When most people hear the term “bully breed,” it probably conjures images of Bulldogs and Pitbulls, the breeds with bull in their names. Rottweilers, however, are generally not the first breed that comes to mind.
But easily categorized breeds like Bulldogs are far from the only bullies. In fact, there are dozens of bully breeds, including some you might not expect like Boston Terriers and Pugs.
Still, bully breeds are, for the most part, large, loyal, muscular dogs with impressive physical features and lovable personalities.
Rottweilers might fit that description, but are Rottweilers a bully breed?
Rottweilers are classified as a bully breed, just like Bulldogs and Pitbulls. Though the breed’s exact origins aren’t well documented, Rottweilers are descended from ancient Greek and Roman dogs known as Molossers, which are the direct ancestors of all bully breeds.
Let’s take a closer look at what it takes for a breed to be considered a bully breed. Then, we’ll discuss the history of Rottweilers and determine their status as a bully breed once and for all.
What Makes a Bully Breed?
Before we can really classify Rottweilers as a bully breed, we have to define what a bully breed is.
There’s actually quite a bit of confusion around this term. Many people are unsure of what breeds can be classified as bullies, or what the criteria are for such classification.
Some breeds are easy to place as bullies. Pitbulls, for example, are a shoo-in for the bully breed moniker.
Other bully breeds are less obvious, such as the aforementioned Pugs and Boston Terriers.
With such a diverse range of dogs falling into the category of bully breeds, it makes you wonder what it takes for a breed to be classified as such.
While most bully breeds do share a few common traits like their deep-rooted loyalty, playful spirits, and affectionate temperaments, these traits aren’t what define a bully breed.
Many breeds can display similar characteristics without the bully breed classification.
All bully breeds are descended from a single ancient breed of dogs known as the Molossers.
Descendants of the Molossers
Molossers were some seriously impressive pooches. These dogs were giants, first off.
Furthermore, they were hard-working animals, employed in various trades.
Originally, Molossers were used to guard livestock. They were also used for hunting and even as war hounds for the great armies of the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Eventually, the breed had spread far from its homeland, being mixed with many other breeds along the way. The offspring of these crosses are the ancestors of today’s bully breeds.
To earn the bully breed classification, a breed must be descended from these ancient Molossers.
A Brief History of Rottweilers
Rottweilers are descended directly from these Molossers. In fact, they were even used for the same types of herding and guarding jobs for many years. Some are still employed in similar work today.
In the town of Rottweil, Germany, the town from which the breed takes its name, Rottweilers were used primarily to drive livestock from farms to markets, protecting the animals along the way.
Here, the breed was known as the Butcher’s Dog of Rottweil, which was later shortened to the official breed name of Rottweiler.
Even though the breed gets their name from this town, they originated much earlier.
Some of the earliest Rottweilers as we know them today were used by the ancient Romans to pull carts, drive cattle, and protect herds of livestock.
How the breed officially started isn’t well documented, but we do know that they were the result of breeding the Molossers that the Romans had been using for many years for the same types of work.
Are Rottweilers a Bully Breed?
Despite the lack of documentation about the birth of the Rottweiler breed, we do know that they’re an ancient Molosser mix used by the same Romans who marched their Molossers around the world with their armies.
As mentioned earlier, the defining characteristic of a bully breed is their lineage. Dogs that are directly descended from Molossers are all bully breeds.
Clearly, Rottweilers fit this description. They’re one of the earliest breeds to branch off from the Molossers, qualifying them for the title of bully breed.
Are Rottweilers Bullies?
Many people misunderstand what bully breeds are. After all, they do have a bit of a reputation, and not a very nice one.
That’s quite unfortunate since bully breeds tend to behave the opposite of how they’re perceived.
Remember, bully breeds are named because of their lineage, not because of their temperaments. Even so, Rottweilers, as well as other bully breeds, are often thought of as bullies.
Bullies are mean, aggressive, and usually don’t mind hurting someone.
Bully breeds, on the other hand, are usually sweet, affectionate, playful, and loving!
Rottweilers generally share this friendly temperament. They might be big, strong, athletic, and powerful, but most are also quite gentle and well-behaved.
Of course, this has a lot to do with how a dog is raised. Abused or neglected dogs of any breed can become aggressive and mean, even if that’s not how the breed usually acts.
But if you ask anyone who has a Rottweiler, they’ll generally tell you that Rottweilers are some of the sweetest dogs you could ever meet.
Don’t believe me? Check out this video of a cuddly, loving Rottie and their favorite human!
Why Are Rottweilers Banned in Some Places?
If you’ve got a Rottweiler and you’ve ever attempted to move into a new home or apartment, you likely found that many places were less than welcoming to your beloved pooch!
Unfortunately, Rottweilers are one of the most commonly banned breeds in many places.
Often, this is due to insurance issues.
Allowing dogs like Rottweilers into an apartment complex, hotel, or similar venue could cause their insurance costs to climb.
Whether it’s fair or not, Rottweilers have a reputation as being aggressive and more likely to bite than other breeds. This isn’t the whole truth, but it doesn’t stop companies and other people from acting like it is.
Many insurance policies have a dangerous dog exclusion that will automatically disallow Rottweilers, even though considering Rottweilers a dangerous breed is a bit of a misconception.
But it’s not just hotels and housing complexes that have an issue with Rottweilers. Many states have issued restrictions regarding Rottweilers, though none have outright banned the breed.
Things are even worse outside of the US though since Rottweilers are completely banned in some countries like Ecuador.
Truthfully, Rottweilers are excellent dogs, but public opinion isn’t on their side. People tend to be afraid of large dogs like Rotties, believing them to be dangerous or violent.
So long as Rotties have this reputation, restrictions on the breed will likely continue.
Misconceptions About Rottweilers and Other Bullies
While we’re on the subject of misconceptions surrounding Rottweilers, let’s dispel a few common myths.
These commonly held beliefs apply to most bully breeds, but Rottweilers specifically.
Rottweilers Are Inherently Dangerous
In reality, any dog can be dangerous. If a dog isn’t properly trained or it’s fearful of humans, it could react aggressively in some situations.
Rottweilers aren’t any more dangerous than other dogs of a similar size though.
As long as a Rottweiler has been properly trained and socialized, they’ll be as friendly and non-threatening as any other well-trained canine.
Rottweilers Are Naturally Aggressive
Most bully breeds, Rottweilers included, have a reputation as aggressive and violent dogs.
It’s unfortunate, to say the least, but this reputation has been earned. Bully breeds do account for a high percentage of dog bites and attacks in America.
However, this can often be attributed to the owners.
Any dog can become aggressive if they’re not trained, socialized, and raised properly.
But Rottweilers aren’t naturally aggressive. They’ve even been used as service dogs with great success, which requires them to be calm, gentle, and trustworthy.
When raised properly, Rottweilers tend to be friendly and get along with people as well as other dogs.
Rottweilers Can Lock Their Jaws
It’s definitely true that Rottweilers have an impressively strong bite. Estimates place a Rottie’s bite force at 328 PSI!
Despite the strength of their bite, Rottweilers can’t lock their jaws.
This myth applies to more than just Rotties.
Pitbulls and even Bulldogs are commonly said to be able to lock their jaws, though this isn’t true of any bully breed, or any dog at all for that matter!
As direct descendants of the ancient Molossers of the Romans and Greeks, Rottweilers are a true bully breed.
Unfortunately, they’re also plagued by misconceptions and a public that doesn’t understand them, just like most bully breeds.
Rottweilers are some of the most loyal and loving dogs around though, even if their imposing size, a remnant of their ancient Molosser roots, makes them seem scary to some people.