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It’s easier to misunderstand some breeds more than others. Many are pretty much what they seem to be: Greyhounds are fast. Golden Retrievers retrieve. American Water Spaniels love the water.

Rottweilers are well known to be powerful, protective, and loyal, famous for their instinct for guarding. And they are those things. So much so that the American Rottweiler Club is clear that, “owning a Rottweiler carries a great deal of responsibility and commitment,” and that “it is not a dog for everyone. They require a calm, stable, and firm ‘pack leader’ or they will assume that role for you. They need socialization, exercise, and stimulating mental challenges. With these things, you will have a wonderful companion.”

So now that we’ve confirmed the common perceptions, here are five things you may not have known about this big, beautiful, family dog:

  1. Rottweilers were originally “drovers,” meaning their job was to protect cattle and other livestock. Today the Rottweiler participants in herding events, and can keep up with the sheepdogs and shepherds in the field.Rottweiler herding
    A Rottweiler competes in herding at the DelBay Hearding Club.
  2. Speaking of jobs… There is very little that makes a Rottweiler happier than having a job to do. But they can do more than guard home and family. Because they are smart, tireless, and eager to please, Rottweilers can be service dogs, therapy dogs, obedience competitors, guide dogs, customs inspectors, drafting and carting dogs, and of course, devoted companions.
  3. They are leaners. A number of breeds, such as Great Danes and Mastiffs, enjoy leaning their big bodies up against their people. The Rottie does, too. This action is thought to originate from the breed’s need to move cattle, when they’d use their bodies to head the cows in the right direction.
  4. Do you know what a “Metzgerhund” is? If not, you’re not alone. It means “butcher’s dog.” Hundreds of years ago, Rotties were used to protect a butcher’s money when he traveled to market.
  5. Despite that tough-looking exterior, Rotties are a sensitive breed, due to their intelligence and close attachment to their humans. So they can be prone to separation anxiety, and need an owner willing to put in the time and care they deserve. Actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith take their roles as Rottweiler owners seriously. The couple reportedly spent $1,200 on a canine treadmill for their dogs.Rottie flowers

    Photo: Holly Granito/AKC Family Dog Photo Contest

Bonus fact: A Rottweiler named Wynd is the recipient of this year’s AKC Humane Fund ACE Award in the Therapy Dog category. Learn more about Wynd’s incredible work helping those with PTSD, the elderly, and school kids. And because you can never have enough Rottie pics, check out these beauties.

Rottweilers are confident, powerful, and loving companions. Learn more about the breed here. If you think this breed is right for you, check out the AKC Marketplace for Rottweiler puppies.

Header image: Michele White/AKC Family Dog Photo Contest
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