Rottweilers make great pets due to their affectionate and friendly nature. They require minimal grooming but do require a good-sized area for exercise. They're best suited to an active family who like to be outdoors. As well as making a great pet, a well-trained rottweiler makes a formidable guard dog. Even rottweilers who aren’t trained specifically for the role will demonstrate guarding instincts.
History and Instinct
Ancestors of rottweilers were originally bred by the Romans to protect and herd cattle during invasions. Rottweilers left behind in Germany were noted for their courage and guarding instincts, so the Germans bred only those with the strongest guarding instincts to create the breed we know today. The rottweiler has never lost this instinct for protecting, although the demand for a large, powerful guardian dwindled and the rottweiler’s popularity faded in the early 1900s, but a later increase in demand for personal and property protection saw that trend reverse.
The Right Kind of Intelligence
Rottweilers have the right temperament and intelligence for guarding work. While some dogs are curious and can solve problems, rottweilers excel at learning a task and performing it reliably, on command. In a study of which breeds were most likely to succeed as guard dogs, conducted by animal psychologist Dr Stanley Coren alongside 14 security dog training specialists, rottweilers were identified as one of the best candidates for guarding work.
Brains and Brawn
As well as a willingness to perform watch work, rottweilers are blessed with the physical attributes to tackle intruders or potential assailants. While a west Highland white terrier makes an effective watchdog, he alone would struggle to physically tackle a fully grown adult. Rottweilers, however, weighing upward of 130 pounds, have the size and strength to follow through on their barks.
Courage and Watchfulness
Intelligence and physical power are important, but without the courage and confidence to tackle an intruder, the rottweiler wouldn’t be much of a guard dog. Rottweilers are famous for their calm, confident, watchful nature. They're alert and very quick to suss out danger. While a less capable guard dog may bark and yap, the rottweiler’s silent, fixed stare and purposeful approach are enough to communicate that he means business.
Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.