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10 Rottweiler Myths & Misconceptions: It’s Time to Stop Believing These!

Written by: Quincy Miller

Last Updated on July 4, 2024 by Dogster Team

rottweiler standing

10 Rottweiler Myths & Misconceptions: It’s Time to Stop Believing These!

Rottweilers are fantastic dogs, which is why they’re one of America’s 10 most popular dog breeds. Rottie lovers will defend them to the ends of the Earth, claiming they’re sweet, loyal, intelligent, and protective.

Of course, some people don’t care for these big dogs. Many are suspicious—or downright afraid—of Rottweilers and would prefer to see the breed legislated into obscurity.

While we would never attack anyone for having a different opinion, some of these people don’t argue fairly, choosing to perpetuate vicious myths and stereotypes rather than focus on the truth about the breed.

We’re not here to say that Rottweilers are for everyone, but if you’re going to argue against the breed, at the very least, retire these old, false stereotypes.

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The 10 Myths & Misconceptions About Rottweilers

1. Rottweilers Are Inherently Vicious

Before we address this myth, let’s give a few caveats: Yes, Rottweilers are big, powerful dogs, and if not properly trained and socialized (or if they’re abused), they can pose a danger to other dogs and humans. They’re also an inherently protective breed, as a 2008 study found that they’re much more likely to be a danger to strangers than their own families. But these things are primarily a fault of their upbringing, not the breed.

In fact, when those same scientists did a breed-by-breed comparison of aggressive behavior (including aggression toward other dogs, strangers, and familiar humans), Rottweilers scored roughly equal to Poodles, Labradors, and Golden Retrievers—dogs not saddled with the Rottie’s distasteful reputation. So, if you don’t take care of your Rottweiler or train them, they may have poor manners, but if you do the work, you should have an excellent dog on your hands.

Rottweiler walking on sand beach
Image Credit: everydoghasastory, Shutterstock

2. Rottweilers Are Impossible to Train

This myth goes hand-in-hand with the first one. Not only are these dogs inherently aggressive, the thinking goes, but it’s also impossible to train that aggression out because they simply won’t respond. This myth is almost laughably wrong, however.

Rottweilers are widely considered one of the 10 smartest dog breeds, and they can quickly pick up new commands. Also, remember that they were originally bred to do all sorts of tasks, including herding livestock, guarding flocks, and pulling carts, so they have a long history of being useful and obedient. Of course, you may need to vary your training routine so your Rottie doesn’t get bored, but if your training sessions have stalled, it’s likely your fault, not the dog’s.


3. Rottweilers Have Locking Jaws

We’ve also heard this myth about Pitbulls, Dobermans, and just about any other breed that has had the misfortune of being labeled dangerous at any given time. The idea is that certain dogs can “lock” their jaws when they bite down to the point that it’s physically impossible to pry them off. Again, this is all part of the larger myth that Rottweilers are unstoppable killing machines determined to eliminate your entire family.

The fact of the matter is that no physical mechanism on any dog’s jaw makes it impossible to open, so don’t believe this when you hear it about Rottweilers—or any other breed, for that matter.

Rottweiler playing catch
Image by: RebeccasPictures, Pixabay

4. Rottweilers Have the Most Powerful Bite of Any Dog Breed

This may seem harmless misinformation, but it feeds into the breed’s undeserved bad reputation. The idea is to make you think that a Rottweiler’s bite could crush just about anything (including, of course, your head). We’ve seen a few estimates placing a Rottweiler’s bite force north of 2,000 psi, which would make your 130-pound Rottweiler more powerful than a 4,000-pound hippopotamus.

While it’s true that Rotties do have powerful bites (estimated at 328 psi), it’s far from being the dog with the most powerful chomp. That honor belongs to the Kangal, a Turkish guard dog with a bite force of 743 psi, which is over twice that of the Rottweiler, which clocks in at 18th on the list.


5. Rottweilers Belong Outdoors

There’s a bit of truth to this myth, only because many Rottweilers really do love spending time outside, especially when it’s snowing. We’re not trying to talk you out of taking your dog for a long hike or anything like that, but we would strongly discourage you from leaving your Rottie outside full-time.

The fact of the matter is that dogs that are left outside around the clock (regardless of breed) are more likely to be aggressive and territorial, especially if they’re tied up 24/7. Of course, if an owner leaves their Rottweiler tied up and neglected in the backyard all day and ends up biting someone, everyone will undoubtedly blame the breed and not the owner. It’s not fair, but that’s how it goes for these dogs.

Rottweiler by the river
Image by: AlexasFotos, Pixabay

6. Rottweilers Have to Have Their Tails Docked

Many people believe that the breed has to have the trademark docked tail, and indeed, the breed standard commonly lists a docked tail among the features that judges should look for when critiquing these animals.

However, there’s no real reason to dock a Rottie’s tail. It serves no purpose, and many people feel that the practice is needlessly cruel and barbaric. These dogs actually have fantastic tails, and since a dog’s tail can be one of the key ways in which they communicate with the world, you might be infringing on their ability to talk to both you and their friends.


7. Rottweilers Need Severe Discipline

While many people mistakenly believe Rotties to be untrainable, others think that you can get through to them if you use harsh training methods like corrective leashes, shock collars, and even physical violence. With training methods like this, it’s no wonder these dogs occasionally snap!

The fact of the matter is that Rottweilers, like all other dog breeds, do best with a training method built around positive reinforcement. That means rewarding them for actions that you approve of and would like to see continued while ignoring or gently correcting undesirable behavior. There’s no reason to hit these dogs—and besides, how could you? Just look at those faces!

Rottweiler training
Image by: Katrina B, Pixabay

8. Rottweilers Will Eventually Attack Their Owners

If you own a Rottweiler, you’ll inevitably get many comments from people saying that your dog will eventually “turn” on you and attack you when you least suspect it. It doesn’t matter that your Rottie’s offered you years of loving, loyal companionship—sooner or later, they say, your dog will maul you.

While some Rottie owners have undoubtedly been bitten by their dogs, the same is true for every other breed out there. Rottweilers are actually less likely to attack their owners than many other breeds, but they will put their lives on the line to protect them. As long as they’ve been properly trained and socialized, your Rottweiler is much more likely to defend you than attack you.


9. Rottweilers Are Emotionally Aloof and Not Affectionate

This myth was obviously started by someone too scared of Rotties to ever get close to one. As any Rottweiler owner can tell you, these dogs are incredibly affectionate, and they’ll likely curl their 100-pound bodies up in your lap any chance that they get (and that’s when the kisses start, of course).

Rottweilers actually have a reputation for being emotionally needy, something that belies their tough exterior. You may have issues with separation anxiety if you’re away from the house frequently, and don’t be surprised if your big, bad dog can’t bear to be in another room when you are home. Many owners will tell you that Rotties also tend to be scared of the dark!

Rottweiler in photoshoot
Image by: MISS_SUMMER, Pixabay

10. Rottweilers Are Illegal to Own

This one isn’t entirely a myth, unfortunately. The fact of the matter is that while no states have made owning a Rottweiler illegal, there are a few towns and cities that have bans on the breed. You should always check your local laws before bringing any animal home. Fortunately, though, these bans are rare.

However, just because it’s legal doesn’t mean that everyone will accept your dog. Your homeowner’s insurance may go up if you add a Rottweiler to your pack, and if you’re renting, you may find that many landlords won’t accept your application if you try to move in with a Rottie. This is extremely sad, and it’s the result of misinformation like the myths on this list.

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Every Rottweiler Is Different, But They All Can Be Good Dogs

The myths and misconceptions on this list aren’t just false; they’re dangerously so. They perpetuate a stereotype about the breed that can lead to these dogs languishing in pounds, getting banned from cities, and ultimately, being put down in droves. It’s not fair, and the dogs don’t deserve it.

Hopefully, though, if enough people combat this sinister misinformation, Rottweilers will finally be able to be judged on their own merits. The breed might not be for everyone, but for those who love them, they’re the most fantastic dogs on the planet.

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Featured Image Credit: Ricantimages, Shutterstock

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