Rottweilers were bred by farmers in the SouthWest German region of Rottweil as driving and guarding dogs for cattle and other livestock.
In more recent history, Rottweilers have been used as guard dogs for property. They also, sadly, became a bit of a macho "status dog" throughout the 80s and 90s, earning them a reputation for aggression.
Because of their strength and trainable nature, they’re also used as working dogs by the police and armed forces.
While a lot of the bad press might be undeserved, if you want a Rottweiler puppy to blossom into a family dog, it’s a good idea to maintain an even temperament yourself and devote plenty of time to training this confident and strong-willed breed.
Rottweiler Types and Colors
Everyone recognizes the traditional black Rottie with tan jowls, but did you know that’s not the only color they come in?
Although they’re not recognized as "breed standard" by the American Kennel Club, there are some rare but beautiful white, red, and even albino Rottweilers.
It’s more common for non-black-and-tan Rottweilers to actually be mixed with another breed of dog rather than with pedigrees.
Some popular Rottweiler mixes are:
German Rottie (Rottweiler-German Shepherd mix)
Rottsky (Rottweiler-Husky mix)
Labrottie (Rottweiler-Labrador Retriever mix)
They’re very rare, but long-haired Rottweilers also exist. They’re bred from two dogs with the recessive gene for longer coats, which means that not even all pups in the litter will have this shaggier coat.
Be careful if you see miniature Rottweilers for sale. This isn’t a true breed – they’re likely to either be mixed with a much smaller breed or to be a Rottweiler with dwarfism, which can come with a host of health issues.
If you want a compact dog, a Rottweiler isn’t the breed for you.
Rottweiler Temperament and Characteristics
Rottweilers are calm, confident dogs. But they aren’t usually the sort of dog who will enthusiastically greet new canine and human friends by jumping all over them.
They’re dogs that love having a job to do, which is why they do well as police and guard dogs. But their huge size and weight shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Although much of their aggressive reputation stems from individual dogs being abused, neglected, and trained to fight or bite, responsible owners will need to make sure their Rottie gets plenty of training and socialization from an early age.
In 2022, the average monthly premium for Rottweiler insurance was $80. That's more than double the average cost across all dog breeds and ages, which was $37 per month.
(Keep in mind, these are just averages based on data from all customer premiums, including the pricier ones. Your pet's age and location will heavily affect your monthly price, and it's possible your premium will differ from the average —get a quote here!)
Rotties can be expensive to insure because they’re predisposed to a few genetic health conditions that can be costly to treat.
They’re also very large dogs. Large breeds are often more costly to treat than smaller breeds when it comes to medication and surgery.
In 2022, the average claim that ManyPets received for Rottweilers was $655 — but we received Rottweiler claims that ran as high as about $5,800.
Make sure you choose a comprehensive plan that can actually help you pay for the sorts of expensive conditions that Rottweilers can suffer from. Unlike many other pet insurance providers, ManyPets doesn't place any annual or lifetime limits on reimbursement.
Rottweiler Health Conditions
Rottweilers have a congenital (inherited) risk of heart problems, including a narrowing of the arteries called subaortic stenosis (SAS). This condition is often associated with heart murmurs. Most commonly, subaortic stenosis is treated with beta-blockers, which are relatively inexpensive.
However, it’s likely your vet will need to perform an echocardiogram to diagnose SAS — and possibly perform additional echocardiograms to continue monitoring the condition throughout your dog's life. Echocardiograms can be pricey — as much as $500-600 each.
Thanks to their size, weight, and high activity levels, Rottweilers are also at risk of cruciate ligament rupture and hip/elbow dysplasia. In 2022, ManyPets received Rottweiler claims for hip dysplasia that ran as high as about $730.
But hip and elbow dysplasia costs can be much higher if your dog needs surgery. Certain surgeries for hip/elbow dysplasia can cost $3,500 or more for each hip or elbow that’s operated on.
It’s a good idea to purchase dog insurance when your Rottweiller’s still a puppy. That way, you're unlikely to run into any pre-existing condition exclusions, and your dog will still be covered if these conditions develop later in life.
Frequently asked questions about Rottweilerss
Where can I get a Rottweiler?
If you buy a puppy, make sure you do your research and find a reputable breeder who will let you meet the pup’s parents. That way you can be more confident that they’re from a healthy line of Rottweilers with a good temperament.
Sadly, Rottweilers do often find themselves in dog shelters because of inexperienced owners taking on more dogs than they can handle. If you adopt a rescued Rottweiler, they should have been assessed by the shelter and matched with you. That way you should have a good sense of their personality.
Are Rottweilers dangerous?
Rottweilers are large, powerful dogs, but they’re no more likely to attack or bite than any other dog. Of course, due to their size, a bite from a Rottweiler can be much more harmful than a bite from a smaller dog. You'll need to make sure your Rottweiler receives plenty of training and socialization so they're friendly and well-adjusted.
Do Rottweilers have their ears cropped?
Ear cropping is illegal in certain locations, including the UK, but there are no outright bans in the United States. (Several states do regulate the practice to some extent.) The American Veterinary Medical Association opposes the practice, deeming it to be a purely cosmetic procedure with potentially negative consequences for dogs.
Cropping a Rottweiler's ears may make them look more fierce — but the practice certainly isn't necessary, and it's likely to cause suffering. It's best to avoid breeders that practice ear cropping.
Do Rottweilers have tails?
Rottweilers have ordinary long tails. If you see a Rottweiler with a little stump of a tail, it’s probably been docked. Like ear cropping, tail docking is illegal in certain locations, including the UK. But there are no outright bans in the US, and only two US states (Maryland and Pennsylvania) regulate the practice at all.
The American Veterinary Medical Association considers routine tail docking to be a painful and purely cosmetic procedure with no known benefits. Try to steer clear of breeders that regularly dock the tails of Rottweilers.