Can Rottweilers Be Service Dogs?

You’ve vaguely heard that Rottweilers used to be working dogs in the past? You are now probably wondering: “Can Rottweilers be service dogs?”

On the other hand, it’s not so common to see Rottweilers as service dogs. More likely, people tend to fear their massive bodies and intimidating posture.

But they are protection dogs… So? What is the truth? Can Rottweilers be service dogs?

Keep on reading to find out!

Short history of the Rottweiler dog breed


The Rottweiler or the Rottie as some people affectionately call it has a long history. The first standard for the breed has been created in 1901. Since then, everyone has been able to recognize this breed due to its distinct look.

The Rottweiler though comes from ancient times, when the Roman Empire reigned over Europe. Romans used the ancestors of Rottweilers as cattle driving dogs. After abandoning their conquered territories, Romans left their dogs behind, including the Rottweiler in what today is Germany.

In the Middle Ages, the Rottweiler was used by butchers. It developed a sociable nature due to being around people all the time. Its current guarding skills stem from the Rottweiler’s duty to protect its owner from robbers.

Industrialization decreased the need for Rottweilers dramatically. Fortunately, a handful of few passionate breeders prevented the Rottweiler from going extinct.

In the 1900s, Rottweilers became family dogs in charge of protecting family members and properties.

Can Rottweilers be Service Dogs – Top Qualities


The Rottweiler has been used as a working dog at some point in the past. This indicates us that it has a series of qualities that make it a reliable companion:

  • Big dog

Size matters when it comes to providing service to humans. A dog with a sturdy body can assist those having trouble with stability or balance. They can even pull a person if he or she is in danger.

  • Intelligence

A Rottweiler will pull a cart but also complete a delicate task such as turning off lights. Proper training enables Rottweilers to reach their full potential and complete all kinds of actions.

  • Loyalty

Rottweilers are commonly used as guard dogs due to being very loyal. They take care of family members and protect them when in danger. Rotties are great for older people who live alone and need a reliable dog to watch after them.

  • Easy to train

A service dog needs training to be able to complete its tasks. The Rottweiler is obedient and easy to train. They can learn new commands in less than 5 repetitions. Rottweilers service dog training relies on their innate instinct for performing tasks. [1]

  • Wired for work

This dog was originally bred as cattle dogs and guard dogs. The Rottweiler adores being around people and is the kind of dog that follows you around the house.

This kind of behavior is excellent for dogs for disabled persons.

If you own a Rottweiler, make sure you give it plenty of tasks.

Rottweiler therapy dog – is it possible?


Is it possible to have a Rottweiler therapy dog?

We think the Rottweiler can successfully meet this demand, too.

Therapy dog is different from service dog, but similar qualities are required.

While service dogs are assigned to a specific person, therapy dogs often work with multiple people. They are found in settings such as schools, counseling centers, and large events.

Dogs have always played a huge role in therapy world, and a Rottweiler can complete this role, too. The dog must have the right type of personality for a therapy dog and be trained in time.

Training Rottweilers to be service dogs



A Rottweiler can be a service dog if it is properly trained. The trainer needs to achieve obedience and determine the dog to use its energy and willingness to benefit humans. Here are some things you need to consider when it comes to training a Rottweiler:

  • Start training soon

Rottweilers have an innate desire to please and are the easiest to train as puppies. Starting training later can give time to bad habits to develop.

  • Offer plenty of stimulation

A very intelligent dog, the Rottweiler will become bored very soon if you don’t keep their brains active.

  • Choose a neutered dog

If you want to have a Rottweiler as a service dog, choose one that is neutered. Spayed or neutered dogs are less aggressive, calmer, and less territorial than dogs that have not been.

  • Discover what motivates the dog

Not all dogs are motivated by the same reward. Some like treats. Other want their favorite toy. It’s also possible for your dog to do anything for you if you scratch their back. Finding out what motivates the dog makes training more effective.

  • Socialize the dog

Due to its undeserved negative reputation, a Rottweiler needs to behave impeccably in public. Otherwise, some people can get scared.

Make sure your service Rottweiler can focus on its tasks instead of getting distracted each time they see another person.

  • Teach the dog the difference between on-duty and off-duty

With any working animal, you should have a signal indicating them they must start work or relax. It can be a word or a certain way of touching the dog. By distinguishing between work and leisure time, the dog will provide better service.

Reasons why there are not so many Rottweilers service dogs


So far, it looks like the Rottweiler is a good candidate for service dog. However, there are not so many Rottweilers out there pushing wheelchairs or helping people to orientate. Why is that?

A few reasons include:

  • Being a high maintenance dog

Rottweilers need a lot of exercise every day. They also need mental stimulation and affection. If the owners rarely leave home, the Rottweiler will definitely not be calm and happy.

  • Training challenges

A Rottweiler that has not been socialized as a puppy can develop issues such as mistrust of humans and aggressivity. Once they develop, these habits are hard to break.

  • Undeserved negative reputation

Many people see the Rottweiler as a ferocious and aggressive dog breed. Negative media stories often focus on large size dogs, ignoring that smaller dogs can attack people even more often. A properly trained Rottweiler will become a gentle and loving dog and not a vicious monster.

What not to do with Rottweiler


So, there can be some issues with this dog breed if you neglect it.  Fortunately, you can easily avoid Rottweiler behavior issues by taking care of the following aspects:

  • Training them since they are puppies
  • Ensuring plenty of exercise to avoid boredom
  • Socializing the dog at a young age
  • Stimulating its brain with the right toys and games

What not to do with Rottweiler? Never neglect and isolate this dog. The same rules that applies to any dog and human. [2]

Is the Rottweiler the right dog for me?


If you are considering a Rottweiler as a potential service dog, you need to make your decision wisely. Ask yourself the following questions before welcoming a Rottie into your life:

  1. How much time can I spend with the dog outdoors? Rottweilers need plenty of exercise.
  2. How many hours will the dog be alone every day? A bored and lonely Rottweiler will start to chew things around you home.
  3. Do you have experience training dogs? Youngsters can be quite willful and you must be able to educate them in a firm manner. Rottweilers are not for tentative, nervous people.
  4. Can I maintain a large dog? Males weigh 110 – 130 lbs and females 77 – 105 lbs. They need adequate food and can slobber a lot.
  5. Can I give the dog enough tasks to keep it occupied? If you need just a seizure alert dog, a Rottweiler is too powerful and energetic to do only that.

10 interesting facts you probably did not know about Rottweilers


Here are some facts about Rottweilers that will help you know this dog breed better. These could also answer your question “Can Rottweilers be service dogs?” [3]

  1. Also known as Butcher’s Dog

This dog breed was known in Germany as the Rottweiler Metzgerhund (Butcher’s Dog). The explanation can be found in the dog’s job as cattle herder and cart puller for butchered livestock. If this dog used to pull weights, it could definitely be of service to you, too.

  1. The police and the army saved the Rottweiler from extinction

At some point, farmer and butchers no longer needed Rottweilers due to industrialization. Herds became easier to transport due to new transportation means developed in the mid-1800s. As a result, the Rottweiler almost became extinct.

However, there were some lovers of the breed who kept it alive. The situation changed at the beginning of the 20th century, when Rottweilers began to serve as police and military dogs.

  1. Rottweilers helped in the rescue action after 9/11

This brave and powerful dog was used in the rescue actions at the Twin Towers site after 9/11.  Other breeds involved were Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds.

The Rottweiler was able to withstand the harsh conditions at Ground Zero and do a good job. So, we are pretty sure it can handle any service dog duty!

  1. They are very smart

Any Rottweiler owner can confirm this fact. The Rottweiler is a dog breed that is able to think. They will take their time and work out a situation before they act.

Rottweilers are suitable for experienced dog owners. It can be hard to keep up with them and come up with the right training strategies. It’s not unusual for Rottweilers to outsmart humans in some situations.

  1. They would eat all the time if possible

Rottweilers have a tendency to overeat and can easily become obese if they do not exercise enough. By keeping their diet healthy and giving them a job to do, these dogs will possibly maintain optimal weight.

  1. Rottweilers are loyal

Rottweilers have a reputation for being intimidating. This happens due to being guard dogs and their focus on protecting their owner. Rottweilers are deeply devoted to their humans and thrive when they receive attention from people.

  1. They are affectionate

No matter how big it becomes, a Rottweiler will always love to sit in your lap and cuddle. Loving human touch is a must for a service dog, no one can deny it!

  1. They are strong and physical dogs

While they can learn how to be gentle, Rottweilers are very strong.

You need a service dog? Don’t rely on a young dog as they are like bulls in a china shop.

Rottweilers should be trained carefully during their adolescence. By the time they become adults, they are ready to use their strength in a more constructive and careful manner.

  1. Rottweilers don’t bark a lot

They may be rambunctious, but Rottweilers compensate by barking fewer than other dog breeds. They can be trained to bark when there is a good reason for it. If a Rottweiler barks, you know something’s going on.

  1. They want to please their human parent

Even if Rottweilers are independent and strong dogs, they have an inner desire to please humans. Use positive training and reinforcement methods to motivate them and they will happily do the required job!

Bottomline – can Rottweilers be service dogs?

The multiplying sources of information and the increase of positive media portrayals are changing the Rottweiler’s reputation. For this reason, adopting a Rottweiler to work as service dog has become an attractive idea.

The answer to the question “Can Rottweilers be service dogs?” is definitely yes.

But with some conditions: ensuring proper training, socialization, and exercise.

All the undeserved bad reputation comes from unfortunate events which involved neglected dogs. If you train and socialize a dog and offer plenty of affection, you will get all the best from it. And this can include anything from cuddles to saving your life.