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Although Rottweilers and Labradors both have great attributes, they are very different kinds of dogs. The differences in their personalities relate back to the reason each breed was initially bred.
Rottweilers were originally working dogs, specifically trained to herd cattle. They were also used to carry goods. Rottweilers are incredibly smart, and their strong, muscular build also allows them to still be used as guard dogs and police dogs.
In contrast, Labrador Retrievers were bred for fieldwork in fishing and hunting, retrieving fish and small animals for their owners. Even back in the beginning days of the Lab, they were known for being family-oriented dogs and were commonly trusted with small children. Labs are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and human-oriented nature.
Despite these differences, Labradors are a great choice as a companion dog for Rottweilers. These dogs are similar in size, and they have temperaments that can balance each other out. As long as they are introduced properly, a Rottweiler and a Lab can get along very well with each other.
So let’s learn a little more about the relationship between a Rottweiler and a Labrador. Why do they get along well? What are some problems you might encounter along the way? How do you introduce them properly to ensure a good start to the relationship?
Why do Rottweilers and Labs Get Along Well?
There are several factors that make Labs a great choice as a playmate for a Rottweiler.
They are similar in size.
Even though the Labrador is slightly smaller, both Rottweilers and Labradors are fairly large dogs. This will allow them to play well and safely with each other. Labradors are typically more energetic, which will give them a leg up in the play sessions with the larger Rottweiler.
Their temperaments will balance each other out.
Labradors are friendly, gentle, and playful, making them good companions for basically any other dog. This is true of Rottweilers as well. Rottweilers can be a little more high-strung than Labs, so having a Lab as a play partner will help balance out their personality.
In addition, Labradors aren’t shy about getting up close and personal. While they aren’t very dominant, they also won’t let themselves be bullied by a strong-willed Rottweiler, making them good partners.
They are well-matched in intelligence.
Both Rottweilers and Labradors are well-known for their high levels of intelligence. Both breeds are very smart and can be trained fairly easily. This has been proven through the breeds’ stance not just as a family pet, but also as service dogs, therapy dogs, or police dogs.
Because of their intelligence and ability to be trained, socializing a Rottweiler and Labrador, especially at a young age, typically goes very well, making your life easier as you help your Rottie adjust to their new playmate.
What are some problems Rottweilers might have with a Lab?
Even though Labs can make great companion dogs for Rottweilers, there are a few things you’ll want to watch out for.
They might feel the need to compete for your affection.
Rottweilers love to shower their owners with affection but so do labs! If either dog feels like they aren’t getting enough attention, they might engage in competition with each other for your favor.
In order to avoid this problem, make sure you’re spending lots of time engaging in play with both dogs, as well as paying each dog individual attention.
Labs might have a little too much energy.
Labradors are very high-energy dogs, much more so than Rottweilers. Labs need more exercise than Rotties, and they’ll want to play constantly. A Rottweiler may get annoyed with how much a Lab wants to play. Without intervention, they could snap over their play partner’s high energy levels.
Your Rottweiler could take some time to bond with your Lab.
Studies have shown that the best time to socialize a puppy is in their first few weeks and months of life. At that young age, they’re learning social norms and expectations quickly, so the more positive interactions with other dogs, the better.
In the same way, a young puppy is much more likely to socialize well and bond with another puppy than would an older dog. That’s why it’s best to choose a companion dog for your Rottweiler early on, in order to promote the best relationship possible.
However, if your Rottweiler is a little older, just give it some time and patience. Your Rott can definitely still bond well with a Lab; it just may take a little longer to happen.
How should I introduce my Rottweiler to a Lab?
A good, safe introduction is key to starting off a positive relationship between your Rottie and a Lab. Here are a few tips for that first introduction:
Wear them out before the introduction.
Take your dog to the dog park, go on a long walk, or engage in a big play session to wear them out. High energy can lead to high stress in a new situation. If your Rottweiler has only a small amount of energy, they’re more likely to remain calm as they are introduced to their new Lab friend.
Keep the meeting leashed.
Just in case the situation escalates, it’s always a good idea to have your dogs on leashes so you have full control over them. You’ll most likely want to have a family member or friend help you, so you can each be in charge of one dog.
Before allowing a direct greeting, have the dogs calmly walk around on leashes in the same vicinity. Then, once they’ve adjusted to the other dog’s presence, they can greet each other directly. Be prepared for lots of smelling and tentative tail-wagging, and watch out for any potential signs of aggression.
Offer lots of positive reinforcement.
As the two dogs adjust to one another, first on leash and then eventually off, make sure you’re offering lots of verbal praise and ear scratches for good behavior around the other dog. Remember, both Rottweilers and Labradors love attention, so they’ll respond well to positive reinforcement.
Aside from verbal praise or petting, we recommend not using any types of treats as positive reinforcement. As two dogs are adjusting to one another, something like food could cause them to become territorial or to engage in competition with the other dog for the treat. Treats can come later; for now, stick to patting their heads and lots of “good dogs!”
Discourage aggressive behavior.
Throughout the first few meetings, keep an eye out for any aggressive behavior, such as raised hackles, tails pointing up, or growling. These could be signs of aggressive behavior.
You’ll definitely want to discourage any aggression between both the Rottweiler and the Lab, especially as they are just getting used to one another. It only takes one unfortunate aggressive act to ruin the progress made on the relationship.
Keep a close eye for the first few weeks.
Over the first few weeks, continue to keep an eye on your Rottweiler and Labrador as they build their relationship. Make sure to offer positive praise and attention to both dogs, and always discourage any signs of aggression. Hopefully, after getting the dogs’ relationship off on the right foot, (or the right paw?), your Rottweiler will have made a best bud for life.
Why aren’t my Rottweiler and Lab Getting Along?
Are you having some problems with your Rottweiler and Lab? Here are a few potential reasons for the unrest:
There’s a big discrepancy in age.
Because Labradors naturally have more energy than Rottweilers, this uneven temperament will be highlighted depending on the dogs’ age. For example, if you pair an older Rottweiler with a very young Lab, the Rottie will most likely get annoyed faster with the Lab’s tendency to want to play, especially if they are unused to small puppies.
If you’re considering finding a Lab companion for your Rottie, try matching their ages as closely as possible in order to keep their energy levels more compatible.
You have two males or two females.
For any breed, it’s always best to pair opposite genders. Sometimes dogs of the same gender can consider the other a competitor rather than a playmate. This goes for Labs and Rottweilers as well, especially since they are both people-oriented dogs and because they may engage in aggressive play sessions.
As with any dog breed, it’s important that your Rottweiler is properly trained and socialized before you bring another dog onto the scene. Make sure your Rottweiler understands manners around other dogs and that they feel comfortable in whatever environment you choose to introduce the dogs.
Additionally, make sure your Rottweiler is properly trained before bringing in their new Lab companion. Your Rottweiler should understand basic commands and respect you as the one in charge. This will help ensure that the entire introduction between the two dogs goes smoothly.
Every dog is unique, so before you choose a Labrador as a companion dog for your Rottweiler, think about your Rottie’s personality, temperament, and energy level. The Labrador could be the perfect option for your Rottweiler’s playmate.