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Are Rottweilers Good for First-Time Owners? Vet-Reviewed Facts, & FAQ

Oliver Jones

By Oliver Jones

a rottweiler dog sitting on the grass outdoors

Vet approved

Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Rottweilers, fondly known as Rotties, are a beautiful, powerful, and loyal dog breed. They make great protectors and friends, but Rottweilers are not the best breed for first-time owners. Due to their size, certain temperament traits, and need for intense exercise and training, Rottweilers can be difficult to handle if you’re not prepared for it.

Keep reading to learn more about why you may want to think twice about getting a Rottie as your first dog. We’ll also share tips for success in case you’re determined to make a Rottweiler your first dog.

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Why Rottweilers Are a Better Fit for Experienced Owners

Rottweilers are a large breed of dog that was originally bred in Germany to drive cattle to market. They’re part of the working group of dogs, which also includes breeds like Boxers, Dobermans, and German Shepherds.

Rottweilers are loyal, loving, and protective dogs that make amazing family pets, but they are not the easiest dogs to raise or live with, especially for those who don’t have any experience with the breed.

Here’s why you may want to think twice about having a Rottweiler as your first dog:

rottweiler with tounge out
Image Credit: Serova_Ekaterina, Shutterstock

1. They Can Be Hard to Control for Novices

Rottweilers can grow to be quite large, with some males reaching up to 27 inches tall and weighing up to 135 pounds. This is also an incredibly intelligent breed. Combine that with the fact that they’re working dogs, and you’ve got a dog that is used to being in charge.

Even Rottweiler breeders recognize the need to enforce strict and consistent boundaries with this breed. If you’re not experienced in managing a dominant dog, you may find yourself struggling to assert your authority over your Rottie.

And because of their size, an out-of-control Rottweiler can pose a serious danger to those around them, even if they don’t mean to cause trouble. They can easily drag an inexperienced owner along with them if they decide to take off after something, and their powerful jaws can do a lot of damage if they’re not properly trained not to play-bite.

Unless you can devote the time and energy to training your Rottweiler from a young age, you may want to reconsider this breed as your first dog.

2. They’re Not as Innately Sociable as Other Dog Breeds

Unlike some other breeds, Rottweilers are not innately sociable and do not automatically enjoy the company of other dogs or people. In fact, if not properly socialized from a young age, they can be downright aggressive toward other animals and people, which can pose a serious safety risk.

This isn’t to say that all Rottweilers are aggressive—far from it. But it does mean that they require more socialization than some other breeds in order to ensure that they grow up to be well-rounded, happy dogs.

And socialization is not something that can be done overnight. It’s a lifelong process that requires patience, consistency, and dedication. And while being a first-time dog owner doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t provide this for your Rottie, it does mean that you’ll need to be extra vigilant in ensuring that they get the socialization they need. That’s not something that all first-time dog owners are ready for.

Image Credit: Il grafico con levriero, Pixabay

3. They Can Be Expensive to Maintain

According to this study by the ASPCA, One of the most common reasons why people give up their dogs is cost. Sure, it costs money to own any breed, but some breeds are more expensive to maintain than others.

Rottweilers, unfortunately, tend to fall into this category. First, large breeds eat a lot of food, so you need to budget for a good-quality diet and that can get expensive. In addition, Rottweilers are prone to joint problems like hip dysplasia, which often requires surgery to correct.

And then there’s the cost of obedience training and socialization classes, both of which are essential for this breed but can add up quickly. In case of a move, many apartments also don’t allow Rottweilers due to their size and reputation.

4. They Need a Ton of Physical & Mental Stimulation

If you imagine your first dog cuddling up and napping with you all day long, Rotties are not the breed for you. Again, Rottweilers are working dogs. They need to think, move, and accomplish something every day or they’ll become bored. Bored dogs, especially a breed as powerful and big as Rottweilers, can be destructive and dangerous dogs.

To prevent this, you’ll need to provide your Rottweiler with plenty of physical and mental stimulation. This means things like long walks or runs, agility training, and interactive toys and puzzles that challenge their minds.

You also need to dedicate a good chunk of each day training your Rottie, or you’ll quickly see their stubborn, dominant side come out. All of these make Rotties a demanding breed that not many first-timers are equipped to handle.

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Still Committed to a Rottweiler as Your First Dog? Here Are Some Tips!

If, after reading all of this, you’re still set on getting a Rottweiler as your first-ever buddy, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of success:

1. Do your research about the breed.

First, make sure you understand everything there is to know about Rottweilers. This includes their history, temperament, exercise needs, health concerns, and anything else that might come up.

The more knowledgeable you are about the breed, the better equipped you’ll be to handle any challenges that come your way.

rottweiler standing
Image Credit: Ricantimages, Shutterstock

2. Choose a Rottweiler from a reputable breeder.

This is another defining factor in whether or not you’ll be successful in owning a Rottweiler. A reputable breeder will have done all the necessary health testing on the puppies’ parents, and they’ll be able to provide you with extensive information about each puppy’s individual temperament.

Avoid backyard breeders and pet stores at all costs. Not only are the puppies often sick, but you have no way of knowing what their temperaments will be like.

3. Get professional help.

Working with a professional trainer or behaviorist from the start is always a good idea, but it’s especially important when you’re a first-time Rottweiler owner. They can help you set your dog up for success and avoid common mistakes that first-time owners make.

Image By: PhotoDOGraphy, Shutterstock

4. Join a Rottweiler club or meetup group.

Being around other Rottie owners who have gone through the same things you’re going through can be incredibly helpful. They can provide support, advice, and friendship when you need it most.

5. Be prepared for the challenge.

Owning a Rottweiler is not for the faint of heart. It’s a big responsibility that should not be taken lightly. If you’re up for the challenge and prepared to put in the work, then a Rottie might just be the perfect breed for you.

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Final Thoughts

While Rottweilers are not recommended for first-time dog owners, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to make it work. This dog breed will challenge you, but having them as a companion is rewarding beyond measure. Be realistic about what you expect from your first dog, the level of effort and time you’re prepared to put in and keep in mind that the dog’s welfare is just as important as your own. With a little bit of knowledge and preparation, you might find that a Rottweiler is the perfect fit for you after all.

Featured Image Credit: Kevin Seibel, Unsplash

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