Why Do Rottweilers Have a Bad Reputation?

Last Updated on January 16, 2022 by Fabiola L.

“Why do Rottweilers have a bad reputation?” is a question that’s been beaten many times over, with few rational answers. Despite them being very obedient, trainable, and loving, many people mistake their protective instincts for dangerous behavior.

Unfortunately, this leads to a skewed misrepresentation of the breed. In today’s article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common reasons people believe Rottweilers to be bad dogs!

Are Rottweilers Dangerous?

The answer is a clear no! Rottweilers aren’t any more dangerous than any other large dog. This doesn’t mean that they’re harmless, but they certainly aren’t troublemakers!

However, there are many facts about Rottweilers as to why people see them as more dangerous than some other dogs.

are rottweilers dangerous


Rottweilers are large dogs! Most people see them as a large and muscular breed. Luckily, very few Rottweilers use that muscle for bad, as most Rotties aren’t aggressive and they aren’t likely to attack you or anyone else if unprovoked. However, people are still often intimidated by their size, leading to the misconception that they’re dangerous.

This makes sense only partly – an angry Rottweiler is, at the end of the day, more dangerous than an angry English Bulldog. You likely won’t react if you see a chihuahua barking at you on the street. However, a Rottweiler is much scarier. Luckily, Rottweilers don’t have behavioral problems, so they’re not likely to just bark at people for no reason.

They’re more likely to accidentally hurt you than hurt you on purpose! For example, a Rottweiler can easily knock you over because of its size. This can happen even if they’re not trying to do it.

Protective behavior

Even though Rottweilers aren’t likely to start a fight with another dog or a person, they most certainly aren’t backing out of one either! They’re crazily protective over their owners and over themselves. If they sense that someone is putting you in danger – they will react.

This reaction is firstly barking, followed by growling and dragging their feet across the ground, trying to look menacing. However, a Rottweiler is very unlikely to attack unless it’s provoked.

If another dog starts showing these signs of aggression towards your Rottie, you shouldn’t be surprised to see your Rottie just ignoring them. Mentally, they’re very cool dogs and they aren’t going to answer to just any provocation. However, if there is something that your Rottie considers a serious threat, then you’ll definitely see it reacting.

Because of this behavior, many people jump to the conclusion that Rottweilers are dangerous and aggressive.

Read more about Why Does My Dog Stand Between My Legs?

A dark history

Unfortunately, Rottweilers have been and still are used as fighting dogs in illegal dog fighting rings. This practice is now illegal in the largest number of countries across the world, but these illegal rings still exist and operate in the shadows. Because of their size, strength, and courage – Rottweilers are often one of the top choices for dogfighting.

This isn’t that much of a surprise, considering that Rottweilers are the result of selective breeding. Even though they started out as strong working dogs, with time, we turned them into strong protective dogs. However, even before they became working dogs in Germany, Romans used them as dogs of war! Both their mentality and their physicality are entirely shaped with a single goal in mind – protecting their owners.

Because of this, they’re absolutely lethal in a fight and they rarely back down.

This also appears in popular culture very often. If you saw a Rottweiler in a movie or a videogame, you most likely saw it as an aggressive dog. Just take a look at GTA V, where the Rottweiler Chop is apparently an incredibly tracking dog, biting down on criminals with no remorse or hesitation.

Prey drive

The colorful career of the Rottweiler breed doesn’t end there, though, as they also spent time working as cattle herders! Because of this, most Rotties still have an evolutionary knack for herding cattle. They can sometimes misinterpret this instinct, causing them to behave towards children and pets as if they were cattle!

This might sound amusing, but it’s definitely not amusing if you’re a child with a massive Rottweiler barking at you for no reason!

Dogs With Bad Reputations

dogs with bad reputations

There are many other dogs that share this bad reputation with Rottweiler, some deserving it more than others.

Siberian Huskies, for example, are brilliant dogs and are definitely one of the top choices for people living in colder environments. However, they need tons of attention and cognitive stimulation! If they don’t get that, they can become very destructive.

Chihuahuas are another example, although their bad rep isn’t here for no reason. Despite most people not considering them dangerous, these dogs are very aggressive, especially males. Some argue that this is because of their size, a sort of compensation, but whatever the reason is – Chihuahuas don’t really get along well with other dogs or families with children!

The Pitbull is yet another dog on this list as many people think of them as the most dangerous dogs out there. Unfortunately, that reputation is not without reason. The Pitbull also has a dark history behind it, as the breed was created for fighting! Part of that instinct remains today, causing so many aggressive incidents.

Lastly, we have the Dalmatian. Although this dog might seem like a cutie at first, they rarely hold back and they’re not afraid of making their presence known through rough behavior!

In Conclusion

Rottweilers definitely aren’t bad dogs and their bad rep is completely wrong for the most part. The reasons behind this reputation are completely understandable, but that doesn’t change the fact that isn’t factual. Because of their immense size, powerful and dominant display, as well as protective instincts, and their history as war dogs and fighting dogs, many people see the Rottweiler as a dangerous dog.

However, most Rottweilers aren’t dangerous! They’re very protective and affectionate, easy to train, and obedient. Rottweilers will rarely start trouble for no reason and they certainly aren’t dangerous if you raise them well!