Rottweiler Care

The Rottweiler (sometimes called "Rottie" for short; also known as the "Butcher's Dog") is the prototypical protection animal. Large, athletic, muscular, and extremely protective, Rotties will need a great deal of training, socialization, and leadership to make sure they don't become aggressive. With proper training, though, these dogs can be affectionate, fantastic family companions. Overall Rottweiler care and maintenance will take some work, and will need to include lots of daily exercise and a great deal of early training and socialization.

Below you'll find plenty of details on caring for a Rottweiler: puppy care and development, exercise needs, diet and nutrition, and more are covered here. Find answers to your questions about raising a Rottweiler puppy or adult in the following sections!

Rottweiler Breed Development

As a large- to giant-sized breed, Rottweiler growth stages typically span 21-24 months from birth to full maturity. And since their lifespan only averages 9-10 years, a senior Rottweiler is one seven years old or more.

Physical Development: Rottweiler puppy growth is steady in height and length for the first 9-10 months, then those growth rates slow while the adolescent "fills out" with muscle and fat. And when do Rottweilers stop growing? These big dogs normally reach their full adult size (an average of 25 inches and 110 pounds) at 13-14 months of age.

Social Development: Puppies reach adolescence at 6-7 months, sexual maturity at about 10 months, and full mental maturity by 24 months.

For further details about Rottweiler stages of growth, see the Rottweiler Growing Stages chart below.

(NOTE: Rottweilers are naturally protective, and an untrained one can be aggressive and even vicious towards unknown people and animals. Owners of these dogs must provide firm training, extensive socialization, and consistent leadership, starting as early in Rottie puppies' lives as possible.)

Rottweiler Exercise Needs

Since these dogs are athletic and muscular, Rottweiler exercise needs are pretty high. These dogs will need a variety of daily activities that both condition them physically (walking, jogging, fetch) and stimulate them mentally (games, canine sports). Rotties will also need to perform exercises like weight-pulling that strengthen that famous Rottweiler muscle.

Specifically how much exercise does a Rottweiler need? Adult Rotties will require at least 60 minutes of dedicated exercise per day. You can start exercising your Rottie puppy when it's three months old by taking it on short leashed walks, then you can increase the walks' length as the pup grows.

Precautions with Rottweiler exercise:

  • Don't exercise puppies too hard before they're 12 months old
  • A leash is an absolute requirement when exercising in public; leash training during puppyhood is required as well
  • Yards must be securely fenced to keep the dog from running off; "Beware of Dog" signs are a good idea
  • Prone to gastric torsion (bloat); no exercising for an hour before or after eating

Exercising your Rottie every day is a requirement. Without a good bit of daily activity, even a well-trained, calm, mentally fit Rottweiler will become frustrated, disobedient, highly destructive, and even aggressive. Regular exercise will be great for the dog's peace of mind--and for your own peace and safety as well! A few Rottweiler exercise ideas:

  • Walking/Jogging: 45 minutes of walking (or 30 of jogging) per day is a good target
  • Fetch/Frisbee: Rotties love chasing a ball, stick, or Frisbee
  • Tug-of-War: Great indoor exercise that helps tone those Rottweiler muscles; use a rope or old towel
  • Weight Pulling: Attach one end of a rope to a heavy object like a spare tire, and the other end to a harness for the dog
  • Canine Sports: Rotties can excel at agility trials, cart pulling, and other events
  • Hiking: Excellent bonding activity; bonus if you can find a remote area where the dog can be off-leash

When indoors, giving your Rottie access to balls or toys will allow the dog to burn excess energy. It's also good to have a regular exercise schedule for the dog, such as walks, jogs, or weight training in the morning and evening and playtime in the afternoon.

Rottweiler Maintenance

These dogs will need a good bit of maintenance overall. Rottweiler shedding is seasonal: moderate for most of the year, but heavier during the twice-yearly shedding seasons. Rottweiler drooling is a pretty common issue as well.

These dogs have short, straight, double-layered coats. Specifically how much does a Rottweiler shed?That depends: a fair amount most of the time--but when they blow their undercoats in the spring and fall, expect heavier shedding. Rottweiler owners can brush their dogs a couple of times a week with a bristle brush to help reduce the Rottweiler shedding level, and hair cleanup--vacuuming the floors, and lint rollers on clothes and furniture--will be necessary from time to time. (Brushing and cleanup will obviously be required more often during shedding season.)

Rottweiler drool is also a frequent problem. Rotties will drool after drinking water or when especially excited or nervous--but most often in anticipation of food! Owners will do well to keep spare rags or towels handy in rooms where the dog spends time, particularly near its food dish. And if a Rottweiler is drooling excessively, owners can tie a bandanna or towel around the dog's neck to keep its neck and chest from getting to dirty or stinky from the excess slobber.

Rottweiler Diet

The Rottweiler diet plan will need to include animal proteins and carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and omega fatty acids--nutrients every dog needs to maintain its health. This means the best "Butcher's Dog" food is premium dry kibble, as it has balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients. One high-quality brand, Royal Canin, even has a line of "breed-specific" food formulated expressly for the Rottweiler dog diet. Royal Canin Rottweiler Adult, Royal Canin Rottweiler Junior, and Royal Canin Rottweiler Puppy food are all designed to meet the breed's nutritional needs at each life stage.

But specifically how much to feed a Rottweiler? In short, quite a lot! Adult Rottweiler dog food portions average 5-6 cups a day, divided into two meals. Portions of food for Rottweiler puppy dogs are a bit smaller: depending on age, an average of 3½ cups per day, divided into three meals (not two) until nine months old.

(A NOTE ABOUT BLOAT: This breed is prone to gastric torsion, aka bloat, that occurs when a dog's stomach fills with air when it "wolfs" its food. The condition is often fatal. Owners are strongly advised not to feed their Rotties for an hour before or after exercising, and these dogs should eat two smaller meals per day instead of just one big one.)

For more info on how much to feed Rottweiler puppy and adult dogs, here's a handy Rottweiler food chart:

*--Around this time, transition to adult food by mixing in adult formula with the puppy formula, in increasing amounts, for one week.

It's vital that owners don't overfeed their Rottweilers. These dogs are highly prone to obesity, so a Rottie that's constantly overfed (and under-exercised) will quickly become overweight--and a fat Rottweiler will have numerous health problems and a shorter lifespan. You can help control your Rottie's weight by having consistent feeding and exercise schedules, and by not leaving food in the dog's bowl all the time.

If you're worried your Rottweiler is overweight, try this test: run a hand along the dog's side, and if you can't feel any ribs beneath the muscle, it's diet time--which means less food and more exercise!

Living Environment

Though it might seem otherwise, Rottweilers are definitely inside dogs. While they'll need plenty of outdoor exercise each day, a Rottweiler at home will need to live inside with its people. If forced to live outside, Rotties will exhibit extremely bad behavior: they'll be aggressive, destructive, and incapable of socializing with people and animals.

Nor is a Rottweiler an apartment dog, as this breed is simply too large and energetic for confined spaces. What's more, many apartment complexes and neighborhoods have restrictions (or outright bans) on Rottweilers, so owners need to live in neighborhoods or apartments that allow Rottweilers and similar breeds.

Another consideration for owners of a Rottweiler: temperature. Surprisingly, these dogs aren't very adaptable to temperature extremes. Rottweilers and cold weather aren't a very good match--nor do these dogs do well in sweltering temps. Overall, Rotties are best suited to owners living in regions with moderate climates.