I'm in the very early stages of looking for a dog. A few other breeds that I am considering are the Boerboel, Doberman, German Shepherd. I won't be getting a dog for a few years or so, but I have decided to start looking now. I'm curious as to what I can expect from owning a rottweiler, and why you think it may be a better choice than the other breeds. I have done lots of research and understand as much as possible about the breed, but I would to hear from actual owners. This will be my first dog.
We have had several rotties, also we have had a german shepherd, labrador & Doberman but prefer a rottie due their faithfulness, temperament, character, loyalty & guarding nature. They were bred for sheep herding so do need a moderate amount of exercise also lots of stimulation as they can get bored easy. They can be a handful for a inexperience owner imho so choose your 1st dog wisely.
My Rottweiler is my heart dog and love him so much. He was my first dog to own. I had my in laws for advice about the breed they had own one many years ago so that was helpful. You will have forums to ask any questions so that helps. With all the breeds you have listed a lot of socialization will be required to make them a well adjusted dog. Make sure your home owners or renter insurance has no stipulation on the breed of dog you own. If yours does their are plenty that don't have any issue on the breed of dog you own. If you are going to be renting a lot of places will not rent for the breeds you have listed. We are a military family and always renting but have had great luck finding places available on craiglist from home owners that don't care about the breed but temperment of the dog. Best of luck on your decision of your first dog very exciting.
I got my first Rottweiler over 30 years ago. I got her because of a couple of protection incidents (as in I wish I had protection incidents - first happened when I went over to a neighbor's house to tell them their kids were chasing a horse around in a field with their mini motorcycles and the oldest kid who was 14 y.o. came out and told me to beat it and physically pushed me against the side of their house. I was lucky an adult neighbor came out and gave him a piece of his mind. Second incident - my horse was attacked by two pit bulls in a field while I was riding. I had just gotten the horse a week earlier from the race track (Running Quarter) and I was unsure if I could run him and stop him (my previous horse had a problem with running and not stopping and I barely knew this new horse so it was an issue for me - had been on a falling horse and dislocated and broke my arm, horses running on pavement tend to fall...so there were some extraneous issues that came into play here... had I know what I knew later, I could have run him away from those pit bulls). At any rate the pit bull owner could not get his dogs away from my horse, so I ended up letting my horse dump me so he could run home alone - with a chunk taken out of his chest from one of the pits, it was a deep chunk of flesh too, I had to drain it for a couple of weeks before it would heal all the way.).
Additionally I was living alone at the time and I wanted a protection dog and I asked a friend, what kind of dog could protect me from two pit bulls. She was a vet tech and she said "a Rottweiler." This was over 30 years ago and I had never seen a Rottie (most people hadn't). I looked in a breed book and read up on them. I searched out a litter and met my first full grown Rottie male and fell in love with their looks. I had to search for several months to find a pet quality female Rottie (back in the 80s if a Rottie wasn't pet quality they were $800 which I couldn't afford). I got my girl Rottie, Summer, as a puppy and that's all she wrote... Rotties are the best. When I met my husband about 2 years later he fell in love with the breed too. When we search out a dog to adopt (only adopt now, no more puppies for us) we always look for Rotties. Now, we adopt other breeds of dogs that find their way to us now and then (and there are some great other breeds out there - have had GSD mixes, Boxer, Chihuahua, Lab/Husky mix) but Rotties are the best for us --when we have an empty nest and have a choice we will always go Rottie.
Traits we love: they try to please. Yeah, this sounds like something all dogs do, but Rotties do it in spades. They are such can-do dogs. Other breeds, you think they forget their names sometimes, but we can call any dog in our little family to us and the dog that comes to us first is the Rottie. They try so hard to please it's wonderful. If and when you get your Rottie, take them everywhere you can, get them socialized so they aren't afraid of strangers and they are confident in any situation, it makes for a really good dog that is not easily stressed. Train them in as much as possible, it's good for them, good for you and your relationship with them. I have never had a protection issue since I've owned Rotties, but I never had an incident again where I got pushed around by a punk kid or threatened by anyone... and that is sort of a testament to the breed's rep. No one is going to mess with you with a Rottie beside you. Summer, my first girl, would position herself very low key between me and whoever I was talking to when she was with me. She did that with my husband too, protected him and stood between him and strangers. Our other Rotties too have always kept an eye on other people and done that positioning thing and I have no doubt in my mind in the 30+ years we have owned them, every one would have stepped up and done whatever was needed to do to protect us physically if necessary (thankfully it has never been necessary). And truly that's what you want is a very low key guardian like that, and if you socialize them so they see most other humans aren't threats they react well.
Speaking of that, our current Rottie (Rottie #9) Fiona, that we adopted a little over a year ago is so unsocialized it's difficult. When I walk her she lunges at male passerbys and barks at them. We are working on her not doing that. It was because... from what I gather... she was initially going to be a breeding bitch and the breeder in Northern California didn't spend much time socializing her. She was in pens with quite a few other dogs where she had to fight for anything she wanted and it made her difficult for them to handle her. She was left in the pound with the advice from the breeder to put her to sleep. She passed their tests and got adopted out to people who were unfamiliar with her issues (I assume) and she was brought back to the pound where she didn't pass the pound's test and was given to a rescue group. Our experience with our previous Rotties with issues evidently qualified us to adopt her and she has been challenging, but is coming around beautifully. I would never recommend getting a dog like this for anyone unexperienced- you should get a puppy only - but she is a classic example of no socialization and the only thing she thought she was supposed to do is protect us and in a manner that is not appropriate. This is why you need to spend time socializing a Rottweiler. They have a lot of energy and if mis-channeled can go in an unfortunate aggressive direction.
If you don't have much time to spend with a dog I would recommend a Lab before a Rottie. They are a lot more mellow, very smart, but headstrong. Rotties need socialization skills and become unruly and potentially dangerous without that.
Incidentally, I don't hold a grudge against pit bulls. What happened was what it was. Stupid owner had them running around loose in a field. There are some dogs (and Summer was one) who have extremely high prey drives and tend to go after small (and large) animals to kill them. Some dogs do, some dogs don't. It's not a training issue, it is pretty much in my mind part of certain dogs genetic makeup. We used to find dead cats in our backyard from time to time when we had certain Rotties with high prey drives. Always have had a fenced yard and if cats get in and I'm not there to stop them, there is nothing I can do about it. That is not something I want to see in a dog, but some dogs have it. Most of our Rotties have not had it. My more aggressive female Rotties have had it though and maybe one of the males. None of them went after the horse though, mostly things like mice, snakes or whatever gets through the fence, neighbor's chicken... (Over time this is not one of the endearing things I like to remember about them, so I tend to forget...) However, if a Rottie is raised with a cat or a small dog they should be kind to it. If a dog with a high prey drive and no inhibitions sees small creatures in it's territory it is what comes naturally.
Last edited by Steph King; 07-25-2016 at 02:16 AM.
We have had several rotties, also we have had a german shepherd, labrador & Doberman but prefer a rottie due their faithfulness, temperament, character, loyalty & guarding nature.
They were bred for sheep herding
so do need a moderate amount of exercise also lots of stimulation as they can get bored easy. They can be a handful for a inexperience owner imho so choose your 1st dog wisely.
Just to put it straight: Rottweilers were bred to drive cattle and not sheep .They can drive sheep but that is not were they are bred for .The difference between a sheep herding breed and cattle driving breeds is significant.A sheep driving dog is mentally mature at the age the age of two.A cattle driver mostly at three years .Sheep drivers are supposed to watch the handler at all times to get commands all time to do their work and also have a strong "will to please " .Cattle drivers were supposed to drive and and guard the flock on their own .They are much more independant, mostly we see it as stubborn.A malinois ,german shepherd etc are sheep herding dogs.A Rottweiler ,bouvier des flandres are cattle driving dogs .People who worked and trained both kind of dogs can easily tell the difference between the two.Personally I like more the cattle dogs because for me their independence make them a little more difficult to train .They will work for when they respect you as the leader ,not the Boss, due their strong mind.A shepherd will work for you anyway ,due their will to please. This is put very general and I know there are a lot of different characters in both types .