.
Approximately 1 in 4 Rottweilers will develop eye diseases, such as cataracts, and puppies are more susceptible to developing dangerous conditions, such as parvovirus, than other dog breeds.
Since Rotties are prone to so many health issues, it is important that you have a vet that you trust and who knows the breed well, and see this vet at regular intervals.
3Rottweilers and Children Can Co-Exist
Some people believe that Rotties and children cannot co-exist, but the truth is, with the right training and preparation, Rotties and kids are great companions, and can turn into the best of friends.
If you have children and want to bring a Rottie into your home, get a puppy. This is the best way to ensure that there are no issues in the future with your dog and kids. First, you should never, ever leave a small child with any large dog without you bring there. Almost all incidents of injury to a child from a large dog occurs when an adult is not present. Even the most well-behaved and trusted dogs have instincts, and there are triggers that can cause a dog to rely on those instincts whether they mean it or not.
You also must make sure that you teach your children to respect your dog and your dog to respect your children. Kids should know from the start that poking, pulling or prodding a dog is a no-no, and they will get bitten if they do this. Hitting or kicking the dog is also something that children should never do, as the dog will certainly react to that. As for the dog, when starting young, it is much easier to teach them that they must treat the kids with the same respect that they treat you with. They should learn to not jump or mouth a child, and should learn to take commands from children including stay, sit, down, etc. Also, make sure that you are not allowing a child near the dog when he or she is eating. Many dogs have food aggression and will not hesitate to snap if bothered.
2Rottweilers Require Grooming, Contrary to Popular Belief
Since Rottweilers have short hair, many people believe that they do not have to be groomed. This, however, in untrue. Your Rottie will still require regular brushing, eye care, ear care and more. This should start as soon as you bring your Rottie puppy home, and you should consider it a great bonding experience between you and your pup.
First, Rotties are pretty low maintenance, but they still must be maintained. Always start any grooming routine with cleaning and brushing, and take time to rub the dog with your hands all over his or her body. This is to check for lumps, bumps, bites or other issues. You should also look into the dog’s ears to ensure they are clean and no painful. You should check the paws, teeth and gums, too.
Brushing the coat is extremely important, as you want to keep the hair free of matting and the skin free of irritation. Brushing also helps to distribute the dog’s natural oil throughout the coat. When looking at your dog’s eyes, ears and teeth, you want to make sure there is no redness, irritation or infection in them. You can wipe around the ears with a soft, wet cloth, but do not stick anything in the ears. You should also add a tooth-brushing routine to your Rottie’s grooming regimen, and you should start this when young so your dog gets used to it early.
1Rottweilers Are Not Neat and Clean Dogs
Finally, though you will certainly fall in love with your Rottie, you should know that they can be quite messy, so if you are someone who puts cleanliness high on your list of priorities, a Rottie might not be right for you.
First, Rotties can be destructive, and it would be quite unlikely for you to never have anything destroyed by your precious new pup. Chewing on shoes, your children’s toys, and yes, even your sofa, are all prone to being chewed on by your Rottie. You must make sure to keep your belongings out of reach and confine your dog if they take a liking to chewing on furniture.
Rottweiler’s are also well known for their drool. These big dogs will often spray saliva across a room every time they shake their head. If this bothers you, you should probably choose a smaller dog.
Also, keep in mind that Rottweilers often have digestive problems, and they are well known for being gassy dogs, which of course, is not a pleasant experience, even if you love your dog.
Rottweilers are very popular dogs, and they can bring a lot of joy into the lives of their owners. Before owning a Rottie, however, you must make sure that you are aware of what will go into raising one of these gentle giants. In most cases, these dogs require a lot of room, they require a lot of food, and require a lot of monetary investment. However, they will give back a lot of love and joy, and owners of Rotties often stick with the breed after they have their first one.
A Rottweiler must be trained from the start, and they are probably not the best choice for someone who is a new dog owner. However, for those with experience and a commitment to training, a Rottweiler can be a wonderful choice. Make sure, when choosing a Rottie puppy, that you are only buying from a reputable breeder. Since Rottweiler’s are prone to medical issues, you should also get a full genetic history of the puppy’s parents to find out what medical conditions you might have to deal with in the future.