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Rottweilers: The Best Family Watchdog

The Rottie is the family watch dog that does not sleep.

The Rottie is the family watch dog that does not sleep.

The Nanny Dog

Rottweilers make excellent nanny dogs because they make great watch dogs and guard dogs. Well-socialized Rottweilers are as protective of their human charges as they would be with the cows and sheep they are bred to protect.

Great Family Watchdogs

Stating that something is "the best" is never easy, but it is clear in this case that the Rottweiler is the best watchdog for your family. I can state this without bias since I do not have a Rottie protecting me.

I own a pit bull cross. She looks right for a guard dog and also has a deep bark to alert me if anyone walks by. Since she is great with kids, it would be easy for me to recommend the pit bull as the best guard dog, but it would not be true. Well-trained and socialized Rottweilers perceive the difference between friend and foe and make truly excellent family watchdogs.

So why do Rottweilers get such bad press? They are not an easy breed for some owners to handle. They are powerful and have the ability to do damage. (Isn´t that what people are looking for in a guard dog?) Like all dogs, they can be aggressive if not properly socialized, and an aggressive dog is not a good family watchdog.

A 2008 study in the Journal of Applied Animal Behaviour showed that Rottweilers were only average among the breeds that bit their owners but were shown to be more aggressive to strangers.

This is the best family watchdog.

This is the best family watchdog.

Guard Dogs: Rotties Are Perfect for the Job

Besides being such a good watchdog, the Rottie is also a great guard dog. Let’s discuss the Rottweilers function as a guard dog. He is almost perfect for the task.

  • He is large (a male is over 100 pounds) and so he intimidates anyone lurking around your property.
  • He is black and can blend in with his surroundings in the dark.
  • He has a deep growl, a fierce bark, and most importantly of all—he has a large head. The dog looks like a guard.

I've seen some breeds like the Great Pyrenees recommended as guard dogs. Animal Planet even recommends the Rough Collie and the Bernese Mountain Dog. Where I live a thief would not be bothered by a guard dog like a Great Pyrenees or even a Komondor but would never try to pass by a Rottie. Just being able to growl and bark does not qualify a dog as the best.

A “Beware of Rottweiler” sign will usually work.

The Rottweiler is the best family watch dog.

The Rottweiler is the best family watch dog.

Rottweilers as Nanny Dogs

They are great watchdogs, excellent guards, but we also need to look at their qualifications as a family dog.

  • Socialized Rottweilers are as protective with their human charges as they would be with the cows and sheep they are bred to protect.
  • Rotties are an easy-to-care-for family dog. Their coats are short and do not require a lot of brushing. They can be prone to obesity, so if there are a lot of children giving the dog treats, the regular diet needs to be adjusted, and of course, they need to be exercised a lot more. Rottweilers need to be screened for hip dysplasia, but that is not uncommon is the big breeds.
  • The biggest disadvantage of Rottweilers is their short life span. It is as long as other large breeds (9 or 10 years) but still less than what the family will hope for.

Yes, there have been several cases of Rottweilers biting (and even killing) children, but in all of these cases the dogs were poorly socialized, abused, and maintained in terrible conditions. If you are going to keep your dog in a traumatic state, there is no ideal breed for that.

A Rottweiler  with her family.

A Rottweiler with her family.

Should I Find a Rottweiler?

Some countries have laws banning Rottweilers. If you are in the US, be sure to check with your insurance agent before choosing and bringing home your new dog. You might find out that your insurance company will raise your rates or even refuse to insure you if you choose to have a Rottie. They usually have a biased list based on the most inflammatory news story so you may need to choose a dog that has not yet made the evening news.

If you do decide to find a Rottweiler to serve as your family watchdog be sure to do a lot of reading and investigating. You might find a breed rescue in your area, your local animal shelter may have several Rottweilers to adopt, or a neighbor might not be able to keep an adult Rottie for many reasons (moving, no insurance, etc.) There are articles to read on puppies, guides to Rottweilers, and you can find good breeders in your area to help you find the best dog suited for your family.

Get your family guard dog soon.

Similar Articles

  • How to Train a Dog to Guard Your House
    Do you need a dog to protect your property? Training a dog to guard the house is easy. This article will explain the process and discuss the benefits and some of the problems.
  • How to Train A Dog for Personal Protection
    A personal protection dog is trained to guard you at all times. Not all dogs are suited for this job, and not all dogs should even be asked to do this job. Find out if personal protection training is right for your dog, and how to go about it.

© 2012 Mark dos Anjos DVM


Claire plant on July 27, 2020:

My rotti is 14 best dog for my family x

Georjene on July 11, 2020:

Beware of chichirottrrwaleirs rip off newest of where you send your money

Humberto on May 22, 2020:

Rotties are one of the best dogs Out there. The main problem sometimes come from the irresponsable people that do not care for the dog. A good care includes: walks everyday or excersise, good food, love, never threat him bad. I have had rotties and Pit Bull at the same time and they are great partners, of course you as owner must be the dominant. Furthermore, thieves will think it twice to go to your house.

dharam on April 15, 2015:

Own a rottweiler and forget theives, anti social elements, , tresspasers, any strangers .forget about children safety in home, rott will handle india I only close the door from outside not locked it for 5-6 hour so there is nobody has the courage to open the door even the neighbors.the best dog breed I seen ever, best with your children, like second mom or father. Nobody ever can dare to touch your childrens.also good with others your friends your children's friends, breed gift to humans.

Romel Tarroza from Philippines on February 21, 2013:

Dogs are man's best friend. We had a dog in our house and it serve as our guard.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 23, 2013:

Thanks for the comment, Sara. George sounds like he was great.

Sarra Garrett on January 23, 2013:

Voted up and awesome. I love the Rotti and raising my pups was an experience I'll never forget. They are smart and loving dogs. My male was named George, he weighed 130 lbs and was a huge lap dog. lol. Yes, my pups were all house trained at 8 weeks. All it takes is lots of love, patients, encouragement and praise.

Eiddwen from Wales on September 29, 2012:

What a great hub and such wonderful dogs I award this one my special up up and away!!!

Enjoy your weekend.


Adrienne Farricelli on July 29, 2012:

Oops forgot to vote up, just did it now. They are also great dogs for the fact that they do not waste their time barking for subtle things unless you show them what is relevant and worthy for it. And it is in their standard to have a "wait and see" attitude about things which makes them ideal for the watch-dog role.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 29, 2012:

They sound like lucky dogs! As you have noticed, I do not think this breed even needs special watch dog training as they already look the part. That makes a big difference.

Thanks for coming by and commenting!

Adrienne Farricelli on July 29, 2012:

Dr Mark, I am owned by two Rottweilers and I would never own any other breed. While they are very friendly, they do look intimidating to anyone who does not know them. When I walk them together people walk the other way but they do not know they are wagging their tails in hopes of attention. I always discouraged them to take territoriality seriously, since we do not have a fence in the front yard and people, animals and cars are always passing by so I can relax when they are sent out to potty. People say I have two wasted guard dogs, but they do not know that when we are not home, they take over protecting the house. More than guard dogs, (too much responsibility) I see them better used as watch dogs. Indeed, they are the best to alert us of anything unusual. My male, Kaiser has even learned (on his own) to alert my hubby when coffee is ready or when the water is spilling out when I am cooking or something is sizzling and about to burn (I have to write a hub about him, he is such a special boy). He saved tons of lasagna trays from burning! My female alerts me of any nasty bug that made itself in the house with the most disgusted whine. They both tell us if somebody is knocking on the door; no aggressive barking, just walking towards us whining and directing us towards the door. I feel blessed living with them, and look forward to adding another one when I move and space permits.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 29, 2012:

Thanks for coming by. Yes, I think a lot of it has to do with the face also, not just the color. One of the fiercest dogs I have seen is the Caucasian Mountain Dog, but they have a "huggable" face, so their job would be that much harder.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on July 28, 2012:

I agree with the black colour theory to some extent. I have a Kuvasz, who is all white in colour. People in the neighbourhood don't consider him to be intimidating and children rush over to pat him. Kuvaszok are livestock guardian dogs and white colour was encouraged to differentiate them from marauding wolves. They are fierce protector of land and property, but this white colur also gives them a less intimidating disposition although an average Kuvasz is 28" at his withers and weighs around 110 -125 Lbs.

If you ask me, it is brachiocephalic breeds like Rotties, Cane Corsos, dogo argentinos, presa canarios, fila brasilieros, pitbulls, Tosa Inus, Boerbols, etc. who look more intimidating. Therefore, fear is more from the way body is built rather than the colour. A black Saluki for example, will never look intimidating, but a white dogo argentino will.

This is an excellent hub. I am glad I ran into it :-)

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 28, 2012:

Thanks for coming by wetnosedogs. Always good to see your comments.

DIFH, I think it is because most people are around smaller "vira latas" (trashcan dogs) and don't respect medium size. The Pit Bull is an exception because the media reports every single dog bite, anywhere in the country. Also, a dog can be 7/8 Labrador and 1/8 Pit but the media will report "Today a Pit Bull attacked a man". Even if the dog is 1/8 Rottie, they still report the bite as "Pit Bull".

DoItForHer on July 28, 2012:

Interesting how you say thieves don't respect a smaller dog. Perhaps that is because where you are at, the people have more dog sense. Here I cannot remember a time outside of an obedience class that someone wasn't afraid of a dog of any size.

I'm a rather narrow dude and people think of me as weak. While it is true that I'm not particularly strong, I'm not a pansy. No matter if I beat up a person nearly twice my size, the other guy will always be more intimidating and will be taken more seriously.

I would rather stop a threat by appearance than having to physically stop it. Couple that with competent behavior and Rotties are hard to beat.

Another advantage is how Rotties use their drool to make the bad guy slip and fall. lol

wetnosedogs from Alabama on July 28, 2012:

Wonderful hub on a wonderful dog.

Sharing this. Those dogs need a boost of understanding.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 28, 2012:

I would agree on the training but the problem with the 45 pound type is that the thieves just don't respect a breed that small. Around here the theives would just laugh and throw something at the dog.

Personally I would choose the Cané Corso over a Dobie because the Dobie just does not have any weight to throw around. I think they do not intimidate in the same way.

Good point about the popularity.

DoItForHer on July 28, 2012:

Make sure to find a competent breeder; Rotties have suffered from their popularity.

Size is a consideration. Size alone can thwart a threat, but that size will do no good if the owners tend to leave the dog home because it is too inconvenient to transport. But what 45 pound breed has the characteristics of a Rottie? Non that I know of. Some breeds come close like a Blue Heeler.

I can train the bajeebers out of a dog, but a dog that has a limited inherent understanding of proper guarding and bravery can respond only so much to training.

Not every dog is born a gladiator like not every human is born to be a firefighter. Training goes a loooong way, but it isn't everything.

Curious how you would compare the Dobie?

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 28, 2012:

Thanks for the great comment. I really hope families will consider this great misunderstood dog.

Michelle Liew from Singapore on July 27, 2012:

Great recommendation, Mark! I think Rotties are the most misunderstood doggies we know. Lots of dogs are aggressive when socialized the wrong way. Came across a Yorkshire who was so badly beaten up that she treated anyone who came near as a potential enemy... No one could touch her. She bit everyone without reason! Thanks for sharing!