Rottweiler Intelligence: Are They Really Dumb like Some People Say?

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Rottweilers have received a reputation for being one of the dumber breeds of dogs. I am here to shed the facts on whether or not this is a true fact.

So, are Rottweilers really dumb like some people say?

According to a study done by Stanley Coren, Rottweilers were ranked as the ninth smartest dog breed. Rottweilers were given this ranking due to their devotion their assigned job (whatever that may be).

Wondering if your Rottweiler is just the only one that acts a little dumb? More than likely, they are not. Continue reading in order to learn more about Rottweilers and their intelligence levels.

Different Aspects of Intelligence

Before we know if a Rottweiler is considered to be dumb or not, we need to understand what really defines their intelligence.

While one may think that measuring one’s intelligence is a plan and simple task, there are in fact several different kinds of intelligence for dogs that can be assessed.

These three different bits of intelligence are known as instinctive, adaptive, and working and obedience.


First, we will discuss the instinctive intelligence of your dog.

Ever since the domestication of dogs, each breed has been trained for a specific task. While the tasks dogs are asked to complete may have changed, their instincts have not.

Rottweilers, for example, were bred to be either sheepdogs or police dogs. Today the Rottweiler breed still exemplifies many of the same characteristics that these tasks required.

Since each breed has developed different instincts over the years, comparing each breeds level of instinctive intelligence would be near to impossible.


Second, we have the dog’s adaptive intelligence.

The adaptive intelligence of your dog is based off what he or she can do or learn for themselves.

When your dog is placed in a new environment or is confronted with a new problem, their adaptive intelligence is determined by their ability to adapt or solve the problem.

While the instinctive intelligence of a dog tends to be correlated to their breed and the history of their domestication, a dog’s adaptive intelligence is more personal and varies by each dog.

Working and Obedience

The third and final piece of dogs’ intelligence is their working and obedience intelligence.

This aspect of intelligence is based on what a dog learns or is based off of the instruction of humans.

If your dog responds to verbal or hand commands, they would be given a higher working and obedience intelligence.

Since dogs were originally domesticated to respond to human instruction in order to complete a task, this form of intelligence may be considered more important than others.

Content courtesy of Psychology Today.

Rottweiler History and Basic Behaviors

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Now that we know a little bit more about what determines a dog’s intelligence, we need to learn more about the Rottweiler breed’s history and common behaviors.

Rottweilers are known as one of the larger, stronger breeds you will find.

On average, a Rottweiler can grow to be anywhere between one and a half feet to over two feet and weighing anywhere between 85 to 130 pounds.

Rottweilers typically live to be anywhere around 8-15 years.

Due to their larger size, Rottweilers are often to be one of the more aggressive dog breeds.

Rottweilers are believed to be descendants of an Asian Mastiff. These Mastiffs were used by the Romans in order to herd and protect cattle.

Later on, Rottweilers were still used to protect cattle by the Germans. When the cattle would be taken to market, Rottweilers were often used to pull the carts hauling the meet.

Due to their heritage, a Rottweiler’s instincts tell them to herd and protect while the large muscles they have acquired over time, help them to successfully accomplish that task.

Because of a Rottweiler’s nature to protect and defend cattle, the breed was often used by the police forces to either track criminals or to work as search and rescuers.

Rottweilers are one of the easiest breeds of dogs to train and are capable of learning and fulfilling new tasks at all ages.

Rottweilers: Dumb or Not

As I mentioned above, rottweilers are listed in the top 10 smartest dogs. But does this really mean that Rottweilers are not “dumb”?

Perhaps you see your Rottweiler doing silly things that make you wonder how intelligent they really are.

Now that we have a deeper knowledge of what determines a dog’s intelligence and the background of the Rottweiler breed, we can decide whether or not Rottweilers as a breed are really as dumb as people say they are.

Each of the rottweilers I have had each acted in a “unique” way that you would not really expect from most dogs.

Whether swimming in the horse’s water trough, taking themselves for walks around the block or hiding from not so strange noises, Rottweilers always keep you on your toes with their silly shenanigans.

However, while Rottweilers can be quite interesting at times, Rottweilers also never cease to impress me with their intelligence levels.

At both a young or older age, rottweilers are always ready to be taught something new (who says you cannot teach an old dog new tricks?).

In Stanley Coren’s study on the intelligence of dog breeds, he rated rottweilers at number nine for their devotion to their assigned jobs.

Whether your Rottweiler is a trained police dog, a service dog, or simply your best friend, your dog is sure to be devoted to that job for the rest of their life.

The Rottweiler’s devotion to their assigned job leaves them to feel an extreme pride or happiness in completing their task.

This extreme happiness can sometimes leave them acting a little too excited and often what we consider as “dumb.”

Based off what we know of dogs’ bits of intelligence and the behavior of a Rottweiler, we could agree that Rottweilers have a higher instinctive and working and obedience intelligence.

However, not all Rottweilers are favored with higher adaptive intelligence and this is what leads people to believe their breed is rather dumb.

So do not worry! Just because you are adopting or raising a Rottweiler does not mean that they will be “dumb.”

How to Train Your Rottweiler

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While Rottweilers are one of the easier dog breeds to train with their higher work and obedience intelligence, knowing some tips and tricks to help you along the way can be extremely helpful.

Below I have my top 5 tips to help you perfectly train your Rottweiler.

1. Begin at an Early Age

Rottweilers are able to begin learning new commands at any age.

However, by beginning to teach them from an earlier age, your Rottweiler will be more capable of learning new commands late on in life.

When you begin training your Rottweiler puppy, be patient and give plenty of positive reinforcement throughout the process.

Reacting with anger when training your puppy will only result in them fearing your instructions. Since this puppy is meant to be your companion and friend, there should be mutual respect and care for each other.

Be sure that you are reprimanding your Rottweiler puppy immediately after they do something wrong. Dogs have shorter-term memory than us and waiting too long to correct your puppy will only once again result in fear.

2. Potty Train Immediately

It can be frustrating and stressful having a puppy running around who is not house trained.

Avoid this frustration and stress by potty training your Rottweiler puppy immediately.

There are many methods you can use to potty train your puppy. My personal favorite method is the kennel training.

The first night you have your puppy home you are excited and all you want to do is snuggle with them all night long. However, training should not wait until even the second day.

When bedtime comes around, take your Rottweiler puppy outside until they use the bathroom. After they have taken them back inside and put them in a kennel or carrier. They may whine but do not cave in! This is part of the process.

The next morning, the first thing you should do before getting ready for your day is let your puppy out of the kennel and take them outside to use the bathroom.

Why does this method work you may ask? Dogs do not like to use the bathroom in the area where they sleep so they are sure to hold it all night and then they learn that outside means bathroom.

This method also trains your puppy to not be too active at night!

Another effective method I have used in house-training my dogs is a bell on a rope.

You are going to need a rope toy and a medium-sized bell for this method. Attach the bell to the rope toy and then attach the rope toy to the door handle of the door you want your dog to go outside through.

When your dog sees the rope toy, chances are they are going to try and play with it. The minute you hear the bell ringing you need to open the door and put your puppy outside.

Eventually, your Rottweiler puppy will learn that the sound of the bell means that they can go outside to use the bathroom. The best part about this method is that a dog of ANY age can learn this behavior!

Now while this may sound confusing or you may be thinking that your dog is not smart enough to catch on, I promise that with time this method can be extremely effective.

3. Use Hand Signals

As you are potty training your Rottweiler, you will want to begin working on some of the basic commands as well.

While teaching with verbal commands is an effective way to train any animal, hand signals help your Rottweiler to remember commands and to understand what they are being asked to do.

To start training your puppy, begin with the command sit. Many dog owners choose to point straight down for this command’s hand signal.

If your puppy does not respond to the command hold their collar in one and apply slight pressure down on their rear as you say “sit” once more. Once they are sitting, show your Rottweiler puppy the hand signal as you say the command again.

Continue to work on this skill daily and begin adding a new command or trick each day.

Need some help thinking of some hand signals for your commands? Well, we got you covered!

CommandHand Signal
SitPointer finger straight down
Lay DownFlat hand; palm down
StayClosed fist
GoPoint in the direction you want your dog to go
Sit “Pretty”Two fingers together pointed straight down (be sure that your dog is already sitting and that your fingers are just slightly behind your dog’s head)

An important command for your Rottweiler puppy to understand is to “come.” If your dog begins to run away, they should be trained enough that when they hear “come” they stop and come back to you.

Start teaching this command with a snap of your fingers and treats in your hand. Your puppy will come to know that coming to the sound of a snap will result in benefits. Eventually, reduce the number of treats you give your puppy for coming until they come without a treat in hand.

Be careful to remember what hand signal you want to use for each command. Confusing hand signals will make it harder for your Rottweiler puppy to understand what to do.

Just be sure you are consistent in the training with your puppy!

4. Do Not Tolerate Biting

A common habit for puppies of all breeds is biting. However, since Rottweilers often have a negative reputation among others, it is important that your puppy is trained from a young age to not bite.

This is not only for other people’s protection but for your Rottweiler’s as well. Even a well-meaning dog can give off a negative impression to a stranger.

When you first get your Rottweiler puppy, be sure that any time you have plenty of chew toys for them. If your puppy bites you or others be sure to immediately reprimand them.

Each time your puppy bites someone say “no bite” and tap them on their nose. While this may seem extremely simple, being stern with your words will help your Rottweiler puppy realize their mistake and they will learn quickly not to do so again.

Remember teaching your Rottweiler puppy not to bite is not only important for other’s but for your puppy! Be stern with you puppy at a young age when they bite and there should not be any greater problems as they grow up.

5. Continue Teaching Commands!

After your puppy has learned the basic commands and has overcome simple behavioral problems, their training should not stop there.

Continue teaching your dog fun tricks or helpful commands. Since Rottweilers become very dedicated to their job, continuing to teach your Rottweiler tricks and commands throughout their life will help them to feel a sense of accomplishment.

Some fun tricks your Rottweiler may enjoy learning are to shake, high-five, bow, speak, roll over, or even to play dead.

Teach these commands with the same methods you used to teach your Rottweiler puppy the basic commands.

Be firm, consistent, and give positive reinforcement at all times. If you do all these things, training your Rottweiler puppy will be a piece of cake!

The Intelligence of Different Dog Breeds

Since we have determined that the “dumb” Rottweiler is most often based off of their adaptive intelligence, you may be wondering what other dogs ranked similar to them.

Continue reading below to see both the 10 “dumbest” and 10 “smartest” dog breeds.

The Top 10 “Smartest” Dog Breeds

  1. Border Collie
  2. Poodle
  3. German Shepherd
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Doberman Pinscher
  6. Shetland Sheepdog
  7. Labrador Retriever
  8. Papillon
  9. Rottweiler
  10. Australian Cattle Dog

In order to score each breed, Stanley Coren conducted a study with professional obedience judges.

Their study was done with over 100 breeds of dogs in order to gain the most accurate rankings.

The professional obedience judges tested each of the breed’s work and obedience intelligence with a series of obedience commands and ranked them from highest to lowest.

If a dog learned the command in five or fewer repetitions (and followed the command more often than others), then that breed was ranked among the more intelligent breeds.

However, if a dog failed to learn and follow these commands, then that breed was listed among the “dumber” dog breeds.

Keep reading below to see what breed of dog ranked the lowest work and obedience intelligence level!

Top 10 “Dumbest” Dog Breeds

Now that we know the top 10 smartest dog breeds, let us look further into the top 10 “dumbest” dog breeds.

Still based on the same study done by Stanley Coren, each of the dog breeds were tested with a series of commands and then ranked (10 being the “dumbest”).

  1. Basset Hound
  2. Mastiff
  3. Beagle
  4. Pekingese
  5. Bloodhound
  6. Borzoi
  7. Chow Chow
  8. Bulldog
  9. Basenji
  10. Afghan Hound

Remember though! While one breed may be more intelligent when learning one command, another may be more intelligent when learning another.

Are all Rottweilers aggressive?

While the breeding of a Rottweiler does give them more protective and aggressive behaviors, every dog is unique in personality. With proper training, love, and care a Rottweiler can be just as sweet as any other breed of dog.

Do Rottweilers get along well with children?

While you should never leave any dog alone with a small child, Rottweilers can be very caring and gentle with children. Teaching kids to treat your Rottweiler correctly is the best way to ensure that no problems should arise.

Can I leave my Rottweiler alone outside?

Rottweilers have what is called a double coat and can endure lower temperatures due to this feature. However, they should not be left outside alone during colder nights. During the day keep your dogs on a leash or in a fenced area when alone for their own protection.

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