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Rottweiler Temperament and Personality Traits

rottweiler running with tongue out

Rottweilers have been companion animals for centuries. Their tough exteriors and soft souls make them loyal protectors and loving best friends. Before adopting one of these dogs, it’s important to understand what to expect from Rottweiler temperament and personality traits. Giving your dog the attention, socialization, and care they need will set you up for a lifespan of adventure and companionship.

Table of contents

  • A History of the Rottweiler Breed
  • What Is a Rottweiler’s Temperament?
  • What Is a Rottweiler’s Personality?
  • How To Care for a Rottweiler
  • Adopting a Rottweiler
  • Enjoy Your Life With a Rottweiler

A History of the Rottweiler Breed

Rottweilers have historically significant descendants. This breed stemmed from the mastiff dogs that the Roman legions used in their quests to conquer Europe. Eventually, many of these large breed mastiffs made their way to Rottweil, Germany. 

In the town of Rottweil, the mastiffs were used as work dogs to herd other animals and protect farms. Butchers often kept them to protect their cattle, eventually giving the breed the moniker “The Butcher’s Dog.” The local population continued to breed them, and the dogs came to be known as purebred Rottweiler dogs. 

Rottweilers developed a strong reputation for their excellent work ethic. As international travel became more common, Rottweilers made their way to every corner of the world. Rottweilers work with farmers, as police dogs, and with emergency search and rescue as dependable right-hand men (or, in this case, right-hand dogs). 

What Is a Rottweiler’s Temperament?

Many people perceive Rottweilers as aggressive dogs. This isn’t quite the truth. There is far more to the Rottweiler temperament and personality traits.

If you’ve ever encountered a Rottweiler that seemed aggressive or territorial, it’s because you were a stranger in their territory. Most Rottweilers are more bark than bite until they get to know you. Once you’ve made friends, they’re interested in cuddling and playing (and drooling).

Rottweilers Are Brave and Confident

Rottweilers are confident dogs. They understand how strong they are, and they don’t usually need reassurance. Rottweilers are less likely to be afraid of things that many dogs are afraid of, like thunderstorms

They often remain aloof in situations that other breeds would find stressful. It takes a lot to get under their skin and rattle their nerves. 

Rottweilers Usually Have a Gentle Nature

Despite the Rottweiler’s large stature, they’re usually big babies. Most of the time, your Rottweiler will just want to love you. They’ll stay by your side, hoping to play, snuggle, and have fun. 

If you’ve worked closely with your adult Rottweiler as a dog owner from the time they were a puppy, you’ll form a strong lifelong bond. 

…But They Will Protect Their Families

Every living thing has a “fight or flight” instinct. When faced with something that feels threatening, people and animals will either choose to rise to the challenge or abandon the situation. 

Your Rottweiler will choose to fight, but only after assessing the situation and deeming something a threat. 

Your Rottweiler may be curious about strangers or other dogs and remain suspicious until they’ve assessed the situation. If your Rottweiler can tell that you’re panicked or uncomfortable, they’re more likely to jump to your defense. 

This is why Rottweilers are often used as guard dogs, watchdogs, or cattle dogs. They know it’s their job to protect the people they love, and they won’t hesitate. This is why it is important to focus on early socialization and dog training for your Rottweiler puppy.

What Is a Rottweiler’s Personality?

It’s difficult to place all dogs of a certain breed into a single personality category. Rottweiler temperament and personality traits are equal parts nature and nurture. Every dog will be a little different with different energy levels, but you’re likely to see some common threads connecting dogs of a specific breed.

A dog’s personality is usually shaped by the way they’re socialized. A dog that’s treated poorly and isn’t properly trained will have a more aggressive and less easygoing personality. A dog that’s well-loved and raised very close to a loving family is going to feel more like a member of that family. 

They’re Loving and Doting

Although Rottweilers appear intimidating, they are usually love bugs. They’re very loyal and want to spend a lot of time cuddling and playing with their human families. 

Although they’ll get along well with almost everyone, you might want to be cautious if you have small children in your home. Rottweilers are very large and very strong. They could easily accidentally injure a small child with overzealous play. 

They Want To Be Kept Busy

Rottweilers thrive in their roles as working dogs. They’re intelligent dogs, and they don’t like to spend their time lazing around. Your Rottweiler will want a job of some sort, and they might start to get a little angsty if they don’t have something to do. 

Bored Rottweilers, much like bored children, may act out. You need to keep them occupied most of the time. 

If you’re adopting a family dog to live in an average family home, you’ll need to consider your Rottweiler’s desire to keep their mind active. You probably don’t have livestock or land for your Rottweiler to guard, so they’ll need something else to do all day. This means giving them plenty of toys designed to provide mental stimulation, like puzzle toys. 

Make sure to rotate toys often or introduce new toys into the rotation. This will keep your Rottweiler from becoming bored. After your Rottweiler has mastered a puzzle toy, put it away for a few months. Their interest may become reignited after a while. 

They’re Open to Learning

Rottweilers are highly trainable, and they really love learning. A Rottweiler will master basic training commands fairly quickly, especially with frequent repetition. Once your Rottweiler becomes an expert at sitting, staying, and rolling over, you can begin to teach your Rottweiler new tricks. 

With time and patience, you may be able to train your Rottweiler to do things like bringing you your slippers or even turning the lights on and off. Your Rottweiler’s working dog nature makes learning these tricks fun and stimulating. 

They Want To Keep You Safe

Rottweilers are excellent watchdogs. While they might warm up to new people with time, they’ll always be cautious about everyone who approaches the front door. It might take a while for your Rottweiler to warm up to the person who delivers your mail, packages, or takeout. 

If you often have the same delivery person, your Rottweiler might come to consider them a friend over time. 

How To Care for a Rottweiler

Rottweilers are sturdy dogs. They don’t have complicated care requirements. Regular vet visits, plenty of exercise, and light grooming will go a long way in keeping your Rottweiler happy and healthy.

Grooming a Rottweiler

Rottweilers have smooth, short coats. They don’t shed excessively, and they’ll never get tangles or mats in their hair. A good brushing once a month can help remove loose fur and keep debris off their skin. 

As a general rule, you should plan to bathe your Rottweiler monthly. You’ll likely bathe them more often if they play around in the dirt.

Keeping Your Rottweiler Healthy

All dogs are susceptible to things like heart conditions and cancer. Regular visits to the veterinarian will ensure that your Rottweiler remains healthy. Your Rottweiler’s large stature will make them more prone to conditions like hip dysplasia or joint discomfort. This is why your vet will always check your Rottie’s hips at every visit.

If your Rottweiler does have joint discomfort, you can use ElleVet CBD + CBDA so he can stay active and comfortable into old age. It’s a safe and simple solution for a common concern.

Feeding Your Rottweiler

Rottweilers are large dogs; large dogs obviously need to eat more than smaller dogs. Having an informed perspective about your Rottweiler’s large appetite is important. 

Although they need a substantial amount of food, they can still overeat. Obesity can increase risk factors and complications for heart health issues and joint pain concerns. 

Your Rottweiler needs high-quality, well-balanced dog food. The back of the package will tell you how much to feed your dog daily according to weight. Always follow these instructions. These serving sizes are calculated to provide your dog with the ideal amount of calories and the perfect nutrient balance they need each day.

Your Rottweiler will want to be a part of your family in every way. They’ll show interest in the foods you’re eating. As long as the food you’re enjoying isn’t toxic to dogs, it’s generally okay for them to have a little bite now and then. 

Just be mindful to keep treats a small part of your Rottie’s diet, with no more than 10% of their total daily calories coming from special snacks. 

Giving Your Rottweiler Plenty of Exercise

Rottweilers were made to move around. They have a lot of energy and need a lot of room to play. Rottweilers aren’t always the best dogs for small apartments or homes that don’t have a secure, fenced-in yard. 

Your Rottweiler must stay active to keep their strength up and fortify their joints. They like to hike, camp, and swim with you. If you’re the adventurous, outdoorsy type, you’ll find that your Rottweiler is an excellent travel companion that has no problem keeping up with you. 

Adopting a Rottweiler

If you think a Rottweiler is a good fit for your household, you can start the process of adopting a Rottweiler. It helps to spend some time interacting with a Rottie before bringing one home. 

When you adopt a Rottweiler from a reputable breeder or rescue, you’re more likely to come home with a healthy and well-adjusted dog.

You Need To Meet Your Dog First

You should never go in blind when adopting a dog. You need to meet the animal before you bring it home. 

Having a puppy flown in from an out-of-state breeder can be asking for trouble. You won’t know a lot about the dog’s history, which may involve health problems or exposure to viruses. 

Meet your dog first. See how you get along. If things “click” and you feel compatible, you’ve found the right dog to adopt.

Going Through an AKC Certified Breeder

Backyard breeders aren’t held to any standards for how they treat their animals or manage their health. Certified breeders must meet rigorous requirements to ensure the health of their animals. When you go through a certified breeder, you’ll know that your dog was ethically bred and raised.

Adopting From a Rottweiler Rescue Program

Rottweiler rescue programs are an excellent place to look for a dog. People who are enthusiastic about the breed will know how to take care of them. 

When you adopt a rescued Rottweiler, the rescue will be able to tell you about the dog’s quirks and circumstances. You’ll know beforehand if your Rottie plays well with other dogs and cats and if they do well with small children. 

Enjoy Your Life With a Rottweiler

The average Rottweiler will live eight to 10 years. Caring for a dog is a long-term commitment, and you should never adopt a dog unless you’re fully prepared to be their only pet parent for the duration of their life. 

Take your time making your decision. When you are sure, you can begin the process of finding the perfect sweet and loyal Rottie to join your family.


Rottweilers descended from the Molossus, a mastiff-type dog and probably from the Italian Mastiff | America’s Pet Registry

Working Dogs: Meet 31 Purposely-Bred Dogs | American Kennel Club

Mental Stimulation and Boredom Busters for your Dog | St. Huberts Animal Welfare Center