The 15 Most Common Health Problems in Rottweilers

Written by Kristin Hitchcock
Updated: September 11, 2023
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Rottweilers tend to be pretty healthy. However, they are prone to some health issues like any other canine. These health problems are due to their genetics and physical characteristics.

Not all Rottweilers will experience all these problems. However, these issues are more common in Rottweilers than dogs as a whole. It’s important to be aware of potential health problems before adopting a dog, especially since an average Rottweiler’s lifespan is between 8-10 years.

Choosing a quality Rottweiler breeder is vital for avoiding as many health problems as possible since many of these issues are linked to genetics. You should also get your dog plenty of preventative health care.

1. Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common genetic condition where the hip doesn’t develop properly. For this reason, the joint becomes loose and begins to rub unnaturally, leading to arthritis and pain.

Rottweilers develop this condition somewhat commonly due to their larger size and genetics. Over time, the cartilage deteriorates, causing discomfort and mobility problems. The symptoms are similar to arthritis, but it occurs far earlier.

Regular exercise, weight management, and joint supplements can help with this condition. However, it’s mostly genetic.

2. Elbow Dysplasia

This condition affects the elbow joint, often causing pain, lameness, and reduced mobility. It’s typically caused by an improper fit of the bones in the joint, leading to abnormal wear and tear.

Elbow dysplasia is a multifactorial condition influenced by genetics, diet, and growth rate. Treatment options include medication, weight management, and surgery, depending on the severity of the case. Choosing a quality breeder is vital, as it helps ensure that the dog’s genetics are sound.

3. Osteochondritis Disscans (OCD)

OCD is a developmental disorder that mostly affects younger dogs. It involves the separation of cartilage from the bone, which causes joint dysfunction and pain. It’s vital to quickly diagnose and treat this condition.

Often, surgery is involved to remove the cartilage and protect the bone. Without treatment, long-term issues can occur. Getting treatment early helps prevent complications.

4. Aortic Stenosis

Animal, Belgium, Canine - Animal, Dog, Horizontal

Rottweilers are sadly prone to several heart conditions.

© Metz

Aortic stenosis is a congenital heart defect that causes the aortic valve to narrow. This defect causes the blood flow to narrow from the heart. This can lead to heart murmurs, fatigue, and even heart failure.

This condition is completely genetic. Therefore, it’s important to choose quality drivers.

5. Dilated Cardiomyopathy

This heart disease causes an enlarged heart and lower cardiac function. It can lead to congestive heart failure, often suddenly. Many dogs that suddenly pass away likely have this condition.

Regular veterinary check-ups and monitoring are important to manage the dog’s condition. Medication and diet can help manage this condition. However, diagnosing it is challenging, as it often doesn’t have many symptoms.

6. Subaortic Stenosis

This condition involves the narrowing of the aortic valve. This results in restricted blood flow and potentially causes heart problems. It’s also hard to diagnose, as dogs often don’t have many symptoms until it becomes serious.

Surgery is often needed to correct this issue. However, you have to diagnose it first!

7. Von Willebrand’s Disease

This hereditary bleeding disorder affects the blood’s ability to clot properly. Rottweilers with Von Willebrand’s Disease are prone to excessive bleeding, leading to serious health complications.

Careful management, including avoiding situations that could lead to excessive bleeding and potential medical treatments, can help prevent complications. However, there is no cure, and this condition makes surgery much more complicated.

8. Cancer

rottweiler dog holding a pet food bowl in mouth

Some cancers, including lymphoma and bone cancer, are common health problems in Rottweilers.


Rottweilers are susceptible to many types of cancer, including osteosarcoma and lymphoma. Cancer can be curable in dogs. However, it is expensive and not nearly as advanced as human cancer treatments.

Of course, early diagnosis can be very helpful in this regard. Cancer can be treated much easier when you find it early.

9. Gastic Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat)

Bloat, also known as GDV, is a serious medical condition that can be life-threatening. It occurs when the stomach fills with air and twists, resulting in a potential blockage and a cut-off of blood circulation.

Rottweilers are at a higher risk of developing this condition due to their deep chests. If you suspect that your pet may be suffering from bloat, it is important to seek immediate veterinary attention to prevent organ damage and shock.

This condition does not go away on its own. It is deadly.

10. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of the thyroid hormone thyroxine, which controls the metabolism. Therefore, all sorts of functions in the body are messed up. Dogs may experience weight gain, lethargy, skin problems, and similar issues. Symptoms are often noticeable, and it only requires a simple blood test to diagnose.

Regular thyroid function tests and hormone replacement therapy are required. You can treat this condition, but it requires consistent management.

11. Eye Issues

Rottweilers are prone to a range of health issues. For instance, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and entropion are all common. You’ll need to get your dog’s eyes checked regularly and ensure you purchase from a quality breeder.

Regular eye examinations can help spot problems early, but not all of them are treated. If your dog gets eye problems, prompt treatment (if possible) is necessary.

Many of these conditions are genetic. Therefore, be sure to choose a breeder that performs the proper health testing.

12. Allergies

Rottweilers can suffer from allergies. Often, these appear as skin issues and itchiness – not like food allergies in humans. Identifying allergens is often challenging. However, it’s necessary to prevent and treat allergies.

Providing proper grooming can also be helpful, though what exactly that means varies from dog to dog. In some cases, allergy medication or a special diet is required.

13. Panosteitis

One condition that frequently affects Rottweilers during their growth phase is panosteitis. It is a condition that causes sudden, intermittent lameness in the affected dog due to inflammation in their long bones.

This condition typically resolves on its own over time. However, it is essential to provide proper pain management and veterinary care to ensure the affected dogs recover fully.

Without proper care, the lameness can recur or become chronic, leading to long-term complications. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor the dog’s symptoms and seek veterinary treatment if the condition persists or worsens.

14. Cruciate Ligament Tears

The Rottweiler breed is known for its high level of activity, which can make them more susceptible to tearing the cruciate ligaments in their knees. This injury can be extremely painful and can severely limit a dog’s ability to move around freely. In some cases, the injury can be so severe that the dog may be completely unable to walk. As such, it is important for Rottweiler owners to be mindful of their dog’s activity level and take precautions to prevent this type of injury from occurring.

Veterinary care is absolutely necessary to prevent complications. Pain management is often needed, as many dogs will be in pain while they recover.

15. Epilepsy

Sadly, epilepsy is also common in Rottweilers. It is characterized by recurring seizures, though the exact cause is unknown. Management usually involves life-long medication that can reduce or even eliminate seizures.

Thankfully, it is worth noting that most seizures that dogs experience are not typically dangerous, especially if they only last for a brief period of time. While medication can be effective in treating seizures, it is important to understand that it is often a long-term solution that will require ongoing administration for the dog’s entire life.

Summary of Common Health Problems in Rottweilers

1Hip Dysplasia
2Elbow Dysplasia
3Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)
4Aortic Stenosis
5Dilated Cardiomyopathy
6Subaortic Stenosis
7Von Willebrand’s Disease
9Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus
11Eye Issues

The photo featured at the top of this post is © cynoclub/

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About the Author

Kristin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering dogs, cats, fish, and other pets. She has been an animal writer for seven years, writing for top publications on everything from chinchilla cancer to the rise of designer dogs. She currently lives in Tennessee with her cat, dogs, and two children. When she isn't writing about pets, she enjoys hiking and crocheting.

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