How to choose the right dog breed: The Rottweiler

The Rottweiler is one of the largest of the more highly respected guard dogs, the others being the Akita, the Doberman Pinscher, and the German Shepherd. Ranking in the top decile for the aggressive traits, the Rottweiler is among the top few breeds in territorial defense and watchdog barking. Unlike the Doberman and the German Shepherd, though, it has a low ranking on general reactivity. In particular, this breed is among the lowest on excitability, excessive barking, and demand for affection. As a further contrast with the Shepherd, the Rottweiler has a low ranking on destructiveness and playfulness.

Because guard dogs are traditionally associated with 4 breeds, you can easily study the individual differences in their profiles before making your selection. The Rottweiler ranks at the extremes of lower or higher deciles on five traits, whereas the other three breeds are at one or the other extreme on four traits. The Rottweiler's two very high ranks, on territorial defense and watchdog barking, are most relevant to territorial protection. The highly trainable nature of the Rottweiler makes it quite deserving of its reputation as a splendid guard dog.

If you're sold on Rottweilers but need a territorial defender and want some integration of the dog into the family, consider getting a female to boost demand for affection and perhaps make dominating the dog somewhat easier.

The Rottweiler:

Weight: 110 lbs
Height: 25 in.
Build: Very strong
Coat: Short, undercoat; weekly brushing desirable.
Color: Black with rust.

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