Rottweilers are undeniably some of the most popular family dog breeds to own. They’re loyal, protective and loving – so it’s easy to see why. But given the big size and weight of the breed, parents with kids may question if they’re safe for their home.
Despite their large size, Rottweilers are great for kids because of their strong pack loyalty, sweet-nature and their guard-dog instincts. As long as a Rottweiler goes through proper obedience and social training, these people-oriented dogs will thrive in a household with older kids. But even so, supervision is still necessary, as they may unintentionally hurt a child.
The key to a healthy child-dog relationship is in obedience training, especially with the Rottweiler. Read on to learn why a Rottweiler is perfect for your household with kids. Plus, we go over the best methods for fostering long-lasting relationships with your Rottweiler.
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Table of Contents
- The Best Rottweiler Qualities
- Reasons Why Rottweilers Are Good With Children
- Potential Dangers of Rottweilers with Kids
- Training Rottweilers to be With Children
- Rottweilers With Babies
- Are Rottweilers Right For My Family?
The Best Rottweiler Qualities
Rottweilers have some of the best temperaments in the canine kingdom. For a large dog, the Rottie is relatively calm and collect in the home. With proper training, they’re not overly aggressive or playful either. Some may call them the “goldilocks” of big dog breeds.
Though they require plenty of exercise daily, most Rottweilers develop into being homebody dogs. That is, they don’t mind hanging around and lounging with their owners after a good workout session. Rottweilers are flexible and easy-going dogs.
That said, they can be sensitive dogs. In other words, Rotties are great with understanding human emotions and often pick up after their owner’s mood. When you’re down, they’ll take notice and comfort. But when you’re happy, they’re just as excited!
My Rottweiler can be incredibly bullheaded. She knows what she shouldn’t do and waits until my back is turned to do it. She is a brilliant dog though.– Upshift (Dog Forums)
As intelligent and obedient as they are, Rottweilers can have a stubborn side. They’re very capable of learning commands quickly, though they aren’t always as responsive as they can be. Though, all this requires is superb obedience training to keep in check.
But whether they listen to you or not, no one can deny the unwavering loyal of these dogs. There’s a reason why they’re universally recognized as one of the top and most formidable guard dogs of the home. They’ll always have your back!
When Rottweilers are out with their owners, there’s an aura of self-confidence surrounding the dog. Make no mistake, their sheer size and strength isn’t all for show. Rotties are some of the most courageous dogs you can find.
Reasons Why Rottweilers Are Good With Children
When picking out a dog breed for your family with children, there are so many great options out there. Rottweilers, being one of them, have a lot of inherit qualities and characteristics that make them more suited for kids than you think.
For example, Rottweilers are loyal with instincts to protect and guard the kids of the pack. In addition, they’re durable enough to tolerate the rough play of children. And because of their high obedience intelligence, training with kids can be a joy! Let’s further explore.
The Rottweiler Will be Loyal to Your Kids
Rottweilers are as loyal as they come. There are few dog breeds that’ll stick by your side no matter what. Rover thinks they’re the third most loyal dog breed in the world! However, they’re practically on every list of the most loyal breeds.
While all dogs are “pack dogs” to a certain extent, the Rottweiler takes this to another level. They love their humans so much that they’re easily prone to separation anxiety when left by themselves for long periods of time.
Rottweilers are protective, loyal, devoted and loving dogs. Some call them “velcro dogs” for the way they attach themselves both emotionally and physically to their masters.– Infiniti (Dog Forums)
Rottweilers love their owners because that’s where their loyalty lies. If the children are seen as members of the pack, you can bet they’ll extend their loyalty to the kids. As such, any aggression towards them are rare with proper training.
But in order to foster this unwavering loyalty and trust, they need human interaction. The Rottweilers is a social and people-oriented dog that should to be involved in all your family activities. Don’t stick them in the backyard and expect them to thrive.
Rottweilers Can Handle a Kid’s Rough Play
As you may already know, Rottweilers are tough and strong dogs. These dogs were bred with durability and sturdiness in mind. And unlike a Maltese or Shih Tzu, Rottweilers are capable of withstanding the rough play of kids.
According to the AKC, a male Rottweiler can reach 27 inches tall at the shoulder. Similarly, a female ranges between 22 and 25 inches. These massive dogs can also weigh upwards of 100 pounds, with some males being 135 pounds or more!
If you’re a parent of young children, you probably already know how much of a handful your rowdy kids can be. They’ll run circles around the dog, hug them, play with their ears and in some cases, tug at their tails.
There’s a reason why small dogs aren’t ideal for young kids. It’s not because the kids might get hurt, but rather the children might hurt the dog. I think it’s safe to say that this probably won’t happen with a Rottweiler – at least, with an adult Rottie.
The Guard Dog Instincts
A loyal dog usually means they’ll do whatever it takes to guard the home. That is, if they’re big enough. And as we discussed, Rotties check the box for both of those requirements. It’s why The Spruce Pets calls them one of the 10 best guard dogs.
Similar to how Huskies love to run or Australian Shepherds love to herd, Rotties are forever loving guardians that are constantly watching over the family, including the kids. Given a vigilant nature and alertness, they actually enjoy keeping watch.
Rottweilers are naturally born to guard. Some are more suspicious, some are easier going. But most will only bark when there’s really something to really bark about.– Bigblackdogs (Rottweilers Online)
This means that Rottweilers act as a second pair of eyes for your children. However, we’re not suggesting you leave your kids with the family dog. It’s just that if a stranger approaches the kids, I’m certain your Rottie will go to investigate.
Rottweilers are Obedient & Intelligent Learners
Guess what? Rottweilers are some of the most intelligent dogs in the world, especially for obedience and work intelligence. For the most part, they respond well to obedience training and will happily learn commands and tricks to show off.
In a dog intelligence study conducted by Stanley Coren, a pHD and canine psychologist, he found that Rottweilers ranked as the 9th smartest dog breed when it came to learning and executing basic commands.
Coren found that Rottweilers, on average, are capable of learning new commands with less than 5 repetitions. This means it’s highly possible for them to learn basic commands in just a few short minutes!
In addition, Coren saw that Rotties obeyed known commands with a 95% or better success rate. There are few dog breeds that are capable of this. But in you’re curious, Labs, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds performed just as well.
Being eager learners with high intelligence can be a huge plus for a home with kids. Not only is obedience training excellent for the Rottie’s mental stimulation, but it can be a fun experience for the children as well.
You’ll be able to keep both the kids and dog entertained – two birds, one stone. In addition, having your children participate in the training can go a long way in developing a strong and lasting bond between the two.
Potential Dangers of Rottweilers with Kids
So far we’ve only discussed the good things about raising Rottweilers and kids. And while Rottweilers can be kid-friendly additions to your family, there are also potential pitfalls and concerns that all parents should be aware of.
The more you know about the potential dangers, the better understanding you’ll have of these dogs. As a result, you’ll be able to change your approach on raising them, while also being more aware of how you can prevent mishaps.
Rottweilers Have Dominant Personalities
One of the main reasons why obedience training is so crucial is because Rottweilers tend to have dominant personalities. This is especially true with male Rottweilers. With a “weak” and submissive owner, they’ll try to establish alpha dominance within the pack.
That said, Rottweilers require a consistent and firm leader from day one. Owners can’t be wishy-washy, but instead demand and expect consistent behaviors from them. At the same time, owners shouldn’t be too dominant, as they’ll become introverted dogs.
Rottweilers require many hours of obedience training, socialization, and can be expected at some point to challenge his or her owner.– Nutzforrotz (Rottweilers Online)
Depending on who you ask, Rottweilers may not always have the best reputation. In recent years, they’ve been involved in a few fatal attacks, thus, they’re seen as “dangerous” dogs by many. However, it’s often because of the owner, and not always the dog.
Owners that fail to consistently socialize and train their Rottweilers will often lead to a dog with aggressive tendencies. And if you combine poor training with their inherent protective instincts, they could easily attack visiting children that aren’t part of the family.
Rottweilers are Physically Strong Dogs
We’ve already discussed how the size and durability of Rottweilers can be a plus for dealing with the roughness of young kids. However, the physical prowess of Rotties can also be a pitfall. Even if they know their own strength, they may not know how weak kids are.
Even if you’ve managed to raise the sweetest and most docile Rottie in the world, there’s still chance they may unintentionally hurt a young kid. All it takes for these massive dogs is a little shove or whack to the face to bring a young child to tears.
Although Rottweilers can be playful, their actions are more than capable of injuring children. Again, this is where adult (owner) supervision and obedience training comes into play. If the dog becomes too rough, you can always give the “no” or “off” command.
A Rottweiler’s “Prey Drive” May be a Concern
Rottweilers are not meant to be hunting dogs, so their “prey instincts” aren’t as strong as a Greyhound’s, for example. But there’s evidence showing that nearly all dogs have a prey drive to a certain degree, including Rottweilers.
Some Rottweilers will chase after squirrels, others may try to chase chickens. It depends on the individual dog. But when you pick out your pup, there’s no guarantee they won’t have a strong prey drive. There are ways to keep it in check, but instincts are instincts.
A frightening situation is when the Rottweiler views the children as “prey.” Fortunately, the way to solve this is through socialization. And, plenty of it. Your Rottie needs to learn how to accept small kids as “humans.” Otherwise, the dog will naturally see them as prey.
Male Rottweilers Mature Slower
According to Canna Pet, there are key difference between male and female Rottweilers that can affect their play with children. For example, other than the fact that male Rottweilers are bigger, males tend to mature slower too.
This means that male Rottweiler puppies tend to spend a longer period in the hyper-puppy phase, despite already growing into their adult-size body. In addition, they’re typically more mischievous, which can lead to rougher play with kids.
With children, female Rottweilers may be a better bet. They develop self-awareness along with their growth in size. This means they may be faster at learning to be around kids and in turn, develop a calmer and more patient attitude towards them.
Training Rottweilers to be With Children
The only way to make the child and Rottweiler relationship work is through training. And I mean, lots of it. Not only will you need to train the dog, but also socialize the dog and train the children too.
All three components are equally important. I cannot stress how important training is for your Rottweiler. In fact, it can be the difference maker between an aggressive and a calm dog. No parent wants their child to experience dog attacks like this.
Socializing Your Rottweilers
Socializing means letting your Rottweiler meet as many people, both adults and kids (of all ages). Not only does this help your Rottweiler adjust to all the chaos outside the home, but also exposes them to different sounds, sights and experiences.
A well-socialized Rottweiler is shows less fear in unfamiliar situations. And because they’re less scared, they’re less likely to respond with aggression. As such, socialization is even more important for large dogs that can potentially do damage.
For this to work, you’ll want to start socialization training as early on as possible. The best time is between 3 and 12 weeks of age. In this crucial period, your Rottweiler is essentially a sponge, soaking up everything and anything.
Ideas for Socializing Rottweilers:
- Dog parks or dog beaches
- Socializing with your children and their friends
- Meeting your next-door neighbors
- Hanging out with owners at obedience school
- Let your kids train the dog
- Have your kids feed the Rottie
Socialization becomes much more difficult after 18 weeks. However, it’s still possible to socialize your Rottweiler later on. Plus, Rotties are still small during this time, so they likely won’t do much damage to a child, should anything happen.
Obedience Training is Key
In the first stage of “child-proofing” your Rottie, you’ll want to start with obedience training. This means the basic commands, such as sit, heel, down, come and leave it. If you want a more detailed guide, check this out.
Having this down before child-dog interaction is a must. Make sure you get them to follow them fairly consistently. After teaching the Rottie these few commands, you’ll already have established some bond and trust with the dog.
Now that they’re responding to your commands, you’ll be able to correct their behaviors in any given moment. For example, if the Rottweiler impulsively jumps on a child, make sure to give the heel, down or leave it command.
Firmly and consistently giving these commands to negative behaviors will quickly teach the dog that certain actions are not okay. However, this only works if you are consistent with a command following an action.
After some time, it may be a great idea to have your kids practice obedience training with the dog. This will further develop their relationship, but at the same time, signal to the dog that the children are also above them in the pack hierarchy.
Training Kids to be with Rottweilers
That’s right, you’ll need to train your children how to properly behave around these dogs. In some cases, a simple action from an naive child can elicit an aggressive response from the Rottweiler, or any dog for that matter.
The best place to start is by laying down some ground rules when interacting with the dog. All individual Rottweilers and children are different, so rules may be different for each home. However, here’s a solid set of rules to start with:
- No pulling on the tail (if still intact) or ears of the Rottweiler.
- Don’t try to ride on the back of the Rottie. This may hurt the dog and trigger a response.
- Always respect the dog’s boundaries – don’t get too close when they’re eating their food or sneak up on them.
- Don’t make loud noises or yell around the Rottweiler. Loud noises can startle the dog.
- Give the “down” or “off” command if the dog jumps on you. Letting them continue may lead to more aggressive behaviors.
- There should be no hitting, hugging or pinching the dog. Your Rottie may feel threatened.
- Don’t run at the Rottweiler. Always approach the dog slowly and calmly.
It’s crucial your kids understand and follow these rules. Depending on the age of the kid, they may not be old enough to understand how to respect the Rottweiler. If this is the case, I highly recommend holding off on interactions until then.
Exercise Before Playing with Kids
Before letting your Rottweiler play with children, it may be a good idea to get the dog some exercise prior to the meeting. These dogs can have a lot of energy. And without their daily physical activity, they can be harder to control.
It’s no secret that a lack of exercise can lead to destructive behaviors. No parent wants a destructive dog around their children. These behaviors can include chewing up furniture, a series of constant barking and of course, rougher play with kids.
Most Rottweilers require at least two hours of exercise each day for both their mental and physical needs. At least in the beginning, it’s a good idea to take them out to play fetch, jog around the neighborhood or go for a swim before play time with kids.
A more relaxed Rottweiler can mean a calmer interaction between children and dog. After exercise, they may be less likely to jump on the kids or chase them down. In addition, they may be more focused on your commands.
Rottweilers With Babies
Keeping a Rottweiler in a home with a baby one thing, but letting your infant play with your Rottweiler is another. We don’t recommend letting your baby play with a Rottie no matter how “well trained” you think the dog is.
At the end of the day, a dog is a dog. You never know exactly how they may react from the baby inadvertently hitting them in the face. However, that’s not too say babies and Rotties can’t interact at all. You just need to be very cautious.
Show the dog love when bringing baby home. Let the dog smell you and the baby. Then love the dog, don’t ignore him!– Dani_kat (What to Expect)
The good news is that Rottweilers are quiet dogs. All parents know that loud noises, such as barking, and babies don’t go well together. If you’re afraid of excessive barking waking up the baby in deep slumber, it probably won’t happen with Rotties.
Bringing a Baby Home
If you’re bringing the baby into your home with a Rottweiler, they may find it upsetting in the beginning. This is especially true if the Rottie was the “only child” with all the attention being directed at the dog. Things will inevitably change.
However, there are ways to help make the transition smooth. When a baby comes into the household, schedules will change. Unfortunately, dogs can experience anxiety when there is a change in lifestyle. After all, they’re creatures of habit.
You’ll need to try to predict the schedule after the baby arrives. Though life with newborns can be unpredictable, you’ll need to slowly transition. If your dog wakes up at 8 AM, feed at random times between 6 and 10 AM to get them adjusted to flexibility.
Don’t ignore your Rottweiler! I know how much of a handful babies can be, but ignoring the dog can develop some resentment towards the baby. And if you plan to have a nursery for the baby, make sure your Rottie knows the room is off-limits!
Are Rottweilers Right For My Family?
So are Rottweilers a good fit for your family with kids? Well, it really depends. Not only do we recommend them for experienced owners and handlers, but also families with enough time to meet the physical needs of these dogs.
But whether you decide to bring a Rottweiler home, the most important thing is obedience and socialization training. Training is the difference maker when determining how well they will get along with your children.
As long as you’re committed to that, you can expect a loyal and sweet-natured dog that will go above and beyond to protect you and your kids. Rottweilers, after all, were developed to be fantastic guard dogs. And, that’s exactly what they are.
Given their sociable and people-friendly temperaments, Rotties need love and affection. In fact, they love nothing more than to be the center of attention. With just that, Rottweilers will reciprocate that love and thrive in a household with children.
So, does your Rottweiler get along with your kids? Let us know in the comments section below. And if you have any tips for parents, we’d love to hear from you!
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