Rottweiler Breeder Round-Up

Rottweiler Breeder Round-Up

In creating the book The Complete Guide to Rottweilers” (written by Vanessa Richie and available on Amazon) we interviewed 12 of the top Rottweiler breeders in the country.  We used their advice and expertise to help make the book the best possible guide book for a new Rottweiler owner.

But… there was so much good advice in those interviews that we couldn’t fit it all into the book.  So we decided we’d compile the best answers to each question and present them here.  If you are thinking of getting a Rottweiler, or are a current owner, the advice that follows will be invaluable to you as you proceed on your ownership journey.  Enjoy:

Question #1:  What are your tips for choosing the right Rottweiler from either a breeder or rescue?

Selecting a Rottweiler puppy rom a breederConsensus:
 The majority of Rottweiler breeders are primarily concerned with developing healthy dogs with solid temperaments, and ensuring that they find the right home.  Unfortunately, there are still a few breeders who are in it solely for the money. Rottweilers produced by unscrupulous breeders may have physical and behavioral difficulties. Only purchase from breeders who can produce the correct health certifications and look for a breeder who communicates with their buyers. If you are rescuing a Rottweiler, most breeders recommend basing your decision on the dog’s temperament and to be aware that degenerative disorders like hip dysplasia may arise.

Best Quotes:

Choose a dog who is first structurally sound, second has a solid temperament, and third has the amount of drive you are looking for.”
Elissa O’Sullivan-  Falkore Rottweilers

Buyers should research the kennel or breeder’s name on the web to see if they have any bad reviews. From there, they can begin researching a breeder’s website. If the breeder is ethical, they will publish all of their dogs’ health scores on their website. If all of that checks out, I would strongly encourage a buyer to visit the breeder’s home. Some breeders will have a fancy website, but then when you get out to their property, you can clearly tell little time goes into the welfare of the animals. It is very important for a buyer to build a relationship with their breeder. Most breeders that value their reputation will appreciate a certain level of communication with their buyers so they can make sure the puppy is truly going to a good home. It is also a PLUS if the breeder is licensed with their state Department of Agriculture. This means the kennel is inspected on a regular basis.”
Deborah Brown-  Black Jade Rottweilers

The dog’s temperament and health are paramount in making a good choice. Watch the puppy or dog in their own environment to observe how they interact with adults, children, and other animals.”
Daviann L Mitchell-  Nighthawk Rottweilers, Inc

Question #2:  What are some of the most unique characteristics of the breed?

Rottie strength and staminaConsensus:
 While this breed of dog is well-known for their strength and stamina, it is their temperamental aspect that most breeders rave about. The well-bred Rottweiler is immensely loyal to their human family, intelligent, and fearless. Although they may remain aloof towards strangers of all sorts, they tend to be much more cuddly and affectionate at home. This breed was originally developed to manage cattle and drive them to and from the market. They are working dogs, and are much happier and more enjoyable companions if they have regular activities to keep them busy.

Best Quotes:

They display strength and stamina, but when you look into their eyes you see warm, dark-brown pools reflecting an intelligent, alert, and fearless animal. A well-bred Rottweiler is calm and confident. They are typically aloof toward strangers, but never timid or fearful.”
Deborah Bram-  Flusstal Rottweilers

Rottweilers are extremely loyal. Their looks are intimidating, but there is nothing more impressive than a powerful breed that is truly a big teddy bear.”
Maria Bledsoe-  JeMar Rottweilers

Rottweilers are a working breed and they are happiest when they have a job.  They are versatile and excel in most dog venues.  If you decide on a working breed like the Rottweiler you should be ready to enjoy time with your pet and doing things with them, including attending ongoing classes in obedience and other disciplines.”
Kathryn Lovan-  Halo Rottweilers

Question #3:  What do most people not know about Rottweilers that would surprise them?

Rottweiler family dogConsensus:
 People who are not familiar with the breed may not realize just how sensitive and family-centric these dogs are. Many Rottweilers gravitate towards children and take on the role of their protector, and they often require no urging from their owners to do so. These dogs are well-regarded as guard dogs, but many owners may not be aware of the unusual mode of guarding that some Rottweilers are prone to. They will happily let a stranger in the house, but the intruder will be aggressively barred from leaving the property.

Best Quotes:

They are extremely cuddly and sensitive. They thrive on being a big part of the family and should never be kept as a backyard dog.”
Kathryn Lovan-  Halo Rottweilers

They understand almost everything you say! They can also sense if you are having a problem.”
Tonya Renee Jones-  Lakeview Kennel

They love CHILDREN. Children become “theirs” and they can be very protective of them.”
Grace Acosta-  Acosta Rottweilers

This breed is known to have strange behavior for a guard dog… they will let someone in, but then they won’t let them out.”
Teresa Bradley-  Neu-Rodes

Question #4:  How would you  recommend people prepare their home for the arrival of their new puppy?

Preparing your home for a rottweiler puppyConsensus:
 Rottweilers prefer the company of their family, but it is also important to find a safe area for your puppy to spend time when you can’t be with them.  Ensure that they have safe things to play with and chew on, and avoid hard slippery surfaces. These pups may be more prone to others to damaging their hips by sliding on the floor. Avoid letting your puppy jump down from high places, especially onto hard floors, to prevent damage to growing bones and joints. This breed thrives on routine, so establishing a routine early will help smooth the transition.

Best Quotes:

Educate yourself on the breed, enroll in puppy classes, purchase a crate, research healthy foods, make sure you have a safe and secure area for your puppy to play and go to the bathroom, purchase lots of toys, and set a routine when the puppy comes home.  Be consistent and kind in the training process and be fair when it comes to correction but don’t be afraid to correct bad behavior.  Provide the puppy with physical and mental stimulation and choose a puppy with an energy level suitable for your lifestyle.”
Daviann L Mitchell-  Nighthawk Rottweilers, Inc

Always be on guard for your new puppy jumping from couches and chairs onto hard services as this can cause damage to developing joints. Be vigilant when puppies run and play on hard surfaces. They can damage their HIPS! Buy food and water bowls that are flared on the bottom to prohibit them from turning over and causing a mess.”
Charles Robinson-  Von Euro Kennel

As a breeder, I highly suggest crate training a new puppy. They will see this as their place to rest when needed and it will help keep them out of mischief and safe from things that they can get into. Also make sure you talk to the breeder about food selection, veterinarian choices, and immunization schedules.”
Maria Bledsoe-  JeMar Rottweilers

Question #5:  What are some unexpected things a new Rottweiler owner might encounter in the first few weeks?

Rottweiler laying on the floorConsensus:
 Rottweilers were bred to be self-confident and strong-willed and this is apparent as soon as they come home. Most breeders recommend a safe area for the pup to spend time, but caution that these dogs are likely to barrel right through many child gates. This breed is likely to test their owner’s resolve when they first get home, sometimes going as far as growling or nipping. This behavior should be firmly corrected. While it may almost be cute when the pup is tiny, these behaviors can be much more problematic when they are hundred-pound adults.

Best Quotes:

Puppies are full of energy and mischief. They can also be very determined. With proper training and patience, you will be rewarded with the very best friend you could ever have.”
Kathryn Lovan-  Halo Rottweilers

A dog with a solid temperament is not afraid of anything. This means that they will push gates out of the way and climb over anything.”
Elissa O’Sullivan-  Falkore Rottweilers

A Rottweiler puppy will “test” the new owner by growling. The pup must be corrected as this cannot be allowed. They need to know who is in charge.”
Grace Acosta-  Acosta Rottweilers

Question #6:  What house-training advice do you have for a new owner?

Housetraining a Rottweiler puppyConsensus:
 There are several methods of house-training that can be used to successfully house-train your Rottweiler puppy, from leaving newspapers by the door to a hanging bell on a string from the door for the puppy to ring. Most breeders recommend utilizing a crate to minimize accidents during the house-training period and emphasize that this breed responds to new training best when it is delivered with consistency and praise.

Best Quotes:

We recommend that new pet-parents use the bell on a string method, where you hang a bell on the door that leads out into the backyard. Train the puppy to ring the bell, and then they are allowed to go outside. Once the puppy uses the bathroom, praise them with a high pitched voice saying, “good boy” or “good girl”. Treats are also helpful. Take your puppy out after they eat or drink. They normally have to relieve themselves fairly quickly.”
Deborah Brown-  Black Jade Rottweilers

Crate training is a must!  Also, do not feed or give your new puppy water right before bed, unless you want to be woken up two hours later.”
Maria Bledsoe-  JeMar Rottweilers

Find a suitable spot in your yard.  Always take the puppy to that spot.  Wait until the job is done and then have a big celebration with lots of treats.  Never leave the puppy unsupervised in the house out of its crate, if the puppy starts to potty immediately pick up and take outside.  Repeat the steps above.”
Kathryn Lovan-  Halo Rottweilers

Crate train your puppy in order to house train them. Feed your puppy and then take them outside immediately to teach them to potty outside. Rottweiler puppies respond to positive affirmations and treats really well throughout their lives.”
Charles Robinson-  Von Euro Kennels

Question #7:  What tips do you have for socializing your Rottweiler with other pets?

Socializing a Rottweiler puppyConsensus:
 Socialization is an extremely important aspect of your new canine companion’s education, and should be started as soon as possible. Rottweiler puppies, however, are particularly susceptible to Parvo, a potentially deadly virus, so it is even more important that they not be exposed to dogs who may not have had their vaccines until your pup’s vaccines have had time to do their job. Socializing these dogs should be an ongoing affair, with concentrated effort continuing throughout the first several years. Rottweilers who are not well-socialized as young dogs are more likely to become aggressive later.

Best Quotes:

I recommend socializing your new puppy as soon as they have received three sets of puppy shots. Rottweilers are highly susceptible to parvo. You do not want to go to the dog park or other areas heavily trafficked by other dogs until they are around twelve weeks old to avoid interacting with pets that may not be current on their vaccinations.”
Maria Bledsoe-  JeMar Rottweilers

Socializing must be positive and constant for the first 3 years of your Rottweiler’s life. They are not supposed to trust things naturally, they must be taught.”
Elissa O’Sullivan-  Falkore Rottweilers

Until the puppy receives its last vaccine, I do not take the puppy off my property nor do I let them play with any other dogs. There are many ways to socialize your puppy at home until then. Allow the puppy to interact with people at home or in the yard and once the dog has their last vaccine then you can start socializing them with other pets. Find a puppy socializing or training class as well.”
Deborah Bram-  Flusstal Rottweilers

Question #8:  How much exercise does a Rottweiler need? What are some good exercise habits to develop?

Exercising a RottweilerConsensus:
 Rottweilers are active and athletic dogs, but they have varying exercise needs. Some individuals are very active while others prefer a more relaxed existence. There is even the occasional Rottweiler who takes couch potato to a new extreme. Most do best with an hour or two of vigorous activity per day. Along with enjoying long walks and games of fetch, they can also excel at dog sports such as agility training and rally sport. It is important to remember not to stress the joints of a growing Rottweiler, however, and to ensure that activities are appropriate for their growth level.

Best Quotes:

Rottweilers tend to need about an hour a day. You can play ball with them, go for a run or walk. Switch it up and rotate. Most working Rottweilers love to play fetch. I like the Varsity ball, when you have a lot of dogs, this gives them a great workout.”
Bobby and Melissa Kemp-  Gold Hill Kennels

Exercise is good for everyone. As a puppy though, too much running/jumping can cause issues for Rottweilers. Their bones and joints are still growing and developing at this young age. Do not allow any puppy to jump off of anything, and avoid taking stairs until they are much older. A low impact exercise routine a few times a day is ideal.”
Deborah Brown-  Black Jade Rottweilers

Playing Fetch with a ball or swimming are good exercises that you can do with them.”
Tonya Renee Jones-  Lakeview Kennel

Question #9:  How easy or hard are they to train? What advice do you have for a new owner?

Training a Rottweiler dogConsensus:
 Two components for an easy-to-train canine include the dog’s intelligence and their willingness to please their owners. The majority of Rottweilers have these components in spades, but they were also bred to be able to think on their own, causing some to develop a bit of an independent and stubborn streak. They tend to respond best to consistent, praise-based training, but they will take advantage of trainers who are weak-willed. While many new pet-parents may require professional help with training, they should remain present with their Rottweiler during training for the most benefit.

Best Quotes:

Rotties are willing to learn and train 24/7. The key to training any dog is for the humans in the household to be on the same page and be consistent with their training techniques. Rotties tend to gravitate to the one person that they perceive having the highest status in the house. That’s why it is important for all members of the household to get involved with a puppy’s training. Some Rotties will require an experienced dog trainer to teach both the humans and the puppy the basic fundamentals.”
Deborah Brown-  Black Jade Rottweilers

Be patient, but consistent, don’t give up.  Rottweilers like to please but they are also stubborn dogs. You give them a command and they will look at you as if they are thinking, “Do I really want to do this?” Be consistent and do not give up or the Rottweiler will take over.”
Grace Acosta-  Acosta Rottweilers

Most Rottweilers from reputable breeders are very smart. Get a good trainer and always be with your dog when in training. I never suggest sending your dog away to be trained.”
Bobby and Melissa Kemp-  Gold Hill Kennels

That’s a hard question to answer.  It depends on the temperament of both the dog and the trainer!  I would not suggest buying and raising a Rottweiler without professional help if you’ve never owned one before.”
Teresa Bradley-  Neu-Rodes

Question #10:  What are some of the unwanted behavior that a Rottweiler might display, and what advice do you have for dealing with them?

Rottweiler behaviorsConsensus:
 Rottweilers can be hierarchical dogs and males may display more dominant behaviors than females. Correct aggressive or dominant behaviors dog firmly but fairly and this should eliminate the behavior quickly. Dog on dog aggression can be a problem as well, but consistent socialization is helpful for curbing this tendency. Developed as cattle herding dogs, Rotties are naturally a bit mouthy. Discourage mouthing of people, and provide several options for your dog to safely chew on. If your dog starts to mouth something they shouldn’t, offer them a safer alternative.

Best Quotes:

Mouthing is one of the biggest problems a puppy owner goes through. Puppies do this as a way to get your attention, however, those puppy teeth are sharp and it can hurt. Every puppy responds differently to different commands, so the owner needs to figure out which command works with their puppy. Using a distraction toy or squeaky toy can be helpful.”
Deborah Brown-  Black Jade Rottweilers

Chewing stuff up. Make sure you keep bones or other chewing toys handy.”
Fred J-  Rottweiler

Male Rottweilers are more dominant than females. They usually require a firmer hand.  I do not allow any grumbling, talking, or growling ever from my dogs.  If this is established at an early age, there usually isn’t an issue.”
Maria Bledsoe-  JeMar Rottweilers

People or dog aggression.  You MUST socialize your dog as early as possible and allow them to meet many people, go to many places, and meet as many other animals as you can.  Teach your dog that people are kind and to be respectful. Teach people that your dog is kind and must be respected.  Don’t encourage physical horseplay as the dog can misinterpret your actions which can result in an unfortunate incident.  Understand that your dog will be protective of his or her family, including the children, and never forget they are dogs.  NEVER NEVER leave a Rottweiler, or any dog, alone with small children. They are still dogs, no matter how trustworthy or kind they may be.”
Daviann L Mitchell-  Nighthawk Rottweilers, Inc

Question #11:  Do Rottweilers make good travel companions? Why or why not?

Traveling with a RottieConsensus:
 The temperament of the Rottweiler makes it an excellent traveling companion. They enjoy being with and serving their families, wherever they may choose to roam. It is important that Rottweiler owners keep the size of their traveling companions in mind when preparing in order to ensure they have enough food, water, and space for their pets. Unfortunately, this breed is often listed on breed discrimination lists for hotels and campgrounds, so you will want to check all of the fine print before selecting your accommodations.

Best Quotes:

Most do. My Rotties all love to travel and going for a ride is a great prize. You can encounter breed discrimination when traveling and will need to check ahead with any hotels and campgrounds that you plan to visit.”
Kathryn Lovan-  Halo Rottweilers

Every dog is different, but as long as the puppy/dog doesn’t suffer from motion sickness, they can be great travel companions. Rotties love to be with their owners 24/7, and it’s their duty to serve and protect their master.”
Deborah Brown-  Black Jade Rottweilers

Rottweilers are excellent travel companions if you have the room for them to be with you.  They are large dogs, so they need space, but they travel well and usually settle in quickly. They love nothing more than being with their family.”
Daviann L Mitchell-  Nighthawk Rottweilers, Inc

Question #12:  Do they have any specific dietary needs or differences from other Rottweilers?

Rottweiler nutritional needsConsensus:
 This breed does not have any nutritional deficiencies or higher incidences of allergic reactions, but they are known to have slightly sensitive stomachs that respond better to high-quality grain free diets. Some breeders prefer to feed their Rottweilers a raw diet. It is important that puppies gain enough weight to ensure proper growth, especially in the first year, but equally important that you not allow your Rottweiler to become overweight. Discuss any supplements with your veterinarian as certain supplements, such as calcium, may be detrimental to their growth and development.

Best Quotes:

Don’t let your dog get overweight.  Bigger is definitely not better.  Healthy and fit are more important.  Rottweilers do well on raw or a quality kibble.  Don’t supplement with calcium as it can be detrimental to their development.”
Daviann L Mitchell-  Nighthawk Rottweilers, Inc

I feed a raw diet, they do well on a higher protein and fat diet. Puppies should be gaining anywhere from eight to twelve pounds per month to ensure proper growth in the first year.”
Deborah Bram-  Flusstal Rottweilers

Rottweilers tend to have sensitive stomachs. I recommend feeding a four or five-star grain-free food, although raw diets also work well.”
Charles Robinson-  Von Euro Kennel

Question #13:  What grooming tips do you have?

Grooming a RottweilerConsensus:
Rottweilers have short coats that are fairly easy to groom. They should be brushed frequently to help remove dead hairs from their undercoat and keep their outer coat healthy and glossy. It is particularly important to condition this large and powerful breed to being handled at an early age including having their nails trimmed and their teeth checked. They only really need bathing ever 2-3 months, and should not be bathed too often as frequent bathing can dry out the skin. While this breed is not adverse to a good bath they do tend to balk at traditional sprayers.

Best Quotes:

This is a very important question. I tell all my clients, from the day the owner brings home a puppy it’s very important that the owner touches every part of the pup’s body; ears, feet, and between their toes. Get into their mouth, and handle their back end. Handling your dog helps condition them for grooming, nail cutting, and veterinarian care, it’s important to be hands-on with Rottweilers.”
Deborah Bram-  Flusstal Rottweilers

Brush your Rottweilers often. They like it and it cuts down on shedding in the house. Some Rottweilers don’t mind bathing, but most do not like the water sprayer.”
Charles Robinson-  Von Euro Kennel

Start doing the nails twice a week EVERY week in the beginning so they know it’s something you require.  Once they are about five months of age, you can back it down to once a week. As they reach adulthood they will probably only need their nails done once a month. Rottweilers prefer that their owners do it, rather than a groomer or vet. Prepare to learn with the dog if you don’t already know how to trim nails.”
Teresa Bradley-  Neu-Rodes

Do not over bathe them.”
Grace Acosta-  Acosta Rottweilers

Question #14:  What kind of shedding should an owner expect? Any advice?

Consensus:
Although Rotties have short, straight coats, they also have fairly thick undercoats. They tend to “blow their coat” twice a year, meaning that they shed a large portion of their undercoats in a short period of time. This usually happens either around the change of the seasons or just prior to a female going into heat. While they do continue shedding throughout the year, the volume of shed hair becomes much more manageable.

Best Quotes:

Rottweilers shed, plain and simple.  They shed a heavy shed twice a year or around a heat cycle.  It is best to brush your dog regularly to get rid of old hair and stimulate new hair growth.”
Daviann L Mitchell-  Nighthawk Rottweilers, Inc

Depends on the dog. I have had Rottweilers with terrible undercoats who shed all year long and others who barely ever shed.”
Elissa O’Sullivan-  Falkore Rottweilers

They shed heavily two times a year. A good brushing when they are shedding will do the trick. Shedding can indicate that a female is getting ready to come into her heat cycle.”
Bobby and Melissa Kemp-  Gold Hill Kennels

Question #15:  Can you speak to some of the genetic health concerns associated with Rottweilers?

Rottweiler Health

Consensus:
 Rottweilers, in general, are prone to several disorders, including hip and elbow dysplasia, heart issues, and eye problems. Most of these difficulties can be alleviated by ensuring that the breeder you get your dog from properly certifies their breeding stock. Though not a genetic trait, many breeders were quick to mention that Rottweilers were more likely to tear their ACL, a ligament in their knee. Rottweilers can be more prone to cancers, particularly bone cancer. Waiting to spay or neuter your large dog until they are at least one or two years old provides some protection against certain bone cancers.

Best Quotes:

Rottweilers are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, bone cancer, heart issues, and eye issues. Do your homework and buy only from a breeder who can prove all of their breeding stock’s health clearances.”
Elissa O’Sullivan-  Falkore Rottweilers

Cancer can be a problem, especially if the pup is spayed/neutered too young. We recommend not having your dog sterilized until the dog is two years old. Hip dysplasia is a concern, so make sure that your breeder does OFA testing on their dogs.”
Bobby and Melissa Kemp-  Gold Hill Kennels

Hips tend to be the biggest health issue with Rottweilers. Buy only puppies whose parents hips have been certified as good by the OFA. European Hip Grades from the FCI should be an A-1 or A-2.”
Charles Robinson-  Von Euro Kennel

If you buy from a reputable breeder who is only breeding cleared stock (hips, elbows, eyes and heart AND JLPP) you  should not see any of the generic issues like severe hip dysplasia.  The only other thing that is super common in this breed is ACL’s.  That is the ligament in the knee, and they are very susceptible to blowing them out.”
Teresa Bradley-  Neu-Rodes