The Rottweiler, or Rottie, is an intelligent, loyal, and loving family dog. Despite its large size, this gentle giant is often good with kids and sometimes works as a guide dog for the blind or a search and rescue dog. The Rottie is clearly an amazing breed, but let’s get down to the hairy question at hand — do Rottweilers shed?
Yes, they do. Rottweilers are not hypoallergenic, and they will leave dog hair around your house. However, these pups shed significantly less than many other popular dog breeds, including golden retrievers, German shepherds, and huskies.
We’ll look at exactly how much this breed sheds, what causes excessive shedding, and what Rottie owners can do to keep their dog’s coat and their homes looking shiny and clean.
How Much Do Rottweilers Shed?
Rottweilers are considered moderate shedders. The American Kennel Club (AKC) ranks their shedding as a three on a scale of one to five (with five being the highest amount of shedding).
Rottweilers primarily have a smooth coat, similar to boxers, Doberman pinschers, and English bulldogs. However, they have a double coat on their neck and thighs. A smooth coat sheds significantly less than a double coat. Many popular breeds, including Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, huskies, German shepherds, and Australian shepherds, have a double coat over their entire bodies.
A double coat has two layers of fur — a top coat and an undercoat that comes in during the winter and summer. Double-coated dogs shed their top coat year round and go through two heavy shedding seasons: They shed their winter coat in the spring and their summer coat in the fall. These periods of heavy shedding are sometimes referred to as coat blowing — and with true double-coated dogs (like the retrievers and shepherds we listed above) you will find large clumps of the dogs’ undercoat blowing around your house.
Fortunately, Rottweilers are not true double-coated dogs. They do experience a heavier shedding season in the spring and fall, but not to the same extent as a Lab or German shepherd. Rotties only get their undercoat on the neck and thighs, so Rottweilers shed a little more during those two times of the year, but much less than dogs that have a full double coat.
However, Rottweiler shedding can spread dander around your home and trigger allergy symptoms in people with dog allergies. For people who aren’t allergic and simply prefer less dog hair around the house, the Rottie’s moderate shedding paired with its less-noticeable short hair can make this breed a pleasantly low-maintenance companion.
What Causes Excessive Shedding in Rotties?
As we said, Rottweilers should shed a moderate amount year round. But, when do Rottweilers shed more than that?
Certain health problems can cause dogs, Rottweilers included, to shed more hair than is natural or healthy for their breed. Suddenly seeing a higher amount of hair around the house could be a sign of one of these problems:
- Poor diet: If your dog isn’t getting enough nutrients from their diet, they will tend to shed more. Look for a dog food that has real meat as the first ingredient and contains recognizable whole foods.
- Parasites: Fleas and mites can both cause hair thinning and hair loss in dogs. Both are also easily treated with the help of a veterinarian.
- Allergies: Many dogs have skin allergies that can lead to itching, hair loss, and skin infections. If your dog has a food allergy, you can treat it by changing their diet. For environmental allergies, your dog may need allergy testing and medication.
- Other skin issues: A variety of skin issues and inherited health conditions can lead to a dog losing hair. If you’re concerned about how much your dog sheds, talk to your vet.
Unless you have a hairless dog breed, your dog’s fur should always provide enough coverage to protect them from sunburn. You shouldn’t be able to see your dog’s skin peeking through their coat (other than on the stomach, which is hairless in many breeds and has thinner hair in Rottweilers). If you can easily see your dog’s skin through their coat or if you find bald patches where your dog formerly had fur, contact your vet.
How to Keep a Rottweiler’s Coat Healthy
Rotties have extremely low-maintenance coats. This is one advantage of choosing Rottweilers over non-shedding dogs like poodles, which often require frequent grooming. In fact, the Rottie is an excellent choice for dog owners looking for a compromise between a manageable amount of shedding and grooming. Rotties are moderate shedders with low grooming needs.
To keep your Rottie’s coat healthy, simply bathe them once or twice a month. You can use a deshedding dog shampoo to encourage loose hair follicles to come out during bath time (instead of during couch time).
Brush your Rottie once a week to spread their skin’s natural oils throughout their coat and keep new hair growth healthy for longer. To find a good brush for a Rottweiler’s short hair, look for a slicker brush or a soft-bristle dog brush.
Complete your Rottie’s skin care routine by adding a fish oil supplement to help reduce shedding, improve dry skin, and promote a healthy coat. Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows dogs given fatty acid supplements saw improvements in both their skin and coat condition.
Monthly baths, weekly brushing, and a fish oil supplement can all help keep the Rottweiler’s coat healthy.
How to Manage Rottweiler Hair Around Your Home
For many, it’s not the dander and dog allergies that send them looking for a low-shedding dog breed — it’s the clean up. If you hate seeing dog hair on your floors and furniture, you can keep your Rottie’s shedding under control with these simple steps:
- Try a robot vacuum: When you set up a robot vacuum, you can ask it to automatically clean your floors throughout the week at the time of your choice. Set it up once, and you’ll see significantly less dog fur on the floors.
- Set some boundaries: If you can resist cuddling with your pooch on the couch, teach your dog to stay off furniture and out of the bedroom. That’ll keep these areas fur-free.
- Look for lint rollers: Pick up a few of these and keep one by your front door and one in your car. If you get a little hairy hugging your Rottie, you can quickly clean up before you head out.
- Rethink your furniture and flooring: If you’re planning to remodel or buy new furniture, keep your pet in mind. Hard floors are easier to clean than carpet, but a dark carpet will help disguise a Rottie’s shedding. Dark furniture upholstery in a dog-friendly fabric will do the same.
If you love everything about the Rottweiler breed, don't let a little shedding stand in the way. It's easy to control with some planning.
Caring for Your Rottweiler’s Coat
The fact that Rottweilers shed may make this breed a no-go for allergy sufferers. However, many dog owners find them to be a low-maintenance companion.
Rotties shed moderately with slightly heavier shedding in the spring and fall. They shed less than many retrievers and shepherds. Unusually heavy shedding may indicate an underlying skin issue, poor nutrition, or allergy. Check with your veterinarian if your Rottweiler loses more fur than normal.
A Rottweiler’s coat is easier to maintain than many non-shedding dogs — only requiring a bath once or twice a month, a brush once a week, and a fish oil supplement daily.
If you’re willing to do a little extra clean up (or simply invest in a robot vacuum and a few lint rollers), the Rottie could be your new best friend.
For more information about your favorite dog breeds, check out the Native Pet blog.