Dog Training Smartest Dogs

Are Rottweilers Smart Dogs? Here’s How They Compare in Dog Intelligence

Rottweilers are smart dogs. In fact, they're the 10th most intelligent dog breed.

If you’re planning to bring home a Rottweiler, then there’s a lot of things you’ll need to research. Puppy vaccinations, diet, training, temperament, among other things are important. However, many potential owners always ask: are Rottweilers smart? Exactly, how smart are they? 

Yes, Rottweilers are extremely smart dogs. In fact, they’re alway at the top for dog intelligence rankings. Specifically, Rottweilers are the 10th smartest dog breed according to acclaimed researcher, Stanley Coren. 

But what exactly makes these dogs so intelligent? To understand the intelligence of Rottweilers, we first must examine the criteria in which Coren used for his trial tests. 

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How We Measure a Rottweiler’s Intelligence

We measure how smart a Rottweiler is based on Stanley Coren's two criteria.

Psychology professor Stanley Coren received both criticism and praise for how he conducted his trials on dog intelligence. We don’t think his criteria is absolutely accurate in measuring dog intelligence. However, it’s a great starting point. 

Coren’s Intelligence Tests Were Based On 2 Factors:

  1. The number of repetitions it took for the dog breed to learn a new command. 
  2. The percentage that a dog breed successfully obeys a known command on the first attempt. 

The purpose of these criteria is to measure the ability of the dog breed to learn a command and how well they retain their knowledge following the learning process. 

How the Rottweiler Performed

Based on Coren’s test criteria, the Rottweiler performed extremely well. On average, a Rottweiler is able to learn a new command with just 5 repetitions or less!

Equally impressive, Rottweilers are able to obey a known command on the first attempt with a 95% success rate. If you think about it, this is quite amazing! Who knew Rottweilers were this smart?

With the performance of the Rottweiler in these trials, they scored among some of the “smartest” dog breeds in the dogdom. Other breeds such as the German Shepherd, Border Collie, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever and the Doberman Pinscher are also in this class. 

Given how all those dogs play such a vital role in police work, herding, search & rescue, among other various canine jobs – being place with this group is nothing to scoff at. 

Rottweilers vs. “Average Dogs”

A dog with “average” intelligence is able to learn a new command with 25 to 40 repetitions. This means the average dog needs at least 5 to 8 times more repetitions to learn a command.

Additionally, average dogs will obey a known command on the first try with just a 50% success rate. Not nearly as impressive as the Rottweiler, but not too bad either. 

For reference, popular dog breeds in the average intelligence category include the Siberian Husky, Australian Shepherd, Boxer, Great Dane and Dachshund.

Owners: Is Your Rottweiler Smart?

We surveyed real Rottweiler owners and asked them, "is your Rottweiler intelligent?"

Now that we know Rottweilers are exceptionally quick learners and obedient dogs, what do Rottweiler owners think? For this section, we surveyed real Rottweiler owners from the popular Rottie sub Reddit

Here’s what they had to say to the question: 

1. Wrath4771 says [YES]: “Rotties are great with other breeds…They’re an intelligent breed that likes to keep busy. Having another dog around will definitely keep them entertained.”

2. Laichas says [YES]: “They’re very smart, my Rottie can open the latch on his crate (simply because he saw us do it). Make sure that you not only physically exercise them (going outside is mental stimulation for them) but also that you stimulate their minds with puzzles, toys, and regular training. If they get bored they will break stuff!”

3. Monoxide211 says [YES]: “I’ve had them my whole life and have enjoyed everyone of them. Smart, protective, highly trainable and loyal! They just want to be part of the team.”

4. Jnnytoronto says [YES]: “We’ve had [our Rottweiler] for only 5 days and he sure is smart, a little stubborn, mischievous, but an awesome dog!”

5. Theglorybox says [YES]: “They’re very smart, and very loyal. Mine picked up on things quickly even as a puppy. Just be careful, because they will also try to outsmart you! As long as they know who is the boss (you) they’re amazing dogs.”

6. A_cat_farmer says [YES]: “They are so smart! My Rottweiler is 12 weeks old and can already sit, stay, come, lay down, go to bed, shake, up/down, as well as dramatically play dead!”

7. Denniepie says [YES]: “Training a rottie is a two-edged sword at first. They are so smart, they sometimes have the idea that they really don’t need your input. But once they get the plot, working with them is a dream.”

8. Rugger81 says [YES]: “They are great dogs and very smart, eager to please their owners, and are very well balanced dogs if trained properly.”

9. Dreamsofglasswolves says [YES]: “Rottweilers are indeed very intelligent and there’s no reason you couldn’t train him to the same standard…” 

10. 9grendel9 says [YES]: “You couldn’t choose a better dog to spend your life with. Smart, playful and loves there peeps more than any pup I have ever been around.”

11. Jacktomothy says [YES]: “I have had 3. Mine were all smart, loyal, fearless, and doofus’s. I love how they always keep an eye on you. They make you feel secure. They really are more human than dog.”

12. Ciaran668 says [YES]: “Rotties are smart…The first time I was throwing a stick for mine, my other dog kept stealing it. My rottie looked at me and I said get me a stick. I had never used the word before but he figured it out and got a stick. He got one so huge the other dog couldn’t carry it so he wouldn’t steal it. Rotties are smart that way.”

Owner Survey Recap 

Though this is an extremely small sample size, it was actually difficult finding owners that believed their Rottweiler was not highly intelligent. All twelve of the Rottweiler owners that we found responses from said their dog was smart. 

It’s worth noting that all dogs are different and some may be “smarter” than others. However, it’s probably safe to say that nearly all Rotties are incredibly keen and intelligent.

How Rottweilers Are Intelligent in Other Ways

Rottweilers are intelligent in other ways. They're more than just obedient dogs.

According to Stanley Coren’s intelligence trials, Rottweilers are fantastic leaners and very obedient dogs. However, I would argue that there is more to Rottweilers than just tricks and bids.

They have unique skillsets that make them some of the most versatile dog breeds in the world. Another form of intelligence in dogs can be the skills they intrinsically have and the ability to pick up on certain tasks. 

Smart Guardians

All iconic dog breeds are known for a certain skill or trait. In the Rottweiler’s case, they’re known to be some of the most protective and loyal dog breeds ever. 

As a result, Rottweilers are some of the most highly prized guardians in the dogdom. Because they were originally bred to be drovers, or protectors of livestock (cattle), they’ve developed an inner instinct to protect and defend.

Make no mistake, there are many great guard dogs in the world. Most of them are big and vicious dogs. 

However, what makes Rottweilers arguably the best is their superb understanding of the environment and situation. In other words, they’re smart enough to accurately interpret who is a threat and who isn’t

The Ultimate Companion

Despite their tough appearances, Rottweilers are actually very affectionate dogs. Additionally, they’re sensitive and highly intelligent. All of these factors are the reasons why they develop such close attachments with their owners. So much so, that Rottweilers tend to develop separation anxiety. 

A huge part in forming a wonderful bond is having good communication. Rottweilers are smart enough to understand what their owners want and figure out a way to communicate what they want. Not all dog breeds are capable of this, but the Rottweiler certainly is. 

Does Owning a Smart Rottie Matter?

The truth is, you don't really need a smart Rottweiler.

Does it really matter if you have a smart dog? The truth is, there really is no need to own an “intelligent” dog breed. Nearly all dogs are capable of providing you what you need.

Unless you’re looking for a breed with a specific skill set for a complicated task/job, you’ll be okay with just about any dog breed.

Arguably the only benefit of owning a breed like the Rottie is their ability to learn quickly. If you’re big on tricks and obedience, then Rottweilers aren’t a bad choice.

Is the Rottweiler Right for You?

Instead of asking whether Rottweilers are smart, it’s better to ask if the Rottweiler’s personality and temperament is right for you. At the end of the day, you’ll want a dog that can fit your needs. 

With that said, Rottweilers are excellent companion dogs. They’re highly devoted, very affectionate, friendly, confident and brave dogs. They’ll do what’s necessary to keep you and your family safe. You can always count on a Rottweiler.

On the other hand, these dogs are not hypoallergenic dogs. Though their coats are short, they shed a lot. Rottweilers have double coats and shedding could be a nightmare for owners sensitive to dog dander. 

If this is what you’re looking for, then I would definitely recommend the Rottweiler. There are few large dog breeds as great as the Rottweiler. 

Do you own a Rottweiler? Is your Rottweiler smart? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

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