Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, former veterinary assistant, and the author of "Brain Training for Dogs."
Whether Rottweilers get along with other dogs is something prospective owners may wonder about.
Answering this question isn't easy: Rottweilers, just like people, are similar to snowflakes, meaning they all come with their individual personalities.
Even among puppies of the same litter, there may be a lot of differences, so it all boils down to personality traits that can be partly inherited and partly learned—The so-called "nature/nurture debate."
Many Rottweilers get along with other dogs, so much so that many Rottweiler owners have raised them successfully in households with other dogs with no problems. However, as with everything "dog", there are never rules written in stone, so there can be many variances.
Whether you're planning to add another dog to your household, or you're wondering whether your Rottweiler should go to the dog park, one thing is for sure: Making an informed decision is fundamental.
The Importance of a Good Start
In the making of a good Rottweiler, you'll need several ingredients carefully added in the right dosages. You'll need the right mix of genetics, a nurturing environment, and owners (better if experienced) blessed with a commitment to training and socializing. Following is some information about raising a well-tempered Rottweiler.
In the Breeder's Hands
Good Rottweiler breeders will ensure their puppies start life on the right paw. This means they'll put effort into ensuring their young puppies are properly handled and socialized when in their care.
Good breeders will also carefully screen their Rottweilers even before allowing them to have puppies. Their high standards not only help reduce the risks for hereditary flaws to be passed down but also temperamental issues.
The goal is to produce Rottweilers that are gifted with great temperament, intelligence, health, vigor, and beauty. In particular, code of ethics breeders will breed to obtain puppies with a stable and trustworthy mentality.
The Importance of Socialization
Once Rottweiler puppies are in their new homes, it's up to the new dog owners to continue socializing their puppies. In a large dog such as a Rottweiler, this is fundamental.
The puppy socialization window is open until the pups reach 12 to 16 weeks of age. This is a time during which experiences will dramatically impact the pups' behavior for the rest of their lives.
It's as if the puppies' brains are like sponges, constantly absorbing information around them and bookmarking the info for the future. During this time, it is therefore important exposing Rottweiler puppies to many new sights, sounds, and smells.
Exposure to a variety of people and animals is crucial. Men, women, children, babies, seniors, toddlers, cats, dogs of different colors, shapes, and breeds, and of course, other puppies too.
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Socializing a puppy to all of this may sound overwhelming and owners are often concerned about their Rottweiler puppies risking catching a life-threatening disease such as parvo in the process. Fortunately, there are safer ways to socialize puppies, such as through puppy socialization parties, car rides where the pup can see a variety of stimuli, and carrying the puppy to places.
Another great way to socialize puppies is by having them attend puppy classes. These classes help expose puppies to other dogs and people in a structured environment where all the puppies are vaccinated to some extent. When run by skilled dog trainers, an emphasis is placed to ensure that dogs and people remain safe and happy during the process.
The Importance of Training
Training is very important for owners of Rottweilers. Courtesy of training and proper socialization, Rottweilers learn to be calm members of our society. A well-trained Rottweiler responds promptly to verbal cues and has attained a good level of dog impulse control and frustration tolerance.
Learning to ignore other dogs while being walked on leash is an important skill to train in this breed. A composed sit or looking at the owner in the eyes as other dogs walk by can also turn out helpful.
Group classes under the guidance of a dog trainer can help Rottweilers learn to be under control despite the presence of other dogs and people.
A Belligerent Attitude Towards Other Dogs
The American Kennel Club standard for the Rottweiler breed describes them as being "calm, confident and courageous dogs with a self-assured aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships."
Their "attitude" towards other dogs is also alluded to: "An aggressive or belligerent attitude towards other dogs should not be faulted."
In general, most Rottweiler puppies tend to get along with other dogs when young, but things often start to change once they reach social maturity, which in this breed takes place at 2 to 3 years of age.
During this time, Rottweilers may turn out to be more selective over what dogs they wish to befriend. They may, therefore, start restricting their circle of friends and they may come to no longer tolerate certain interactions.
Several Rottweilers at this time start to no longer tolerate "rude" behaviors from other dogs. They may growl when a young Labrador gets in their face, they may snarl if a dog dares to place a leg on his shoulder or chin, they may no longer appreciate meeting and greeting other dogs on walks, especially if these encounters last longer than they would like (like 3 seconds max!).
When a Rottweiler's warning signals go unattended and are ignored by other dogs, Rottweilers may escalate to even snapping orbiting (hopefully uninhibited bites). One main reason why Rottweilers attack other dogs is because other dogs haven't taken their warnings seriously.
To the inexperienced viewer, it may look like the Rottweiler at the dog park is the main trouble maker who attacks out of the blue for no rhyme nor reason, when in reality the other dog hasn't "listened" to his many warnings and decides to push boundaries regardless.
Do Rottweilers Get Along With Other Dogs?
So do Rottweilers get along with other dogs? In general, many do so as puppies, but things may start changing as they get older.
If raised from a young age with other dogs sharing the same household, a Rottweiler may fit in well, although sometimes some squabbles may occasionally occur as they develop.
In general, male dogs get along better with female dogs, allowing them more leeway and getting away with things versus two dogs of the same sex sharing the household.
Statistics tend to show that serious aggression has been reported to occur more frequently in households with young female dogs (Sherman et al., 1996; Bamberger and Houpt, 2006; Wrubel et al., 2011). Fights among female dogs are often described as being more intense and troublesome.
Of course, there are always exceptions. Many Rottweilers are goofballs who enjoy interacting with and playing with other dogs even into adulthood.
Should They Be Taken to Dog Parks?
Dog parks can work well for people who like to socialize with other dog owners while their friendly, appropriately behaved dogs romp around. The key words to pay attention to here are "friendly, appropriately-behaved dogs."
According to veterinary behaviorist Dr. Karen Overall, there is an ongoing belief that dogs who are aggressive towards other dogs benefit from socializing and playing with other dogs at the dog park. This is downright wrong.
Such dogs at dog parks end up rehearsing their problematic behaviors, improving their skills at victimizing other dogs, and risking hurting other dogs both physically and emotionally.
For a large and powerful dog like a Rottweiler, this can spell disaster, and even with the friendly, well-behaved ones, the first time some squabbles occur, the fingers tend to always be pointed at the Rottweiler—even if they were just trying to defend themselves from a pushy, ill-behaved dog trying to hump anyone in sight.
Some Rottweilers also like to assume at the dog park, what's known as the "fun police role." In other words, they may want to intervene when two dogs are playing too roughly and correct overly rowdy dogs.
Summing Things Up
So to sum it up, when Rottweilers are raised with other dogs sharing the same household from a young age, they generally tend to get along with them, especially if they are of the opposite sex.
Issues though can arise with strange dogs encountered near their properties or on walks. Keep your Rottweiler on leash when out in the public to prevent aggression or the typical belligerent attitude towards other dogs.
Rottweilers are generally not the best candidates for visiting off-leash dog parks, although there may be occasional exceptions to the rule.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2021 Adrienne Farricelli
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 03, 2021:
Hi Devika, it's so true that Rottweilers have a bad reputation, but fortunately responsible dog owners are helping spread the truth of this breed; in the right hands and raised correctly, most Rottweilers are loving dogs who have no mean bones in them. Having owned two I can attest that! Thanks for stopping by.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 27, 2021:
alexadry I heard negative comments about Rottweilers. I am glad to have found this hub. Often people give their opinions and it hasn't been helpful. Your hub tells me everything I need to know and clears up the negative feedback .
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 21, 2021:
I’ve never considered getting a Rottweiler and didn’t know much about the breed. Thank you for sharing the information, Adrienne. It’s very useful.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 19, 2021:
Your information is valuable to people considering acquiring a Rottweiler for their families. Thanks!