Do Rottweilers Growl A Lot? (The Bark Might Be Worse Than Its Bite)

rottweiler growling

My first encounter with a rottweiler was many years ago at a friend’s house as a kid. I remembered her saying that her dog, Rose, had a bark that was worse than her bite. And boy, she wasn’t kidding.

I could hear her rottweiler growling as I got closer to the gate and it was a low menacing growl that resonated in my chest that gave me goosebumps. Rose never made any aggressive moves but she had me in her line of sight.

As we got nearer, my friend told me to let Rose smell my hand before petting her. Rose slowly approached me, never letting up on that menacing growl, and took a quick sniff of my hand. Just when I thought my hand was going to become dog food, Rose transformed into a playful puppy.

Rose became one of my all-time favorite dogs and I was extremely sad when she eventually crossed the rainbow bridge.

But is it normal to hear a rottweiler growling all the time? Rottweilers growl a lot as they are known as a vocal dog breed. Many Rottweiler owners term a rottweiler growling as grumbling. A Rottweiler tends to growl or grumble when playing, being petted or even when happy. It isn’t considered aggressive growling and is a trait of this particular dog breed.

Let us take a look at this rather interesting behavior of Rottweilers and when should the growling start to be a concern for you.

The Rottweiler

rottweiler puppy

I’m not going to lie, Rottweilers are one of the most intimidating dog breeds for me. Their strong muscular bodies, imposing facial features and constant growling can send most people walking in the other direction when they see one coming.

But I do feel that Rotties are misunderstood just based on the way they look.

This dog breed is a descendant of the Mastiff and is known for its power and strength. They were originally bred as herding and farm dogs but were later employed to be police and military dogs.

Despite their aloof nature, Rottweilers are actually loving, loyal and playful dogs that make great family pets too. They are careful with children and take it upon themselves to guard their family members.

Due to a Rottweiler’s intense personality as compared to other dogs, it requires proper and consistent training to prevent any behavioral issues.

Why We Are Afraid Of The Growl?

The reason why many of us are concerned when we hear a dog growl is because of the universal interpretation of such a vocalization.

When dogs growl, we tend to see it as a warning sign of further possible unpredictable and aggressive behavior. A dog growls when it feels threatened, uncomfortable or angry.

Further provocation can cause the dog to bite or snap.

But when it comes to a Rottweiler growling, it doesn’t always mean that it is going to bite your head off. Rotties are vocal compared to other dogs and tend to use more vocalization to convey their emotions and intentions.

If you have ever heard a Rottie growl in person, it sounds very much like a Harley Davidson motorcycle in idle.

Is It Normal For Rottweilers To Growl?

If you are a first-time dog owner or if this is your first Rottie, congratulations! You are now a proud parent of a vocal dog.

Many Rottie owners don’t realize how talkative their dogs can be.

Rottweilers are known to make a wide variety of sounds that can range from a subtle purr to an aggressive growl.

Even though Rottweilers growl a lot, it can be hard to distinguish when your dog is growling out of happiness or unhappiness. It isn’t as straightforward as compared to the purring of a cat.

Don’t just step away and hide whenever you hear your dog growl.

The ‘Rottie Grumble’

This persistent growling of the Rottweiler is also known as the ‘Rottie Grumble’. It is often mistaken as a sign of aggression when the owner hears the Rottweiler growling but more often than not, it isn’t.

Rotties are just natural grumblers without any ulterior motives. Just like a mother that loves to nag or a grumpy old man that is grumpy at the sky for being blue.

The grumble can be heard originating from the dog’s chest without any change in the dog’s facial movement or expression.

This is very different when you hear and see an aggressive rottweiler growl. The difference is almost night and day.

What Should I Do When I Hear My Rottie Grumble?

rottweiler smiling

Assuming that you just got yourself a new cute Rottweiler puppy and your Rottweiler puppy growls when you brush it. And this is one activity that your puppy doesn’t like.

The one thing that you should not do next is to overreact or overcompensate for your actions. It is possible for grumbling to turn into aggressive growling behavior if you keep doing this.

When you back off when your Rottweiler puppy grumbles, it is reinforcing your dog’s action. In other words, the puppy is starting to learn that grumbling or growling will get you to back off or give it more attention.

This isn’t what you want and will only reinforce bad behavior in your dog.

What you should do is just ignore the dog and leave it alone while when your Rottweiler is growling out of unhappiness. Praise it when your dog stops growling and you will start training your puppy to not grumble or growl at you when it is unhappy about something.

Do Rottweilers Purr Or Growl When Happy?

Rottweilers are known to purr or growl when they are happy and such behavior is affectionately known as the ‘Rottie Rumble’.

I doubt purring isn’t something any dog owner would expect to hear from a dog especially one that can be as ferocious as the Rottweiler.

When your Rottweiler growls without aggression whenever you start to give it love, that is your dog purring.

This sound stems deep from within your dog’s throat and it sounds pretty much like a cat purring. I have to say that it is rather rare for Rottweilers to purr but it does happen often enough to be part of its trait.

Sometimes such purring can look aggressive with the dog exposing its teeth and growling menacingly. If you don’t wish for your dog to exhibit such behaviors when getting petted, don’t give it attention when you notice such a reaction.

Rottweilers are very smart dogs and will very quickly realize that such behaviors don’t get them any loving.

When Is Your Rottweiler Being Aggressive?

It isn’t all love, fun and games when you hear your dog growling. There can be times when your Rottweiler growls because it is feeling pretty pissed about something.

As a dog owner, it is important to distinguish the difference between unhappy growling and angry growling.

A Rottweiler that is growling, rumbling or grumbling out of happiness or slight annoyance won’t really have much change in its facial movement. The vocalization usually originates from its belly or throat.

When you have a dog that is really upset or angry at something, the growling will be accompanied by these beahviors:

  • Excessive barking
  • Exposing teeth when growling
  • Trying to bite
  • Staring at you
  • Drooling

When you see your dog behaving this way, do not try to touch it. Please do not hit your dog to try and control it as violence begets violence.

If you are not able to control your dog at this stage, it would be best to remove yourself from the room until your dog calms down.

A dog that gets angry often isn’t safe to be around and needs to be properly trained. If you do not have the know-how, please seek help from a professional dog trainer.

What Other Factors Can Cause My Rottweiler To Growl?

There are many other factors or triggers that can cause your Rottie to start growling. But here are the more common ones that you might deal with.

Resource Guarding

Remember when we were young and didn’t want to share our favorite toy? We got angry and started to cry when our parents eventually took it away.

The same behavior can happen in our dogs, especially dogs that have a strong herding or guarding instinct. Cocker spaniels are prone to resource guarding behavior and this needs to be corrected by their owners from young before it starts to get out of hand.

Dogs can resource guard almost anything.

Most of the time, it is something valuable like their food, water and bed. But it can also spill over to rather silly things like a leaf or a twig.

If your Rottie starts to growl when you get near its bed or try to take away its toy, something needs to be done about that.

Feeling Stressed And Afraid

Dogs growl not only out of anger but also when they are feeling stressed and afraid. This can be seen in Rottweilers with separation anxiety or phobias.

When your Rottweiler starts to exhibit aggressive growling when you are about to leave home, that is usually a sign of separation anxiety.

The dog is starting to panic at the thought of the owner leaving and can exhibit destructive behavior to get the owner’s attention.

Most well-adjusted dogs don’t really care when their owners leave home for a while but tend to show more excitement when the owner is back.

Being In Pain Or Discomfort

Dogs can also exhibit aggressive growling when they are feeling discomfort or pain. If you come home one day and your Rottweiler starts growling for no rhyme or reason, make sure to give it a look over for any injuries.

It might have gotten itself injured when no one was at home.

Look out for these signs as well:

  • Loss in appetite
  • Limping
  • Bloated stomach
  • Whimpering
  • Hiding away from sight

If your dog has a couple of these symptoms but you can’t seem to find anything wrong with it, please take it to the vet for a closer examination. It might have eaten something wrong like spoiled meat which is making it sick.

Do Rottweilers Pick A Favorite Person?

Rottweilers are sociable dogs that are capable of bonding with every member of the family. However, there is usually one special member of the family that the dog will naturally gravitate and respond better to.

This person is normally the primary caregiver for the dog when it comes to food, water and attention.


Rottweilers are amazing dogs and you are lucky to have one that loves and protects you. Such dog breeds can also be challenging and difficult to train as they are strong confident dogs that have minds of their own.

Always be aware of the sounds that your Rottie is making to prevent any mishaps from happening.

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