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Rottweilers are one of the most recognizable and, in my opinion, handsome breeds of dog. They have garnered an unfair reputation over the years for being aggressive, bully breeds.
But with the right training and in the right environment, not only are these dogs capable of being excellent family pets, guard dogs, or farm dogs, they also crop up in movies, TV shows, and some other unlikely media as well.
Who are some famous Rottweilers? You’ll see Rottweilers in movies like Alien 3, The Omen, and Don’t Breathe, often as vicious attack dogs or subjects of cruelty and experiments, but some films like Show Dogs spotlight Rottweilers’ best traits. Rottweilers hold an important place in history and frequently make news headlines for their heroic deeds.
What about when it comes to famous people? You’ll find that many celebrities share their lives with Rottweilers including Will Smith, Bruno Mars, Leonardo DiCaprio, Stephen Marley, and more. As one of the most popular breeds in American, that shouldn’t much of a surprise!
There are not a ton of individually famous Rottweilers like there are famous Huskies (Balto), Collies (Lassie), German Shepherds (Rin Tin Tin), or Pitbulls (Pete the Pup from The Little Rascals). For some reason, they’re just not often singled out and given personalities in movies.
Instead, what we often see in media portrayals of Rottweilers are the worst traits exaggerated and fictionalized to science-fiction level proportions – often tools of malignant aliens, corrupt militaries, or literally the devil.
It’s only recently that the media portrayals of Rottweilers have started to soften and more fairly represent the kind, kid-friendly versions of Rottweilers so many of us want to see.
This change is great and couldn’t have come sooner. I spent a lot of time researching the most famous portrayals of Rottweilers in media, and it’s only in the past few years that they have been represented as anything besides nameless killing machines.
There’s a strong disconnect between media portrayals of Rottweilers, especially in movies, vs. what you see in the news and if you look at the history of the Rottweiler’s breed.
They are by and large wonderful, heroic, inspiring dogs that could use more positive representation.
Below, I’ve summarized some of the most famous Rottweilers that you’ll see in movies, read about in history, hear about in the News or see being walked by a celebrity.
Rottweilers In Movies
When I first started doing research I was surprised to find just how many movies featured Rottweilers in some capacity or another. Some movies that I would even call my favorites happened to have at least one scene featuring Rottweiler and I didn’t even realize it!
I have to be honest though, a lot of movies that feature Rottweilers either show them being vicious or the movies themselves are just plain terrible.
But, just in case you are looking for a specific movie about Rottweilers or are interested in some of their more outlandish portrayals, I’ve assembled the following list of movies where Rottweilers either appear or have a starring role:
This classic movie that almost everyone has seen features one of the more popular and famous instances of a Rottweiler in a mainstream movie.
In this movie, remember that Ferris Bueller’s family has a Rottweiler as their family pet and would-be guard dog. When principal Rooney breaks into Ferris’s house while he’s away, trying to catch him in the act of playing hooky, instead of meeting a guilty high school student at the door, he finds himself face to face with a big, snarling, Rottweiler.
The door closes and we are left to hear the meddling principal get his just-desserts with an offscreen mauling.
While it sounds vicious, this all plays to comedic effect, and, during the end credits, we see principal Rooney limping down the road. Not exactly safe and unharmed, but not a bad ending for the villain of the movie.
This starts a common thread in these movies though, so keep reading.
The Omen is one of the earliest films to prominently feature Rottweilers, and it is among the most negative portrayals of the breed in mainstream movies. This movie is credited with prolonging the long-held reputation of Rottweilers being vicious and evil.
This movie, which, if you don’t know, is mostly about Satanists and the antichrist – that kind of stuff, portrays Rottweilers as, what can be only called “hellhounds.”
They arrive right when the movie begins to take an even darker turn, appearing in the protagonist’s home in the middle of the night.
Later, a pack of Rottweilers chases the stars of the film, one played by the great Gregory Peck, out of a cemetery. The movie implies that the dogs were sent by Satan. Check out this moment from the film here:
Not the best look on our Rottie friends. This movie is widely regarded as having contributed to the ongoing negative stereotypes of this breed of dog.
To be perfectly fair to the film’s portrayal though, it has been reported that the dogs that were used in the film were a bit out of control. They even attacked their trainer who was working with them on the film. But that movie was plagued by a number of troubling, and tragic occurrences.
Right, okay, so I have to put this one on the list since it is after all called Rottweiler.
This 2004 science fiction horror film by director Brian Yuzna tells the story of an escaped prisoner trying to reunite with his girlfriend, all the while being chased by a bloodthirsty cybernetic Rottweiler.
Most of the flat-out “Rottweiler’s are Bad” movies on this list are from the 80s and earlier. I’m surprised to see that a major movie studio put so much effort into making such a straightforward anti-Rottweiler film.
It currently holds a 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
I would say you can’t make this stuff up, but apparently, someone did. This is not a movie that I have seen myself, and, judging by the reviews, it’s not one that you should bother seeing either.
That is of course unless you really need your cybernetic Rottweiler fix, or are into gross-out B-List, Sci-Fi movies, which you very well may be. If so, check it out and tell me what you think, I’m kind of curious.
This is one of those movies that I remember myself liking, but every time I see it now, I question my past self.
However, there is a funny, positive, albeit tragic, portrayal of a Rottweiler in this 1998 Stoner comedy starring Dave Chappelle.
This movie features a Rottweiler named Killer who gets into various hijinks with the gang throughout the movie, including flying high out the window of the apartment.
It’s a pretty silly movie, but the Rottweiler is featured pretty heavily. And, rare for this list, it’s not represented as a vicious attack dog but is more of a part of the Gang.
Sadly, Killer cannot keep up with the gang’s hijinks and doesn’t make it to the end of the film.
Show Dogs is, by far, the best portrayal of Rottweilers on this list and is probably one of the best movies that prominently feature is Rottweilers.
While this movie received pretty negative reviews from critics, its target audience was families and children, who found the film much more favorable than the critics.
Show Dogs is about a Rottweiler police dog and his human partner, portrayed by the hilarious Will Arnett, who both go undercover at a hoity-toity dog show to stop a criminal dog smuggling ring.
If your kids like dogs, they’ll like this movie. It’s definitely more geared towards younger audiences though so if you are an adult, you might find it hard to get through some this movie is more immature jokes.
This movie and the next movie on the list I feel obligated to mention simply because they made me chuckle when I heard about them.
The title of this film pretty much sums up how you’re supposed to feel about the Rotties in this movie.
This B- List movie from 1983 features a pack of Rottweilers, bred and trained by the US military to kill people (for some reason) that escape and ravage a small town.
It pretty much makes no attempt to hedge its negative portrayal of the Rottweiler breed.
Oh, and it was released in 3-D! Neat!
From the back of the VHS:
“….Hester begins to plot diabolical revenge using her knowledge of the black arts to place a spell on her dog, and then gifting the Satanic beast to her grief-stricken niece. Soon, those closest to Audrey begin to get bumped off by her newly cursed pet….”
That sounds like a lot!
This is one of those movies that I really like and was surprised to realize that featured a Rottweiler.
In this third installment of the Alien franchise, director David Fincher follows Sigourney Weaver, who returns as Ellen Ripley, this time battling it out with the Alien enemy on a distance, prison planet.
However this time, the alien, who in previous films used a human host to take its full adult form, instead preys on an unsuspecting Rottweiler who happens to be hanging out around the prison. The alien in this film, therefore, is more dog-like than in the previous films. It’s a bit smaller and runs on four legs. Director Fincher wanted to give his version of the saga a different take on the Alien, one that was more animal-like and less “space” to match the grungy feel of the film.
The Rottweiler itself is not featured much in the film, but it plays an integral role to the plot and you could frankly write a whole paper unpacking the human/animal/alien relationships in these movies.
This heart-pumping 2008 British slasher film portrays a very positive, but tragic, Rottweiler character named Bonnie. She is the beloved family pet of our two protagonists who are preyed upon by a group of delinquent teenagers.
When the teens first attack our protagonist, the faithful Rottweiler steps in to try to help her Human family. In the scuffle, Bonnie is mortally wounded.
This throws our protagonists into a rage and propels the film forward to even more nerve-wracking hikes.
Don’t Breathe has probably the most interesting portrayal of Rottweilers in recent films.
When a group of teenagers breaks into a house to steal from what they think is a blind, helpless old man, they encounter much more than they were bargaining for (to say the least).
One of the surprises they encounter is a well-trained Rottweiler guard dog, who throughout the feature continues to pursue and foil the group of teens.
It’s interesting because we see most of the movie from the perspective of the teens, who see the dog as a vicious enemy. However, the film pretty accurately portrays a “good” guard dog, fending off intruders from the house.
I won’t go too much more into it since this is one of the few movies on this list that I think is worth checking out, but if you want to see some exciting Rottweiler moves on film, this is a great one to check out.
So if you’re going to see a Rottweiler in the movies, you either need to lean into the stereotypes and accept that what you’re going to see are evil, dangerous, vicious guard dogs. And weirdly they are often cyborgged with robots and aliens to make them even more menacing.
That or prepare to see them come to a tragic end.
Except for Show Dogs. Obviously, they don’t kill off the dog in the family movie about show dogs.
Famous Rottweilers From Real Life News
Outside of movies, there are actually a few very interesting places you’ll encounter famous Rottweilers. From headline-snagging Rotties in the real world to famous dogs of art and history, Rotties crop up everywhere!
Jake From Coventry, England
This famous Rottweiler made headlines in 2010 when he responded to the screams of a woman being molested by an attacker.
Rocky sprang into action, not only chasing off the predator but also staying with the woman until the police arrived.
He embodies a lot of the traits that Rottweilers have become famous for but are so seldom represented in the media. Due to his actions, not only was the woman rescued from a horrible ordeal but the attacker was later arrested and brought to justice.
Rocky From Kent, England
This story comes right out of a Hollywood movie! Well, it doesn’t really, but it should!
Rocky’s pregnant owner was startled and woken in the middle of the night by a loud banging at the door and her Rottweiler, Rocky, barking like mad.
She checked outside but didn’t see anything outside, so she locked Rocky in her bathroom so he would not disturb her neighbor and everyone could get back to sleep.
But moments later her front door was kicked down and 4 knife-wielding invaders entered her house looking for who only knows what.
Rocky sensed the danger and urgency of the situation and entered Superman mode. He burst through the bathroom door and growled and scared off the Intruders. While most of the intruders scattered and ran, Rocky and his owner were able to subdue and capture one of the intruders and hold him until police arrived.
Samantha From Orlando, Florida
Blake Weaver, a three-year-old boy, found himself lost alone in the Ocala National Forest. What could have ended in tragedy instead ended with his faithful Rottweiler, Samantha, being awarded the title of honorary deputy of Orland and receiving a medal at an award ceremony.
When little Blake got lost, Samantha stayed with him throughout his entire 21-hour ordeal, snuggling with him and keeping close to him overnight in the dangerous forest while temperatures dropped to near-freezing temperatures.
Blake and Samantha were found safely and Samantha was acclaimed as a hero for saving the little boy’s life.
Famous Rottweilers From History
We’ve looked at plenty of Rottweilers from modern times but as one of the most ancient dog breeds Rottweilers have made an impact on human lives for literally thousands of years!
The Last Dog of Rottweil
The history of the Rottweiler is a bit more complicated than most people think. Rottweilers were originally bred from an ancient Roman dog who was more mastiff-like than the Rottweilers we know today.
These mastiff-type dogs traveled the entirety of the Roman empire, which for a while included what is now Germany.
The Germans in this area grew to appreciate these powerful dogs and used them for farming, cart pulling, and general guarding work. Over time, the Romans left and so did most of their dogs with them, much to the disappointment of the remaining Germans.
In fact, in the town of Rottweil, Germany, the villagers found that they only had one single breeding-age female left of this powerful working dog. They set out to save this breed and, through careful breeding programs and incorporating other breeds of dogs like Dobermans into the bloodline, Rottweil eventually created the signature dog that we know of today and even gave it the name Rottweiler in honor of the German town who saved and created it.
This individual female dog is responsible for Rottweilers as we know them today and the town of Rottweil gives that Rottie credit even still in the form of a bronze statue in her honor in the center of town.
Wolf and Fox Hunt
This one took a bit of digging to find but it’s one of the most famous paintings by one of the most famous painters in history and it happens to have a semi-hidden Rottweiler right in the middle of the picture.
This famous painting by Peter Paul Reubens dates back to 1616 and features a group of hunters pursuing an unnaturally mixed pack of both wolves and foxes. In it, you’ll see several hunters mounted on horseback accompanied by their mixed group of hunting dogs engaging in a scuffle with their prey. Among their hunting dogs is clearly a Rottweiler jumping on and biting the back of the most ferocious of the wolves.
It is a small but important detail in the history of Rottweiler’s portrayal in media and art.
Famous Celebrities With Rottweilers
While Rottweilers have certainly had their time in the spotlight all on their own, many are famous simply because of their owners! You might be surprised by some of the famous that live with a Rottie!
Yep, that Will Smith. Even though his canine companion in I Am Legend was a German Sheperd, one of the most famous people on earth calls Rottweilers his favorite breed. At the time of writing, he had four big Rotties in his home and you can learn more about his pups in this video:
Another absolute superstar and Rottie lover is Leonardo DiCaprio. You can see a vintage picture of him with his Rottweiler “Baby” here:
Bruno Mars is a world-famous singer, songwriter, and dancer. But most importantly, he’s a big dog lover and he’s always looking to spoil his big Rottie named Geronimo. You can see Bruno spending time with his big Rottweiler in this video:
Robbie Williams is an extremely successful English singer, songwriter, and performer. So successful that according to the Guinness Book of World Records, he holds the record for selling the most concert tickets in a single day. But as you can see from the photo below he also loves his adorable Rottie!
Hayden Panettiere is famous for her role in the hit show Heros in the early 2000s and then her work on Nashville several years later. But she’s also one of many celebrities that loves her Rottie pup and you can see here walking along the beach with her dog here:
Miley Cyrus might not be as Rottie-crazy compared to some of the other celebrities on this list but she does love her dogs! You can see her with a new Rottie-mix puppy
NBA star Josh Hart plays for the New Orleans Pelicans and his Rottweiler was featured in a canine training montage which you can see here:
Mohanlal is one of the biggest stars in India and has appeared in more 340 movies during his career! During much of that time, he was accompanied by his trusty Rottweiler and you can see pictures of the famous Mohanlal with his pup in this video:
Stephen Marley is the son of famous reggae superstar Bob Marley. Stephen is a famous musician in his own right and you can see him here with his brothers, also musicians, Julian and Damian. Of course, you’ll also notice that Stephen’s Rottie is posing for the picture too and it’s hard to find photos of Stephen without his Rottwieler.
There are not too many individually famous Rottweilers. The last dog of Rottweil and the one featured in the famous painting Wolf and Fox Hunt are two of the most famous individuals you’ll find outside of the news.
The news features a lot of the best traits of Rottweilers. It seems like this dog has some of the most positive news stories about it of any breed of dog, often ended up with awards and acclaim for their loyalty and their fearlessness.
Mostly though you’ll find Rottweilers portrayed in movies as vicious thugs often enhanced in some way by science or magic to make them even more menacing. Then of course there are the celebrities that love this breed and you might be surprised to see some of the most famous people in the world love Rotties!
It’s true that a few movies have more positive portrayals of Rottweilers and this trend seems to be increasing recently, but we still do not have a single movie-star dog to represent the Rottweiler breed like so many other breeds.