The Rottweiler is a much-beloved dog in the United States, ranking in the top 10 on the AKC’s popularity charts. As such a popular dog, it’s pretty hard to find someone who hasn’t at least had the pleasure of meeting one of these great dogs. They are even the pet of choice for actor Will Smith, who is famously in love with his Rottweilers. What makes them so wonderful? Read on.
The Origins of the Rottweiler Dog Breed
Rottweilers originate in Germany, where they were bred to help cattle farmers. These big, strong dogs were used to help herd livestock as well as pull carts loaded with heavy meat to market. Because of this, they are very large, confident, and exceptionally strong. Rotties are one of the oldest herding breeds, and probably descend from ancient Roman dogs. In addition to helping with the cattle, farmers depended on their loyal guard dogs to protect them from having their market sales earnings robbed. Rottweilers are still known for their extremely protective nature to this day.
During WWI, there was an increased need for police dogs, which created a renewed interest in the Rottweiler breed, who ended up playing an important working role in both world wars. In 1931, the breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club. By the mid-1990s, the breed was the single most registered dog by the organization. In most recent years, the breed still ranks on the top 10 most popular dogs in the U.S.
The Rottweiler Personality
If you are a stranger, beware. Rotties take a little while to warm up to strangers. They are naturally suspicious and aloof around strangers because of their protective nature. Rottweilers do not bark much, so they aren’t the best watchdogs, but as a guard dog they are almost unequaled. It is because of this protective personality that they are misunderstood and occasionally get a bad reputation for being aggressive. Rottweilers are not inherently aggressive, but must be trained by an experienced trainer, or they can get overzealous while protecting their humans.
Among family and friends, the Rottweiler takes on a completely different personality. They are silly, goofy clownish dogs who love to snuggle. The only downside to this is it seems many Rottweilers have no idea how big they are and think they still fit in your lap. Rotties can grow over 100 pounds, and when a 100-pound dog sits on your feet, it can be hard to get up! They have a few funny quirks–the Rottie is notoriously gassy, and they do drool and snore. All of these traits are, of course, totally endearing to dog owners, though!
The Perfect Match for a Rottweiler
The perfect environment for a Rottie is with a family. They are fantastic “nanny” dogs and do very well with children. Rottweilers do not like to be left alone, as they become very bonded to their owners. They are a great choice for the family that likes to bring the dog along on vacations. These dogs require about an hour of vigorous exercise or playtime each day and weekly brushing. Despite their short hair, they shed quite a bit if they aren’t brushed. Delegate the brushing to one of the kids, and you’re set.
As such big dogs, Rottweilers can be intimidating for the unindoctrinated. But they are a fabulous breed of dog, much more like a big teddy bear when you get to know them. A Rottie in your home means always having someone to hug when you need it. Just don’t let them climb in your lap and squish you!