How Smart Are Rottweilers?

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

As a dog trainer, I have had conversations with various pet parents about their dog breeds in my years of experience. An interesting topic that always comes up is “Which are the smartest dog breeds?” 

This question is very tricky as dog personality plays a significant role in such attributes. Still, some breeds are more intelligent than others. A very recent discussion with a client about his Rottweiler pup again brought in this query. He was under the notion that Rottweilers are reputed as “dumb” dogs. 

Let’s quickly break this myth. Rottweiler breed, on the contrary, is ranked in the top ten intelligent dog breeds.

What Attributes To A Dog's Intelligence?

We consider three different aspects to understand intelligence-

Instinctive Intelligence

Domestication of dogs includes training dogs to complete tasks. These develop instincts in them. They are an intelligent breed that is very loyal.
Rottweiler, as a breed, is an excellent guard dog. They were bred to be police dogs; thus, their characteristic instincts stem from it.

We also need to understand that the instincts of breeds develop over the years. Each breed has instinctive intelligence depending on their natural expertise.

Adaptive Intelligence

When you place your dog in a relatively new environment, adaptability plays a significant role.

For your dog to adjust and situate themselves in the surrounding, their adaptive intelligence comes in handy.

Adaptive intelligence depends on their problem-solving intelligence and adjustability. This develops from the correlation between the dog breed and the process of domesticating the dog.

Operational Intelligence

The operational intelligence does depend on the trainer and command that the dogs learn.

Your dog(s) responding well to hand gestures and verbal commands indicate they have good working skills.

If your dog shows obedience and follows your instructions when told to finish a task, it indicates high intelligence. This kind of intelligence is crucial as it impacts socialization skills.

Understanding Rottweilers

In German, Rottweilers are known as Rottweiler Metzgerhund which literally translates to Rottweiler butchers’ dog. The rottweiler breed is a direct descendant of the mastiffs of the Roman Legion. They were historically bred to herd cattle and pull carts filled with butchered meat to markets. As time progressed, the owners trained the dog breed to search and rescue dogs and join legal departments as police dogs.

Rottweilers are known for their strength. A male rottweiler easily stands between 24 to 27 muscle inches at the shoulder, females going a little shorter. They have a short straight black coat of fur, which is dense.  The rust-colored markings on them enhance their physical appearance. The muscular hind legs provide ease in trotting effortlessly. The front legs are straight and placed a distance apart to provide smoother landing after a jump. Their feet are well padded. 

Are Rottweilers Temperamental?

Rottweilers are generally calm in temperament and are highly trainable. They are a confident dog breed and need firm leadership while training. Otherwise, they assume the role of “alpha.”

They are a confident dog breed and fiercely loyal. Rottweiler puppies and dogs need a proper amount of stimulating exercises and tasks to channel their energy in an outlet. They are a working dog breed and intelligent at learning new activities.
If Rotties are well-bred and given proper training, they can be unique pets to have. A rottweiler puppy or dog can represent aloofness and play around like a goofball, making them lovable. But as owners, if you train them well, the dog’s territorial instincts develop positively to become a good family dog.

This breed can quickly become destructive and spiral out of control if not provided proper training. Thus before adopting or rescuing, be sure rottweiler is the dog for you.

Are Rottweilers Smart Dogs?

As a dog trainer, I have seen owners getting confused by their Rotties’ silly behavior in my years of experience. They would come up to me in bewilderment as to why I mentioned them rottweilers are smart.

As I already stated, Rotties act like adorable goofs. This stems from their desire to please you. They are like family members who love when you pamper them. They play and fool around to grab your attention, to get you affectionate, and shower your dog with love.

But now that we have already educated ourselves with Rottweilers’ lineage and their domestication, it is clear that Rotties are an intelligent dog breed.

The personality of each dog is different. At any age, young or old, rottweiler’s desire to learn never ceases. They can keep you entertained with their silly shenanigans, whether in-house or outside, but are incredibly protective of you. As an owner, your dog’s obedience towards you is essential to have good socialization skills with humans and other dogs.

I have trained quite a few Rotties, and as a trainer, they are a delight. Rottweilers are a breed of extreme pride, and they feel encouraged after finishing the task you gave them. Their happiness may sometimes come out as them fooling around. But with the former instincts of a police dog, they are always on guard.

Rottweilers are ranked 9th in Stanley Coren’s study for intelligence in dog breeds. Being a working breed, they are very devoted to their assigned jobs.

As owners, you will be able to distinguish when they are in play mode and when they are in protective mode. They are very affectionate when in the play zone and are good at communicating that with you. When they are aggressive or agitated, understand they are being protective.

We saw the grounds on which a dog’s intelligence is measured. Rottweilers do not always have very high adaptive intelligence. But their instinctive and obedience intelligence, on average, is higher than most other breeds.

Why Are Rottweilers Intelligent?

Rottweilers are an intelligent dog breed due to many reasons. Their smartness attributes them to be great learners. They are known for their obedience in comparison to other dog breeds. Their instinctive intelligence helps them in being fantastic guard dogs and loyal companions. They are always on alert and can identify threats. They have good adaptive skills, if not great. With training, you can help them develop it better. They are intelligent learners and can comprehend commands quickly as taught.

Rottweiler is a fantastic friend, and their playful nature brings joy to the owner. Simultaneously, their protective instinct makes you trust him or her easily in case of danger.

Are Rottweilers Easy To Train?

From my experience as a trainer, you can have them respond well to your command with a proper grip on guiding your Rottie.

Do understand that training your dog is a commitment for a reasonable amount of time. Even though Rottie is a comparatively more innovative breed, their attention span is still tiny, especially for puppies. You might teach them a command in the morning, and they will forget by the next day. So patience is the key.

As the owner, you decide to train your dog and be alert to your dog’s needs. It is essential to understand how positive reinforcement works in getting your Rottie familiar with your command.

How Do I Train My Rottweiler?

Rottweilers are a smart breed and are highly trainable. To train a Rottie, you need to understand your dog’s personality and be patient.

Let us see some simple steps to train your dog.

Start When Your Rottie Is A Puppy

Between the age of six weeks to eight months is the best time to start training your rottweiler. Do understand that teaching a pup is quite tedious and will require you to invest time and effort.

Rottweilers of older age can be trained too with proper communication and positive reinforcement.

Show Them You Are The Leader

Rottweilers are a very proud breed. So it is crucial to assert leadership from your end at the very beginning of the training. This lays down the ground rules. Otherwise, your Rottie might misinterpret itself as the leader.

A disclaimer here – Asserting leadership does not imply showing dominance.

Do not be rough with your dog under any circumstances. Refrain from hitting your dog at all costs. Doing any of the above is wrong training.

Potty Training Your Rottie

For your rottweiler puppy to pee and defecate, make sure to provide a sizable crate. They should have enough space to get up and move around.
Get your rottweiler puppy comfortable in the crate. If you plan on traveling, train your dog to relieve inside the crate by confining them in the crate for some time.

Make sure to see if your dog is comfortable in the crate.

Providing Positive Reinforcement

To get your dog to be consistent at the behavior, you deem proper, you need to explain them in a way they understand.

Rewarding your rottweiler puppy is an excellent place to start. Making the whole training process like a thrilling game is effective for both the trainer and the pet. Don’t treat it like a job; treat it like a play. Every time your Rottie is obedient and listens to your command, give him or her a treat. This will encourage them to learn.

Rottweilers have a notorious tendency of getting obese, so be alert with heavy carb treats.

Give Obedience Training

Rottweiler puppies to grown-up Rotties, all can be provided the same obedience training.

Again, it is time-consuming and hence can get frustrating at times. Remember in these moments that they are like children. If you treat them harshly, they will get disheartened and frightened. The best way to deal is to walk away at that point where your dog is not listening and come back later and try again.

Provide them a “No” or “Stop” training to develop the notion of not doing something when asked not to. If your dog listens, give him or her a treat. If they don’t, then move away from there and stop paying attention.

Giving Command To Your Rottweiler

Teach your dog the basic commands like ‘sit,’ ‘down,’ ‘stay,’ ‘paw,’ etc.  You need to have the full attention of your rottweiler puppy to teach them. From my experience, try using hand gestures along with voice commands. The hand movement helps your dog figure out the action.

Sit and Paw are generally more effortless actions to teach. Down, Stay, and Come type of commands take some time. You need to prepare yourself to invest a good amount of effort and time in helping your dog learn.

Patience Is The Key

I cannot emphasize more on this more. Training requires repetitions of the same exercises every day for quite a while. Your dog needs to grasp what is an approved behavior. This increases his socialization skills.

Yelling, losing temper, and resorting to anything physical will create adverse effects on your pet. Your canine friend needs to have fun while training. This encourages them to learn.

Rottweilers are very loyal and want to please their owner. As a pet parent, you must support your dog throughout the process.

Getting Rottweiler To Exercise

Rottweilers are very hard working as a breed. They need to get an outlet for their energy. Thus, exercise plays a vital role. It helps them develop instinctive intelligence as well.

Are Rottweilers The Correct Breed For You?

Rottweilers are playful, extremely affectionate, and can become loyal friends if appropriately trained, almost like family.

They show good obedience intelligence and are quick learners. You will not have to keep on repeating teaching the same command over and over to them.
As a dog breed, Rotties are very loving even though they have a tough exterior. Training them well is crucial as, without proper guidance, they might turn aggressive and disobedient. Be sure before adopting or rescuing that you can invest time and effort into them. Otherwise, you can always ask for help from a professional trainer.

If you are searching for an intelligent dog breed, rottweilers will be an excellent choice for you. They will, for sure, be a fantastic addition to your family and a life-long friend to bring you joy.