Are Rottweilers Dangerous or Do They Make Good Pets?

Updated on August 19, 2017

Rottweilers date back to the days of the Romans where they traveled with the army to protect the cattle, which were used to feed the troops.

Their natural guarding instinct, herding behavior, and high intelligence made them well suited for this work.

However, are Rottweilers dangerous or have they been unfairly labeled as overly aggressive by negative media? Let's examine their history and other Rottweiler facts before we jump to conclusions.

The breed gained the nickname “butcher dogs” from their work in the town of Rottweill, Germany, where they guarded the butcher shops and the butchers. In addition, they were also called Rottweil dogs, with the moniker derived from the town's name.

The animals were highly trusted and used to transport money, and “it was said that the neck of a Rottweiler was safer than any bank vault.”1 Like several other working breeds such as Doberman Pinschers, boxers or Great Danes, they are descended from the molloser dogs.

Just the Facts!

Here is a thumbnail sketch of the breed.

  • Origin: Germany
  • Nickname/alternative names: Rottweil dog, Rottie
  • Group: Working
  • First AKC registration: 1931 – Stina V. Felsenmeer, dog number 805867
  • Use: Herding, guard, police, military and butcher dogs
  • Lifespan: 10 to 13 years
  • Height/weight: 24 to 27 inches; 75 to 130 pounds
  • Color/coat: Black with rust markings; double coated dogs (under and overcoat)
  • Personality: Protective, loyal, obedient and affectionate
  • Grooming: Brush and comb weekly. Trim nails, and clean ears as needed
  • Need for attention: High
  • Known health problems/heritable diseases: eye problems, osteochrondrosis dissecans (OCD), hip/elbow dysplasia, and neurological canine hemophilia
  • Intelligence: Highly intelligent but a slow learner
  • Social Skills: Good with family and other pets but standoffish with others.

Now, let's take a look at the characteristics of a Rottweiler.

Are Rottweilers Dangerous?

C'mon...I'm just a lovable puppy at heart!
C'mon...I'm just a lovable puppy at heart! | Source
When I get bigger...I'll snatch that turkey off this table!
When I get bigger...I'll snatch that turkey off this table! | Source
A working Rottweiler herding sheep doesn't look too dangerous, does it?
A working Rottweiler herding sheep doesn't look too dangerous, does it? | Source
Properly trained and socialized Rottweilers are trustworthy friends.
Properly trained and socialized Rottweilers are trustworthy friends. | Source
Rottweilers are majestic examples of the molloser type appearance and regalness.
Rottweilers are majestic examples of the molloser type appearance and regalness. | Source

Characteristics of Rottweilers

The overall appearance of the Rottweiler is one of balance. The head and muzzle are broad but proportional. Powerful jaws, a coal-black nose, and a faintly wrinkled forehead combine with dark alert eyes to complete the face.

The triangular ears are wide set and can be cropped or natural. These are imposing formidable dogs that project an aura of power and strength. There should be a perceptible difference between males and females of the breed, with male Rottweilers exhibiting the massiveness that bears evidence of their mastiff ancestry.

Rottweilers are even-tempered dogs with a calm, dignified demeanor, not given to aggressiveness or excitement. They are eager to please and easy to train. Because of their need to work, your rottie will be happier if he has a job to do, such as fetching the paper. Boredom can be deadly for this breed and can lead to inappropriate behavior.

In spite of their good nature, Rottweilers are powerful dogs and require early socialization and lifelong obedience training to establish that the owner, not the dog, is the pack leader. These huge dogs could easily, but unintentionally, knock over a toddler with a paw or their tail.

In addition, they can be aggressive with other dogs or cats if they were not raised with them. Proper socialization and obedience training are as much for the protection of the dog as they are for others.

Is a Rottweiler the Breed for You?

Adding a large dog to any family requires one to make some lifestyle adjustments. For instance:

  1. If you do not have fenced yard, where will your Rottie exercise and play?
  2. Will you be able to give him the human interaction he needs?
  3. There may be problems buying insurance if you own a Rottie.

You must be willing to invest the time and money into training him; this training needs to be a lifelong commitment, not a one-time event.

Rottweilers are not good pets for apartment dwellers or those who do not have the physical strength to handle them.

They should not be left unsupervised with small children who may annoy or hurt them.

If your Rottweiler gets sick and you have to transport him to the vet, you will need a large vehicle. These are just some of the Rottweiler facts you need to consider before deciding if this is the best breed for you.

So...are Rottweilers dangerous..or should the finger of blame really be pointed at irresponsible owners? Any dog (or animal) has the potential to become aggressive if not properly trained, socialized or treated appropriately.

Here's an analogy. The meanest toy breed dog can only do so much damage. The jaws are tiny and exert little force. The chances of it hurting you fatally are slim. Conversely, the gentlest, best-trained large animal equipped with powerful jaws can hurt someone seriously by virtue of their tremendous size and power. The real key is proper training and socialization combined with responsible ownership.

It Doesn't Look Like Rottweilers Are Dangerous...


The Complete Dog Book, Official Publication of the American Kennel Club, 18th edition

The Original Dog Bible, edited by Kristin Mehus-Roe

1The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Dog, Viv Foster


This information is based on the research sources listed above, and it is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. Always seek your veterinarian’s advice about your pet’s health.

While this information is periodically researched and updated in the attempt to be timely and factual, no guarantee is given the information is correct, complete, and/or up-to-date.

Recommendations as to therapeutics, diagnostics and best standards of practice in the veterinary industry and/or opinions between professionals may differ or change as technologies and information changes. You should not use this article as your sole source of information on any matter of veterinary health or attempt to self-diagnose or treat your pets as the information herein may not be appropriate for your pet. The safest option for you and your pet is to rely on the advice of your veterinarian to diagnose and recommend the best treatment options.

Questions & Answers

    © 2011 Donna Cosmato

    Are Rottweilers Dangerous or Not? Share Your Opinion

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      • profile image

        rebbecca 2 years ago

        I never had problem my dog just friendly bear.. when we bring him a walk we dont him he walk us along.. the reason why rottwiler dangerous is because wat way people training them be..

      • DonnaCosmato profile image

        Donna Cosmato 5 years ago from USA

        Thanks so much for sharing this with your FB friends, Sinea!

      • Sinea Pies profile image

        Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

        Just shared this post on my new FB page called "Puppies-Puppies".

      • DonnaCosmato profile image

        Donna Cosmato 5 years ago from USA

        Hi mypetfinderph, and thanks for reading and commenting on this article about Rottweilers. I agree with you - the way a dog is socialized and trained (from puppyhood) determines much of its future behaviors. Thanks for sharing about your wonderful pets!

      • mypetfinderph profile image

        Jef 5 years ago from Philippines

        I have 3 rottweilers and all of them seem are really good dogs! Maybe it really depends on the way they are trained and treated.

      • DonnaCosmato profile image

        Donna Cosmato 6 years ago from USA

        Hi Ricky (aka thelyricwriter) and thanks for sharing your experiences with Rottweilers. I have almost zero experience with them personally but have heard way more good things about the breed than negative things. Thanks for commenting and by the way, my Pinterest friends love your tattoo hubs so please keep them coming:)

      • thelyricwriter profile image

        Richard Ricky Hale 6 years ago from West Virginia

        My wife had a Rot when we first started dating and it was a great loyal dog. We never had any issues with him. However, I remember being a kid and being chased by a few of them in my days. Just all depends on how you raise them. Love all the facts and info Donna. Voted up, awesome, and useful.

      • DonnaCosmato profile image

        Donna Cosmato 6 years ago from USA

        Hi CraftyBegonia...and thanks for the vote up! I'm actually a little skittish around the larger dogs so I'm sure the experience you had would have scared me to death. I'm glad it worked okay but it does underscore the need to keep dogs on the leash.

      • DonnaCosmato profile image

        Donna Cosmato 6 years ago from USA

        Thanks for the nice compliment, Cindy! I always value your feedback on my hubs, and I'm especially pleased that you liked the video. My hubby helped me choose it:)

        Training and socialization are two keys to producing a good dog every time, in my humble opinion. Good luck with your goals...hope to see you at 150 hubs any day now:)

      • DonnaCosmato profile image

        Donna Cosmato 6 years ago from USA

        Hi Little two two! Thanking you for weighing on the question of whether or not Rottweilers are dangerous. I agree with you and others who have commented that the answer really hinges on the type of training the dogs have received and the responsibility level of the owners.

        Is it not a shame how negative publicity can taint an animal breed or a person? Thank you for taking time to share your opinions; I value your input.

      • craftybegonia profile image

        craftybegonia 6 years ago from Southwestern, United States

        I voted up your Hub. It is good to enlighten people about different breeds. We have two neighbors with Rots. One morning, my mom and I were taking a walk and one of our neighbors was walking his rot. He let him off the leash and they were leisureli walking along. The dog spotted us coming a great way off and took off like lightning to come and attack us! We stood very still, but shouted for the owner to help us. He came running. We were not bitten but the experience was truly frightening. We have always had sheep herding dogs and they have never been like that, so I respect Rots. Still, I'm an animal lover and do not hate the breed because of that incident.

      • homesteadbound profile image

        Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

        These dogs are big, but my brother-in-law and his wife have had one for many years and it truly is a sweetie. I had never been around them prior to this, so it was a pleasant surprise for me. I believe all dogs can be trained poorly or well.

        Great hub! The video was delightful.

      • Little two two profile image

        LyttleTwoTwo 6 years ago from Canada

        I am a firm believer that any dog is a good pet. Its the pets owner that makes or breaks the breed. Rotties, dobs and pitbulls all have bad publicity. Period. Pitbulls are so dangerous in Ontario Canada, we banned the whole breed!!!

        It wasn't the pitbull or any other dog breed that makes it aggressive or violent, its the owners and what they teach and how they train and treat their pet.

        Great hub by the way!

      • DonnaCosmato profile image

        Donna Cosmato 6 years ago from USA

        Thank you, Moon Lightened, for taking time to read and to comment on this hub about Rottweilers! I'm so glad you found it informative and useful.

      • Moon Lightened profile image

        Moon Lightened 6 years ago from Delhi, India

        Very informative hub, and I loved reading about the breed. You covered a lot of ground and kept it interesting.

      • DonnaCosmato profile image

        Donna Cosmato 6 years ago from USA

        Aww...thanks, Sinea! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. My hubby and I had lots of fun choosing the images and video for this as we truly wanted to dispel the rumor about "are Rottweilers dangerous"!

        Thanks for the vote of confidence and for sharing this with your friend. I truly appreciate your help and support of my writing.

      • Sinea Pies profile image

        Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

        Donna, I think I'm in love! I've always loved big dogs. I have English labs and had boxers in my childhood. Rotties are just big babies and anyone who trains them to be anything but the doll-babies that they are should be disciplined!

        The puppy video is the best. Puppy-lovers should pour themselves a cup of coffee and take a little break to truly enjoy them. Voted up and beautiful.

        Sending the link to one of my friends who owns a big ole Rottie named Garth!

      • DonnaCosmato profile image

        Donna Cosmato 6 years ago from USA

        Hi Sunnie! Thanks for reading this hub and leaving such a nice comment. I really appreciate it and hope it will give these awesome dogs some positive press to balance the sometimes negative media stories focusing on the theme of "are Rottweilers dangerous?"

        I'm sorry for the loss of your precious fur babies but it sounds like they lived wonderful lives and gave you much companionship. I suspect all of us dog lovers have sad stories about our beloved pets making the journey over the Rainbow Bridge...

      • profile image

        Tonka6078 6 years ago

        What a great article, We have owned two rotties and both were gentle giants. One had to be put down because of hip dysplasia and was in so much pain. The other died of old age..Both wonderful dogs our family loved so much.