Many people find out too late that the answer for them is no! For some people, the Rottweiler is the only breed in the world. It’s important that you understand what you’re getting into when you take a Rottweiler into your home. This is not a Labrador in a Rott suit. It’s a very different breed of dog with its own set of unique advantages and disadvantages. You may love the way the rottweiler looks, but you may not love his typical rottweiler temperament!

The first item of concern for many people is getting a dog for protection. While the Rottweiler is a “guarding breed,” there is no guarantee that the rottie you get will protect you from an intruder or attacker. Individual personalities vary within the breed, and the sweet family pet you get for protection may run and hide at the first sign of danger. On the other hand, you may get a dog that’s positively itching for a confrontation. He or she may find any excuse to distrust someone (even a family member) and “protect” you against someone that has no ill intentions! Without proper (and expensive) training, you could be setting yourself up for a bad situation with a “protective” dog.

Rottweilers as Watch Dogs

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they get a rottweiler is to fail to properly socialize the dog with other people and animals. Dogs who are not properly socialized may bark, growl, lunge at or worse, bite, people who do not pose a threat. When your friends are visiting (or your kids’ friends), be mindful of the liability such a dog can become. The last thing any good rottweiler owner wants is for their dog to hurt a friend.

Because of its recent popularity as a watch or guard dog, the Rottweiler has been overbred and bought or adopted by people who either don’t understand how to raise one properly, or don’t care. Rottweilers sometimes become the victims of mean people who do all kinds of horrible things to try to make their dog “protective.” Some of these dogs make the headlines following a vicious attack, perhaps on a child. Millions of rotties are out there right now, living happily in complete harmony with their families, but those are not the dogs the media focuses on, and many people assume that ALL rottweilers are vicious killers waiting for a chance to strike. When your neighbors find out you have a rottweiler, they may be very upset with you. Rottie owners have a great responsibility to both their community and their dog to properly socialize their rottie (regularly take him or her places and meet people and other animals), and to secure the dog within their home so he or she can’t get loose and wander the neighborhood.

Read, Read, Read!

If you don’t know much about the rottweiler as a breed, you owe it to yourself, to your family, your community and your future dog to read as much as you can BEFORE you get one. Many people make a mistake getting a rottweiler when it’s not the right breed for them, simply because they did not educate themselves beforehand. A terrific, friendly, loving dog in the wrong hands can become a danger to its family and to its community. I don’t just mean “in the hands of an abusive owner” — even a gentle, loving owner can make mistakes and turn a good dog bad, however good their intentions. It’s important to fully understand what kind of dog we’re talking about.

One thing to remember is that the rottweiler was bred largely to drive cattle. When you compare sheep herding to cattle droving, you can see that the kind of dog personality required to herd sheep (which are docile, followers, non-aggressive) is very different from the kind of dog personality required to drive cattle. What kind of dog would stand up to an angry bull and still get its way? A rottweiler! Your rottweiler may challenge YOU at some point. How you (and your children) handle and interact with the dog every day will determine how safe the dog is. Is this the kind of dog you want for your family? The more you know about what you’re getting yourself into, you have a better chance of success with your new dog — whatever the breed you choose!

 

Also, I recommend you read at least one book on the rottweiler breed, and one on dog behavior and training. Many of the problems I see with dogs not working out in their current homes stem from their owners’ lack of education and knowledge about the breed and about dog behavior and training in general. Refer to my Links page for a list of great dog books.

Rottweilers and Insurance

If you own your home, check with your home owner’s insurance company and your home owner’s association (if you have one) about their policy on Rottweilers. Surprisingly enough, despite strong evidence to the contrary, many people believe that Rottweilers are dangerous simply by virtue of their breed. Insurance companies have been known to cancel policies of good, responsible home owners when they find out those customers got a Rottweiler, Doberman, Pit Bull, Akita, Chow, German Shepherd or other breed that they have some personal bias against. If you don’t know for sure that your insurance company has no breed-specific exclusion, call your agent right away. Some companies have dog breed restrictions that vary by state, so a company that accepts Rottweilers in one state may not in another. Go figure!

Some companies that are known to have some dog breed restrictions are:

  • State Farm Insurance
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Allstate
  • Metropolitan
  • American Family
  • Met-Life
  • Nationwide

Again, this can vary from state to state with a company, so check with your agent. I switched from American Family to Farmer’s when I got my Rottweilers.

If your home owner’s insurance company cancels your policy for any reason, it’ll be harder for you to find a company to insure you, so it’s worth checking on. You never know whose brother or sister-in-law lives next door to you. ;o)