Make sure your dog is neutered/spayed, it should take care of any hormonal issues. You could do just as well with a neutered male as with a female, and when they go through teenager-hood they will challenge you to some extent, regardless of gender.
Originally Posted by erezb
Fuzzy, our family's late rottie cross and a close friend who has a big rottie boy called Drake have cats and other dogs, and there haven't been any problems. They will also imprint on the members of their pack, including animals, and defend them fiercely against all comers.
Rotties are ranked in the top 10 most intelligent dogs in the world, and you can easily train them to recognise the difference between someone being let in the front gate and someone climbing over it. The real trick is to put in solid groundwork with obedience training from an early age and make sure all family members are consistent when it comes to expectations of the dog & discipline.
Remember though that like all living creatures each dog is an individual, so like with any big breed you want to use for guarding you'll also want to do your homework before you pick your dog. Interact with Mom and Dad, spend some time with your shortlisted puppies to assess their temperament & responsiveness. Make sure your breeder is reputable and conscientious, and when you've picked the dog you should enrol in a good training school.
To be honest it sounds like something like a german shepherd or a rottie would be perfect for what you're looking for. Just make sure that you're ready to put in the legwork early on in the dog's life and you will have a loyal and rewarding pet.
(I should point out that what I'm saying is based solely on my own experiences and I have no certifications in dog breeding or training)
I've got some experience with Rotties and currently own a Rottie/Terrier mix. (Don't ask how, but he's frigging awesome. I basically ended up with a tiny Rot. Or a 50 pound [20 kg-ish] terrier, depending on how you look at him.) For the first couple years of life you can expect that a Rott will tear some stuff up. Textbooks, shoes, basically anything you would really prefer not to have torn up. Once you get past this, he'll likely still steal your shoes and cuddle with them. You'll need to get him things he's allowed to destroy and he needs to know that those things are his. The biggest problem with Rotts, in my opinion, is likely that as a large dog his life expectancy is not what you'd like. They're also somewhat tough to leash train, but if you start early it should be a non-issue.
When choosing the puppy what should i look for?
i know some about GSD but nothing about rotties.
Also, i will ask again to be sure, there is not much difference in temper between a neutered male to a female? so i can get the hefty look of a mail without the added aggressiveness?
Always ask to meet the mum, and the dad if possible (don't worry too much if dad isn't available, to ensure bloodline diversity bitches can be bred with dogs from other kennels). Mum should have a good temperament, be handleable and sociable as the youngsters will take their social cues from mum. If the breeder won't let you meet the mum then it's not a good idea to go forward with the purchase, as mum probably has some serious physical or behavioural issues the breeder is trying to hide from you.
Originally Posted by erezb
Many breeders also have children and other pets, so if you are worried it could be worth visiting a few different breeders and asking questions about what steps they've taken to socialize the puppies during their early lives. Well socialised puppies mean less legwork for you when you get your pup of choice home.
When you meet the litter look out for puppies who are bright and interested in you & their surroundings, and don't shy away from you or try to hide. I find a good test is to give one or two claps and look for those who come to investigate the noise, rather than running away or hiding.
More confident puppies are usually more laid back and easy to handle in higher stress situations (like having friends who are strangers to them over for the first time). A fearful temperament can lead to aggression as the dog tries to pre-emptively defend itself, which isn't a desirable trait in such a big animal.
You should also look for puppies who are happy to be handled and will come to you and your wife. Many breeders will let you reserve a puppy from quite early on, and from there you can pay them a few visits before you finally take them home. This makes for less stress on the dog at the time of separation and also means you'll have a good understanding of the dog as an individual before you go ahead and make them part of the family.
Rotties are very big dogs as a general breed, so it's probably best if you look for the puppy that fits you and your lifestyle before looking at the gender, since even females will get pretty darn large. I haven't experienced any differences between a neutered make & a female, but maybe some doggy expert bullies will correct me on that.
Whatever you do make sure you spay or neuter your dog at the right age (I think the usual age is about 6 months), because if your dog is intact when he reaches adolescence he WILL challenge you for supremacy, and that can only be unpleasant both for you and him. Females will challenge you too, as dog packs are traditionally lead by a dominant male and female, so leaving a female you don't intend to breed from unspayed will only give you the same results.
The number one thing I'd look for is whether the puppy seems to be more interested in you and the other dogs in the area than the surroundings. They get playful pretty early on, like 4 weeks or so. However, if you have the time and inclination it can be very rewarding to get an older dog who has been abused. Once they realize things are different now they will be absolutely devoted to you. However, socializing an abused dog is something far beyond what I'm writing here. It's not something I've done with rotts and the best advice I can really give without more information is to take the process slowly and make sure you're always nearby.
As for aggression, that depends on what you don't want him to be agressive at. If other dogs are your worry, make sure he's exposed to other dogs as early as possible. Cats? Same story. However, it seems to me that without constant exposure they'll always be curious about the cat, since it smells decidedly non-dog and non-human.
On the other side, Rotts play pretty rough regardless of whether they're neutered or not. Many times rougher than other dogs around them (or you) would like. I'd recommend getting some nice heavy work gloves at the least to let him know you're in the mood for some rough and tumble with him. That way he learns that if the gloves are off he doesn't get to play rough with you. As for other dogs, stay close at first. He'll eventually get an idea of what's OK and what's not.
my dad had boxers once. and he told me that with strong breeds its best not to play fight at all...I loved play-fighting with my dogs, but i felt it can't go overboard, even with the GS bitch, cause i was strong enough to restrain them. Don't know if i could do that with a rotty..
Working gloves are enough for rough housing with a rott?
I've watched some of the dogs 101 clips, and they say to hold the dog's paw, and rub his belly to make sure he is nice. Sounds logical i guess, ill try and pick a few of those tests to get a better idea.
Originally Posted by Katje
Choke chains are not nearly as effective as pinch collars for training, plus you can potentially hurt your dog with them. I recommend obedience classes, a lot of this stuff is non-intuitive.
If you are the sort of person who thinks pinch collars and choke chains are cruel then Rotties or any other potentially dangerous dog are not for you.
Going to a reputable breeder will not perpetuate puppy farming. Quite the opposite, in fact. If you want a big dog that will be okay in a small space like an apartment, I'd suggest checking out an old English sheep dog. Bonus: they don't shed. Also good for living in a small space.
Originally Posted by battlefields