Rottweilers: The Best Family Watchdog
Rottweilers Are 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 with no bias since I do not have a Rottie protecting me.
I own a pit bull cross, and she is fine since she looks the part of a guard dog and also has a deep bark to alert me if anyone happens to walk by on the beach. Since she is great with kids, and I have known plenty of the “nanny dogs” that are good with children, it would be easy for me to recommend the pit bull as the best guard dog. Unfortunately, it would not be true. Well trained and socialized Rottweilers perceive the difference between friend and foe and make 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.
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.
Rotties as a Family Dog
They are great watchdogs, excellent guards, but we also need to look at his qualifications as a family dog.
- Socialized Rottweilers are as protective with their human charges as they would be with the cows and sheep they used 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 in the house slipping 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 maintain your dog in that condition, there is no such thing as a good breed out there.
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.
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© 2012 Dr Mark