Keith R. Higgons
“Money will buy a pretty good dog, but it won’t buy the wag of his tail.”
– Josh Billings
It’s hard for me to imagine a life without the companionship and love of a dog. While I have never considered myself a breed snob, I can say with complete sincerity that the Rottweiler is my favorite breed. Oh sure, they look kind of scary, they can be menacing but they can also be goofy, affable and amazing family dogs. I know this because I had a Rottweiler named Duke for seven years.
The general disposition of the Rottweiler is one of confidence, and stoicism. It is a discerning breed and they want to know people before they play with them. If you are looking for a dog with a gregarious and carefree nature, a Golden Retriever is your best bet, not a Rottweiler. That being said, once a Rottweiler gets to know you, you have a friend for life.
I like to tell the story of my Veterinary Doctor friend who had a Rottie and a Chocolate Lab as he was starting a family. When his first born came home and began crawling around the house it was the Lab who would growl and move away from the infant while the Rottie would let the child poke him, pull his ears and crawl all over him. He never looked thrilled, but he tolerated it and periodically licked the baby as if to say “It’s all good kleinkind.”
Raising a well-mannered Rottweiler is not terribly different from raising any other breed of dog. You’ll want to be consistent in your structure and discipline. The only difference is that the Rottie requires more socialization with humans, children and other dogs. The more esoteric part of training this breed is being aware of what they represent to the uninitiated. A well behaved Rottweiler goes a long way towards changing people’s perception.
Rottweiler’s, like most big dogs, are prone to hip dysplasia. X-Rays early on can determine if that will be a concern, later in life. Obviously, you shouldn’t ignore their hereditary, as some traits are encoded in their DNA. As a general rule, they’re a healthy breed. Unfortunately, as they have risen in popularity, over breeding has occurred. As a result, cancer is the leading cause of death in young Rottweiler’s. In fact, that was how I lost my guy, Duke, when he was 7 years old. Typically, the standard life expectancy is 9-10 years.
I love the Rottweiler, I really do. As a herding and working dog, they’re intelligent, love to work, loyal, silly, love to please and once they reach adulthood, they like their rest time, as well. The Rottweiler is the dog for a dog lover. They require some upfront work with socialization and training, but they take to it quickly and, in no time at all, you’ll have a very formidable and fun loving pet.