Do Rottweilers Overheat Easily?

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Few things are as much fun as playing a rough-and-tumble game with a Rottweiler.

Their big, lumbering bodies, their wide, goofy smiles, and their powerful, explosive energy really make them a sight to behold.

I know that it’s very important to keep a close eye on how hot your dog gets when you are playing outside with them, but my Rottweiler sure could look like a hot mess after just even a few minutes running around outside on a hot day. 

All drool and dopey-eyed, I couldn’t believe that she was already too hot! But maybe she was?

Rottweilers overheat easily? Do they get hot faster than other dogs?

Rottweilers overheat more easily and faster than other breeds of dogs. Their size, body type, color, breed history, and the lifestyle that most Rottweilers live combine to make Rottweilers overheat more easily than other breeds that have fewer of these risk factors.

Understanding what makes a Rottweiler more prone to overheating and heatstroke is super important for any Rottweiler owner (or prospective Rottie owner).

Once you know what these risk factors are, you can pinpoint ways to help keep your Rottie cool.

I’ve had lots and lots of dogs and I live in Florida…so I’ve come up with tons of hacks to help beat the summer heat (and the winter heat, it’s pretty much always hot here). 

Read on for some helpful tips that you may not have thought of yourself!

Signs Your Rottie Is Overheating

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a YouTube video has to be worth at least, what, a million words?

When it comes to identifying signs of overheating and heatstroke, there is very little room for error. I highly recommend you check out this video before reading on:

Why Do Rottweilers Get Overheated So Quickly?

So, before we can begin trying to address how to keep power Rottweilers cool outside on a hot day, it is important to understand why Rottweilers are more prone to overheating than other breeds of dogs.

Once we come to an understanding of how and why Rottie’s get hotter faster, the solutions will readily reveal themselves.

Reason #1 – Black

Well, we have to start somewhere, so let’s start with one of the most obvious Rottweiler features: their color.

There is some degree of variation, but Rottweilers are typically black with brown points.

This pattern is often called the saddle pattern because there’s a darker shade of black along the dog’s back and flanks, making it appear like they are wearing a dark saddle.

The fact that Rottweilers are black over most of their bodies means that they will get hotter than dogs that are not black.

Honestly, there is a lot of science behind this that I go more into detail about in this article, but if you want to skip the science lesson, just know that the black pigment in a Rottweiler’s fur absorbs light and, therefore, traps heat.

This trapped heat, in turn, heats up the dog.

In cold weather, this is a major benefit, allowing your Rottweiler to stay nice and warm even on freezing cold days.

However, for those of us that live in hotter climates or for Rottweilers out and about during the summer, this trapped heat can make your Rottweiler uncomfortably or even dangerously hot even after just a few minutes outside in the sun.

It is important to note that the color of your Rottweiler only comes into effect when they are out in the sun. Sunlight is the factor here, so at night or on very overcast days, the color of your dog’s fur won’t make much of a difference.

Reason #2 – Fur

It is true that Rottweilers do not have the biggest, fluffiest, hottest coats of all of the breeds.

But it is also true that they do have a thick, double coat that is specifically designed to retain heat.

The word double in the term double coat refers to the fact that there are two distinct types and layers of fur on your Rottweiler.

The first layer is the undercoat. It is a short, dense, soft layer of fur that you may not be able to see when you look at a well-brushed Rottweiler.

There is also the outer coat, which is thinner and has long strands of hair. The outer coat is oilier and helps to weatherproof the Rottweiler, while the undercoat is downier and helps to insulate them.

Because of this double layer of insulation, Rottweilers are more likely to overheat faster than other breeds of dogs and also means that Rotties really know how to shed when it’s time to blow out their undercoat

Reason #3 – Nose and Mouth Shape

Unfortunately, one of the things that make Rottweilers distinctive is also the culprit behind many of their medical issues.

Many people these days have heard of the negative effects of brachycephalic head shapes that can be found on many dog breeds like Pugs, Bulldogs, and Boxers.

Thankfully, well-bred Rottweilers have not been bred to have brachycephalic head shapes. Instead, Rottweilers have mesocephalic head shapes, which is still a little bit squished along with still having sharp stop between the forward-facing eyes, but this is generally considered to be a much healthier standard to breed dogs to.

However, due to the rise in the popularity of the Rottweiler breed and also and the rise in prospective pet parents’ desire for squished-faced dogs, more and more irresponsible breeders are breeding for Rottweilesr that have more squished faces. Certain lines and individual Rotties now have much shorter noses and mouths than the breed standard call for.

The negative effect of this for your dog is that they have shorter sinuses and smaller mouths.

The shorter sinuses make it more difficult for them to breathe efficiently.

When they inhale, they are not able to efficiently oxygenate their blood, which can lead to fatigue and exhaustion much faster than dogs that have longer noses.

And their smaller mouths relative to their body size means that there is less moist surface area in them for air to pass through.

Remember, dogs do not sweat as people do. Instead, they pant to cool themselves off.

In addition to bringing in large gulps of cool, outside air into their hot diaphragms, the swift passage of that cool air around the wet parts of their mouths also helps to wick heat away from them.

Your hot, panting Rottweiler’s super hot breath comes from the fact that they are panting to expel all of the excess heat from their body.

Because of the shape of their faces, Rottweilers are less efficient at cooling themselves off than other dogs who have more natural face shapes.

Reason #4 – Weight and Body Type

Another important thing to consider when you look at your Rottweiler is their size.

You can expect your Rottweiler to weigh anywhere from 80 to 130 lbs and that can happen fast as Rotties grow rapidly!

This makes them one of the larger breeds of dogs, and certainly one of the most popular large breeds of dogs that you’ll casually see around town.

The bulky size of a Rottweiler means that their bodies are going to have to work much harder to walk, run, and play.

All of that extra exertion can easily lead to your Rottie becoming exhausted much faster than other dogs that seem like they are relatively the same size. Dogs that are exhausted are unable to self-regulate their own body temperature, so they are more likely to continue to heat up until someone helps them.

Your Rottweiler’s heart and lungs have to support much more body mass and, therefore, especially on hot days, they are more likely to overheat than other breeds of dog.

Reason #5 – Breed History

So far, we have only talked about the physical traits of Rottweilers that make them more prone to overheating than other breeds of dogs.

Rottweilers that we know today originated in the town of Rottweiler, Germany.

In case you are not aware, Germany is extremely cold during the winter!

This Rottweiler was a very tough farm dog who had to spend a lot of time outside in the cold.

They were used by butchers to herd cattle and then again too to pull the meat cart into town to sell the meat at the market.

When you think about this task and you look like a Rottweiler, their physicality makes a lot more sense.

Their dark, thick fur allows them to absorb and retain heat, which helped insulate them from the harsh German winters.Their short, sturdy faces allowed them to bite at cattle heels and latch onto their wide, flat flanks while driving the herd.Their sturdy shoulders and deep chests gave them a lot of power for pulling carts and made them intimidating to any would-be thieves.

You’ll notice that nowhere in this list are things that make them great at playing fetch or doing agility work.

Rottweilers were bred to perform for hard, slow work for a long time outside in the cold.

So, unless they are doing this, which is unlikely, expect your Rottie to get hotter faster than other breeds.

The fact that Rottweilers are typically not used today for what they were bred for actually nicely segues me to my final reason that Rottweilers typically get hotter faster than other dogs.

Reason #6 – Lifestyle

When we are talking about a dog’s lifestyle, we cannot really blame the dog.

Dogs do not set their own schedules so you have to instead look at the lifestyle that their owners are supporting for them.

Simply put, Rottweilers are often obese and out of shape.

It’s difficult to pin down exactly why, but allow me to speculate wildly!

A lot of people seem to get Rottweilers to protect their house. How can a Rottweiler protect the house if they are not in the house?

Rottweilers who find themselves in this situation will often not leave the house frequently or, if they do, it’s only for a short walk around the block.

This means that they are not able to get any of the heart-pumping exercise that this large breed of dog needs to maintain a healthy body.

Some other people may simply misunderstand their Rottie’s cues.

Rottweilers are big dogs who, to someone who does not understand them, may just look fat.

Couple that appearance with the fact that they do get tired easily means that a well-meaning but misinformed pet parent may prevent their Rottweiler from getting the appropriate exercise they need because they are worried that the dog will overexert themselves.

Or they may come to believe that their Rottweiler is a couch potato who doesn’t like exercise, so forcing them to do so would be some form of cruelty.

I can’t really say for sure, but a large and energetic dog like a Rottweiler who is out of shape who is finally given the opportunity to run around and play is a perfect scenario for heat stroke to set in.

Dogs who are not conditioned to exercise are more likely to overexert themselves and not understand their own bodies’ cues that tell them when to stop and take a break or get a drink of water.

Even a Rottweiler owner with the absolute best of intentions, one who has decided to turn around their big lazy dog’s act and get them outside, needs to take extra special care when dealing with the Rottweiler.

Because they are more prone to overheating even under the best of circumstances, a Rottweiler who is not used to exercising or is out of shape is even more likely to overheat than a healthy Rottweiler.

Can Rottweilers Tolerate A Hot Climate?

All of that said, Rottweilers can absolutely tolerate hot climates!

Like all dogs, Rottweilers are incredibly versatile animals that can adapt to many different situations.

The key to keeping a dog like a Rottweiler in a hot climate is making sure you are well prepared to mitigate the effects of the heat.

There is definitely additional responsibility for pet parents with cold-weather breeds like Rotties who live where it’s hot but rest assured that by following the appropriate steps, you can enjoy your Rottweiler almost anywhere, even in sunny, balmy Florida. 

Considerations For Keeping Your Rottweiler Cool

Shade

Keeping your Rottweiler out of the sun is the #1 way to keep them cool.

The difference between even dappled shade under a tree and the beaming sun outside of it can easily exceed 20 degrees Farenheight.

Bringing your Rotttie back for regular breaks in the shade will give their hot, black coats time to expel some of the built-up heat that they’ve absorbed as well as give your Rotttie time to catch their breath, pant out their heat, and take a drink of water.

If your favorite dog park doesn’t have big trees to offer you shade, consider bringing your own sunshade!

Pick up a portable umbrella that folds up small enough to sling over your back like this one (nope, they are not just for the beach!). With this, you’ll always be able to get your Rottweiler out of the sun, no matter where you are.

Air Conditioning

This one seems pretty obvious: if it’s hot outside, go inside!

In some climates, it’s just way too hot for anyone to safely do activities outside. You should definitely invite your Rottie into an AC’d environment.

If you have a very energetic Rottweiler who simply cannot contain themselves indoors without a lot of regular activity, look around for dog daycares that have indoor facilities.

This way, they’ll be able to get all of the exercise they need while in a cool, indoor facility. 

Water! 

This is an inside AND outside step.

Your Rottweiler always needs access to fresh drinking water. In the hot months, you should double-check that they have water more frequently than you normally do.

And keep in mind what we talked about with Rotties. They have big mouths that they use to cool themselves off with, so consider getting them cool water or adding ice to it for additional chill-factor.

And they have thick, black coats, so feel free to empty that water bowl over their head!

Wetting your Rottie down or even letting them swim a little will allow their undercoat to absorb the water and cool their bodies off while the wetness will slick their fur and help to reflect light that would otherwise be absorbed.

While it may be tempting to recycle the kids’ old inflatable kiddie pool, don’t forget that Rotties have big, sharp nails that will quickly and easily puncture a pool that’s not specifically made for them.

makes a hard plastic one that is scratch-resistant and comes in enough sizes for you to find just the right one for your Rottie.

Again, if you can, use cool water to wet them down and double-check the temperature that’s coming out of the hose before you point it at them! 

Winter Activities

You may just want to go seasonal with your outdoor activities. 

While it may be tempting to wait until the bright, sunny days of summer to get your Rottweiler involved in a new hobby or activity, remember that these dogs were bred to work and thrive in cold environments, and there are lots of cold-weather activities that you can participate in with your dog like skijoring and snow sledding.

Keep Them At A Healthy Weight

Make no mistake about it – Rottweilers are working dogs.

Their big bulky physiques make them great at many things, but it often leads to folks letting them become overweight.

Keeping your Rottweiler active and healthy will not only give them a longer life but will also help to keep them more comfortable day to day, especially when it’s hot out.

The right weight for your Rottweiler is determined by their age, sex, and height. It’s best to consult with your veterinarian to determine what their ideal weight bracket is and to figure out the best way to keep them within that range.

Probably a healthy diet and regular exercise are all that they’ll need.

Low, Slow, and Short

You’ll need to build up your Rottie’s tolerance to activity and heat in order for them to be able to spend longer stints playing outdoors when it’s hot.

If you’re moving from a northern state down south during the winter, this jolt may come as a big surprise to both of you.

Make sure that you slowly ease your Rottie into outdoor play when it’s hot out. Remember, they don’t know “how hot is too hot” so it’s up to you to play it safe for them.

Keep the playtime to short bursts. Let them run around for a few minutes and get themselves tired, then call them back and make them take a break with you. 

In people, this is called interval training, and it’s a great way to build up your endurance while also prolonging your exercise. For a Rottie, this means more time playing outside before they get too hot! But whatever you do, don’t force your Rottie to go on runs with you that push them past their ability. 

Cool Pads

Not gonna lie, I thought these were some sort of magic the first time that I saw them.

Cool pads look like simple mats, almost like yoga mats. However, inside of them is a chemical element that responds to pressure.

When you put pressure on the mat, like by standing on it or when a dog lays down on it, they create a physical cooling sensation.

I first purchased the mat in the large size for my Rottie then got a small  one for my smaller dog. I highly recommend them both.

It’s honestly amazing, my dogs love napping on it, and on the hottest days, you may find me standing on it too.

Rottweilers Overheating

Dealing with the heat is, unfortunately, something that most Rottweiler owners are going to have to do at some point.

Unless you live in the absolute coldest climates, Rottweilers are going to need your help staying cool in the sun.

Overheating is a very serious condition and because of Rottie’s physical characteristics, breed history, and lifestyle, they are a breed that is particularly prone to overheating.

There is a lot you can do to keep your Rottie from overheating. The most important thing to do is keep a close eye on them and keep your time outside short.

If you’re hot, they are too!