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Dogs are the most popular pets in the western world. For most families with canine members, dogs are just another part of the family; a loyal and loving companion.
However, that’s not what dogs were originally bred for. Most dogs were bred to fill very specific roles, even though they’ve become family pets in the modern era.
Still, you can see the history of hard work in many breeds today; particularly those breeds that are still commonly employed in a variety of jobs.
German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois come to mind, but there’s another highly intelligent and extremely capable breed that can perform a wide range of different jobs: the Rottweiler.
The real question is: what kind of jobs can Rottweilers do?
Because they’re so smart, physically capable, temperamentally stable, and well-rounded, Rottweilers can successfully perform many jobs. Some of the jobs Rotties often excel at include search and rescue, guarding, therapy, herding, other farm work, military, police jobs, hunting, and customs inspectors.
Let’s take a look at some of these canine jobs and see how well Rottweilers perform them to determine where Rotties’ real talents lie.
What Were Rottweilers Bred For?
Before we start discussing the various jobs that Rottweilers are used for today, it would be pertinent to first understand what the breed was originally intended to do.
You may not realize just how old the Rottweiler breed is. These dogs have been doing hard work for hundreds of years already!
Initially, Rottweilers were created by the ancient Romans from the impressive Molosser dogs that they used for farm work and even as war dogs in their armies.
These ancient Molossers were massive dogs with some serious physical abilities that made them highly desirable.
Thanks to the Romans and Greek who brought them along while conquering much of the known world at the time, Molossers were able to spread out and reach across the world.
Eventually, this lead to the Molossers being crossed with other breeds, creating the bully breeds that we know today.
One of the first breeds branched off from the original Molossers was the Rottweiler.
These early Rottweilers were giants that were intended to guard livestock, keeping them safe from the bears, wolves, and other predators that would take them out if left unguarded.
Soon, the Romans realized how successful their Rottweilers were at guarding livestock and they started using the Rotties to help transport their livestock as well.
They would help farmers by herding their livestock on the way to market, and they aided the army by driving the livestock that was brought along as part of the massive supply chain required to feed the soldiers.
Quickly, it was realized that Rottweilers could protect more than just the livestock they were herding, so cattlemen and butchers began to keep their money safe by tying it around their Rottweiler’s neck. Who in their right mind would try to steal it there?
So, we know that Rottweilers were intended as livestock guardians and herders when the breed was first created, but what traits do Rotties possess that make them so capable of performing various jobs?
Not every breed of canine can be put to work. Some of them just aren’t smart enough to grasp the more advanced concepts required to be trained for performing a specific task or job.
Rottweilers are a different story. When Stanley Coren tested and ranked dog breeds by intelligence for his book “The Intelligence of Dogs”, Rottweilers performed admirably, ranking as the ninth smartest of all domestic dog breeds.
It’s this exceptional level of intelligence that helps to make Rottweilers such viable candidates for employment.
Since they’re so smart, Rottweilers can be trained to perform a wide range of different tasks, and they can be taught to perform these tasks very well.
Moreover, this intelligence allows Rottweilers to be adaptive. An adaptive dog can fill far more roles than one with limited intelligence that can only be trained to fill a very narrow role.
Size and Strength
We’ve talked about how smart Rottweilers are, but when you see one in person, it’s their imposing size that you can’t miss.
Rotties are rather large dogs. Males can weigh as much as 135 pounds, and even the smallest of females is generally 80 pounds or heavier.
On average, these dogs stand just over two feet tall at the shoulders, and some males can reach 27 inches.
Put those numbers together and you get a stout, sizable dog that’s absolutely covered in muscle.
Naturally, all that muscle and size equates to some impressive strength.
Granted, every dog will be different, and even though Rotties are strong as a breed, not all Rottweilers will be equally capable.
Even so, some Rotties are definitely in the running for the title of the world’s strongest dog especially when it comes to pulling a heavy load. Just take a look at the Rottie in this video that’s pulling more than 15,000 pounds worth of cinder blocks!
Endurance and Stamina
We’ve established that Rottweilers are outrageously strong, but all of that strength wouldn’t be much good if these dogs didn’t have the stamina to utilize it for long periods.
Luckily, Rottweilers have some legendary endurance even if they aren’t the fastest dogs around.
Let’s think back to the breed’s origins once more. They were first created to guard and protect livestock all day.
Shortly after, they were used to herd and guard livestock during long journeys, accompanying both cattlemen and the Roman armies.
As you can tell, Rottweilers are no stranger to long days of hard work. Rottie ancestors have been doing this for many generations and even though this work doesn’t require Rotties to run as fast as other breeds, it does require them to have some solid endurance.
Rottweilers in the modern era still possess that same all-day endurance that made ancient Rotties such popular dogs with the people who produced them.
It’s this endurance and stamina that helps to make them excellent working dogs today.
They Like to Work
It’s one thing to be able to work physically and mentally, but actually wanting to work is another thing entirely.
Thankfully, Rottweilers are one of those rare breeds that truly loves to work.
In fact, most Rottweilers will never be truly happy unless they’re given a task or job to complete. And if there isn’t a job available then a game or a Rottie-approved toy is the next best option.
So, not only are Rotties smart enough to be trained to perform various jobs, but they actually want to do the jobs they’re trained for, and they’re physically capable of doing just about anything.
As you can see, Rottweilers are clearly some of the top pooches to pick for just about any job a dog can fill.
Many canine jobs take place in calm environments. Therapy dogs, for example, need to be calm and quiet since they primarily work inside with people who might be suffering from various disorders.
People who suffer from PTSD will often utilize therapy dogs during recovery. Obviously, these people need calm, even-tempered dogs that can be trusted to remain steadfast no matter what’s going on around them.
Many breeds are simply too energetic to make good therapy or service dogs for this reason. It’s hard to keep an excitable dog calm.
But Rottweilers tend not to be very excitable. Rather, they generally display calm dispositions that make them ideal candidates for working with special populations.
On the other hand, some canine jobs take place in the exact opposite type of environment.
Take search and rescue, for instance. Dogs aiding in search and rescue operations will be working in very inhospitable environments.
The places that search and rescue operations occur tend to be dangerous. They’re often loud and many things are happening all around.
Dogs doing this type of work need to be brave enough to go into such dangerous environments, searching for lost victims in the snow of an avalanche or the rubble left behind after a natural disaster has demolished a building.
10 Jobs Rottweilers Can Do
As you can tell, Rottweilers are some radically capable canines with seriously impressive traits like their intelligence and physicality, which makes them prime candidates for a variety of jobs.
Some of the jobs that Rottweilers do today are similar to the work they were first bred for, but Rotties have now been used for far more than they were originally intended.
The following are all jobs that Rottweilers have successfully performed and can still succeed in today.
In some cases, Rottweilers are still used extensively for these jobs, though they’ve fallen somewhat out of favor in others.
Herding is one of the original jobs that Rotties were used for back in the days of the ancient Romans, and they’re still doing this today.
Thanks to a history of herding and their physical abilities, Rottweilers are ideal herding dogs. They’ve got herding in their blood, so most Rotties have a natural tendency to herd the creatures around them, which even includes humans!
Herding also requires some serious physical attributes.
For starters, most livestock animals are pretty large. Meat cattle in the US weigh an average of about 1200 pounds. Keeping hundreds or even thousands of these giants in line requires large, courageous canines.
Plus, herding cattle is often an all-day job that requires dogs to cover miles worth of ground. That takes some serious stamina.
Thankfully, Rotties have the physical attributes necessary to answer the call.
But keeping all those cattle together takes more than just big, brave dogs with lots of stamina. These dogs must also be highly intelligent.
We’re talking about keeping hundreds or thousands of animals in a single herd, which requires teamwork, intelligence, and excellent training.
Few dogs have all the necessary characteristics to be successful at herding. Rottweilers are one of the few breeds that do.
2: Farm Work
To be fair, herding could definitely be considered farm work, but herding is just one aspect of farm work. A ton of work takes place on a farm, and because of this, there are many different jobs for dogs to perform.
Similar to herding is droving, which is when the cattle are moved long distances. It can be extremely difficult to keep massive herds together when transporting them, and Rottweilers possess all the traits necessary to be great at this type of work.
Today, cattle aren’t often driven in the same way since we have more efficient means of transporting livestock. However, this was the main means of transporting herds of livestock for hundreds of years, and Rotties have excelled as drovers during that time.
Also lost to the ages is the job of pulling carts, which used to be essential work on a farm. Rottweilers were often used for pulling carts of meat to the market for butchers, as just one example.
Though Rottweilers aren’t generally used for cart-pulling jobs today, there are sports based around this old-time tradition, and Rotties do still perform admirably in these sports, which are known as drafting and carting.
Another vital service that Rottweilers perform on farms is pest removal.
Farms are full of critters that will eat the crops, cutting into the farmer’s profit. But with a Rottweiler on the scene, crops remain safe as the Rottie keeps the pests at bay.
While performing all of these other jobs, Rottweilers could also keep the farm safe from predators, whether they be human or animal.
What really makes the Rottweiler a good farm dog is their well-rounded nature. While other breeds might perform any of these individual farm jobs better than a Rottie, few breeds can perform all of these jobs quite as well as a Rottweiler could.
3: Search and Rescue
Search and rescue or SAR for short is one of the most strenuous jobs that dogs perform.
Much like farm work, SAR work encompasses many different jobs.
Dogs can be trained to perform SAR in a variety of situations. For instance, a dog might be trained to search for humans lost in an avalanche or they might be searching through debris to find survivors after a natural disaster.
Different SAR environments require different skills and abilities, so dogs must be trained for the type of SAR work they’ll be performing.
Regardless of the type of SAR work a dog does, certain traits will be necessary.
SAR dogs must be courageous. They have to go into very dangerous situations to find people that might be hurt or even dead.
Furthermore, SAR dogs must have all-day endurance to continue their work for shifts that can last up to eight hours.
These dogs also need exceptional scent-tracking abilities to find people lost under feet of snow, debris, rubble, mud, and more.
Rottweilers are one of just a handful of breeds that possess all of these traits, making them exceptional candidates for search and rescue work.
Many Rotties have been successfully used in search and rescue work, including some that were among the first canine responders to help with the recovery effort when the twin towers fell on September 11, 2001.
4: Therapy Dogs
Therapy dogs are used to comfort people in need. These dogs are trained to be calm and affectionate so that they can help to ease the stress and pain of people that are often in bad situations.
Some places therapy dogs are commonly used include retirement homes, hospitals, and hospices.
Obviously, the people here are in need of some serious comfort, and as it turns out, the company and affection of a dog can provide it.
But therapy dogs can’t be aggressive in any way. They must bring comfort to people, so they have to be friendly and gentle with a calm demeanor that’s not excitable.
Anyone with a Rottie in the family knows that these dogs are loving, affectionate, and extremely gentle, despite their reputation as aggressive or dangerous dogs.
When you couple these characteristics with the large size of a Rottie, you end up with a dog that has the ability to really comfort people, which is why Rottweilers make such great therapy dogs.
Rottweilers truly are some of the best therapy dogs imaginable.
One Rottie named “Wynd” is well-known for her work with veterans and the family members of fallen military personnel. She was awarded the AKC Humane Fund Award for Canine Excellence in 2015 for her therapy work, naming her as one of the best therapy dogs of all time.
5: Service Dogs
Often, service and therapy dogs get confused and grouped into one category, but they’re distinctly different jobs.
Service dogs get certain benefits that therapy dogs don’t, but they must also undergo much more extensive training.
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) provides protections for disabled people and their service dogs. Because of this, service dogs cannot be denied access anywhere people can go, and no additional fees can be charged.
While therapy dogs are meant to bring comfort to people, service dogs are trained to provide specific assistance to the disabled.
Service dogs can fulfill a wide range of jobs, such as:
- Guide dogs
- Diabetic alert dogs
- PTSD service dogs
- Hearing dogs
- Seizure response dogs
- Mobility assistance dogs
- Autism service dogs
- Allergy detection dogs
Becoming a certified service dog isn’t easy. While any breed can technically become a service dog, a handful of breeds tend to be used most often since they possess the natural skills necessary for such work.
Rottweilers are one of the breeds that are known to make great service dogs.
Service dogs need to be incredibly intelligent and respond well to training so they can be taught advanced jobs like how to lead the blind.
These dogs must also remain calm in any situation, no matter what’s going on nearby.
Additionally, service dogs need to be large and strong. This isn’t necessary for every job, but if you’re going to help a disabled person, you may need to provide physical support for them, which a smaller and weaker dog might not be able to do.
Rotties meet all of these criteria. They’re sufficiently big and strong to provide physical support for their person. And as we’ve already established, they’re one of the smartest of all dog breeds, making them capable of learning advanced concepts through training.
Just as importantly, Rottweilers really love to work. Service dogs spend many hours fulfilling their roles as helpers, so it’s vital that they enjoy doing so.
6: Police Work
Today, at least in America, German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are the most popular police dogs. These breeds tend to be more agile and have superior endurance compared to a Rottweiler, with a less powerful bite.
Even so, Rottweilers were one of the more popular choices for police work in the early 1900s.
Today, some police forces around the world still employ Rottweilers.
Ironically, Germany, the birthplace of the German Shepherd, and Belgium, where the Belgian Malinois is from, both utilize Rottweilers in their police forces!
France and Australia also use Rottweilers for police work.
Though they’re not the top choice for many police forces today, Rottweilers possess many traits that make them great choices for police work.
To start, they’re fast, strong, and intimidating. Plus, Rotties can remain calm in tense situations, and they can be easily trained to perform many jobs, even rather complicated ones.
7: Customs Inspectors
If you’ve ever crossed the US border to enter Mexico or Canada, then you know that Border Patrol employs dogs at the border checkpoints to help with discovering goods and people that are being smuggled across the border illegally.
In the canine program of the US Customs and Border Protection agency, various breeds of dogs are employed in a wide range of jobs from sniffing out improper produce to finding and stopping terrorists.
Rottweilers are not the primary breed used for any particular customs inspections, but they have proven to be adept customs inspectors all the same.
When you think of hunting dogs, Rottweilers aren’t typically the first breed that comes to mind. There are certainly other breeds that are better suited for hunting, but Rottweilers still have all the traits necessary to make great hunting dogs.
Rotties have strong noses, which is part of the reason they make such great search and rescue dogs. That powerful sense of smell can be very useful when it comes to tracking.
Also, Rottweilers have a pretty strong natural prey drive, and they were often used to eliminate pests at the farms on which they were employed.
However, Rotties don’t have natural retrieving instincts. They’ve also got very powerful bites that could damage the prey during retrieval.
That aside, Rottweilers are such intelligent and trainable dogs that they can still make great hunters, even without the 2natural instincts for it.
Just in case you need some visual proof, here’s a video of a Rottweiler out in the field, hunting and retrieving just as well as any breed.
9: Military Work
Rottweilers have long been used by various militaries across the world.
If you look far enough back in the history of the breed, you’ll even discover that they were used on ancient battlefields hundreds of years in the past.
In WWI, Rotties were used by multiple military forces worldwide, including the US and Germany.
It’s even rumored that Rottweilers are used for intimidation during interrogations!
10: Guard Dogs
Perhaps the role best filled by a Rottweiler is that of a guard dog.
We’ve all seen the trope before on television and in movies of a vicious and scary Rottweiler guarding a junkyard.
In truth, Rottweilers aren’t vicious scary dogs. They’re quite gentle, loving, and affectionate…at least, that’s how they are with the people they love.
On the other hand, Rotties are intimidating thanks to their large size and muscular bodies. And I certainly wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of an angry Rottweiler’s bite.
These dogs are naturally protective. It’s in their genes.
We already discussed how they used to keep money safe that was tied around their necks.
Today, few people are tying purses of coins around their Rottweiler’s neck, but these dogs are still great protectors.
Historically, they were often used to guard livestock against predators. In the modern era, Rottweilers are more likely to be found guarding their family’s home, helping to make the inhabitants feel safe and secure, and there are few breeds in the world better at that!
It’s hard to name a more versatile and capable breed than the Rottweiler. Throughout their extensive history, Rotties have performed a wide range of different jobs from military work to aiding the disabled.
Thanks to their impressive intelligence, physicality, and adaptability, Rottweilers will continue to be some of the highest performing dogs, capable of aiding us in the most vital of canine jobs.