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Are Rottweilers Dangerous? How Unsafe Are These Dogs, Really?

Are Rottweilers Dangerous? How Unsafe Are These Dogs, Really?

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There are many opinions about Rottweilers, and most of them are not positive. Because of the physical characteristics and its unearned reputation, the Rottweiler breed is often considered to be dangerous and violent.

In fact, the majority of people believe that Rottweilers are the most dangerous dogs out there. As a result, the breed is considered by many as a “killer dog.”

But, are Rottweilers dangerous, or have these pups been unfairly judged as violent, mean, and aggressive dogs by negative media?

The truth of the matter is that Rottweilers indeed have the potential to become more dangerous than other dogs in certain situations.

However, they are highly intelligent dogs, and their owners play a crucial role in the way they shape their personality right from the start. If Rottweilers are trained properly, the amount of aggression can be significantly reduced.

We assume that you are worried about these pups’ nature after reading all the negative things about them.

Therefore, in this article, we will go over everything you should be aware of if you want to own a dog of this breed. Let’s begin with the Rottweiler’s background.

Rottweiler history

Rottweeiler on porch sitting down on sunny day

Rotties were primarily used to protect the cattle of the Roman army. Cattle were useful as Roman soldiers would get a lot of nutrition from them.

The natural guarding instinct, herding behavior, and high intelligence of these dogs made them well suited for this kind of work.

Fast forward several centuries and these dogs gained the nickname “butcher dogs” from their work in the town of Rottweil, Germany.

There, these magnificent dogs guarded the butcher shops and the butchers themselves. In addition, they were also referred to as Rottweil dogs, which derived from the town’s name.

These dogs were highly trusted and used to transport money. And, like several other working dog breeds such as Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, and Great Danes, they are descendants from the Molosser group of dogs.

Rotties, in the past, also helped butchers pull the cart, so that they could sell cattle in the meat markets. If they were truly violent dogs, this would have not been possible. However, since they have been used for protecting property and livestock in the past, they can be a bit territorial.

Today, Rottweilers are being used as therapy dogs, police dogs, service dogs, guard dogs, and herding dogs.

According to Rottweiler owners, the dogs can get out of control when they do not receive an adequate amount of dog training. But, if they are properly trained, this problem can be easily rectified.

Characteristics of Rottweilers



To get the answer as to “why Rottweilers are dangerous,” first, we have to take a look at their background. The overall appearance of these dogs is one of balance.

The head and muzzle are broad and proportional. Powerful jaws, a faintly wrinkled forehead, and a coal-black nose combine with dark, alert eyes to complete their face.

Their triangular ears are wide-set, and can be cropped or left natural. Rotties are imposing, formidable dogs that project an aura of strength and power.

There should be a noticeable difference between males and females of this breed, with male Rotties exhibiting the massiveness that bears evidence of their mastiff ancestry.

Rotts are even-tempered pups with a calm and dignified demeanor, not given to excitement or aggressiveness. They are easy to train and eager to please.

Because of their working dog history, your Rott will be a lot happier if it has a job to do. This job can be anything you teach him, including fetching the newspaper. Boredom can be troublesome for this breed and can result in inappropriate behavior.

Despite their good nature, Rotts are powerful dogs that require early socialization. Apart from that, these pups need lifelong obedience training to establish that the owner, not the canine, is the pack leader.

These massive dogs could easily, but unwillingly knock over a toddler with its tail or paws. Additionally, they can be aggressive with cats or other dogs if they were not raised with them.

Are Rottweilers dangerous dogs? Rottie temperament

angry dog rottweiler going up a grassland outdoors

Rotties are very territorial canines, and this trait makes them excellent guard dogs. These pups are extremely protective, and if proper care is not taken, they can quickly become highly dominant.

This might be one of the reasons why Rotties were involved in several dog attacks on humans.

They also tend to gain weight very quickly if they lead a sedentary lifestyle. So, to keep them in shape, regular exercise is very much needed. On the other hand, lack of exercise will make them over-excited as well as destructive.

Luckily, Rotties are not nearly as dangerous, snarling, and slobbering as you hear on the news. As the General German Rottweiler Club states: “The Rottweiler is good-natured, placid in basic disposition, very devoted, obedient, biddable, and eager to work.

Furthermore, Rotties love to play with children and have an eagerness to please their owners. The American Kennel Club (AKC) believes that they are courageous, confident, and calm in nature.

How dangerous are Rottweilers? Breed temperament score

rottweiler in the garden filled with white small flowers

It requires various things in order to determine whether or not a breed is dangerous. You shouldn’t make your decision by seeing the bite statistics alone.

Even though it looks like a reputable source, the environment in which the dog grew up is not taken into consideration.

But, we cannot deny the fact that Rotties can be very dangerous, and if they are not socialized properly and taken care of, they can attack strangers, and it can be an adult or a small child.

That said, we can get a better insight if we take a look at the Individual Temperament Breed Score, which is collected by the American Temperament Test Society.

From their 2016 testing results, we can see that 4954 Rottweilers passed out of 5,866. Therefore, the breed’s score becomes 84.5 percent, which is not a bad score by any measurement.

For instance, Chihuahuas obtained 69.6 percent, Border Collies got 80.6 percent, while Boxers got 83.9 percent.

Are Rottweilers really dangerous? The truth about their bites

portrait of a rottweiler biting a branch in nature

If you search ‘dog bites’ or ‘dangerous dog breeds’ on the web, you will most definitely find the name ‘Rottweiler’ there.

Also, if you search ‘are Rottweilers dangerous’, you will get a positive answer more often than not. But, you might be surprised to find out that most of these are inaccurate, misinterpreted, and biased.

Some of them are based on politically weighted studies and media-type hysteria. So, we have added some interesting facts regarding this.

Take a look at the following points:

• Most official research on dog bite statistics was conducted a long time ago.

• More than fifty percent of dog bites happened on the property of the dog owner.

• Fatalities caused by canine bites are very unusual in the United States.

• It is a fact that Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, Huskies, German Shepherds, Bull Mastiffs, Alaskan Malamutes, and Doberman Pinschers are always considered to be most likely involved in most fatal attacks.

But, if we take a look at the fatal dog attack statistics, over thirty different breeds, including Chow Chows, St. Bernards, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador Retrievers have been involved since 1979.

And, if we explore dog bite statistics in general, mixed breeds are well ahead of others.

Are Rottweilers dangerous to other dogs?

rottweiler sat in the field with labrador puppies around

Do you already have a pet and want to bring a Rottweiler puppy into your family? Well, Rotties are mislabeled as very aggressive in nature, and therefore, initially, you might be skeptical about their attitude towards other pets.

But, in reality, these big dogs tend to be over-protective towards children and other pets in your household. They will be highly compassionate if you carefully raise your little Rottweiler along with your other pets and kids.

However, you can always choose to separate the Rottweiler puppies if they show dominating behavior towards other pets that are smaller than them in size. You can introduce some methodological training that will help your Rottie understand that others are also a part of your family.

Additionally, you can scold them or pinch them mildly if they become too aggressive. It is well-known that every pet wants its master’s attention and pampering, but Rotties will do anything to get your attention.

If you are frequently away from your home, you should think twice about owning a Rottweiler dog. These pups suffer from separation anxiety and tend to become very nervous when they can’t see their master for a long period of time.

In these cases, Rotties can become very aggressive and can harm other pets, and even your family members, including your children.

Thus, paying utmost attention to it will be one of your first and foremost responsibilities when owning your first Rottweiler.

You should be honest with yourself, and if you are not capable of doing this, then you should not choose a Rottweiler. Otherwise, you will end up with a misbehaved dog that can even turn on you to get your attention.

Adult male Rottweilers (and female ones, too) are very delicate towards other puppies, and it shows their parental quality. So, if you provide them with proper training and socialization from an early age, they will definitely be your faithful as well as loving companions.

Are Rottweilers hard to train?

woman walking a rottweiler dog in the street with a leash

If you are looking for a large dog like a Rottweiler, you should know that they are not suitable for everyone.

You have probably deduced by now that Rotties have some implicit characteristics that other dog breeds do not have, and proper training can make them less dangerous.

These dogs are strong-willed and independent in nature, which makes the training process a bit difficult. That said, the lineage and temperament of each dog will determine whether training is going to be difficult or easy.

Rotties are highly intelligent, and therefore, if you opt for a scientific training approach, you will enjoy it. According to some studies, Rottweilers respond more quickly to the orders and commands of their owners than other breeds do.

You can also follow some practical and time-honored training guidelines, but you have to make the training very consistent from the start. Along with consistency, you have to give positive reinforcement with lots of pets, praises, and treats.

During training, you can’t show any cynicism and annoyance towards your pup. To put it simply, you have to be very patient with these dogs. Yes, they are smart and very intelligent, but that doesn’t mean they will learn everything instantly.

Rottweilers lying

Photo from: @molly_rott

You have to be tolerable and patient; otherwise, your pup will turn to aggressive behavior and start hating you. While training, use hand signals as much as possible, and teach your pup where to go for potty as soon as possible.

Rotties are also very sensitive dogs; therefore, socialization is one of the most important parts of training them.

Taking your pooch out so that it can interact with other dogs and strangers will certainly make it less dangerous in adulthood.

Walk in the park with your doggie and let it confront other dogs. This might seem dangerous to you, but try to keep yourself cool and calm as your dog observes others.

Chide your dog instantly if it shows any intention of biting. Additionally, you can provide it with chewable toys to get rid of this problem.

Are Rottweilers dangerous to their owners?

young beautiful woman with her two adorable rottweiler in the livingroom

Rotties are loyal, loving dogs that are also the 8th most popular breed in the United States. These facts directly contradict the false notion that these dogs turn on their owners. Surely, if there was any truth to these claims, these pups would not be such a popular breed!

Are Rottweilers dangerous to their owners? Well, even though there have been instances where a rottweiler attack on its owner has been reported, those cases can be found with virtually any breed of dog. The crucial question is how the dog has been treated.

Any dog that has been beaten or abused by its owner will become fearful and stressed. In that case, it is completely understandable that the dog might try to bite the hand that beats it the next time it is beaten.

This is why physical punishment should never be used as a disciplinary measure against a pooch, regardless of the breed. When treated with the kindness and love they deserve, Rottweilers will never turn on their owners.

Are Rottweilers better family dogs or guard dogs?

amazing rottweiler dog outside the house with a beautiful garden at the background

Well, Rotties will always be considered as guard dogs because of their more aggressive nature when compared to some other breeds. This is why the police mostly use Rotties.

But, are Rottweilers dangerous enough to not be considered family dogs? Well, if you give them proper training and shower them with affection and care, they will be an outstanding family member.

Both female and male Rottweilers have a soft spot for children, and they can even be protective of them if they are raised together with your little ones. Rotties are very energetic and love to enjoy various playful activities.

Are Rottweilers dangerous for your kids? The answer is no. If they are given proper training and socialization from the beginning, these dogs will act as their sibling throughout their lives. So, let your children play with them as it will make the bond between them even stronger.

Should Rottweilers be kept outdoors?

amazing rottweiler playing in the lawn

Despite their history as cattle dogs, Rotties nowadays should not be kept outside day and night. This is a very social breed that needs to be kept in the home and around the people they love.

Rotties that are left outside and separated from their humans can become isolated. This may lead to separation anxiety, depression, and destructive behavior.

This breed of dog should get plenty of outdoor exercises, such as walks, plays, or running in the yard. But, because of its need for human affection and companionship, Rotties should be brought into the home to be with their families.

Are Pit Bulls or Rottweilers more dangerous?

pitbull and rottweiler dogs playing and fighting

Rottweilers have been responsible for the second-highest number of serious dog attacks in the United States over the last fifteen years. But, the number of serious injuries caused by these dogs is highly disproportionate to the number of Rotties in the country.

Over a twelve-year period, Rottweilers were responsible for over ten percent of fatal dog attacks, even though they make less than three percent of the total dog population.

Pit Bulls are labeled as more aggressive because they are responsible for more serious and fatal attacks of humans than any breed. However, there are also twice as many Pitties as Rotties. This means that, statistically speaking, there should be more attacks by Pit Bulls than by Rottweilers.

When we calculate the number of reported bites per dog breed, Rottweilers are approximately ten times more likely to mangle or kill someone than the average dog. They are also more likely to kill other pets or animals than the average dog.

Insurance considerations for Rottweiler owners

rottweiler dog licking on water poured by owner

If the thought of purchasing or adopting a dog of this breed has crossed your mind, you should check your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for a dangerous dog exclusion. Some policies exclude coverage for dogs they deem “dangerous.”

The Rottweiler breed is almost always listed as one of the dangerous dog breeds in those types of policies. If you have a dangerous dog exclusion, you will not have coverage for an injury caused by a Rottweiler.

If you want to avoid liability for a potential injury caused by your Rottie, one way is to switch to an insurance provider that does not have a dangerous dog exclusion policy. The other way is to buy liability insurance for your dog.

Who is to blame for dangerous Rottweilers?

little girl frightened by two dangerous rottweiler dogs

So, are Rottweilers dangerous, or should the blame really be pointed at irresponsible owners? Any canine has the potential to become aggressive if not properly socialized, trained, or treated with care.

Here’s an analogy. The meanest toy dog can only do so much damage. It is limited by its tiny jaws, and they exert very little force. The chances of a toy dog breed inflicting massive damage or hurting you fatally are slim.

On the other hand, the best-trained, gentlest large dog equipped with powerful jaws can seriously hurt someone just with their tremendous size and power. The key is proper socialization and training combined with responsible ownership.

Best ways to be a proactive Rottweiler owner

owner teaching dog rottweiler in the field

1. Create an ever-strengthening bond with your dog.

The bond you will share with your canine companion will be rewarding and enjoyable for both of you. They don’t call dogs ‘man’s best friend’ for nothing! Every time you interact with your pup, you have an opportunity to strengthen that bond.

Spend as much time as you can with your dog, be affectionate, and pet it often. All of these things ensure a strong bond and a good dog.

2. Provide adequate nourishment.

After proper training and genetics, good nutrition is the next step that will affect your Rottie’s overall personality and well-being. Nutrition is never a place to cut corners.

Feed your dog high-quality dog food, with protein as the primary ingredient. Make sure you stay away from bi-products, and always feed your Rott according to its age and weight.

3. Begin training your Rottweiler to obey commands.

Your Rottie is likely going to weigh more than 100 pounds (45 kg) in adulthood. For this reason alone, you should begin teaching your pup the day after it arrives at your home. Always start with the five basic commands:

• Come!

• Heel!

• Sit!

• Down!

• Stay!

From there, you can make the training more complex and specific. Don’t forget that Rottweilers are a smart breed, so don’t be afraid to challenge them when it comes to training. They will surprise you!

4. Proper socialization of your Rottweiler.

As soon as your dog has mastered the five basic commands, begin introducing them to as many animals, humans, and situations as possible. Start slowly in order not to overwhelm your canine bestie, and gradually increase this exposure.

Make the introductions a relaxed and pleasant experience for your pup. If your dog reacts poorly to a situation, person, or animal, simply remove it and try again at a different time.

Keep in mind that punishment is never an effective training tool, especially with Rottweilers.

5. Have safety measures in place.

Having safety measures not only keeps everyone around your Rottie safe, but it also keeps your pup safe! At the very least, it will keep your Rottweiler from lunging into traffic, and at best, safety measures will prevent your pup from landing on a “bad dog list” in your neighborhood.

Safety equipment for your Rottweiler

dog breed rottweiler with a muzzle standing outdoors

Collar: Despite the popular look, we do not recommend the use of a prong collar. It is better that you find a sturdy leather collar or soft-touch collar with secure clasps that are not plastic.

Harness: Many Rottie owners recommend using a harness, along with a collar, for better control of your pup. Being led by a harness is more comfortable for your Rottweiler, and a second leash attached to its collar gives you more control should you need it. You can always choose to use a harness alone. And, by all means, you should use the tethering method that works best in your case.

Leash: As with a collar, your Rottie’s leash should be made of sturdy, durable material, and have secure clasps that are not made from plastic. If you are walking in rural or unlit areas, you should consider getting a leash with reflective colorings for vehicle headlights. Your pup’s leash should be long enough for it to meander where appropriate. If you want the dog right beside you, simply loop the excess leash in your hand at any time.

Muzzle: Gone are the times when a muzzle was a contraption that didn’t allow a dog to drink or eat when it wore one. Today’s muzzles are designed for both comfort and safety of the dog. You don’t muzzle your Rottie in public because it is a “bad dog”; you muzzle it because it is a big dog!

What are the signs of aggression in a dangerous Rottweiler?

aggressive rottweiler barking showing teeth

All canines carry the capacity for aggression, and Rottweilers are no exception. A dog can become aggressive when it feels as though its safety is threatened, its human is threatened, or its territory is threatened.

In addition, female dogs protecting their offspring will protect them aggressively if necessary. Also, a dog that is confused, hurt, or frightened is at risk of exhibiting dangerous and aggressive behavior.

Contrary to popular belief, though, a Rottweiler does not simply lash out; it will show signs of impending aggression.

Proactive dog owners will notice these signs because they have learned to observe the canine’s primary form of communication – body language.

Five most common signs of aggression in dogs

aggressive rottweiler dog barking in the river

1. Stiff stance: Your dog may or may not lower its head, but the back, legs, and neck will all be stiffened.

2. Hackles are raised: Hackles are hairs around the neck and down the back.

3. Low, guttural growl: Rotties are known to be quiet hunters. Just because this growl might sound low in volume, it is a definitive indication of impending dangerous behavior.

4. “Whale eyes”: Only the whites in the eyes are showing.

5. Ears Back (or straight up) and head lowered.

Should your dog display any of the above indicators, remove it immediately after issuing an authoritative “NO!”

Always keep in mind that punishment is never a good method during training. After you ensure everyone’s safety, try to figure out what triggered the bad reaction in your pup, and come up with a plan for the next encounter.

Your Rottweiler wants to please you more than anything else in this world! It won’t take it long to learn what behavior pleases you and what doesn’t. Praise and pet your pup every time you see it exhibiting good behavior.

By doing this, you will encourage your doggie to repeat pleasing behavior. Some good places to find socialization opportunities for your Rottie are:

• Doggie daycare

• Obedience classes

• Dog parks

• Pet-friendly parks

• Walking/hiking trails

• Friends or family with pets

When introducing new animals, humans, or situations to your Rottie, it will pay close attention to your body language in order to make sure you are not nervous or afraid.

This is why you should always keep your body language relaxed and speak in reassuring tones. Once your dog realizes that you are enjoying a person, animal, or situation, it will be more likely to enjoy it, too!

What Rottweilers need in order to not be dangerous

pretty woman hugging a sweet rottweiler dog outdoors

Now you know that you must be proactive when it comes to ensuring that your Rottweiler won’t become a dangerous dog. Also, you should know the proper steps to avoid it.

It really all comes down to knowing your dog and being responsible when it comes to guiding it in manifesting the behaviors you desire.

The more you know, the better the behaviors you can expect from your canine companion! Now, here are some additional things that all Rottie owners should know:

Five things Rottweilers love

1. Affection: Rottweilers are an affectionate breed. Shower your dog with love and affection every chance you get.

2. Exercise: Your adult Rottie will need about ninety minutes of exercise each day. Adults thrive with around an hour of daily exercise, and senior Rottweilers (past the age of six) will benefit from thirty minutes of exercise each day.

You should break this time into at least three segments each day, and if possible, some of this exercise time should be offered off-leash.

3. Playtime: As we have already mentioned, Rotties are very smart! This makes them social by nature. Try to encourage your dog’s playful nature and you will both benefit from it!

Playing frisbee, tug of war, or tag will stimulate your Rott’s body and mind! The world is a serious place, so remind your dog that playtime together is one way of making the world more enjoyable.

4. Training: Throughout their history, these dogs have been a working breed. After you teach your dog the five basic commands, you can proceed to train it to do a job, and watch as your four-legged friend blossoms with pride upon mastering a task!

One fun task you can train your pup is picking up all of its toys and dropping them in a box at the end of the day. Your furry friend will come to learn anywhere from 150 to 250 words and gestures from you. Try to utilize both in order to give your dog the mental stimulation it needs!

5. Praise/recognition: If a dog only hears the word “NO” from its master, it will not know when its behavior is pleasing him. Because of this, catch your dog being good and then shower him (or her) with rewards of affection and praise.

Three things Rottweilers hate

1. Neglect: The high intelligence level of this breed leaves them very susceptible to loneliness. Tackle this by making sure you are interacting with your furry bestie every day!

A Rott shouldn’t be left alone for more than six hours daily. Also, a Rottweiler should never be tethered outside without anyone to interact with all day. In fact, tethering your dog outside is illegal in some areas of the world!

2. Boredom: In addition to loneliness, these smart pooches are also susceptible to boredom. Pacing, over-sleeping, sighing, licking, obsessive grooming, or destructive chewing are all signs of boredom.

Again, the best thing you can do is take time out of your day to spend with your dog. To prevent boredom, make sure your pup has adequate opportunities to exercise, and that its mind receives stimulation, too!

3. Being touched “there: We intentionally left this category non-specific. Every Rottweiler, or any other dog for that matter, is a unique individual and will have personal preferences on where it likes or doesn’t like to be touched.

Find out which areas of your dog are off-limits and respect them. Also, inform other humans who interact with it of those areas.

Is a Rottweiler the breed for you?

rottweiler dog in the park with one ear raised

Adding this breed of dog to any family requires the dog owner to make some lifestyle considerations. For instance:

1. If you do not have a fenced yard, where will your dog exercise and play?

2. Will you be able to give it the human interaction it needs?

3. Will you be able to overcome the potential problems with pet insurance if you own a Rottie?

These are some of the questions you have to ask yourself before you purchase or adopt one of these pups. If the answer to any of these questions is negative, then you should look for another breed to fulfill the place of your family dog.

Additional considerations for potential Rottie owners

• You must be willing to invest time and money into training it. Also, you should keep in mind that this training needs to be a lifelong commitment, not a one-time thing.

• These pups are not good pets for apartment dwellers and those who do not have the physical and mental strength to handle them.

• They should never be left alone with small children who may hurt or annoy them.

• If your Rottie ever gets sick and you have to take it to the vet, you will need a larger vehicle.

Conclusion

healthy purebred rottweiler posing near the river

Are Rottweilers dangerous, or does it solely depend on the owner? Well, once you own a Rottie yourself, you will realize that the stereotypes surrounding them are simply not true.

Even though they are quite big in size and look a bit intimidating, they are quite the opposite! Most owners agree that Rotties are the most loving breed of dog they ever had.

The idea that Rotties are dangerous is not true by their nature. You would have to look at the triggers and experiences that the pet has gone through in order to understand why they have become aggressive.

When it comes to this breed, you should make an effort to socialize them, so they don’t feel threatened by anything they aren’t used to. Also, Rotties need a firm hand to lead them, and lots of training to be the best dogs they can be.

Once you have a routine with continuous training in place, and reduce any unnecessary stress, you will see how lovely these dogs actually are!

Are Rottweilers Dangerous? How Unsafe Are These Dogs, Really?

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