The Rottweiler breed is wonderful, loving and friendly. They make great companions and perfect family dogs. However, they are often misunderstood and when poorly trained or mistreated can display the negative behaviors that they are unfortunately more well known for. To understand the Rottweiler’s temperament, it is important to first understand more about the breed and its history.
Short History of the Rottweiler
The Rottweiler originated in Germany where they were used as multifaceted herding dogs, as well as for stock protection. It is widely believed that they are descended from ancient Roman droverdogs.
Early Rottweilers soon became guard dogs, particularly for travelling butchers. The dogs guarded the produce, money, and the butcher himself, protecting him from potential thieves. It is this role that most likely resulted in their original name Rottweil Metzgerhund. Rottweil is the town in Germany where the dogs were first used for this duty and Metzgerhund translates as butcher’s dog.
Today Rottweilers are used across many professions to undertake a wide range of duties. As well as herding and guarding, they are used in search and rescue, as police dogs and as support and seeing eye dogs. Aside from work, they are also found in homes as loving, and much loved, family pets. The main reason for this is due to their temperaments. So, here are 5 things you should know about that temperament if you are considering adding a Rottweiler to your family.
Rottweilers are Incredibly Loyal
A Rottweiler will take care of their family above all else. However, loyalty should not be confused with viciousness. Loyalty is a trait of the dog, something that is integral to the breed, a viscous nature is either bred into the dog through bad breeding or is a result of poor training and negative reinforcement.
Rottweilers are Affectionate
Rottweilers love affection, both giving and receiving. This can be a problem with such a big dog, especially if it does not realize its size and weight as it tries to sit on the couch with you. It also means that they need a lot of their owner’s time and attention. If they don’t get this, they can become destructive.
Rottweilers are Gentle
Despite their size Rottweilers are known for having gentle dispositions. They love people and when bred properly they make great and gentle companions. The kind nature of this breed makes them all-round caring dogs that protect their family with as much devotion as required.
Rottweilers are Territorial
Rottweilers protect their territory and those that they see as family that share that space. This means that they can be wary of strangers, often showing guarding behaviors around them. Good socialization from an early age, combined with positive training, helps Rottweilers to deal with these situations effectively, rather than aggressively, and helps them to distinguish between strangers that mean no harm and those who may have less than honorable intensions.
Rottweilers Love to Chew
Rottweilers will chew anything and everything they can reach. They have very strong jaws and can easy chew through furniture. However, if provided with an interesting range of durable chew toys and bones, they should leave the furniture alone. The worst thing you can do is allow your Rottweiler to become bored, lonely or scared as any of these situations are likely to increase their chewing and potentially allow negative temperament traits to become ingrained.
Maintaining Positive Temperament Traits
The keys to ensuring that these are the temperament traits that your Rottweiler displays are early socialization and positive reinforcement training. Rottweilers need to be introduced to people and other animals as soon as it is safe for this to happen. The more situations they become familiar with at an early age, the less likely they are to display aggression because of fear or anxiety.
Training also needs to happen early and be maintained regularly throughout the dog’s life. Training a Rottweiler is not always easy, but when you persevere the rewards are huge. It is essential that good behavior is rewarded. Bad behavior should never be rewarded, but it should also not be punished, shouting at or hitting your Rottweiler makes them fearful and is likely to lead to unstable and aggressive behavior.
Proper exercise is also a crucial element in developing your Rottweiler’s positive temperament traits. Rottweilers are big dogs that are excitable and have boundless energy. A short walk once a day is not going to be anywhere near enough. They need plenty of walks, lots of new experiences, and plenty of play time.
Make sure to also check out our review of the best dog food for Rottweilers.