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Are Rottweilers Dangerous? (What the Data Says)

Nicole Cosgrove

The Rottweiler (or Rottie as it’s also called) is a medium to large dog with great strength. This breed’s shiny black coat with rusk markings add to the dog’s image of power. Rotties are dedicated and loyal to their owners but somewhat aloof around people they don’t know.

If you’re wondering if Rottweilers are dangerous, the answer is that it depends. Any breed of dog can bite, including the tiniest and the most massive. In the United States, approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year with 30 to 50 fatalities occurring due to dog attacks.

If you take a close look at the data in the link above, you’ll see that none of the confirmed fatal dog attacks thus far in 2021 have been caused by Rotties. So, what’s up? Let’s take a closer look at why many people think Rottweilers are dogs to fear.

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Why Rotties Have Been Given a Bad Rap

In the minds of many people, Rottweilers are thought to be dangerous and aggressive. Rotties have this reputation for a few reasons. Rottweilers are strong and muscular dogs, making them capable of causing physical harm. This breed is also known to be protective of its home and family, making it a good watchdog.

If you were to be face to face with both a Chihuahua and Rottie and asked what dog you should fear the most, you’d probably say the Rottweiler due to its appearance. Your instinct may tell you that the bigger and stronger Rottie looks like it could cause more harm if it were to attack you, and you’re probably right. However, you cannot judge a dog based solely on its appearance as it’s simply not a good indicator of how a dog will act.

Rottweiler walking on sand beach
Image Credit: everydoghasastory, Shutterstock

The Rottweiler is a Protective Breed

By nature, the Rottweiler is a protective dog that was initially bred to watch over cattle. This innate protectiveness is what makes Rotties great watchdogs and police dogs.

You’ve probably seen Rottweilers featured in TV shows and movies where they’re chasing down criminals or attacking intruders. Because this breed is known to be a great protector and amazing service dog, many people assume all Rotties are dangerous, which simply isn’t true.

They’re Used as Fighting Dogs

Even though law enforcement works hard at shutting down dogfighting, this atrocious activity still happens. Two qualities dog fighters look for are size and strength which is why they often use Rottweilers along with Pit Bulls.

The horrible condition these fighting dogs are kept in and the awful ways they’re trained causes these dogs to become very aggressive which is exactly what the dogfighters want. Many people have seen or at least heard of aggressive Rotties being used in dogfighting rings, which certainly doesn’t help this breed’s reputation.

What Rottweilers Are Really Like?

Even though there is a lot of misconception out there about Rotties being dangerous, these dogs are one of the most loyal and affectionate breeds, when trained properly.

A Rottweiler kept as a pet is typically friendly, loving, and loyal to its family. A Rottie loves to romp and play and it’s a dog that tends to follow its favorite person around the home to keep them within close sight.

Many families have Rottweilers as pets, including families with kids. These dogs tend to get along well with other dogs and pets if they’re introduced properly.

If you’re looking for a medium to large-sized dog that’s loyal and loving, a Rottweiler may be perfect for you. Just keep in mind the fact that a Rottie needs plenty of physical and mental stimulation to keep it healthy and happy.

Before getting a Rottweiler, be sure you have the time available to train your dog and to take it on at least two long walks a day. You should also have a place your dog can run and play which ideally would be a large, fenced yard.

young boy with his pet rottweiler outdoors
Image Credit: Serova_Ekaterina, Shutterstock

History of the Rottweiler

While there is little documentation about the origin of the Rottweiler, it’s believed that this dog comes from ancient Rome. These muscular and strong dogs were originally used to protect livestock. It wasn’t until much later during the early 1900s when Rottweilers were being used as police dogs as they’re easily trained to track and protect.

In the early 1930s, the American Kennel Club recognized the Rottweiler as a legitimate dog breed. Today, this breed is recognized by numerous reputable dog associations the world over.

Male Rotties Can Be Dominant and Stubborn

Rottweilers are stocky and muscular dogs that make good family pets. However, the males of this breed tend to be more dominant and stubborn than the females. This independence and stubbornness can prove challenging when training a male but persistence counts!

When training a male Rottweiler, you must establish dominance over the dog in a firm yet gentle way to earn the dog’s respect. Once a male Rottie learns to respect you, it will do what you say and stop doing what he’s doing when you tell him “No”.

Rottweiler standing in the ground covered with snow
Image Credit: K L, Pixabay

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Conclusion

The next time you see a Rottweiler, stop and think about how this breed is misunderstood. It’s understandable that some people view Rotties as dangerous due to their impressive body build and size. But the truth is that Rottweilers are calm, confident, and courageous dogs that have a self-assured aloofness. Some Rotties are serious dogs while others are goofy clowns that just want to romp and play.


Featured Image Credit: Jan Mlkvy, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.