Why are Rottweilers so dangerous? Are They Actually Dangerous?

A lot of people are afraid of rottweilers and yet still they are one of the 10 most popular breeds in the US.

This might seem a bit contradictory, but it actually makes a lot of sense when you start to understand the controversies surrounding Rottweilers.

But why are they considered to be one of the most dangerous dogs?

In other words; why are Rottweilers so dangerous? Rottweilers are so dangerous because despite being less than 2% of the Dog population, they are responsible for more than 10.4% of dog attacks on people and pets, they are 10 times more likely to be aggressive, and they are involved in fatal dog attacks on adults, kids, infants, dogs, cats, and other pets every year.

This may seem like a formal answer full of numbers, but it is just the truth. These numbers alone are enough to scare people of owning or even getting close to Rotties.

But are rottweilers actually that dangerous? If so, why are they still that popular? Let’s break down the myths and the truths about Rottweilers’ aggression and the dangers of rottweilers. Keep reading, it’s about to get really interesting.

Why are Rottweilers so dangerous?

rottweiler looking angry to answer why are rottweilers so dangerous

If you purely look at the numbers, there is no denying it: Rottweilers are dangerous dogs. In fact, Rottweilers are only second to the infamous Pitbulls in dog attacks and fatalities.

Even worse, some people argue that Rottweilers are more dangerous than Pitbulls because they are twice as likely to attack young children and infants than they are to attack adults.

This is, unfortunately, somewhat true. Since 1982, 796 Rottweilers alone have killed 119 people out of the 627 people they killed, and out of those attacked, 242 were adults but and 385 were just children and infants.

The reason this happens is that Rottweilers were not originally used as bait or bull dogs like bully breeds, so they do not have this instinct to take down larger prey, and they are more likely to attack smaller ‘prey’ such as cats, squirrels, smaller dogs, and yes, kids.

Whoa, boy, do Rottweilers look even worse now. Okay, let’s track back and take a minute to understand Rottweilers through looking at their history and see how they have come to be what they are today.

Understanding Rottweiler’s Origins and History

The Roman Empire was the most extensive political and social system in western civilization during its heyday. Dog breeding was one of many things that were forever altered at this period. When vast Roman armies travelled throughout Europe, their food supply, in the form of live cattle, marched alongside them.

To look after the herd, large and robust drover dogs were required. One of the oldest dog breeds is the drover dog, which was supposed to be an Asian Mastiff type.

It was their responsibility to keep the herd safe from predators, ensure that it didn’t stray, and drive it for long distances throughout the day.

These dogs had a strong guarding instinct. They were also intelligent, rugged, and had quite impressive endurance.

It’s believed that these dogs were the breeding stock used to create the Rottweiler we know today.

The drover dogs of Rottweil worked herding cattle and defending them from rustlers on their journey to market during the medieval period after the fall of the Roman Empire. This town is where the dog got their name.

The drover dogs were bred with numerous local dog breeds that had formerly lived in Rottweil.

The Bernese Mountain Dog, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Appenzeller, and Entlebucher are among the breeds that may have contributed to the Rottweiler’s ancestry.

in the 19th Century, Rottweilers suddenly found themselves without jobs as Railroads replaced the need to use dogs to guard livestock to the market, and cattle herding then was outlawed.

Without a need for the dog, their population dropped near the point of extinction, that is until they were found to be really good as guard, police, and military dogs.

As you can see, so far, Rottweilers are just normal working dogs. They are not aggressive or dangerous and are considered great companions that can work closely with humans completely safely.

The war ended, the Rottweiler was brought to the US, and it started gaining popularity. It became a popular family dog thanks to their even temperament, intelligence, and protective instincts.

The Rottweiler was quick to learn, fiercely loyal to his owners, alert, strong, and very protective of his family. A Great dog all around. In the 1990s, the Rottweiler was the second most popular dog breed in the US according to the AKC.

Unfortunately, the Rottweiler also got the attention of the wrong people. Because the Rottweiler was fearless, intelligent, and strong, dogfighting enthusiasts were attracted to the dog and started training the dog to fight.

The first recorded incidents of Rottweiler attacks happened in the 1970s, and things escalated quickly. The Rottweiler quickly gained a reputation as a ‘killer dog’ in the 2,000s, and the world started to fall out of love with the Rottweiler.

Are Rottweilers actually dangerous?

No, Rottweilers are not actually dangerous. A 2008 study found the Rottweiler to be no more aggressive than other dogs. The study – which you can find in the sources section at the end of the article – was found to be just moderately aggressive.

The study found that Rotties tend to be more aggressive than average towards strangers.

Rottweilers are protective as well, and they have strong territoriality.

The Rottweiler’s powerful build, great size, and aggressive disposition make them a deadly combination in the hands of an inexperienced owner. This breed requires extensive training and socialization.

A Rottweiler will instinctively guard its owner against an unknown enemy, as the dog interprets it to be. There are irresponsible dog owners who do not properly educate and socialize their Rottweilers, which is a shame.

Whose Fault is it that Rottweilers are considered dangerous?

As explained earlier, Rottweilers are not inherently aggressive as some claim them to be. There is nothing in their genetics that makes them dangerous.

If any dog (or animal) is not properly trained, socialized, or treated correctly, he (she) may become aggressive.

It’s the fault of irresponsible dog owners that the Rottweilers have become a dangerous dog breed in the heads of most people. Irresponsible, negligent, and abusive dog owners have made Rottweilers something they are not and should not have been.

How to make sure your Rottweiler doesn’t become dangerous?

To make sure your Rottweiler never becomes dangerous, you do exactly what you would do with any other dog: train them and socialize them as early as possible. Train them consistently and never stop the training process.

Feed them right, feed them well, give them enough exercise every single day, give them mental stimulation, and just treat them right in general.

When to not get a Rottweiler

If you are a first-time dog owner or don’t have the time or energy for a high-maintenance and demanding dog, you should not get a Rottweiler.

This is not the dog to make mistakes with. Rottweilers are strong, muscular dogs, and a mistake with these dogs will turn out tragic.

If this is going to be your first dog, please go get a Labrador or a Golden Retriever. Labs and Goldens are easy-going, forgiving, low-maintenance dogs that are almost too gentle and loving by nature. They are smart and patient, and you don’t need a lot of experience to train them. It’s really hard to mess up these dogs (although it’s still possible).

When to get a Rottweiler

Are you an experienced dog owner? Do you have enough time and resources for a high-maintenance dog? Do you understand that this is a working dog that needs a job to do? Do you know how to train and socialize a dog right at a young age and know how to be in control with any dog? Then you should definitely get a Rottweiler.

A Rottweiler is going to be a fantastic dog for you. They are protective, fearless, and fierce when they need to be. They are alert and will not hesitate to do whatever it takes to keep you, your family, and your house safe.

They are also going to be gentle, cuddly, and affectionate when you need them to be if you do the training and socialization right.

Helpful Resources

Dog Bite Statistics (How Likely Are You To Get Bit?)

Bite Statistics According to Dog Breed

Breed differences in canine aggression

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