Is A Rottweiler A Good First Dog? – 10 Things To Know


rottweiler with tongue out a good first dog

The Rottweiler is one of the most ancient breeds in the dog kingdom. A power and robust working dog that has been a companion to mankind for centuries. Rottweilers are calm, confident and courageous dogs that are off the charts in intelligence rankings.

Is a Rottweiler a good first dog? As a general rule the Rottweiler is not a good first dog for the inexperienced. You will need a firm commitment to learning about the breed, how to train them, and manage their high intelligence, and often wilful or stubborn behavior.

I can absolutely understand why a person would want to get a Rottweiler. They are a beautiful breed of dog, and under the right care and leadership make excellent family pets. Taking on the responsibility of ownership is a serious commitment for this large and powerful breed.

If you are considering getting a Rottweiler as your first dog it will be good to know a few facts and quirks about the Rottie. A few reasons why they make excellent family dogs, as well as a few reasons they can be difficult for first time owners. Let’s jump in and learn more about the Rottweiler.

How Long Does It Take To Train A Rottweiler?

Rottweilers are not just smart, they are borderline geniuses in the dog world. Ranking 9th out of 138 breeds of dogs according to canine psychologist Stanley Coren.

How long does it take to train a Rottweiler? Under the right handler they can master basic commands within 6-8 weeks of training. By the age of 6 months your Rottweiler can have a firm grasp on obedience training as well as begin learning more advanced commands.

I have written an entire article about the intelligence and training of the Rottweiler. They are very receptive to learning, but can get bored easily, and can show a stubborn or wilful streak. As a first time owner you will need to learn how to convince your Rottweiler WHY they should want to follow your commands. 

Related ArticleAre Rottweilers Easy To Train? – 20+ Tips & Resources

The Exercise Needs Of A Rottweiler

When looking into the idea of a Rottweiler as a good first dog for your family, you must understand their exercise needs. The Rottie is a highly energetic and athletic working breed of dog that will require extensive physical and mental exercise. This will require up to 2 hours of daily exercise.

A Rottweiler that does not have their exercise needs met can turn to mischief and destructive behavior. In some cases the excess in pent up energy can manifest in the form of aggression. Getting a Rottweiler as a first dog requires a daily commitment of a good exercise routine.

Exercise for your Rottweiler should not be confined to just running around your yard. They will need to be walked daily, and provided with interesting and engaging mental stimulation. These are intelligent dogs that love having a job to do, or a challenge to solve. 

A few activities to consider to add to your daily walks to stimulate your Rottweiler mentally and physically are:

Fetch

Grab yourself a ChuckIt! Or Nerf Ball launcher and get that Rottie running. Fetch is not just a great physical activity, it is also great for training. The mental stimulation of the wait, get it, and come command can all be added to this easy game.

Agility

Whether you set up a mini course in your yard, or rent time at a space in your local area, Rotties excel in agility. This physical activity provides an added layer of fun and challenge to your dogs exercise regime.

Tug-Of-War

Engaging with the family is one of the Rottweilers favorite things. A good game of tug is perfect for this type of interaction. Learning the “drop it” command is important as a basic first step however. They must learn to release their rope tug the moment they hear the command.

Flirt Poles

Flirt poles are great for engaging your Rottweiler in a game of chase and catch. This can add some great mental stimulation when you make it challenging and rewarding for them.

Spring Poles

Spring Poles can be great supplementary tools for your Rottie to play tug with themselves. This can provide great exercise as well as a challenge as the end of the pole moves, helping your dog improve coordination.

Puzzle Games

Food puzzles from Kongs to Outward Hound toys are amazing for mental stimulation. I keep several Kongs handy for my Staffy, and the Outward Hound line of puzzles are fantastic, especially for the more food motivated Rottie. Which is essentially every Rottie.

How Many Walks Does A Rottweiler Need?

rottweiler leash training

A Rottweiler will need as many as 2-3 walks every day depending on the length and time of the walks. You should be giving them at least 2 walks of about 45 minutes each day. Once in the morning and once in the evening to keep them well exercised, balanced and content.

Walking with your dog should be one of the most enjoyable activities of your day. I love walking with my Staffy every morning and evening. This is one of the most important activities you do with your dog to strengthen your bond as well as show your leadership as an owner.

Can You Run With A Rottweiler?

Although the Rottweiler is a strong, energetic and athletic dog, taking them for a run is not your best option for exercise. Running with your Rottweiler can be hard on their joints due to their large frame and build. A steady jogging pace is about as much as you would want to push them.

They can run over short distances and time intervals, but an extended run with your Rottweiler can lead to problems. If you decide to make them your jogging partner make sure to monitor them for any signs of pain or discomfort. 

Do Rottweilers Like To Cuddle?

A Rottweiler that is well taken care of is a very affectionate dog that loves to cuddle with their owner. When your Rottie has been well exercised, fed, and provided with the proper leadership they are very content with curling up for a good cuddle. Some Rottweilers may even think they are lap dogs.

Rottweilers that may seem aloof, or restless and unwilling to cuddle up or show affection are often looking for something else. Namely exercise or mental stimulation. Rottweilers can get bored, anxious and feel pent up when they have not had the opportunity to expend their energy.

Get your Rottweiler out for their walks. Engage them in activities. Work on basic obedience and challenging tricks or commands. Once they have released that natural energy this working breed was born to perform, that’s when the cuddles and affection will come.

Do Rottweilers Have Separation Anxiety?

rottweiler resting head

Despite the Rottweilers calm, confident, and sometimes aloof demeanor, they can have some separation anxiety. Rotties naturally bond very strongly with their owners, and being away from them can produce some anxiety. 

There are ways to prevent separation anxiety in your Rottweiler. I hate to sound like a broken record, but I am going to go back to one important point about Rotties. Exercise. Lots of exercise.

Part of the reason a Rottweiler will exhibit anxiety is because of pent up energy. A well exercised Rottie is a happy Rottie.

Taking your Rottweiler out for a good walk before leaving the home can help curb their separation anxiety. Including some training around you leaving the home is also important. Practice desensitizing your Rottweiler to you coming and going can help them understand it’s okay to be left alone.

This video by Cesar Millan is a perfect example of desensitizing your Rottweiler to your leaving the home. Not making a big deal out of coming and going will give your Rottie the reassurance and confidence that your will return.

Supplementation can be an option as well for your Rottweilers anxiety. CBD Oil for dogs has been used extensively over the past few years as a great alternative to medications.

CBD can provide a calming effect that relieves your Rottweilers anxiety without the pharmaceutical side effects.

I have an entire resource page dedicated to CBD Oils for dogs you can learn more about. I explain what CBD Oil is, how it can help your dog, and some of the best brands you can use.

I’ve started using CBD on my senior Staffy lately and it is fantastic.

Are Rottweilers Expensive To Keep?

The cost of owning a Rottweiler is typical of any large breed of dog. You are going to need to spend more on a premium quality dog food for a Rottie than you would a French Bulldog for example.

Rottweilers are not expensive to keep in general. They are fairly average in terms of care and maintenance costs.

As a first time owner of a dog it can be hard to estimate how expensive a dog can be in the first year, and years after. When getting a Rottweiler as a first dog, a good estimate of your yearly expense would be between $2200 – $4500+. The average would be closer to $3500, but we know spoiling our dogs can add up.

Here is a breakdown of the expenses you are looking at in your first year and years after you have purchased a Rottweiler puppy.

PURCHASERANGEAVERAGE COST
Premium Food & Treats$450 – $950$700
Harness & Leash*$40 – $60$50
Food & Water Bowls*$10 – $50$30
Toys & Chews$250 – $500$375
Dog Bed*$30 – $100$65
Dog Crate*$40 – $80$60
Grooming$30 – $80 DIY$55
Vet Bills & Preventative Care$700 – $1500$1100
Training*$20 – $300$200
Insurance$720 – $1320$1000
Registration & Tags$10 – $20$5
Misc.. Poops bags, wipes, towels$100 – $200$150
Total In First Year$4900 – $12160$6790
Total Yearly After Start Up Costs$2260 – $4570$3385
** One time expense / * First year expense that will last years / Additional costs for dog walking services will range from $20-$30 per 30-60 minute walk.

Do Rottweilers Have A Lot Of Health Problems?

rottweiler puppy

Finding a reputable breeder can mitigate a lot of health problems common to Rottweilers. Proper health screenings and health certifications should be conducted by any responsible breeder.

Asking for proof of health from the parents of your puppy can help avoid many of the health problems Rottweilers can be prone to.

  • Heart problems 
  • Cruciate ligament damage
  • Elbow dysplasia 
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Juvenile Laryngeal Paralysis and Polyneuropathy
  • Inherited eye diseases
  • Osteochondrosis dissecans 
  • Certain cancers – especially aggressive bone cancer (osteosarcoma) and lymphoma.
  • Hot spots (acute moist dermatitis)

Source – PDSA

How do I keep my Rottweiler healthy?

Keeping your Rottweiler health can be simple. Proper nutrition, supplementation, daily exercise, and regular visits to your vet for check ups can help promote and maintain your Rotties health.

As a first time owner of a Rottweiler it is a good idea to keep on top of all their health care needs, and ask your vet as many questions as you can.

Feeding your Rottweiler a premium high quality dog food is one of the easiest things your can do for their health. A protein rich diet from real animal proteins, with lots of Omega fatty acids, and micronutrients is a great way to ensure overall health from coat, to joints, to heart strength.

Visit my Premium Dog Food resource page for some of my top recommendations for a great quality dog food your Rottweiler will love.

Supplementation is also an important part of your Rottweilers health care. Things like Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil can give your Rottweiler that extra fatty acid intake the need to keep their skin nice and joints strong.

How Do I Stop My Rottweiler From Shedding?

rottweiler face

Unfortunately you can never stop a Rottweiler from shedding. You can however prevent excessive hair all over your home through regular grooming and bathing. Especially during the spring time when your Rottweiler will be shedding more than other times of the year.

Getting yourself a good grooming brush and setting a routine of weekly brushings can save your a lot of vacuum time. Not only will this remove excess hair from your Rottie that you can easily dispose of, it will also leave them looking fabulous.

These are the best dog brushes on the market for grooming your Rottweiler. I use the Furminator for my Staffy, but if I had a Rottweiler I would probably rely on the King Komb for that thicker Rottie coat. The King Komb is amazing.

Giving your Rottweiler a regular scheduled bath can also greatly diminish the amount of shedding. Removing the extra hair with a good regular bath routine will keep your floors and couch cleaner, and your dog smelling amazing.

How Often Should You Give A Rottweiler A Bath?

Give your Rottweiler a bath every 8-10 weeks to keep their coat and skin healthy, as well as their fur smelling wonderful. Aside from your Rottweiler rolling in something smelly or sticky, a bath every 2-3 months is enough. Excessive bathing can dry out their skin and lead to skin problems.

Like many short coat Bully type breeds, Rottweilers are prone to some skin issues. I highly recommend a hypoallergenic moisturizing shampoo like the Wahl Dry Skin & Itch Relief Pet Shampoo for Dogs I use this for my Staffy’s sensitive skin and it works great.

Resources & ReviewsThe 15 Best Dog Grooming & Bathing Products

Final Thoughts

rottweiler

Getting a Rottweiler as a first dog is a serious commitment. It is your job to learn as much as you can about the breed, and work on their exercise, training, and health care each and every day.

This will require a lot of work, and as I mentioned this breed of dog is not for everyone.

The Rottweiler can be a good first dog if you are willing to put in the work. Seeking professional help with training, hiring a dog walker if needed to give them the extra exercise. All things to consider when making the commitment. 

Once you have committed and have put in the work you will soon see that it is well worth the effort. The Rottweiler is one of my favorite dogs, and smarter than some people I know.

They are fun loving, courageous animals with tremendous personality. They will be one of the best time investments you can make as a first time dog owner.

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