Are Rottweilers good hiking dogs

Rottweiler panting outside

The Rottweiler, often referred to as a Rotti,  is a large, powerful and energetic dog. The Rottweiler is a working breed that was originally bred to herd sheep and pull carts laden with meat to the market.

 For the Rottweiler that is a pet, exercise is important to maintain their powerful bodies and keep them in good health.The Rottweiler needs a lot of exercise and activity, both physical and mental. They require at least 45 minutes to 1 hour of exercise a day, but will never say no to more. Without the opportunity to release all that pent up energy and to challenge their minds they can develop behavior problems.

For a full guide to the exercise needs and ideas for a Rottweiler see here.

Why Rottweilers make a good hiking dog

There are many aspects to the Rottweiler that make them an excellent hiking companion. This includes:-

  • Fun Loving -most Rottweilers are always up for a bit of adventure
  • Athletic and Energetic – a healthy adult Rotti has the agility, strength, and energy to make an excellent hiking companion.
  • People orientated – Rottweilers love human company, especially that of their owner. They would enjoy the quality time spent with you as much as the physical release.
  • Intelligent – Rottweilers are smart dogs as require mental stimulation and enrichment. Checking out new locations will pique their interest with all the smells, sounds, and sights.
  • Protective – Rottweilers are a good guard dog and protective of their owners. If you are hiking in an area with potentially dangerous wild animals such as bears, you Rottweiler may protect you.
  • Strong – Rottweiler are a strong dog so they can carry their own gear and even some of your in a backpack. It is important not to overload your Rotti. It is best not to exceed 10% of their body weight.

However, there are a few important factors to take into consideration when deciding if your particular Rottweiler is suitable to hit the hiking trail. These include:-

Age

Hiking, especially long-distance is not suitable for a Rotti puppy. Their bodies are still developing and they are unlikely to have the endurance. It is best to wait until they are at least a year old before choosing hiking as an activity. For a guide to puppy exercise see here.

For an older Rottweiler puppy, a short hike at a casual pace of 40 to 60 minutes would be OK. However, you should monitor them on the hike. If they are lagging behind or simply stop altogether it is best to rest or end the hike.

The same is true for an older senior Rottweiler. As a dog gets older their energy levels decrease. Their physical bodies may not be able to cope with some of the activities they did when they were younger. This is especially true if they are showing signs of arthritis or hip or elbow dysplasia. For a guide to exercise for a senior dog see here.

A Rottweiler is considered to be a senior from around 7 to 8 years of age. You will have more of an idea of the physical abilities of your older Rottweiler. If you do decide to take your older Rotti hiking, keep to a shorter distance, and monitor them. Rest or end the hike if it seems to be too demanding on them.

Climate and Weather

It is important to take into consideration the conditions and temperature when hiking with any dog. Hiking in a region that gets extremely low temperatures and snow in winter may not be suitable for a Rottweiler. They only have a short coat. If you do go hiking in colder temperatures, make sure you have a warm water proof coat for your Rottweiler.

The same is true of hiking with your Rottweiler in hot temperatures. Dogs are not able to cool themselves as well as we do by sweating. If the temperature is above 89.6°F (32°C) it is too hot and even dangerous to hike with your dog.

It is also a good idea for you to be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke and know what to do. See here for what to look for and what to do if your dog is overheating.

It is a good idea if you are hiking with your Rotti in warmer weather to have a cooling vest. View cooling vests for dogs on Amazon.

Alternatively, you can use a cooling collar. View cooling collars on Amazon. Another simple option is to put a white cotton T-Shirt on your Rotti as they are a black-colored dog.

Behavior and Obedience

How well trained and social your Rottweiler is needs to be to be considered also. You are likely to come across other people on the trail and some may even have a dog with them.

If your Rottweiler is wary or unfriendly to stranglers a problem could arise. If you are coming across other dogs you need to be confident that your Rottweiler is social.

If your Rottweiler is to be off-leash they need to have excellent recall. There are many distractions you may come across such as squirrels or other wildlife. In your Rotti decides to chase after them they can become lost.

There are many National Parks where it is a requirement to have your dog on a leash. Ideally, having your Rottweiler on a leash is a good idea. However, there may be situations where this could be unsafe if your Rotti pulls you over.

Do Rottweilers even like hiking

For most Rottweiler, a day out hiking is a great adventure. However, every dog is an individual, even of the same breed. Some Rottweilers may be super high energy and up for anything. Others may be more content lazing a home on the couch.

You will know what your Rottweiler personality is like and whether hiking is something for them.

How far can a Rottweiler hike in a day

The distance your Rottweiler can hike in a day will depend on the individual dog. It is important to take into consideration their age and overall health.

For a Rottweiler that is less active and doesn’t have much hiking experience, a hike of up to 10 miles (16km) is more than sufficient.

For a Rottweiler that is fit and goes on regular hikes, you can expect to go for hikes of between 15 to 20 miles (24 to 32km).

If your Rottweiler is new to hiking it is best to start off slow and over shorter distances. Hikes of 2 to 5 miles (3 to 8 km) are ore they far enough at first. Gradually increase the distance over time. Always remember to give your Rotti and yourself regular breaks and monitor them for signs of fatigue.

What Rottweiler hiking gear do you need

You obviously have a god idea of what you need to take for yourself when out hiking on the trails. It is important to also ensure that your have everything your Rottweiler will need also. The advanatge with a big strong dog like a Rottweiler is they can carry their own suppliers in a backpack.

In addition to a good quality leash and harness, you will need a few other essentials. These are some suggested suppliers your Rottweiler may need.

Dog Back Pack

A good quality back pack for your Rottweiler will be invaluable. This way your Rotti can carry their own suppliers and even some of yours. It is recommended that you don’t put more than 10% of your Rottweilers body weight in the pack.

I recommend the Mountainsmith K9 pack for a Rottweiler. View the Mountainsmith K9 Pack on Amazon.

Food and Water

Bring some food and snacks to help get your Rottweilers energy up. Also ensure you carry sufficient water for you both. Remember that a litre of water weighs around 1 kg.

Collapsible Bowl for Food and Water

A Collapsible bowl is handy as it won’t take up too much room in the pack.

View Collapsible Bowls on Amazon.

Dog First Aid Kit

When out in the middle of nowhere it is crucial to be prepared for anything. If your Rottweiler gets an injury, even if it is a small cut, this will be invaluable in patching them up until you can get to a vet.

View Pet First Aid Kit on Amazon.

Booties

You will wear hiking boots or good quality shoes to protect your feet. You dog’s paws also need protecting from twigs, rocks, and uneven terrain. If you are putting boots on your Rotti while hiking it is important to get them use to wearing them before going hiking.

For a Rottweiler, I recommend the Ruffwear Grip Trex Boots. View on Amazon here.

If you choose not to put boots on your Rottweiler, you should carry some Paw Balm with you to treat any cracks or cuts that may occur to the paw pads. View Paw Balm on Amazon.

Dog Jacket or Cooling Vest

If you are hiking in a colder climate or the weather is likely to change, bring a warm water proof jacket for your Rottweiler. The best type of jacket for warmth is a fleece lined coat.

View a Fleece dry dog jacket on Amazon here.

It is a good idea if you are hiking with your Rotti in warmer weather to have a cooling vest. View cooling vests for dogs on Amazon.

Alternatively, you can use a cooling collar. View cooling collars on Amazon. Another simple option is to put a white cotton T-Shirt on your Rotti as they are a black colored dog.

Summary – Hiking for Rottweilers

Rottweilers are an athletic and energetic dog. They require daily exercise to burn pent up energy and to prevent boredom. Failure to provide sufficient exercise can result in behavior issues.

If you want to spend quality time with your Rottweiler and take their exercise to the next level, hiking is an ideal activity. Rottweiler love a bit of adventure and have the energy levels and stamina to be excellent hiking companions.

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