While the Rottweiler is my favorite breed there are some Rottweiler characteristics that do not match up with what you are looking for.
We/they're looking for a dog that is dog & people friendly, and can be accepting of strangers. Our extended family & neighbors will sometimes come through our backyard and would like a dog that's fine with that (ie; Not for property protection in the slightest).
Rottweilers were originally bred as a cattle driving and GUARD dogs. Typically Rottweilers are aloof with strangers and not given to accepting non-family members (as in people who don't live in its home) in their territory. Well-socialized Rottweilers are really one-family dogs, absolutely devoted to the members of their pack but generally people from the outside are met with indifference to suspicion. Dog aggression is in no way uncommon for this breed as well, especially male/male.
Also looking for a dog that's prey drive will not override training while going for walks (I'm unsure of how much this can be influenced). With proper training, socialization, and exposure to situations of this, can a properly bred Rottweiler be okay with this?
Rottweilers are not as prey driven as a terrier or sight hound. However, if walking your dog outside your fenced yard it absolutely MUST be on a leash. It doesn't matter if your dog is 100% reliable and visits cancer kids in hospitals every week. People will see it as a Rottweiler running at large with another irresponsible owner. It is a discrimination that Rottweiler owners face everyday and the only way to combat it is to be 100x more responsible than any other dog owner. Is it fair? Nope. Is it true? Yep. When getting a Rottweiler it's best to grow a thick skin and deal. The attitude is not going anywhere anytime soon thanks to all the idiot Rottie owners who have let their dogs do horrendous things.
My thoughts are that proper treatment, training, socialization, and breeder selection of the dog will have greater impacts than the dog's breed. That said, is there anything of a rottweiler that would prevent it from fulfilling our wants?
I really like a lot of the positive traits that the Rottweiler has. A problem I have with smaller dogs (in my experiences) is they can be fear aggressive/defensive in scenarios because of their size, and we also have some mid-size wildlife that's in the area.
I suppose I could go to the rottweiler forum, but I've seen quite a bit of helpful and very knowledgeable people here, so I thought I'd ask
. Any experiences/opinions are also welcome/appreciated.
It must be remembered that a Rottweiler isn't, and should not be, a Labrador Retriever in a black and tan coat. It is not a dog for the novice owner who wants a dog that loves everyone and lets everyone take liberties with it. It is a working dog whose ancestors drove cattle over the Alps for the Roman Army and protected their owners from thieves before there was such as thing as police. It has a mind and body that needs to think and do things. It NEEDS a firm, fair, consistent leader that sets clear boundaries on its behavior but who knows how to channel the drives and instincts it has into something productive instead of just trying to suppress them.
I would really encourage you to go to the Rottweiler forum. The people there are very, very knowledgeable and several are breeds.
One very short, very important tip on breeder selection:
Immediately eliminate any breeder that doesn't have the following health certifications:
-OFA cardiac (preferably performed by a cardiologist) YEARLY!
This is "do not pass go, do not collect $200." Just immediately cut any breeder that can't provide you with these certification numbers off from any further consideration, period. Don't waste time on a breeder who can't even do these basics.