OVERVIEW OF THE ROTTWEILER
Rottweilers are known for their strong and intense personalities. Originally bred to drive cattle, they were also amongst the earliest police and military dogs. They are highly protective over their human family, faithful and intelligent.
Rottweilers require fair leadership and consistent training from an early age. They need to be socialized from when they’re still young so they can be raised with a calm temperament. Never use physical force or anger to discipline your pup but be firm and unswerving. When they lack consistency, training and healthy socialization their protectiveness can easily turn into aggressiveness, even with people who aren’t the “bad guys”.
When your dog knows, with a firm yet trustworthy and respectful hand, that you are the top dog (not him), he is a playful, loving, genuine family guardian and friend.
Rotties are not the best option for first-time pet parents and don’t even consider putting him in the backyard and leaving him to entertain himself. This will lead to boredom and mischievous behavior (bye-bye flowerbeds).
If you’re thinking about adding a Rottweiler to your family, here’s what you need to know to give him the best care a true family companion deserves.
ROTTWEILER FOOD AND HEALTH
When feeding your pup, consistency is key. Rotties need anything from four to eight cups of high-quality food daily depending on their weight, activity level, and age. This should be divided into two meals for adult dogs and feeding times should always be consistent. Puppies require smaller portions but more servings throughout the day. Consult your vet regarding specific dietary quantities to avoid overfeeding and obesity.
A high-quality diet that contains between 22 and 26% protein is needed to keep your Rottie healthy and his coat shiny. Fish and game are good meat sources while poultry, lamb, and turkey are also options.
Rottweilers are more prone to allergies than other dog breeds and also suffer from bloat. To avoid bloat, make sure you divide their meal up instead of giving them everything at once. They won’t be able to digest large quantities of food at once which can cause a traumatic medical emergency.
Allergic reactions can include itchy skin, dry patches, gas, or vomiting. Keep a close eye on your pup and change up his diet if you notice discomfort. Always avoid chemical preservatives in food including BHA, Ethoxyquin, BHT, and high sodium foods.
Other foods to limit include wheat, dairy, sugary foods, and grapes or raisins. Stick to whole foods and premium, certified dog food as there are many ingredients you love to eat as a human that is toxic to your dog including chocolate, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, avocado, and caffeine. These are all big no-no’s.
LEASHES AND COLLARS FOR YOUR ROTTWEILER
Rottweilers can be extremely lively or somewhat couch potato-ish. They’re fairly calm indoors, but need a fenced yard to keep them from acting out towards strangers and other dogs who they perceive may be wanting to enter the property (even when that’s not the case). You’ll also want to keep them safe from traffic.
Less active Rotties may be able to manage with a daily walk and play in the backyard while more active dogs will have an abundance of energy that needs to be released by running, hiking, tracking, taking part in obedience competitions, and other structured activities.
Always walk your Rottie on a leash. These dogs have a muscular neck and can easily get injured when pulling on a collar, especially if they get excited. It is also detrimental to their breathing. For this reason, we highly recommend using a harness for your pup whether he is small or fully grown. This still gives you control without risking injury.
For the sake of having a nametag, a collar is a good idea. Make sure it has a loose enough fit so that two fingers can fit between the dog’s neck and the collar when he is wearing it.
BEST CRATES, BEDS, AND DOG HOUSES FOR ROTTWEILERS
With a consistent schedule and positive reinforcement, your Rottie should not be too hard to house train. Having said that, he will like spending most of his time outdoors anyway.
Rottweilers are one of the few breeds of dogs who do well sleeping outdoors, as long as you provide a comfortable resting place. When choosing a kennel for a Rottweiler, measure your dog first so you can ensure you get a size big enough. Of course, if your pup is not yet fully grown you’ll want to consider the extra length and height.
When your Rottie is standing, the dog house should be 25% higher than his head height. The length of the interior should be longer than his body so that he can comfortably move around to change position and lie down. Keep in mind that his sleeping pad or bed will take up some extra space inside, so make sure it is not cramped when everything (including your pup) needs to fit.
A dog house raised slightly off the ground is best to prevent the cold from seeping in. It also allows airflow around the bottom to prevent mold and the rotting of wooden structures. The entire unit should be weather resistant and leakproof, but ensure that harmful chemicals haven’t been used to treat the timber as your Rottie may be doing some structural chewing. When setting up his house, check for splinters and sharp edges. Don’t place it in an area that gets excessive sun or shade.
Getting a unit with a detachable roof will allow better ventilation during summer days so it’s not too hot when it’s time to go to bed. This also makes it easy to clean and get to blankets and sleeping pads for airing. In extreme weather, let your pup sleep inside if he wishes since a good night’s rest is vital to his well-being.
Rotties are large muscular dogs and can experience joint issues in their elderly years. They need excellent sleeping support, durable quality material, and something big enough so they can assume whatever sleeping position they’re comfortable in. Orthopedic beds are the best bet here, alternatively opt for a memory foam bed. It should be thick and shouldn’t scrunch, fold or pancake easily.
BEST TOYS FOR ROTTWEILERS
A Rottweiler thrives on mental stimulation. Whether you’re playing or doing training sessions, he likes learning new things despite sometimes having a stubborn attitude. Puzzle games will keep him mentally stimulated with treat finders and ball-shaped treat dispensers rewarding his intelligence.
Rotties love one on one play so keep it interesting with tug ropes, balls, and sticks. When it comes to chewing toys, make sure they are durable or they will not last long (you’ve been warned).
Teething toys are essential for puppies and for saving your furniture. They will help relieve itching and soreness. Don’t think that once teething is over chew toys are no longer appropriate. They’re great for all-age dogs with some versions specifically designed to help with teeth cleaning too.
GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR ROTTWEILER OWNERS
Rottweilers have short black hair. Their coat is fairly coarse and straight with a slightly longer outer coat that becomes shorter around their ears, legs, and head. The thickness of their coat may depend on the climate and how they adapt to colder conditions.
When your Rottie is not shedding, you can get away with brushing him weekly with a firm bristle brush to remove dirt and dead hair and distribute oils on his skin for a healthy coat. When you do this, also check for any rashes or skin irritations. Twice a year when it’s shedding time, brush him more often, even daily to keep loose hair at bay.
Your Rottie will need a bath when he is dirty. This can be bi-weekly or monthly depending on his activities and environment. Since he’s a big dog you may want to shampoo him outdoors. Only do this when it is warm enough for you to wear short sleeves. If you have to wear long sleeves to stay warm, it will be too cold for him. Take him inside or get a professional groomer to help you with the job. Always make grooming a positive experience and get your Rottie used to being bathed and brushed from when he is a pup.
Clipping his nails is recommended monthly, however, considering that dogs have blood vessels in their toenails you may want to leave this job to a professional or get good guidance from your vet before attempting to do it yourself.
Brush your Rotties teeth two to three times weekly or even daily to keep his dental health on track. Remember to always use toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs.
BEST ROTTWEILER ACCESSORIES
Since your Rottie needs a fair amount of training and outdoor activity there are two accessories that will really come in handy.
A water bottle with a collapsible water bowl is an easy and convenient way to make sure both you and your pup stay hydrated while playing and hiking. You can drink from the water bottle and pour water into the collapsible bowl for him. The bowl fits over the bottle for easy storage and carrying.
The second accessory that you’ll want is a pouch designed as a multi-functional carrier. Waterproof pouches are worn around your waist and allow you to clip your puppy’s leash on so you remain hands-free while on a run. You can store training treats, a water bottle, toys, waste bags, and your keys in the pouch. These are ideal for training, long walks, and shorter hikes.
To learn more about medium or large breeds like Rottweilers, check out our breed hub page.