When you pet a cat and they’re clearly enjoying it, you almost expect to hear a happy purr arising from within them.
However, it’s a very unexpected sound coming from your 100+ pound Rottweiler! In fact, it could easily be mistaken for a growl, and if you didn’t know your Rottie so well, you might even misinterpret it as such.
It’s a sound that’s not common in the dog world, and most dogs don’t make this purring sound, but as many Rottweiler owners will tell you, you shouldn’t be alarmed to hear your rottweiler purr or grumble.
But, why do Rottweilers Purr?
Similar to purring from a feline, when your Rottweiler purrs, rumbles, or grumbles, it’s usually a sign of contentment and happiness. Special to Rottweilers, this sound arises from deep within your Rottie’s throat and will usually be heard when you’re cuddling or petting your pooch, causing them to feel especially loved.
Of course, you must be careful not to mistake a growl for a grumble. Rottweilers growl when they’re on guard or feeling defensive or afraid, which is the opposite of when they purr or grumble.
Let’s dig a bit deeper into the purring sound that Rottweilers make and see if we can also help distinguish it from growling.
What Are the Rottie Rumbles?
Purring isn’t exactly a common sound in the canine world. Growling, barking, howling, and even whining sounds are made by practically every pooch, but purring? That’s an entirely different story.
If you don’t have a Rottie of your own, then you might not even understand what I mean when I mention Rottweilers purring. This is truly different from a growl or any other sound that dogs normally make.
Just so that we’re all on the same page, here’s a video of a Rottweiler purring, showing exactly what I’m talking about.
That’s definitely more on the extreme side and most Rotties aren’t nearly that loud and though Rottweilers can make this sound, most of them don’t. Even among Rotties, it’s a rather rare noise to hear.
Unfortunately, purring is also a very easy noise to mistake with something else.
Watching that video, you can understand how someone might think that grumble was an aggressive sound, especially if the Rottie is showing off their smile like the dog in the video.
Just take a look at the way that Rottie’s teeth are exposed! They probably look vicious and scary to someone who doesn’t understand Rottweilers, but the dog in that video is clearly happy and enjoying themselves, not about to attack or on the defensive.
Like most bully breeds, Rottweilers have a bad reputation as aggressive or dangerous dogs, and a large part of this is their scary exterior.
But Rottweilers tend to be loving, playful, and affectionate dogs with their humans. You can even hear the man in the video talking about how that particular Rottie always acts that way, making that purring sound when receiving love and affection.
Because this sound is special to Rottweilers, it’s often dubbed the Rottie rumble.
However, you’ll also hear the noise referred to as purring or grumbling, and all of these terms can be used interchangeably.
Why Do Rottweilers Grumble?
Rottweilers seem to grumble for one primary reason: they’re happy!
It’s a sound that you’ll only hear when your Rottweiler is feeling particularly content.
Unlike a cat’s purr, which can have a wide range of reasons behind it, You won’t hear a Rottweiler purring when they’re angry, playing, anxious, or at any other time.
In fact, if you hear a similar sound at such times as those, it’s more than likely a growl that you’re mistaking for a grumble. They can be a bit difficult to tell apart, but we’ll discuss the differences between a grumble and a growl shortly.
When Do Rottweilers Purr or Grumble?
The times your Rottweiler is likely to emit a purr or grumble are the times that they’re most content and happy.
Generally, this will be when you’re actively giving your Rottie some love.
It’s somewhat similar to when a cat purrs. You’ll usually hear a cat purring in response to your petting, and Rottie rumbles work the same way.
While you’re petting your Rottie and they’re feeling especially loved and relaxed, purring will happen almost involuntarily.
You’re unlikely to hear a purr at any other time though. Rottweilers won’t generally purr when they’re playing or when they’re upset. At those times, you’re more likely to hear a growl.
Purring will be heard almost exclusively at times when your Rottie is receiving your love.
Telling a Growl from a Grumble
Since growls and grumbles do sound so similar, they can be hard to tell apart.
However, they’re generally made for entirely different reasons, so you can use context to determine which one you’re hearing at any given time.
Check Your Rottie’s Body Language
Your Rottie’s body language can be a major indicator of how they’re feeling. If your Rottie seems relaxed and at ease, then you can be reasonably certain that the sound you’re hearing is a purr and not a growl.
On the other hand, if your Rottie feels tense and their hackles are raised, then it could mean that they’re feeling aggressive and they’re not at ease. In this case, it’s more than likely a growl and not a grumble, and you should cease whatever you’re doing that’s causing it.
Remember, a growl is often a warning sign that your Rottie is unhappy with the current situation. Continuing the actions that are causing your Rottie to growl could bring about some unwanted results.
In most cases, your dog’s facial expression will also help you understand how they’re feeling but if the Rottie is also showing off a submissive smile (like in the video above), it could make things more confusing.
So, don’t rely only on your Rottie’s facial expressions. Instead, pay attention to their overall body language.
What’s the Situation?
Were you roughhousing with your Rottie when they made this sound? Or were you cuddling together on the couch and rubbing your Rottie’s belly?
The situation matters.
In the roughhousing example, you’re far more likely to hear your Rottweiler growling than grumbling. It might be a fun growl and not an aggressive one, but it’s not the same as the Rottie rumble that Rottweilers are known to make when they’re particularly pleased.
On the other hand, if you’re laying with your Rottie and rubbing their belly when you hear them make the grumbling noise, then it’s almost certainly a pleasure purr and not a growl.
The Rottie rumble is a purring sound that Rottweilers make. It’s unique to the breed, but not all Rottweilers will make this sound.
If your Rottie does rumble, they will only do so when they’re very happy and content. Don’t confuse this purring sound with a growl, which your Rottie might make when they’re unhappy!