Rottweilers may not look like the perfect snow breed, especially compared to something like a husky, but these burly goofballs certainly aren’t afraid of a little snow.
But do Rottweilers actually like snow? With an insulating double coat and a ready-for-anything attitude, most Rottweilers love to spend time outside in the snow. Especially if it means playing with kids or other family members. However, they still aren’t built to handle extreme colds and shouldn’t be outside full time in temperatures below freezing.
Let’s take a closer look at what makes Rottweilers enjoy or dislike the snow. But if you’re still not convinced that Rottweilers love a good romp in the snow check out this silly pup having the time of his life:
Why Rottweilers May Enjoy The Snow
There are several reasons why Rotties may love spending time in the snow. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Rottweilers Have A History With Cold Weather
Rottweilers are one of the oldest known dog breeds and they can trace their history all the way back to ancient Roman times where they worked as general farm dogs and cart pullers. Rottweilers spread across Europe after crossing the Alps with the Roman armies. While the temperatures can vary, the Alps are generally quite cold and this wasn’t the Rottweiler’s last exposure to cold weather.
Rottweilers really got a name for themselves, well actually they literally got their name, in the Rottweil region of Germany. While it’s far from the coldest place on earth, temperatures below freezing aren’t uncommon during certain times of the year. That means Rottweilers would have had plenty of exposure to snow throughout their long history with humans.
Double Coat Helps With Insulation
While it might surprise some folks, Rottweilers have a double coat that can help them stay warm in the snow. Most of the time, when people think of double coats the first thing that comes to mind are northern breeds like the Shiba Inu, Alaskan Husty, or Akita but your Rottweiler is actually on the same list!
But what is a double coat exactly?
It’s any coat with two layers that grow independently of each other. The topcoat usually consists of course hairs that protect your dog’s coat from water or snow. These hairs are sometimes called guard hairs because they protect the undercoat from getting wet.
The bottom layer or undercoat is usually softer and during some seasons it can grow much faster than the top layer. In fact, the difference in growth between these two layers is a big reason why regular brushing is such an important part of managing your Rottweiler’s shedding.
These two layers work together to keep your Rottie not only warm but also dry. As you probably already know, playing in the snow is a lot more enjoyable when you’re actually warm and the double coat makes sure Rottie can focus on playtime!
Your Rottweiler’s Black Coat Absorbs Sunlight
Your Rottweiler’s dark coat not only gives them that classic Rottie look but also helps them stay warmer in the snow. Dark colors like black absorb more heat which will help your Rottie enjoy their time in the snow that much more.
Rottweilers Have A Great Attitude
Rottweilers are truly ready for just about anything and they’re not likely to back down from little snow. While this brave attitude can sometimes get them in trouble, it means they’re more than willing to give the snow a try, especially if you’re leading the way.
Just be careful because your Rottie’s eagerness may get them in over their head…literally!
Why Rottweilers May Not Like The Snow
But time in the snow isn’t all fun and games, let’s look at a few things that could cause Rottweiler not to enjoy snow time.
Paws can be uncomfortable in the snow for two main reasons. First, when the snow or ice is too cold, it can be uncomfortable for your dog to make contact with it just like it would be for you.
But did you know that your dog also has sweat glands in their paws?
These sweat glands can produce sweat that will quickly freeze into small balls that are not only uncomfortable but also a bit cumbersome to walk with. You’ve probably seen this before if you’ve ever looked at your dog’s paws after some fun in the snow since they can sometimes form very distinct round snowballs.
Painful Paws From Rock Salt
But uncomfortable ice balls aren’t the winter peril for paws!
You also need to watch out for rock salt and similar compounds which are often used on roads and sidewalks to make them easier to walk on during the winter. While rock salt does a great job for cars and people with shoes, it can wreak havoc on your Rottweiler’s paws!
According to veterinarian Erika Loftin, “Depending on the materials used, the chemicals [in rock salt] can cause dryness, cracking and even burns to a dog’s pads.” Ouch!
Your intelligent Rottie will quickly learn that snowy sidewalks lead to painful paws and they’ll be a lot less eager to go for a wintertime romp.
Some snow booties can help keep your Rottie’s paws protected and make time in the snow more enjoyable.
Too Much Time Outside
Even though Rottweilers are certainly ready for and like spending time in the snow that doesn’t mean they’re prepared to hang out in a blizzard.
Rottweilers will enjoy playing in the snow but they probably don’t want to spend all day in it. When the temperature is below freezing, it’s best to keep outdoor time to a minimum or make sure your Rottie has appropriate shelter.
Too Much Sitting Around
If you’ve ever done any kind of exercise in cold weather then you how much some movement can really warm you up.
The same is true for your Rottweiler and if there’s no much standing around and not enough playing they may have a harder time staying warm. A cold Rottie is one that doesn’t like the snow!
In some cases, it actually makes sense to warm up your pup before going outdoors. That can be any number of games like tug, chase or even hide and seek. Anything to get your Rottie’s blood flowing and improve their core body temperature.
How Cold Is Too Cold For Rottweilers?
In most cases, anything below 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 degree Celsius) is too cold for Rottweilers. Even though their powerful double coat can keep them warm, it’s just not ready for temperatures that are that cold and they shouldn’t be out for very long in those conditions.
When we consider that the typical temperature range of Rottweil, Germany is between 27°F to 73°F we shouldn’t be surprised to find that it’s very similar to a Rottie’s preferred range!
While 20 degrees Fahrenheit is still plenty cold, Rotties usually do well in temperatures around there are warmer. Still, it’s worth paying close attention to your pup anytime there’s snow on the ground or temperatures are below freezing.
It’s Not Just A Matter of Degrees
It’s important to remember that the temperature is just one part of the overall weather and when you add in things like active snow, heavy winds, or wet conditions everything can change. Cloud cover is another factor and even though your Rottie’s dark coat is great for absorbing the sun’s rays if it’s an overcast day they’re going to be missing out on that extra heat source.
Make sure you’re considering all weather conditions before letting your pup play in the snow.
Puppies and Senior Dogs May Not Stay As Warm
Puppies can have a harder time staying warm and while most young Rottweilers will be ready for snow by four to six months, younger puppies should have limited snow time.
Older Rottweilers, which are typically dogs that are 7 years or older, begin to lose muscle mass as they age. That muscle can help keep healthy, adult Rottweilers warm and toasty while the lack of it can make older dogs a little less tolerant of the snow and cold.
Should You Give Your Rottweiler A Winter Jacket?
In most cases, your Rottweiler’s natural double coat and black fur will be plenty to keep them warm.
But if you’re going out in temperatures less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit or even staying out in slightly warmer temperatures for longer periods then it’s a good idea to have a jacket available.
You’ve got a lot of options but something durable, waterproof, and warm is best. My favorite is this SlowTon brand winter jacket that’s budget-friendly and large enough for a burly Rottie. You can check it out on Amazon by clicking here.
Jackets are also good additions for older or younger Rottweilers that may need a little extra help staying warm.
Listen To Your Rottweiler
We’ve laid out some guidelines but they’re not hard and fast rules. Each individual Rottweiler will have their own likes and dislikes so make sure to look for signs that your Rottweiler isn’t enjoying their time in the snow.
The most obvious of which is just walking toward the door or hanging out on the front porch. But other Rottweilers may be torn between their eagerness to please and discomfort in the snow and signs can be more subtle. Look for hesitation or increased vocalization and make sure your Rottie isn’t restricted from going inside if it’s below freezing outside.
Can Rottweilers Live Outdoors In Cold Weather?
If Rottweilers have a job like working as a farm dog they may spend a lot of time, or even all their time outdoors.
If they’ve got proper shelter, insulation, and a reliable source of water most Rottweilers can live outdoors without an issue with temperatures above freezing. Colder temperatures could wear on a Rottie and this is especially true if they’re older.
If you’re looking for a working dog that’s going to live outside full time in cold or freezing temperatures a Rottweiler isn’t a great option.
Even though Rottweilers don’t much like your traditional winter breeds, they’re still more than able to endure cold weather and most Rottweilers enjoy time in the snow.
Just remember, there’s more to weather than just the temperature and you’ve got to look at the overall picture when you and your pup spend time outdoors.
now into an unpleasant experience. Always make sure to look at the overall picture of the weather.