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I'm new to the ownership of a rottweiler and am wondering about how much exercise a young Rottweiler should partake in. I've read a couple of articles saying too much exercise is unhealthy for the joints and muscles of a rottie.

By exercise I mean running which I do a lot of. I am wondering how far or long makes it unhealthy because there are miles of trails I usually go to, so could I rest for a while and then continue further?

Basically what I'm asking:

  • How far of running(light jog) is unhealthy for a rottweiler specifically?
  • Could I rest with my rottweiler for 15-20 mins and run more?
  • Is running even an effective way of keeping a rottweiler (physically)healthy?
  • [Extra] At around what age should I lessen the amount of exercise
  • possible duplicate of How long (distance) should I exercise my Husky puppy? – Mario Mar 28 '15 at 8:34
  • Note that I'm aware of the other question being about a Husky, but IMO it's pretty much the same for every breed. Just make sure to keep an eye on your dog and try to understand his behavior and when it's exhausted. – Mario Mar 28 '15 at 8:35
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    Not sure that I entirely agree on the duplication. A husky is a cold-weather (extreme) dog with lower tolerance for heat and higher tolerance for cold versus a rottweiler. There is some cross-over, certainly, but before I would vote to close, I'd be curious to see if there was some breed differences that matter (as the Op potentially describes). – John Cavan Mar 28 '15 at 18:43
  • I'm not exactly sure. I'm new to Rottweilers hence the question, but I have read that Rottweilers specifically have hip and joint problems. Honestly if anyone can say factually it's a duplicate then you can close it. – Swansong Mar 28 '15 at 19:05
  • Both races have a (genetically) tendency to hip/joint issues, especially if overexercised. Temperatures aren't such a difference (IMO it's a common misconception). I agree, there might be differences I don't know, but other than the Rottweiler probably freezing far earlier I can't think of anything else right now. – Mario Mar 30 '15 at 7:55
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The kennel club rule of thumb is 5 minutes per month of age until the puppy is full grown (http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/getting-a-dog-or-puppy/general-advice-about-caring-for-your-new-puppy-or-dog/puppy-and-dog-walking/). This will obviously depend on breed, starting health/fitness and individual dog’s energy levels.

Some large breed bones won't be fully hardened until they are 18 months or even older (12 months for small/medium dogs). Only after this should they be participating in any sort of endurance sport like distance running. I would put Rotweilers into the 'medium-to-large' category and so would hold off long distance or high impact running for a while longer especially if your individual dog is a heavier, more muscled build. Many dog sports also have a minimum age restriction for participation of around 18 months (e.g. flyball, canicross, etc) so this appears to be the age that most experts deem appropriate for ‘real’ sport.

Keep in mind the terrain - dogs will feel the impact more than us in our cushioned running shoes so soft ground, nature trails etc are preferable over tarmac where possible, and build up running distance very slowly in between walking.

Once your dog is fully matured, and you've slowly built up his fitness and stamina for your runs, there is no reason why he couldn't do as much jogging as you, provided he is healthy and injury free. Jogging is an effective way of keeping your dog fit and in trim shape - try to vary the exercise he is getting with play and other types of training (e.g. cart pulling, nose-work, etc) so that he is well rounded in his fitness.

I do not believe this question to be a duplicate of the one to do with Huskies. Although Rotweillers and Huskies are bred as working dogs and should have the stamina to go all day, Rotweillers may not have the speed, agility and excitement levels of a Husky. They also have more muscle bulk in general and so a slower, steadier pace may be better suited to your Rottie – jogging/walking rather than full out sprinting possibly, again depending on your individual dog. Both breeds will be susceptible to high heat, Rotties will be more susceptible to cold. Always carry water (for both of you!).

Although all the guidelines above are good as a starting point, there is no way to say exactly how far is too far, or how much is too much – this is down to the individual dog. You know your dog better than anyone, especially as you’ll have invested time in his training and building up his stamina, so pay attention to his body language and enthusiasm. If he is looking fatigued stop for a rest or turn back. It’s always a good idea to end with the dog tired but wanting more, rather than exhausted and sore. Being a Rottie he may not show any weakness or vulnerability in an effort to please you. Your job is to make sure he doesn’t overdo it. This way he will anticipate going out next time with enthusiasm rather than dread.

Here is an article about Rotties (some way down in the ‘Care’ section there is some advice about exercise and energy levels) http://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/rottweiler

This Q&A gives a few useful ways of knowing when the exercise may be over or under done http://dogtime.com/getting-enough-exercise-rogers-faq.html

EXTRA: I would suggest that your dog will be a ‘senior’ when he is around 7 or 8 years old – I believe police dogs are retired around this age as well. Again, watch for any changes in his enthusiasm and energy levels and taper off your exercises as he gets to this point and beyond. He’ll still need his daily walks for a good while after this though!

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I'm lucky to say I've had Rotties by me half my life. They are very affectionate but do require a solid role model.

  1. Puppies cant really do anything 5 minutes a month is probably right at first like the other guy mentioned.
  2. My rotties have always had stronger minds than their bodies it seems, they do kind of need to be paced. So if you wanna do a long trail its no problem if you just walk the whole thing at first. This is when you get to see how they react in the car or at home when you see them actually relax and pant away for a bit.
  3. With consistency his body will mold to the type of treatment its given on a regular basis.
  4. Heart rate is probably the main concern with the muscly boys so jogging / walking / jogging / walking is better than running / stopping / running / stopping type deal ideally its a walk / jog / run / jog / walk repeat
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