Are Rottweilers Dangerous?
[The Ultimate Guide]

By kropek2021. • Updated July 1, 2021

Rottweilers are notorious for their aggressive behavior, but I and many others think (justifiably so) that this is just a gross misconception that causes prejudice against this beautiful breed.

Now, I am not looking at Rotties through rose-colored glasses – I realize perfectly that they can be dangerous when in the wrong hands. But you shouldn’t be afraid of every Rottweiler you see just because of what you heard about them.

So are Rottweilers dangerous dogs? Or are Rottweilers safe? Read on to find out!

Are Rottweilers Aggressive?

First up, I’d like to introduce you to the temperament of Rottweiler dogs – this will be important down the line.

Rotties aren’t inherently aggressive or dangerous…

Originally bred to herd livestock and pull carts, Rottweilers today are popular as guard dogs and search & rescue dogs thanks to their intelligence, strength, and confidence.
The Rottweiler inherently doesn’t have an aggressive behavior – on the contrary, Rotties prefer to adapt to their surroundings rather than try to actively influence them. As an example, when confronted with new people or situations, they stay aloof and only take action when they think it’s necessary. This is sometimes called a “wait-and-see attitude.”

Rottweilers are natural family protectors as well. Strong, intelligent, and yet mellow, they generally stay indifferent (but attentive) to strangers but can be extremely powerful in defense.

Due to their reserved nature, Rottweilers don’t easily make friends with others until properly introduced, but they are exceptionally devoted to their owners.

… but they require proper training & socialization

So, all in all, Rotties’ temperament doesn’t sound that bad at all, does it? So why are some people prejudiced against these dogs or even outright scared of them?

Well, lack of training is detrimental to Rotties. The above characterizations apply to well-trained Rottweilers who have been socialized with other pets and people at an early age. A Rottweiler who has passed firm and consistent training knows how they should behave in the presence of strangers and knows when active interference is actually necessary.

Don’t want to deal with aggression in your Rottweiler? Then you should do the following things:

  • Pick a puppy carefully. Heredity could have a significant impact on the temperament of a Rottweiler puppy. Ideally, you should see at least one of the puppy’s parents to check on their personalities before adoption. If they are friendly and socialize with people easily, the puppy will likely be the same.
  • Firmly and consistently train your Rottie. Rottweilers require assertiveness and confidence from their owners. If a Rottweiler senses that their owner is a pushover, they will start dictating their own rules. Out of the owners’ control, Rottweilers can be disastrous pets for their owners, other people, and themselves.
  • Socialize your Rottweiler when young. Rottie puppies should be exposed to different people, other dogs, and situations early. Otherwise, every new experience is going to seem like a threat to an adult Rottweiler.

 

If you follow these steps, you should turn your Rottweiler into a loyal doggo who respects their owners and knows what it means to behave appropriately.

Why Are People Afraid Of Rottweilers?

As a word of caution – my goal in this section is not to make you biased against Rottweilers in one way or another. Rather, I want you to have a more objective picture of what you could expect with this breed.

Many dog attacks are associated with Rottweilers

Rottweilers carry the erroneous reputation of vicious, aggressive, and dangerous dogs.

This stereotype has its roots in the numerous cases of Rottweiler incidents and canine homicides, as well as in the negative image attached to this breed by the media.

In 2000, rottweilers were named America’s deadliest dog breed due to 33 fatal attacks on humans between 1991 and 1998.

For comparison, pit bulls – who have been responsible for more deaths than any other breed at the time – were involved in 21 fatal incidents in the same time period.

Additionally, between 1979 and 1998, at least 25 dog breeds have been involved in 238 human fatalities, with over half of these deaths caused by Pit Bull-type dogs and Rottweilers.

These alarming statistics have prompted some local governments in the United States (and probably abroad too) to ban people from owning Rottweilers.

In areas where Rottweilers are allowed, owners may stumble upon specific difficulties in their daily lives, ranging from prejudice from other people and ending with dog breed restrictions with some homeowners insurance plans.
Despite all this, the American Kennel Club (AKC) characterizes the temperament of Rottweilers as calm, confident, and courageous.

AKC then adds stuff that we already know – that Rottweilers possess aloofness toward strangers and that they have a wait-and-see attitude toward their surroundings.

Why do Rottweilers become aggressive?

If you remember, in the previous section, I’ve been telling you that Rottweilers aren’t aggressive and dangerous. So how come all these horrifying statistics of canine homicides that involved Rottweilers?

As far as I am aware, no formal research has been carried out to determine the causes of Rottweiler aggression. However, I bet that Rottweilers’ aggressive behavior was the owners’ fault in the vast majority of cases.

If you recall, I said earlier that Rottweilers require consistent and firm training – more so than many other breeds. Suppose you, as the owner, are not strict and consistent enough to teach a Rottweiler – a confident and intelligent dog with super-high energy levels and an equally high prey drive – proper boundaries. In that case, you can be sure that a disaster involving your dog will happen sooner or later.

Rottweilers are loyal dogs who are extremely protective of their owners. However, a well-trained Rottweiler will never attack a stranger without a good reason.

A Rottweiler dog who hasn’t been trained and socialized properly is going to turn on their owners and even on complete strangers who really shouldn’t be suffering from the owner’s inability to restrain their dog. If neglected or left alone often, Rotties may become aggressive as well.

As a bottom line for this section – Rottweilers aren’t inherently dangerous, but they have been involved in many dog attacks, including fatal ones. Thus, I personally would stay away from Rottweilers whose owners I don’t know – just to stay safe.

Are Rottweilers More Aggressive Than PitBulls?

PitBulls are generally considered more aggressive than Rottweilers – mainly because they have long been used in dogfighting. Like Rottweilers, PitBulls are outlawed in some areas.

All in all, PitBulls and Rottweilers’ temperaments are similar, and they both need an experienced and assertive owner to tame their bully-ish bearing. With that said, a PitBull, when properly trained and socialized, is more friendly toward strangers than Rotties and makes a worse guard dog.

Is A Rottweiler A Good Family Dog?

If properly trained and socialized, Rottweilers make wonderful family dogs. The Rottie is a loyal, protective, and very friendly breed (at least, as far as their families are concerned), so they would be an excellent addition to an experienced owner’s home.

Rottweilers are territorial, so they aren’t going to take strangers easily and can make great guarding dogs. But if adequately trained, Rotties never attack without reason.

Rottweilers and children

When it comes to children, Rotties get along with kids really well, but you should always supervise your doggo when they are around kids
Due to their cattle-herding heritage, Rottweilers tend to bump children. This could potentially cause children to fall and injure themselves.

Rottweilers and other pets

If you already have another pet – a dog or a cat – or are planning to get one after a Rottweiler, you should also have no issues, but you will need to be vigilant when introducing a Rottie to a new buddy.

Since Rottweilers are territorial, they can meet other animals with aggressive behavior. This particularly applies to male dogs whom Rottweilers may view as competition.

Rotties can struggle to get used to new pets if they haven’t been socialized with other animals as puppies. However, with a firm hand and a lot of care, Rottweilers can become friendly to any companion.

One thing to note, though – Rottweilers have a high prey drive and may get murderously excited upon the sight of a small animal. So when introducing your dog to another pet, you should be taking things very slowly.

The introduction of new pets to a Rottweiler is beyond the scope of this article, so you’ll need to do some extra research if that’s what you are worried about now.

Is A Rottweiler A Good First-Time Dog?

This is a firm noRottweilers are a terrible choice for a first-time dog owner. Any large and energetic breed is a poor pet for a newbie owner, as a matter of fact.

If you don’t have experience with dogs, don’t have assertiveness (or aren’t sure if you have), or will not be able to commit to your dog’s needs daily, follow my advice – stay away from large breeds

You can certainly start with an easier dog breed today and perhaps up the “difficulty level” as you begin understanding dogs better. But if you don’t have what it takes to keep a Rottweiler in check right now, get a more beginner-friendly breed.

Conclusion

So that’s it for the Rottweiler temperament guide! Here are the key points from this article:

  • Rottweilers aren’t inherently aggressive. On the contrary, they are super friendly toward their owners.
  • Rottweilers aren’t friendly toward strangers, but they don’t attack without reason – instead, they prefer to watch what happens and react accordingly.
  • Rotties need to be trained and raised properly and be socialized to reveal their best qualities.
  • With lack of training, Rottweilers may get violent and perceive situations, people, and animals they are unfamiliar with as a threat.
  • Stay away from Rottweilers you don’t know.
  • Don’t adopt a Rottie if you don’t have significant experience with dogs or don’t have access to advice from a dog trainer.