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Can a Rottweiler Purr? Breed Behavior & Tips

Written by: Oliver Jones

Last Updated on April 8, 2024 by Dogster Team

rottweiler dog looking at the camera

Can a Rottweiler Purr? Breed Behavior & Tips

Rottweilers are a unique breed. They are large and powerful and have gained an unwarranted reputation for being aggressive. They are loving, loyal, and affectionate. And they typically enjoy plenty of human attention, especially through hugs and stroking from their humans. One way that the Rottweiler has to show their appreciation and contentment is what is often dubbed the Rottweiler rumble.

The rumble sounds like a cat purring, but louder and deeper, and it is referred to as purring because most Rottweilers make this noise when they are getting attention from their human. Not all Rottweilers make this noise, while some take it even further with a noise that is more akin to growling. But it is more common in Rottweilers than in other breeds.

Read on for more information about Rottie rumbles and what the purring noise means.

divider-dog paw

About Rottweilers

The Rottweiler is a German breed. Its history dates back to the Roman era, although the modern Rottweiler originates from the early 20th century when it was bred as a butcher’s dog. It would be used to herd and protect livestock while also protecting the farmers and their carts. The breed is large, very strong, and has a considerable bite.

Its somewhat aggressive look and its trainability have seen the breed used as a guard dog while also being utilized by police and armed forces around the world. At home, it is a loving and loyal dog, but it does still retain some of its guarding qualities, so owners do need to ensure that their Rotties are socialized from a young age and trained to be accepting of people.

a rottweiler dog walking on grass
Image Credit: Avis_Colors, Pixabay

The Rottweiler Purr

Unfortunately, Rottweilers have had a bad reputation in the past, at least partially due to their use as guard dogs. This reputation means that the Rottweiler purr can be off-putting to those who have no experience with the breed or the noise.

The purr can sound like an exaggerated cat purr and will usually manifest when the dog is being given attention and fuss. Although not typical, the purr can become more of a growl and some Rotties show their teeth while making the noise, giving the impression that the dog is snarling. In fact, the Rottie purr is a sign of contentment, similar to that of the feline purr, but because the noise is unusual in the canine world and because the Rottweiler can look quite ferocious while doing it, it can be unsettling.

If you’re unsure whether your Rottweiler is purring or growling, stop petting them. If they continue growling, it could be a warning to stay away. If it gently paws you, this is usually done in a bid to encourage you to continue petting and is a good sign that the noise was purring rather than growling. You should also look at their body language. If they seem comfortable and happy, it is more likely to be purring than growling.

rottweiler laying out in the sun
Image Credit: Zachtleven, Pixabay

How to Stop Your Rottweiler From Purring

If the Rottie rumble is unsettling for you or those around you, it is possible to discourage the action, although it may take some time.

If your dog starts to purr or grumble when you pet them, and you want to stop the reaction, stop petting when they make the noise. If you pet them and don’t get the rumble reaction, praise them and continue petting, but stop as soon as they start again. The Rottweiler is a very intelligent breed and yours will soon understand that purring means you stop petting.



The Rottweiler is a large and powerful dog, and it can look aggressive. If yours exhibits purring, which can build to a crescendo that looks a lot like aggressive snarling, it typically means that your dog is enjoying the attention it’s getting and appreciates the love. Consider the situation, environment, and reaction when you stop petting to ensure that it is affectionate purring. And if you want it to stop, you should stop petting your dog as soon as they start. Although it is a sign of contentment, it can be alarming to those who are unaccustomed to the breed and the unique Rottie rumble noise.

Featured Image Credit: Edoma, Shutterstock

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