The Rottweiler is considered confident but calm, courageous but good-natured. The breed has been growing in popularity in previous years due to a welcome change in public perception, finally managing to shake that aggressive dog moniker.
Although rottweiler temperament and personality traits typically include its ability to guard and protect, this shouldn’t overshadow the soft underbelly of this charming and devoted dog.
But, not everyone is convinced. You may have landed here by asking questions such as:
Are Rottweilers difficult dogs to own?
Are Rottweilers a good family dog?
These are perfectly reasonable questions to ask and are to be expected from someone that is looking to become a responsible dog owner.
First things first, if you’re new to dog ownership, then it’s probably likely that a Rottweiler isn’t yet right for you. They require good leadership, assertiveness, dedication and a bit of experience.
If however, you feel like you’re ready to devote yourself to this wonderful breed and you’re looking to learn more about their temperament and character, then read on…
Rottweiler Temperament Traits
There is a difference between temperament and personality. When we talk about “temperament”, we are speaking to traits that a breed is typically born with (influenced by their biology). When talking to personality, we are speaking to traits that are developed over time.
To fully understand the Rottweiler’s temperament, we have to look at the dog’s origins and how the breed evolved over the years.
The Rottie has blood lines which date back to Roman times and their invasion of what is now known as Germany, where it was used as a cattle drover. This therefore acts as a key element to their temperament. The dog had to be strong, powerful, alert and confident enough to drive fear into animals twice or three times its size.
The other side to this is that the Rottweiler also had to act as a watchdog against predators, poachers and thieves. These watchdog-like tendencies are still very much alive in the Rottweilers of today and is the reason why the Rottweiler has been bred with power, athleticism and other physical traits such as a big size and muscular frame and a strong bite force. This also means that aggression is a necessary trait to enforce these physical attributes.
So, as you can see, the Rottie still carries some of these temperaments to this very day, they are engrained deep into their psyche and their biology.
Another area of their temperament is their intelligence. The high intelligence and need for physical exertion makes the Rottie a dream companion due to its eagerness to please and adapt to commands. These exact characteristics also mean the dog is considered a perfect candidate for service dog duties, which is why you commonly see Rottweilers used as police dogs around the USA, UK and Germany.
Rottweiler Personality Traits
The personality of all dogs typically depends on how they were raised. This can go right down to the initial breeding practices, the personality of their parents and their sibling experience.
The bad personalities can usually be put down to a poor upbringing, low to no socialization and unfortunately outright neglect or abuse.
However, when a Rottweiler is responsibly raised, socialized and loved it’s true personality tends to flourish. Their loyal, affectionate and steady nature starts to develop which reveals the exact characteristics of the breed that many have now come to love and adore.
Patient and gentle around your children, the Rottweiler likes to build strong relationships with those around them. That said, early and consistent socialization is vital for this breed. The Rottweiler usually develops a cautious demeanor which can come across as quite distant to outsiders. In context this usually means that the dog is assessing an interaction to ensure a member of its family isn’t in danger.
The Rottie will dote on loved ones, which can sometimes be seen as needy and dependent. They love to cuddle, be stroked and require a large amount of your attention. Not to mention their endearing Rottie grumble.
This means that the Rottie is not suited to owners that are away from the home for large periods of time. Like many other Molosser or Mastiff type breeds, the Rottie is fairly sensitive and can develop separation anxiety. This might spell trouble as the breed can become restless, anxious, nervous and destructive.
If, on the other hand, you (or someone) is able to spend adequate time with them throughout the day, then the Rottweiler can make an exceptional companion. They will show fearless devotion to protecting your household, they will show limitless affection and are great company for young children.
Difference between sexes
Male rottweilers are often considered to show more protective traits, whilst being more boisterous. This is because male rotties are slower to mature than their female counterparts.
A female Rottweiler is often considered more docile and self aware. This does not mean that the female loses all its inherent temperament traits such as a desire to protect, more so that is just typically a more laid back comparison to the male. It may be true that sometimes traits such as protection may sometimes appear higher in females when coming on a heat cycle.
Importantly, you still have to treat each dog as an individual, regardless of their gender. In some cases you may have a female Rottie with maternal instincts that sees her duty as guarding and protecting young children. Or you may have a male Rottie that is extremely docile and just wants to know everybody. Temperament and personality traits are never purely black and white.
Ensuring You Raise Your Rottweiler Well
First things first, you must ensure your Rottweiler is coming from a good breeder that has a proven track record for producing and rearing excellent stock. A good early start to life works wonders for their development later down the line.
You want to quiz breeders on parents characteristics, socialization, human interaction and early training and even their diet. You can find a list of our top recommended breeders right here.
Once it comes time to bring your puppy home, you want to dedicate as much time as possible to training and socialization. If you have the budget, obedience training classes can prove a wonderful investment over the long run. The Rottweiler is intelligent, it should take on commands fairly quickly which will help develop its character as a wonderful companion.
You should also pay attention to what your Rottie is learning in its classes and how it is being taught. Consistency at home can help double down on your training efforts.
Beyond obedience training, general socialization plays a critical role in the wellbeing of your dog and those around it. Be sure to take your dog out to the local dog park to meet other dogs and humans as well as inviting people around the house to visit and introduce themselves to the pup (all in a supervised manner of course).
Finally, owners of Rottweilers need to understand that the breed requires a large degree of mental and physical exercise needs. Engaging in some form of dog sports, fun activities and long walks & swims are a great way to wear down some of that Rottie energy.
To round things off, ensure you use positive reinforcement wherever possible when it comes to training your Rottweiler.
The Rottweiler has some terrific temperament and character traits. The breed can 100% be a great family dog. However, this isn’t something that’s just a given. It has to be worked at. A dedicated, experienced owner that knows how to handle larger breeds and can devote themselves to training and socialization can reap all the benefits of this wonderful breed. A calm, loyal, confident and steadfast companion.