I’ve always known that service dogs can vary on breed, having a wide range of different skill depending on breed. So, I got to thinking and realized: I’ve never heard much about Rottweilers as service dogs. Have you? I wanted to explore and research the use and possibility of our sturdy Rottweiler friends as service dogs.
So can Rottweilers be service dogs? Yes. Despite their size and reputation as aggressive dogs, Rottweilers are used in various roles and different types of service dogs such as therapy dogs and police dogs. They could even be trained to be medical support dogs such as seeing eye dogs.
Rottweilers were originally used as herd dogs. Helping farmers to move livestock from place to place for the Roman Empire during their various travels and, since that time, they have changed jobs and roles in society multiple times over the centuries. Rottweilers were and are easily trained to follow commands and make amazing companions. They learn quickly and make amazing therapy dogs. The bad reputation they get on TV as aggressive dogs comes from the public perception but they’re really very kind and gentle dogs.
Rottweiler Therapy Dogs
Rottweilers have been making waves in communities all over the country in their service as therapy dogs, relieving loads of stress and tension for those they visit.
Rottweilers and their owners will often volunteer to visit hospitals, nursing homes, and schools to help those in need (of a little company and companionship as well as inspiration and encouragement).
According to the American Rottweiler Club:
Many Rottweilers and their owners make a difference within their community by enriching peoples’ lives through the power of human-animal relationships. These dogs and handlers do a service not only to the people they visit but to the Rottweiler breed itself by demonstrating to the public that Rottweilers are a calm loving breed.– American Rottweiler Club
Therapy dogs help school-aged children by helping build and develop better social skills and all while raising their self-esteem.
The dogs also create a fun and entertaining place and build excitement about reading (and for good reason!
Who wouldn’t be excited to read if it meant playing with a big bundle of love and getting a few slobbery, sloppy kisses!)
The American Rottweiler Club also said:
“The characteristics of a therapy dog are disposition, temperament, and desire. A good therapy dog must be friendly, patient, confident, at ease in all situations, gentle, and most importantly, with the help of his handler be able to handle whatever situations may arise.”– American Rottweiler Club
Rottweilers can be trained to handle a plethora of situations easily even with a variety of different stimuli.
Rottweilers as Police and Rescue Dogs
Rottweilers have been gaining favor as police dogs since the early 1900s. This is largely due to their ability to quickly and accurately pick up and learn commands from trainers.
According to the American Kennel Club:
“They found new work as police dogs, personal protectors, and all-around blue-collar dogs capable of performing various heavy-duty tasks. Rotties were among the first guide dogs for the blind, and in more recent times they distinguished themselves as search-and-rescue workers at such disaster sites as Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center.”– American Kennel Club
These dogs have a history of being the first service dogs in the United States.
It wasn’t until later that other breeds, like Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds, became more popular to use as service dogs than the Rottweiler.
Rottweilers are extremely gentle dogs with an admirable sense of loyalty to their owners.
They’ll never betray those who have cared for them and will stop at nothing to protect their families and their homes. They’re very playful and upbeat dogs despite their huge size and mass of muscle.
Rottweilers are known for being a wee bit clumsy at times (but, that just adds to their charm, doesn’t it?).
Part of the reason these dogs make such good service dogs is their strong dedication to those they look after and protect.
Protective dogs make the best guard dogs while gentle and patient dogs make the best therapy dogs. Rotties, being the protective loving pups they are, just happen to fit both categories.
Rottie Reputation Vs. Facts
These dogs have (unfairly) gained a reputation for being ferocious and dangerous after being placed on the list of bully breeds in the United States.
Because of this, they’ve been banned from many apartment complexes and public places because of the fact that the public perceives them as potentially harmful and violent creatures. This may be true for Rottweilers that were raised untrained and mistreated in their early life, but I’ve never in my life (and this goes for most people I have spoken to) met an aggressive Rottweiler.
While Rotties are a gentle and happy breed, all dogs have a self-preservation instinct to lash out at people or other dogs if they are scared or attacked.
Rottweilers who are used as guard dogs may lash out in defense of their homes, but these dogs are by nature, tender and loving family pets. Though their large size makes people cautious of them, it makes them protectors at heart.
Rottweilers are very friendly and tolerant dogs depending on how they are raised. If you raise a Rottweiler puppy around children, then it is more likely that he will be very behaved around children from then on. But, if you adopt an adult Rottweiler, you may want to slowly expose them to children, especially small ones, and let them adjust to the family. If you’ve had a Rottie for a while and you are expecting a new little one, chances are your fur baby will sense it and have no issues adjusting their life to accommodate the newcomer! Personally, I’ve known a Rottweiler that would just lay under her family’s new baby’s swing while the baby slept away just to keep watch. It was really a precious, heartwarming thing to see!
Yes, but it can be difficult to find apartments that don’t have Rottweilers as a restricted breed. As long as you take precautions with the apartment and make sure they get enough exercise and space, you could introduce your dog to the landlord and let them see how sweet and friendly your Rottweiler really is. This could get you past the restricted breed list and get you and your dog on the fast-track to a home in the apartment community.
Rottweilers are generally very good toward other animals inside their homes, such as dogs and cats, that they know but could show aggression toward cats they come across outside or other dogs of the same gender. It is instinctual for dogs to chase small furry animals that run away, especially when they were originally bred to guard the livestock and homes of their masters) as well as protect their territory from those they think might threaten it (ie; other dogs of the same gender). You can train your Rottie out of these habits fairly easily but if it becomes too difficult to handle, you could always look into behavioral training for your Rottweiler.