First of all, the decision of welcoming a Rottweiler into your home shouldn’t be made lightly. They are serious dogs that need an owner who is ready to make a commitment and raise them with a firm and loving hand.
That being said, there are several myths surrounding this breed, including how aggressive they are and how dangerous they can be to children. But, as we said, they are just myths.
Are Rottweilers good with kids? The short answer is yes; they are no more dangerous to children than any other dog breed around. If a Rottie is raised and trained properly, it is very protective, loving, and loyal towards its family.
They are good family dogs that, if treated with love, will always be kind and never turn on their family. However, there are some things that you should know when it comes to this breed.
So, read on, and discover everything you need to know about the Rottweiler breed and how they get along with other family members.
Rottweilers descend from a mastiff-type dog called the Molossus. Their ancestors accompanied Romans to Germany, driving the cattle that sustained them as they conquered the known world.
As the army traveled, these big pups mated with dogs that were native to the areas they passed through, thus laying the foundation for new breeds.
One of the areas through which the army passed was southern Germany. This is where the Romans set up colonies to take advantage of the soil and climate suitable for agriculture. Here, Romans built villas roofed with red tiles.
More than 600 years later, inhabitants of a town excavated the site of ancient Roman baths and uncovered one of the red-tiled villas. This discovery inspired a new name for the town: das Rote Wil (the red tile).
Over the next few centuries, Rottweilers flourished in cattle market areas, and the descendants of the Roman Molossus dogs drove the cattle to town for butchering. To keep their coins safe, the cattlemen put their filled purses around their Rottie’s neck when returning home.
After some time, rail transport completely replaced cattle drivers, which lead the Rottweiler breed to near extinction. At a dog show in Germany in 1882, only one nondescript Rottweiler was exhibited.
This dire situation began to change in 1901 when the Rottweiler and Leonberger Club was founded, and the first breed standard was written. The description of the Rottweilers’ character and appearance has changed little since.
Rotties began to be used as police dogs, and they were magnificent at it. Several Rottie breed clubs were formed over the years, but the most influential one was the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub (ADRK), founded in 1921.
It’s believed that the first Rottweiler came to the United States with a German emigrant in the late 1920s. The first litter came in 1930, and the first dog registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) was Stina v Felsenmeer in 1931.
After World War II, the breed experienced a growth in popularity. At that time, Rotties were primarily known as excellent obedience dogs. The height of their popularity was in the mid-1990s when more than 100,000 of these pups were registered with the American Kennel Club.
But, being popular isn’t always a good thing when you are a dog. It is not unusual for puppy mills and irresponsible breeders to cash in on the popularity of a breed. These breeders and puppy mills produce puppies without regard for temperament and health problems.
This is exactly what happened to the Rottweiler breed, and bad publicity lead to a decrease in demand. But, dedicated and reputable breeders are taking this opportunity to turn the breed around and make sure that Rotties are the type of dogs they were always meant to be.
Today, Rottweilers rank 17th among the 155 breeds and varieties registered by the American Kennel Club.
A Rottweiler’s temperament
The last sentence might come as a surprise to some of you, but there are good reasons as to why Rottweilers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. And if you still need the answer to the question “are rottweillers good with kids?” there’s no better place to look than this breed’s temperament.
Rotties, at their core, are incredibly affectionate towards their owners. They generally enjoy being in the company of children and other household pets. So, if you already have a family, are expecting a child, or have other pups or pets and want to introduce a Rotweiller into the mix, you can expect them to have an easy time intermingling with new friends.
Rottweilers are one of the top breeds best suited to being a guard dog, which can be seen in their personality. Because Rottweilers are more watchful, they will respond with caution rather than excitement if they are introduced to something new.
Their alleged “aggressive” attributes stem from their protective natures because family is the Rottweiler’s number one priority. If they are provoked or made to feel their family is threatened in any way, they will change from calm to dominant very quickly.
Deep down, Rottweilers are silly dogs. The American Kennel Club describes these pups as playful and “a gentle playmate.” If you have young children, you can rest assured that they and a Rotweiller will find friends in one another.
Apart from being exceptional guard dogs, Rottweilers are also classified among the working dog breeds. After all, these doggos were originally bred to work in the field and help herd cattle. They have kept this confident, assertive, and powerful personality to this day.
Perhaps the cutest thing about these furry gentle friends is that they are unaware of how big they actually are. Rottweillers don’t seem to understand that they are considered a large breed, so they may want to cuddle with you on the bed, on the couch, or sit on your lap.
Although it is one of the most adorable things to see your children cuddling with your pet, you should still be cautious that they do not accidentally smother or hurt them with their puppy love.
Raising a Rottweiler with newborns
As stated earlier, Rottweilers will most often approach new things with caution – this includes children. The best way to ease a Rottie, or any other dog, to the presence of a new baby is to introduce them before the baby is born. Some suggestions include introducing the dog to the sounds and smells that are associated with a baby.
An essential part of a Rottweiler’s training is proper socialization. This means that Rottweilers should be properly socialized with other animals, kids, and people from an early age. Learning to be around kids at a young age will stay with them throughout their lives. So, if a new child comes into your life, a Rottweiler will understand that they are friendly.
However, if you happen to have a Rottweiler that didn’t get very much socialization with children as a puppy, you shouldn’t automatically label them as a menace to children. There is still a chance for them! Gradually introducing your adult Rottweiler to a child will help both of them to become acquainted with each other.
Before you bring your newborn home, bring home a hat, blanket, or something that has the baby’s scent all over it and allow your dog to smell it. You should also make sure to include your pup as much as you possibly can.
It is easy to see why a dog becomes jealous if it is receiving all the attention in the house, and then one day, something else comes and takes that away from it.
Another quite important thing to do is to always supervise all interactions between a Rottweiler and a baby. Like we said earlier, Rotties, more often than not, don’t understand their size and strength. Therefore, it is important to supervise any interaction to make sure your pup doesn’t accidentally hurt your child.
Here are some small guidelines you should use to make sure your Rottweiler understands when it is around children:
• Make sure your pup understands that there are areas in the house it is not allowed in (i.e., the newborn’s bedroom or rooms where your child lays on the floor).
• Train your dog not to jump or play with the baby.
• Help your Rottie understand that there will be times when it will have to be alone for short periods of time. Don’t worry about this one, as Rottweilers are perfectly capable of being left alone for a short while.
Raising a Rottweiler with toddlers
Most of the information from the previous section can be carried over to this one. The most important being that you should always supervise interactions between your pet and your child to prevent any bumps in their relationship.
A great way for your toddler to bond with a Rottweiler is to include him or her in taking care of it. This is especially important if you have a puppy, as puppies tend to view kids as other puppies.
Including your toddler in raising a Rottweiler will help the dog recognize your child as an authority figure. This has the effect of your dog knowing it shouldn’t try to boss your kid around.
Teaching your kids
“Are Rottweilers good with kids?” can sometimes be answered with “are those children good with dogs?” Some children have instinctive reactions such as lightly tapping or hitting their hands on other people’s arms, legs, or chests. This usually doesn’t hurt unless the child needs to have its nails trimmed.
However, this kind of behavior doesn’t come across as cute with animals. Dogs or other pets might retaliate if they are constantly teased, bugged, and pulled on.
While your children are still young, they will view everything as food or as a toy. On the bright side, your little one probably won’t view your pup as a snack and bite them. But, on the other hand, if they aren’t taught how to properly behave and care for a dog, the dog might bite them.
Here is a short list of the most important things to teach your children:
• Teach them not to pull on a pet’s ears, tail, or fur.
• Teach them not to grab or hit a pet.
• Show them the proper way of petting cats and dogs.
• Teach your children to use an “inside voice.” This means they should refrain from screaming or yelling, especially when interacting with a puppy. This will prevent the puppy from thinking that your child is something they can chase around and knock down.
• Teach them to respect the dog’s boundaries. Your children should not get too close when a dog is eating their food.
• And teach them that dogs are not to be used for riding.
Training your Rottweiler
The only likely reason for a Rottweiler to grow up to be mean and aggressive is through a mean and aggressive upbringing brought on by their owners. A dog of any breed can grow up to be dangerous, depending on its master. This is the main reason why people have negative feedback to the question: “are Rottweilers good with children?”
Proper training is a primary factor in guaranteeing your Rottweiler will grow up to be a loving, loyal, and obedient pup.
Like we said before, Rottweilers are a working breed. Over the centuries, they have been bred to become cattle herders, police dogs, and companions to the armed forces. This means that Rottweilers are very intelligent and willing to learn. Young representatives of this breed are relatively easy to train, and when they learn something, they tend to retain it.
A common misconception is that Rottweilers are incredibly difficult to train. That is simply not true. Every dog needs to be trained throughout its entire life, and Rottweilers are no different.
However, don’t be surprised if your Rottweiler tries to challenge your authority during your training sessions. That is simply the nature of these dogs – they are confident, assertive, and if you fail to enforce rules and show authority, they won’t listen to you. Or, they might even try to boss you around.
As a responsible dog owner, it is absolutely vital that you understand that a Rottweiler is not a lapdog. It is not enough just to teach them to do their business outside, not jump on the furniture, and know where their water and food dishes are.
Below is the absolute minimum type of training a Rottweiller requires, according to The Rested Dog Inn:
• You should teach your dog to reliably respond to commands such as stay, come, lie down, and walk at your side, whether on or off a leash.
• You should teach your Rottweiler to respect household rules and constantly enforce those rules.
• Try to commit to an eight to ten-week series of sessions at a professional trainer or local obedience club, and practice the homework they give you.
Most dog breeds are capable of being trained only by a professional but not Rottweilers. While it is completely okay to get help from a professional trainer, you, the owner, must train your dog.
Because of this, you need to be assertive and have leadership skills. This authority should be established through quiet, calm self-assertion and self-assurance and never through physical abuse.
Training sessions are a great way to bring your children into the mix. Your little ones and other family members can help with the training of your new family pet.
Not only will this teach your kids the rules set for your Rottweillers, how to interact with it, and how to care for it, your Rottweiler will recognize your children with the same authority that you have. Therefore, your children will enjoy the same level of respect.
The most obvious thing that dogs and kids have in common is that they love to run around and play. When it comes to Rottweilers, there is a considerable amount of exercise these pups need to stay happy and healthy.
If you neglect exercising your Rottweiler, and it does nothing but sit around the house all day, it can be bad for both of you. It is bad for your dog because they will turn to anything that will help them burn built-up energy, and it is bad for you, as the owner, because it can lead to destructive behavior.
Fortunately for you (and your furry friend), there are various things you can do to prevent this behavior. Plus, your kids can join in on the activities too.
Here is a list of activities your kids and your Rottweiler can do together:
• Obstacle course – This can be a family project as you put together a course for your Rottweiler to run around on. You can do this either indoors or outdoors, and it is quite cheap.
• Stairway dash* – This is an excellent way to practice commands with your Rottie. During this activity, you stand at the bottom of stairs or some steps with your Rottweiler at your side. Then, you throw the ball up the stairs, making sure your Rottweiler sits or stays. When you accomplish this, tell your dog to go get the ball and watch it spring after it. When your pup gets the ball, command it to bring it back to you. After a successful cycle, be sure to praise your pup for doing a good job!
*With this activity, it is advised to wait until your pup is at least fifteen months old, as playing this at a younger age could damage its developing joints.
Other activities include:
• playing tug of war
• playing fetch with a frisbee or a tennis ball
• go swimming or blast the sprinkler system
• go for a walk or go hiking.
Why are Rottweilers good with children?
These dogs are as loyal as they come. There are few dog breeds that will stick by your side no matter what, and Rottweilers are one of them.
Some state that they are the third most loyal dog breed in the world; however, they are practically on every list of the most loyal breeds.
Even though all dogs are “pack dogs” to a certain extent, Rottweilers take this to another level. They love their family so much that they tend to develop separation anxiety when left alone for long periods of time.
Rottweilers are loyal, devoted, protective, and loving dogs. They love their owners because that is where their loyalty lies. If you introduce your children as members of the pack, you can bet that your Rottweiller will extend its loyalty to the kids as well.
As members of the pack, any aggression towards them is extremely rare with proper training. But, to foster this unwavering trust and loyalty, these pups need human interaction.
The Rottweiler is a social and people-oriented dog that needs to be involved in all your family activities. If you just keep one in the backyard, don’t expect it to thrive.
Built to handle rough child’s play
With their muscular build, Rottweilers are tough and strong dogs. They were bred with sturdiness and durability in mind. And, unlike the smaller breeds such as Chihuahua, Maltese, or Shih Tzu, these dogs are capable of withstanding the rough play of kids.
According to the AKC, a male Rottweiler dog can have a height of 27 inches at the shoulder. Similarly, females range between 22 and 25 inches. These gentle giants can also weigh upwards of 100 pounds, with some males reaching 135 pounds and more!
If you have small children, you probably already know how much of a handful your kids can be. They can run circles around the dog, play with their ears, hug them, and in some cases, tug at their tail.
There is a reason why small dog breeds aren’t ideal for young children. It is not because the kids might get hurt, but rather the other way around. With their rowdy behavior, children can easily hurt small dogs, even though they mean only the best.
But, we think it is safe to say that this won’t happen with a Rotweiller, at least with an adult one.
The guard dog instincts
A loyal dog typically means it will do whatever it takes to guard its home. The only condition is that they are big enough. And, as we’ve seen throughout this article, Rottweilers check both of these boxes.
Similar to how Australian Shepherds love to herd or how Huskies love to run, Rottweilers are loving guardians that are constantly watching over their family. Given their vigilant nature and alertness, these pups actually enjoy keeping watch.
This breed is naturally born to guard. Some dogs are more suspicious, while some are more easygoing. But most Rottweilers will only bark when there is really something to bark about.
This means that Rottweilers act as a second pair of eyes for your kids. This doesn’t mean that you should leave your kids alone with the family dog. It’s just that if a stranger comes close to the kids, your Rottweiler will be the first one to investigate.
Obedient and intelligent learners
Perhaps this might come as a surprise, but Rottweilers are considered to be some of the most intelligent dogs in the world, especially when it comes to obedience and work intelligence.
Most of the time, these pups respond well to obedience training and will happily learn tricks and commands to show off.
In a dog intelligence study lead by Stanley Coren, a canine psychologist, he found that when it came to learning and executing basic commands, Rottweilers rank 9th in the world.
Coren also found that these doggos, on average, are capable of learning new commands with less than five repetitions. This means it is highly possible to teach your new Rottweiler basic commands in just a few short minutes!
In addition, Coren states that Rottweilers obey known commands with a 95% or better success rate. There are just a few other dog breeds that are capable of this. To cure your curiosity, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds performed just as well.
Given that they are eager learners with high intelligence, these pups can be a huge plus for a household with kids. Not only will obedience training provide the necessary mental stimulation your pup needs, but it will also be a fun experience for your kids.
You will be able to keep both the dog and the kids entertained for some time (two birds, one stone). And as we mentioned, having your kids participate in training sessions can go a long way in developing a strong and lasting bond between them.
Pitfalls of Rottweilers with kids
So far, we’ve only gone through the good things about raising Rottweilers and kids together. And while a Rottweiler puppy can be a kid-friendly addition to your family, there are also concerns that all parents should be aware of.
The more information you have about the potential dangers, the better you’ll understand these dogs. As a result, you will be able to adapt your approach to raising them while also being aware of how you can prevent accidents.
One of the main factors why obedience training is essential is because these pups tend to have dominant personalities. This goes especially for male Rottweilers. With a submissive and “weak” owner, Rottweilers will try to establish alpha dominance within their pack.
That being said, Rottweilers require a firm and consistent leader from day one. Their owners can’t dilly-dally but instead should demand and expect consistent behavior from them. At the same time, an owner shouldn’t be too dominant, as it can lead to the dog becoming introverted. This is why Rottweilers are often recommended for experienced owners.
Depending on who you ask, this breed may not always have the best reputation. In recent years, they have been involved in several fatal attacks; thus, they are now seen as “dangerous” dogs by many. However, this is most often because of their owner and not the dog itself.
Owners who fail to consistently train and socialize their Rottweilers will often end up with a dog that has aggressive tendencies. And, when you combine poor training with their inherent protective nature, these dogs can easily attack visiting children that aren’t part of their pack.
We’ve gone over how the Rottweiler’s size and durability can be a big plus for dealing with the rowdiness of young kids. However, their physical prowess can also be a pitfall. Even if a Rottweiler knows its own strength, it may not know how weak small kids actually are.
Even if you succeed in raising the sweetest, most docile Rottweiler in the world, there is still a small chance they may unintentionally hurt a young child. All it takes for these big dogs is a little whack or shove to the face to bring tears to a young child’s eyes.
Even though Rottweilers are playful, their actions are more than capable of injuring kids. Again, this is why adult supervision and obedience training are so crucial. If your dog becomes too rough, you can always give the “off” or “no” command.
Rottweiler’s prey drive
Rottweilers are herding dogs, so their “prey instincts” aren’t as strong as a Greyhound’s, for example. But, there is evidence showing that almost all dogs have a prey drive to a certain extend, including Rotties.
Some pups might chase after squirrels, while others might try to chase chickens. It depends on what drives the individual dog. But, when you choose a Rottweiler puppy, there is no guarantee it won’t have a strong prey drive. There are things you can do to keep it in check, but at the end of the day, instincts are instincts.
A terrifying situation is when your Rottweiler views children as “prey.” Fortunately, proper socialization and training are great ways to deal with this. Your Rottweiler must learn how to accept small kids as “humans.” Otherwise, the dog might naturally see them as small prey.
Male Rottweillers mature slower
There are some key differences between female and male Rottweilers that can affect their play with children. For example, aside from the fact that male Rottweilers are bigger, they tend to mature slower.
This means that male Rottie puppies spend a longer period in the hyper-puppy phase, despite already growing into their adult bodies. On top of that, males are usually more mischievous, which can lead to rougher play with children.
If you have children, a female Rottweiler might be a better choice. Females develop self-awareness along with their growth in size. This means that female Rottweilers may be faster at learning how to interact with kids, and in turn, develop a more patient attitude towards them.
Exercise before playing with kids
Before letting your four-legged best friend play with children, you might want to consider giving the dog some exercise prior to the meeting. These large dogs can have tons of energy, and without enough daily physical activity, they can quickly get out of control.
It should come as no surprise that a lack of exercise can lead to destructive behaviors and that no parent wants a destructive dog around their kids. Series of constant barking, chewing up furniture, and rougher play with kids can all be signs of destructive behavior.
Most dogs of this breed require at least two hours of exercise daily for both their physical and mental needs. In the beginning, at least, it can be a good idea to take your dog out to play fetch, jog around the neighborhood, or go for a swim before playtime with children.
A relaxed Rottweiler can mean a calmer interaction between the dog and the children. After tiring exercise, your dog may be less likely to jump on the kids or chase them around. Additionally, it might be more focused on your commands.
Top 6 common myths about rottweilers
1. Rottweilers are aggressive and vicious.
This opinion is the go-to myth that people fall back on with any breed they deem unpredictable and violent. But, as we’ve seen in this article, the Rottweiler is a steadfast, friendly, and affectionate dog.
Yes, this is a big dog with an imposing look, but as long as it is treated and trained with patience, care, and consistency, the Rottweiler will return the love a hundredfold.
In fact, a recent study found Chihuahuas to be far more aggressive than either Pitbulls or Rottweillers!
But, as with any dog breed, if a Rottweiler is neglected, abused, or mistreated in some way, it may indeed become aggressive and dangerous.
2. Rottweilers are dangerous to children.
Because of the myth we’ve seen in the misconception above, these dogs are considered unsafe around children. Just keep in mind that Rotties are no more hazardous to a kid than any other dog breed.
As we’ve learned by going through this article, Rottweilers are loving and protective members of their family when trained and raised properly. And this should solidify your answer the next time someone asks you, “are rottweilers good with kids?”
In most dog attack cases involving kids, the attacks happened when a child was left unattended. If your kid doesn’t know how to behave around a dog, leaving him alone with one is not a wise idea.
3. Rottweilers are stubborn and impossible to train.
After reading this article, this should sound like complete nonsense. As we’ve seen, Rottweilers have a long history of working with humans, starting from their origin over 2,000 years ago.
They were used for bear hunting, pulling butchers’ carts, and herding cattle. Today, Rottweilers have been trained for service and therapy work, police work, and for use in the armed forces.
A breed that has accomplished so much, and has so much going for them, can clearly be trained. These pups might have willful personalities, but they are also very intelligent and eager to learn.
4. Rottweilers don’t go well with other animals.
This is an unfair assumption as any Rottie that has been properly trained and socialized can learn to share his space with other animals. A careful introduction goes a long way toward making this process much easier.
While Rottweilers can learn to share a home with other animals, you should be careful with small pets that the dog might consider prey, such as rabbits or cats.
This breed tends to work very well with others, but ensuring that all dogs involved are neutered will prevent territorial behavior from occurring.
5. Rottweilers should be kept outdoors.
Despite their working background as cattle dogs, Rottweilers today should not be kept outside day and night. This is a sociable dog breed that needs to be kept in the home and made a part of family life.
Rotties that are left outside and separated from their humans can become isolated. This can further lead to depression, separation anxiety, and destructive behavior.
6. Rottweilers turn on their owners.
These pups are loyal, loving dogs and are one of the most popular breeds in the United States. These facts alone directly contradict the false notion that Rottweilers turn on their owners. Because if it were true, these dogs would not be such a popular breed.
Yes, there have been some cases where Rottweilers have attacked and bitten their owners. But, this type of situation can be found with virtually any dog breed. The main factor is how the dog has been treated.
A Rottie that has been abused or beaten by its owner will become stressed and fearful. So, it is understandable why the pup might want to try to bite the hand that gives it pain.
So, are Rottweilers good pets for families?
Photo from @lexi_iness
We hope that this article gave you a better understanding of this often misunderstood breed. Rottweilers might have a menacing look and imposing appearance, but deep down, they are good pets and awesome dogs.
When it comes to the question: “are Rottweilers good with kids?” we will leave it up to you to decide.
After all, everyone knows what’s best for them and their family. Just keep in mind that Rottweilers are no more hazardous to kids than any other dog breed.
And, in fact, with proper training of both the dog and children, they might find best friends in one another.