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10 Rottweiler Myths & Misconceptions: It’s Time To Stop Believing These!
Rottweilers are fantastic dogs, which is why they’re one of the 10 most popular dog breeds in America. Rottie lovers will defend them to the ends of the Earth, claiming that they’re sweet, loyal, intelligent, and protective.
Of course, there are also people who don’t care for these big dogs. Many are suspicious — or downright afraid — of Rottweilers and would prefer to see the breed legislated into obscurity.
While we would never attack anyone for having a difference of opinion, some of these people don’t argue fairly, choosing to perpetuate vicious myths and stereotypes rather than to focus on the truth about the breed.
We’re not here to say that Rottweilers are for everyone, but if you’re going to argue against the breed, at the very least, retire these old, false stereotypes.
10 Myths & Misconceptions About Rottweilers
1. Rottweilers Are Inherently Vicious
Before we address this myth, let’s give a few caveats: Yes, Rottweilers are big, powerful dogs, and if not properly trained and socialized (or if they’re abused), they can pose a danger to other dogs and humans. They’re also an inherently protective breed, as a 2008 study found that they’re much more likely to be a danger to strangers than their own families. But these things are primarily a fault of their upbringing, not the breed.
In fact, when those same scientists did a breed-by-breed comparison of aggressive behavior (including aggression toward other dogs, strangers, and familiar humans), Rottweilers scored roughly equal to Poodles, Labradors, and Golden Retrievers — dogs not saddled with the Rottie’s distasteful reputation. So, if you don’t take care of your Rottweiler or train them at all, they may have poor manners, but if you put in the work, you should have an excellent dog on your hands.
2. Rottweilers Are Impossible to Train
This myth goes hand-in-hand with the first one. Not only are these dogs inherently aggressive, the thinking goes, but it’s also impossible to train that aggression out because they simply won’t respond. This myth is almost laughably wrong, however.
Rottweilers are widely considered one of the 10 smartest dog breeds, and they can pick up new commands in a flash. Also, remember that they were originally bred to do all sorts of tasks, including herd livestock, guard flocks, and pull carts, so they have a long history of being useful and obedient. Of course, you may need to vary your training routine so your Rottie doesn’t get bored, but if your training sessions have stalled, it’s likely your fault, not the dog’s.
3. Rottweilers Have Locking Jaws
We’ve also heard this myth about Pitbulls, Dobermans, and just about any other breed that has had the misfortune of being labeled dangerous at any given time. The idea is that certain dogs can “lock” their jaws when they bite down, to the point that it’s physically impossible to pry them off. Again, this is all part of the larger myth that Rottweilers are unstoppable killing machines determined to eliminate your entire family.
The fact of the matter is that there is no physical mechanism on any dog’s jaw that makes it impossible to open, so don’t believe this when you hear it about Rottweilers — or any other breed, for that matter.
4. Rottweilers Have the Most Powerful Bite of Any Dog Breed
This may seem like harmless misinformation, but it all feeds into the breed’s undeserved bad reputation. The idea is to make you think that a Rottweiler’s bite could crush just about anything (including, of course, your head). We’ve seen a few estimates placing a Rottweiler’s bite force north of 2,000 psi, which would make your 130-pound Rottweiler more powerful than a 4,000-pound hippopotamus.
While it’s true that Rotties do have powerful bites (estimated at 328 psi), it’s far from being the dog with the most powerful chomp. That honor belongs to the Kangal, a Turkish guard dog with a bite force of 743 psi, which is over twice that of the Rottweiler, which clocks in at 18th on the list.
5. Rottweilers Belong Outdoors
There’s a bit of truth to this myth, only because many Rottweilers really do love spending time outside, especially when it’s snowing. We’re not trying to talk you out of taking your dog for a long hike or anything like that, but we would strongly discourage you from leaving your Rottie outside full time.
The fact of the matter is that dogs that are left outside around the clock (regardless of breed) are more likely to be aggressive and territorial, especially if they’re tied up 24/7. Of course, if an owner leaves their Rottweiler tied up and neglected in the backyard all day and they end up biting someone, everyone will undoubtedly blame the breed and not the owner. It’s not fair, but that’s how it goes for these dogs.
6. Rottweilers Have to Have Their Tails Docked
Many people believe that the breed has to have the trademark docked tail, and indeed, the breed standard commonly lists a docked tail among the features that judges should look for when critiquing these animals.
However, there’s no real reason to dock a Rottie’s tail. It serves no purpose, and many people feel that the practice is needlessly cruel and barbaric. These dogs actually have fantastic tails, and since a dog’s tail can be one of the key ways in which they communicate with the world, you might be infringing on their ability to talk to both you and their friends.
7. Rottweilers Need Severe Discipline
While many people mistakenly believe Rotties to be untrainable, others think that you can get through to them if you use harsh training methods like corrective leashes, shock collars, and even physical violence. With training methods like this, it’s no wonder these dogs occasionally snap!
The fact of the matter is that Rottweilers, like all other dog breeds, do best with a training method built around positive reinforcement. That means rewarding them for actions that you approve of and would like to see continued, while ignoring or gently correcting undesirable behavior. There’s no reason to hit these dogs — and besides, how could you? Just look at those faces!
8. Rottweilers Will Eventually Attack Their Owners
If you own a Rottweiler, you’ll inevitably get many comments from people saying that your dog will eventually “turn” on you and attack you when you least suspect it. It doesn’t matter that your Rottie’s offered you years of loving, loyal companionship — sooner or later, they say, your dog will maul you.
While some Rottie owners have undoubtedly been bitten by their dogs, the same is true for every other breed out there. Rottweilers are actually less likely to attack their owners than many other breeds, but they will put their lives on the line to protect them. As long as they’ve been properly trained and socialized, your Rottweiler is much more likely to defend you than attack you.
9. Rottweilers Are Emotionally Aloof and Not Affectionate
This myth was obviously started by someone who was too scared of Rotties to ever get close to one. As any Rottweiler owner can tell you, these dogs are incredibly affectionate, and they’ll likely curl their 100-pound bodies up in your lap any chance that they get (and that’s when the kisses start, of course).
Rottweilers actually have a reputation for being emotionally needy, something that belies their tough exterior. You may have issues with separation anxiety if you’re away from the house frequently, and don’t be surprised if your big, bad dog can’t bear to be in another room when you are home. Many owners will tell you that Rotties also have a tendency to be scared of the dark!
10. Rottweilers Are Illegal to Own
This one isn’t entirely a myth, unfortunately. The fact of the matter is that while no states have made owning a Rottweiler illegal, there are a few towns and cities that have bans on the breed. You should always check your local laws before bringing any animal home. Fortunately, though, these bans are rare.
However, just because it’s legal doesn’t mean that everyone will accept your dog. Your homeowner’s insurance may go up if you add a Rottweiler to your pack, and if you’re renting, you may find that many landlords won’t accept your application if you try to move in with a Rottie. This is extremely sad, and it’s the result of misinformation like the myths on this list.
- You may also be interested in: Boxweiler (Rottweiler Boxer Mix)
Every Rottweiler Is Different But They All Can Be Good Dogs
The myths and misconceptions on this list aren’t just false — they’re dangerously so. They perpetuate a stereotype about the breed that can lead to these dogs languishing in pounds, getting banned from cities, and ultimately, being put down in droves. It’s not fair and the dogs don’t deserve it.
Hopefully, though, if enough people combat this sinister misinformation, Rottweilers will finally be able to be judged on their own merits. The breed might not be for everyone, but for those who love them, they’re the most fantastic dogs on the planet.
Featured Image Credit: Ricantimages, Shutterstock
Quincy has been around mutts his entire life and has been writing about them for the past nine years and now consists of sharing a house with three spoiled pups who couldn’t hold down a job to save their lives. Quincy never intended to be a cat person. When his wife brought home a kitten one day, he told her she had one week to find it a new home. That week turned into 10 years (his wife moves very slowly), and that kitten turned into three (they got two more, the kitten didn’t self-replicate). After a decade of sharing his home with the dogs and three cats, one horrifying realization finally set in: oh God, he’s a cat person now too, isn’t he???
- 10 Myths & Misconceptions About Rottweilers
- 1. Rottweilers Are Inherently Vicious
- 2. Rottweilers Are Impossible to Train
- 3. Rottweilers Have Locking Jaws
- 4. Rottweilers Have the Most Powerful Bite of Any Dog Breed
- 5. Rottweilers Belong Outdoors
- 6. Rottweilers Have to Have Their Tails Docked
- 7. Rottweilers Need Severe Discipline
- 8. Rottweilers Will Eventually Attack Their Owners
- 9. Rottweilers Are Emotionally Aloof and Not Affectionate
- 10. Rottweilers Are Illegal to Own
- Every Rottweiler Is Different But They All Can Be Good Dogs