How Do Rottweilers Show Affection?

How Do Rottweilers Show Affection

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Dog owners certainly love to show their dogs some affection! We willingly give belly rubs, ear scratches, couch cuddles, exhausting play sessions, and everything in between. But how do our dogs—specifically Rottweilers—show love to us?

Rottweilers show their affection for their humans in a variety of ways. Oftentimes, it’s by touching—leaning against you, nudging your hands with their nose, or pawing at you. Sometimes they also may follow you around, wag their tail, or perform that unique Rottie “rumble.” 

Before we take a deeper look at how Rottweilers show their affection, let’s explore why exactly Rottweilers are so affectionate. 

Why Are Rottweilers So Affectionate? 

Rottweilers are a very people-focused breed, and they are well-known for their loyalty. Because Rotties are so intelligent, they are sensitive to the people around them, which helps when forming a strong bond with their family. When a Rottweiler bonds with you, you’ll become their person and the main target of their adorable affection. 

Unlike many other ancient breeds, Rottweilers typically worked alone instead of in a pack. That meant their main relationship was often with their human companion, instead of other dogs, so Rotties have a long history of forming close connections with humans.

Who Will a Rottweiler Be Affectionate Towards? 

A Rottweiler will be very affectionate to anyone they consider to be their family—typically people they live with and people who take care of them. If you show them unconditional love, they’ll return the same to you. 

Although Rottweilers will love their whole family the same, they may see one member of the family as the leader of the “pack.” This is the person they’ll look to for commands and who they’ll obey above anyone else. It may also be the person that gets the lion share of the Rottie love- but not always. 

So How Do Rottweilers Show Love to Their Humans? 

Now that we know why Rottweilers tend to be affectionate dogs, let’s find out how exactly they show this affection by looking at the 7 most common ways that our Rotties say “I love you”. 

1. Leaning Up Against You 

Did you know male Rottweilers can weigh up to 135 pounds? If you own one of those love hunks, you’ll be feeling every ounce of that weight when they lean up against you. 

It’s common for Rottweilers to lean up against you (or even sit on you!) to show you their love and affection. They want to be close to you, so they may force the snuggle factor even when it may be inconvenient for you. 

If your Rottweiler does this frequently, make sure they’re actually doing it to show love, and not just as a way to push you around. Our intelligent Rottweilers can be a little headstrong and sometimes they lean not only to show love but also to “herd” you in the right direction. Or at least what they think is the right direction! 

2. Nudging Your Hand with Their Nose 

There you are, sitting on the couch, immersed in your favorite movie when a cold, wet nose burrows in and starts nudging your hand. That would be your Rottweiler, wanting some attention. If your Rottweiler pokes you with their nose, they most likely want a head scratch or some cuddles. And since you’re their person, they trust you to give it to them. 

They’re also making sure there’s no confusion in terms of what they want! They’re basically saying, “Hey, I see your hand. Here’s my hand. Figure it out!”

3. Putting Their Head in Your Lap 

When a Rottweiler initiates contact by putting their head in your lap, they’re indicating that they trust you and love you. They’re probably also looking up at you with those big brown eyes (with their adorable little eyebrows) just begging for some attention or a good head scratch. 

4. Pawing At You 

Your Rottweiler pawing at you could be another way for them to say “I love you.” Touch is a common way for them to communicate with you and express their feelings. Putting their paw on you could also be a way to ask for attention. 

If your dog paws at you too much, there are a few steps you can take to minimize it. Reward only positive behavior. When he’s pawing at you, continue to correct him until he stops. Then, praise him.  

5. Following You Around

Every heard of Rottweilers referred to as “Velcro dogs?” They have well-earned that nickname! Rottweilers stick by their humans so closely that they can tend to be a little clingy. Rottweilers like to follow their humans around from room to room, so that you’re never out of their sight. 

Although you may get tired of tripping over your large pup every time you try to cook a meal in the kitchen or brush your teeth in the bathroom, this your Rottweiler’s way of telling you that they love you and are there to protect you, no matter what.

However, if your Rottweiler following you around is getting to be a little too much, you can tell them to tone it down. Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercises and mental stimulation. Hopefully, they’ll be worn out enough to want to take a break! 

You can also teach your Rottweiler the command “stay.” Start by keeping them in place for short amounts of time in an area where they can still see you, and then gradually work your way up to where you can leave the room for several minutes while they still obey the “stay” command.  

6. Wagging Their Tail 

Although this one isn’t necessarily unique to Rotties, they definitely do it too! Tail wagging is a sign of happiness, friendliness, and willingness to interact, especially when they’re in a relaxed body posture. 

While some Rottweilers have had their tails docked for various reasons, it’s still very cute to see their little nubs happily wagging away!

7. Rumbling and Purring

People who are unfamiliar with Rottweilers could mistake this low, deep-throated sound as a growl. In fact, it is anything but! Rottweilers make this low rumbling noise (also referred to as “purring” or “grumbling”) when they’re exceptionally content or happy. Check out this cute pup showing off his motor: 


You may hear it while you’re scratching your Rottweiler’s belly, rubbing their ears, or snuggling with them on the couch. Take it as a compliment! It means your Rottweiler loves you and is comfortable and relaxed with you. 

8. Licking

Licking is one of the most popular ways for any dog to show affection and Rotties are no different. Licking can actually be a complex behavior that starts way back at puppyhood. It could just mean that your Rottie thinks you taste good, a way to calm down, and of course a way to say “I love you”.

Context is everything and if you’re in the middle of giving your Rottie proper petting session or just relaxing on the couch there’s a good chance those licks are just another way to show affection.

9. Showing You A Smile!

Even without any experience in canine body language, most folks can easily recognize the loose posture and happy face of an affectionate Rottweiler!

While it’s not exactly a smile, it’s clear to just about anyone when your dog is happy and giving their favorite person a happy face is one of the many ways will show their love.

10. Jumping On You

It’s certainly not everyone’s favorite way to receive love from their favorite Rottie but some pups will get so excited to see their favorite person that they just can’t help but jump all over you. Small dogs can get away with this but with Rotties often weighing over 100 pounds this can quickly become problematic.

11. Showing You Their Belly!

When your Rottweiler shows you their belly, it’s not all just about them! Of course, they want to get some good petting but showing off their vulnerable belly is also a sign of great trust.

The tummy is one of the most vulnerable spots on your Rottie. It’s where all their most vital organs are but also has minimal protection compared to other parts of their body. Of course, a tummy rub also feels great but your Rottweiler wouldn’t go belly up for someone they don’t trust and care for.

12. Soft Blinks

Soft eyes and slow blinking is a universal sign of calmness, trust, and affection in the animal world. Your Rottie’s wild instincts would never allow them to close their eyes, even just for a moment, in the direction of something or someone they considered a threat.

The opposite is also true and soft eyes and slow blinks towards you or another pet is a classic sign of trust. Cats are a bit more famous for this behavior and their big eyes make the slow blink even more exaggerated but Rotties will do this too.

If you want to say “I love you” back then just give your Rottweiler a slow blink back!

13. Sitting On You

Sometimes not even leaning is close enough and the only thing that’s good enough for your Rottweiler is a full-on Santa-style sit in your lap.

Cute but again 100+ pounds is usually a bit too much to handle for long.

It’s best to kindly let your Rottie know that while affection is okay, you don’t need their entire body in your lap.

What Isn’t A Sign Of Affection?

I hate to break it to you, but not everything your Rottie does is a sign of affection.

I know, it’s hard to believe but even though we know our pups really well, signals can still get cross and what might look like love could be something else.

Herding Behavior

The most common scenario that gets confusing is herding behavior. It’s not quite so common these days but Rottweilers have a long history as herding dogs and that instinct is still very much alive in them today.

You may see a Rottweiler push kids or other pets into certain areas. In some cases, they may even nip the air in order to let them know where they need to go.

But what can also make this confusing is that Rotties will often use their body to herd humans. To the untrained eye, this can look a lot like the affectionate Rottie lean but the big difference is a herding Rottie distinctly wants you to go somewhere. Unlike the Rottie lean which geared more towards staying close.

Look out for these behaviors in your Rotties and make sure they don’t become a habit.

Too Much Licking

As I’ve already mentioned, licking is quite a complex behavior and while it can often be a sign of affection it can also be a sign of anxiety or stress. We’ve talked specifically about what it could mean when dogs focus on licking your legs but any kind of obsessive licking is something to be concerned about.

As is often the case with Rottie behavior, it’s all about context. If your Rottie gives a few licks after petting then its probably a sign of affection.

But if they insist on giving you 100 licks while you’re just trying to relax then you may have a problem.

Trying To Get Too Close

This is a little more uncommon for the brave Rottweiler, but when some dogs are scared they’ll try to climb into your lap or otherwise get as close as possible. Even your big and brave Rottie may be afraid of thunder and try to climb into your lap for comfort.

Again, look for context clues and if your Rottie seems sense then figure out what could be bothering them instead of just chalking this one up to a sign of affection.

How To Handle Too Much Affection From Your Rottweiler?

Of course, affection is cute but sometimes it can be a bit too much.

This is especially true of behaviors like licking, jumping, or even nudging.

But these behaviors are usually simple to fix. When your Rottie starts getting carried away with a form of affection, just get up and leave the room. After a few times, your Rottie will quickly learn that their over-the-top affection leads to you leaving and that’s the opposite of what they want.

Do Rottweiler Puppies and Adult Dogs Show Affection the Same Way?

Although puppies can and will show affection in any of the ways we just talked about, they can also be a little more unique when it comes to loving on their owners. Puppies are naturally more playful and rambunctious, so those traits will carry over into how they express love. 

Licking You. A Lot. 

Puppies use their tongues to get their mom’s attention. They’ll frequently do this when they need something, but it also is a sign of submission, respect, and attachment. Even when they grow up into adult dogs, they may continue licking out of habit and for these very same reasons. 

Jumping on You. 

Yup, believe it or now, your puppy jumping on you is a sign they love you. It’s a form of greeting and a way to show they’re excited to see you. 

However, even though it may be cute when your tiny puppy tries to jump on you, it won’t be nearly as adorable when your 135-pound adult dog barrels you over in greeting every time you step in the door. Nip this habit in the bud by teaching your puppy a more appropriate greeting, such as sitting whenever you walk in. 

Chewing on Your Stuff

This may be the number one puppy crime that people get frustrated about. Although there are tons of reasons for chewing (teething, boredom, separation anxiety, just to name a few), your puppy may try to chew on your stuff in particular because it smells like you. They miss you. 

Like jumping, chewing is something puppies need to be trained out of early on and one of the best ways to do that is giving them an appropriate toy to chew on. But even as a puppy, Rotties have a powerful bite force that can make short work of many toys. I like this Tikaton chew toy on Amazon for big pups and the beef flavor will make it much more appealing to your puppy than your shoes. 

Are Male or Female Rottweilers More Affectionate? 

Whether or not a dog will be affectionate depends less on male/female and more on how they are brought up when they’re a puppy. Behavior and affection will also depend on whether or not the dog has been spayed or neutered. 

Speaking in more general terms, male dogs tend to be more assertive. When they’re showing you affection, or when you’re loving on them, make sure it’s happening in a way that’s affectionate and not assertive and pushy. In other words, make sure you Rottweiler isn’t just demanding to be pet. 

Females may tend to go through more emotional phases. They may want to be left alone at some points. However, females reach maturity at a younger age than males, so that may play a role in behavior as well. 

Above all, the way you have trained your dog and how bonded you are to them will be much more important than whether they are male or female. 

Do Rottweilers Like To Cuddle?

Yes! Most Rottweilers like to snuggle and cuddle but only with humans that they truly trust. Gentle cuddling or sleeping close to your Rottweiler is best and some dogs may be overwhelmed by things like bear hugs.

It’s okay to cuddle up to Rotties that you know but a big bear hug shouldn’t be the way that you great a Rottweiler on the street- no matter how much they might like to cuddle!

Always make sure to respect your Rottie’s boundaries and if they don’t want to cuddle they’ll usually let you know simply by walking away to another napping spot.

What Are Healthy Ways to Show Your Rottweiler You Love Them?

So we’ve looked at all of the ways Rottweilers can show you love…

But how can you show your Rottweiler you love them?

Here are a few ideas:  

Give Your Rottie Some Pets!

Pet your Rottweiler with big gentle motions on their belly, shoulders, or neck. They’ll also never say no to a good scratch on the butt or behind the ears. Give your Rottie a good pet a few times a day, and they’ll love you forever! Many Rotties enjoy brushing enough to be considered a form of petting. Not only will some quality brushing time show your Rottie that you love them, but it can also help with shedding

Cuddle Your Rottie!

Although every dog is unique and different in what they want, many Rottweilers want to be close to their owners. If your dog is well-socialized and trusts you, chances are they’d love to snuggle up with you on the couch or curl up in your bed. 

Spend Time Exercising and Playing Games

Rottweilers are active dogs and need lots of exercises—at least an hour a day. Go for a long walk or run with them, take them to the dog park, or play a fun game! Your dog will be happier and healthier for it.

Final Thoughts

Rottweilers are extremely lovable dogs! They show affection by spending time with you and communicating with you. They are very loyal, and they’ll forever appreciate you showing them a little love back. 

But what makes them even more fun is the range of ways that they show their affection! From the classic canine lick to the unique Rottweiler rumble, these big dogs have more than a dozen ways to say “I love you”!

What your Rottweiler favorite way to let you know they care?