If you are looking for a large breed that is affectionate, loyal and can keep up with your energetic lifestyle, then the Rottweiler Labrador Mix – or Labrottie – could well be your dream canine companion.
As a crossbreed, the Labrottie is an impressive combination of its purebred parents and is devoted and smart. He is also energetic and full of zest, meaning he needs plenty of exercise, play and stimulation. And as a family pet, he loves his humans, although can have a tendency to be over-protective. But with the right training and early socialization, the Labrottie can bring a lot of love and joy to an experienced pet parent. So, if you think the Labrottie ticks your new pet box, then read on, as we’ve put together the lowdown on this magnificent ‘designer breed’.
History of the Labrottie
It is impossible to pinpoint the exact origin of the Labrottie but the arrival of the cross-breed falls in line with the rising popularity of so-called ‘designer dogs’. Before the trend for deliberately breed cross breeds, such dogs were generally considered as mutts and most made for adorable and much-loved family pets. However, this perception changed in the 1970s when an Australian breeder deliberately cross bred a Labrador with a Poodle, to create a whole new breed, the now hugely popular, Labradoodle. Bred to create a hypoallergenic dog that could be used as a support dog, the Labradoodle caught the attention of increasing numbers of dog owners and the whole concept of designer dogs really took off.
What was once accidental breeding between purebreds had now become a well-thought out process to create a new breed. However, due to the sheer number of crossbreeds at the start means that it’s now virtually impossible to trace back the origin of most of the new designer breeds. However, the Designer Breed Registry, set up in 1979, aims to keep track of the growing number of designer dog breeds available.
For a dog to be a full crossbreed – known as an F1 hybrid – they need to be bred from two recognized purebred breeds so that it has a 50/50 split of the genetic information from their parents. Once a crossbreed is then bred with a purebred, the offspring will retain 75% of the purebred parent’s genes, meaning their characteristics will be more varied than an F1 dog. This means there can be variations in the look and temperament of a crossbreed if it’s not bred from two purebred parents. For this reason, when considering a designer dog, you need to find out more about the planned parents to ensure you are getting an F1 pet.
With this in mind, let’s go back to the history of the Labrottie. While little is actually known about the first Labrottie, it’s widely thought the breed appeared in the US during the 1990s and has slowly grown in popularity.
A true Labrottie is a cross between a purebred Rottweiler and a purebred Labrador. Let’s now take a look at its parents.
Who are the parents?
A Rottweiler Lab Mix, or Labrottie as they are more popularly known, is a direct result of a purebred Labrador and Rottweiler breeding. The resulting dog will typically have features from both parents, although one may be more dominant than the other. When considering bringing a Labrottie pup into your family, it’s essential to know more about the two parent breeds:
Unfairly, the Rottweiler – or Rottie – has a bit of a reputation, and alongside the Pitbull, is often perceived as an aggressive, hard to handle animal. And while they can have a ferocious reputation, the Rottweiler is in fact far from its media portrayal, proving to be loyal, obedient, loving, protective, even a bit of a goofball. They’re family orientated too and will naturally protect you and yours. Large, muscular and stocky, Rotties also make excellent guard dogs.
As a pure breed, the Rottweiler is one of the world’s oldest herding dogs, dating back to Roman times, when their ancestors were used to herd and guard cattle for soldiers as they travelled around Europe on their conquests. The breed’s alertness, discipline and sheer endurance made the Rottweiler ideal for the job. Fast-forward to the 20th Century and the Rottweiler breed was used as guard dogs and messengers during both World Wars, thanks to their intelligence and strength. Rotties are still used as service support dogs, including search and rescue. Today, the Rottweiler ranks as the 8th most popular purebred dog in the US, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Rotties are handsome animals, with a solid muscular frame and a large head, as well as a slick black short coat, with stunning tan markings. AKC recognized colors for the Rottweiler are black and mahogany, black and tan and black and rust. A fully-grown adult male can weigh 120 pounds plus.
Due to their sheer size and strength, Rotties do need to be socialized at an early age as well as consistently and positively trained. The breed needs a clear leader of its pack and so the Rottweiler pup needs to know that you are its alpha. Rotties are quick learners – in fact they love to learn and play – so set these ground rules from the start as the breed will test you and can dominate the situation if allowed.
When fully socialized and trained, and in the hands of a good pet parent, the Rottweiler can make an awesome addition to the family and will very quickly show its soft and loving side. They love a job to do and so need lots of play and exercise to burn off all that energy; they don’t need over-the-top attention either as they are quite reserved, but they are rock-solid loyal to their humans. They can be wary of strangers, they are protecting you after all, but with the correct handling, they should never be aggressive.
The gorgeous Lab is the most popular dog in the US; in fact, the breed has appeared in the Number One slot in the American Kennel Club’s annual poll for the past 25 years straight. So, any cross breed which has the Labrador genes has to be pretty special, as the Lab brings with it, traits such as loyalty, loving, gentle, trainable, eager to please and always ready to have some fun!
The Labrador breed originates from Newfoundland, Canada, and was used by fishermen to retrieve fish from their nets, as well as catch any fish that have escaped – hence the retriever moniker. The breed was also prized for its gentle mouth that could carry its prey without harming it.
The Labrador found its way to England in the 1800s and was used as a gun dog during the shooting season, retrieving waterfowl from the land as well as the water. Making its way across the Atlantic, the Lab is now established as the US’s most popular breed.
The Lab is a medium to large sized dog, with a solid double shortish coat, which comes in three recognized colors: pure black, yellow or chocolate brown. Known for their obedient nature, Labradors make excellent service and support dogs.
It’s no secret that Labradors make fantastic family pets and can also be a good choice for new pet owners as they are easy to train. When it comes to the subject of training, Labs can be a world away from the Rottie as they don’t have a constant urge to be the alpha. That said, the breed still needs to be socialized from an early age, especially with other pets as they can be a little possessive and potentially aggressive to other dogs. And they are renowned as chewers so need consistent training to get them out of the habit. But they are great fun, with an easy-going temperament and family loving nature that reinforces just why they are so popular as pets.
You may also like our article on the Best Dog Food for Labs.
Quick Facts about the Rottweiler Lab Mix
So, now we know the parentage of the Labrottie, there are some other key facts we have been able to unearth which may shed more light on this wonderful crossbreed:
- As well as Labrottie, the Rottweiler/Lab mix is also known by other creative names, including the Rottador, the Rottwador and the Labweiler.
- Considered a large to giant breed, the Labrottie typically weighs between 70 and 120 pounds and is classed as a sporting and working dog.
- With its substantial, muscular presence, the adult Labrottie typically stands at around 24 inches, slightly shorter than a full- sized Rottweiler.
- The Rottweiler Lab Mix is formally recognized as a crossbreed by the Designer Dogs Kennel Club, the International Designer Canine Registry, the American Canine Hybrid Club, the Dog Registry of America, and the Designer Breed Registry.
- With its short-medium fur, the Labrottie’s coat is double layered, with a straight but coarse outer and a soft underlayer. The crossbreed is not hypoallergenic.
- Depending on the dominant parent genes, the color of a Labrottie can vary from black, brown or gray to a combination of tan and black. His eyes can be either amber, hazel or brown and he can present with a black or brown nose.
The above quick facts are based on F1 Labrotties (ie. bred from pure Lab and Rottweiler parents). The traits listed can be more highly varied in further hybrid Labrotties.
Things You Should Know
The Labrottie’s life expectancy will usually follow that of its parent breeds, giving it an average lifespan of between nine and 12 years. A typical Labrottie puppy will set you back about $600-$700 although they may be cheaper, depending on their parentage, so do find out – and try to meet dog-mom and dad if you can. Even then, you cannot be 100% sure your new pup will go on to inherit the desirable characteristics and temperament of their parents, which is why early training and socialization is essential.
As well as buying your new Labrottie from a reputable breeder, there are some other key things you need to know before deciding to welcome this large but loyal and fun-loving pooch into your home:
If you are nervous or a first-time dog owner, the Labrottie may not be the right fit as they will need a knowledgeable, confident owner. Saying that, with their intelligence and desire to learn, the Labrottie can be a really enjoyable dog to train. But you will need an understanding of reward-based training and set ground-rules from the get-go…and stick with them. And any form of punishment training or harsh methods are a definite no-no.
As discussed earlier, the Rottweiler is driven to be alpha and this trait can also be evident in your Labrottie so they will need a confident as well as caring handler. But just like any other dog, reward-based, positive reinforcement training can work really well, getting you results as well as a happy, balanced and willingly obedient Labrottie pooch. Start training your puppy as soon as you can and work to establish yourself as the pack leader. And as your pooch is a smart cookie who may instinctively want to take charge, don’t give up, as you need to be consistent with the fundamental ground rules.
If you’re not confident in training your Labrottie, seek help in the form of an experienced, professional dog trainer to get your puppy off to a solid and happy start.
With his high energy, playful nature and large dog stature, high quality dog food is essential to keep them on the go and in tip-top health. Dry or wet food based on a quality animal protein and formulated for a large dog’s nutritional needs as well as activity level and life stage are your best options. Calorie-wise, your pooch will need between 1,700 and 2,200 calories per day as they are large and muscular, but this will need to be adjusted to account for older or less active dogs.
With their Lab tendency to be a food monster, portion control is essential when it comes to feeding your Labrottie as they can be prone to obesity if over fed. Such hybrid pets can also be prone to bloat – a condition which can cause a dog’s stomach to fill with gas to a dangerous level. The best approach to feeding your Lab/Rottie Mix is to give them three portions a day, so you reduce the amount they eat at each meal, keeping their digestion calm and happy.
Combining the playfulness of the Lab and the stamina of the Rottie as well as the combined high energy of both breeds, with a Labrottie you have an exercise fiend on your hands! And this means they need to be exercised for between 30 and 60 minutes each day. As well as their daily walk, your pooch will also benefit from plenty of playtime, which will not only burn off their excess energy but will stimulate their sharp mind and give you both some pet/human quality time. Your Labrottie will also need a decent amount of outdoor space at your home; this crossbreed is not ideally suited to apartment living, unless you have some good parks and walks nearby.
The ideal dog-parent for a Lab/Rottie mix is one who has enough energy and enthusiasm to keep up with their pet. And for the right person, this is where you’ll discover the joy of owning this energetic crossbreed. But they do need stimulation and regular company throughout the day, otherwise some of their more negative traits will come to the surface, including chewing and other boredom-induced destructive behavior.
As the breed has a tendency towards being standoffish and over-protective, early socialization for your new Labrottie pup to ensure they are balanced and comfortable with a host of social situations. Your dog will be naturally wary of strangers as well as other pets and animals, which can flare into protective behavior if they are insufficiently socialized.
Introducing your pup to lots of other dogs and people from a very young age will help to desensitize him to unexpected or unknown social situations, making him friendly and much more welcoming. He needs to feel that people coming in and out of your home is nothing to worry about as well as meeting other dogs in the park as the norm. As a pup, your Labrottie will be fearless and not so protective or reserved, so catching them early and supporting them to be open to strangers and other pets will stand him in good stead as a happy and easy-going adult. But always remember your Labrottie is a big animal, so when out in public, always be ready to pop them back on the leash and never leave them alone with young children.
With its short to medium smooth coat, your Labrador Rottweiler Mix is pretty low maintenance when it comes to a grooming routine. Just like their parent breeds, Labrotties are moderate shedders, but are prone to seasonal shedding due to their Lab-inherited undercoat, which is when you’ll need to up the grooming to keep it all under control. Otherwise, brushing your pooch at least once a week will keep their coat shiny, healthy and clean.
Especially if your pet is outdoor active, you may need to bathe them once a month, but at least every couple of months is ideal. And don’t forget those teeth, which need to be cleaned around twice a week, checking and cleaning their ears and eyes at the same time.
While many crossbreeds can be sturdier than purebred, they can still be susceptible to health problems. And despite its size and sturdiness, the Labrottie is no exception.
Taking into consideration the health of its Labrador and Rottweiler parents as well as the fact that the Labrottie is a sizeable breed, here are the main health issues that may affect them, including some that are genetic in origin:
- Hip dysplasia – both Labs and Rotties are susceptible to this condition, which means there is a chance it can be passed onto your new pet. Hip dysplasia is where the joint doesn’t fit correctly into the socket, causing pain and potentially arthritis as your dog gets older.
- Bloat – also known as gastric dilation, bloat can be a life-threatening condition where your dog’s stomach rapidly fills with gas or fluid.
- Eye problems – your pet can be susceptible to several eye issues including cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy, an inherited condition that can cause progressive blindness.
- Epilepsy – all dogs can have a seizure, but epilepsy is more common in certain breeds, including Labrador Retrievers, meaning your Labrottie could also be at risk.
- Hypothyroidism – or underactive thyroid, this is a relatively common disorder in dogs, which slows down bodily functions. Symptoms include lethargy, coat/skin changes and weight gain.
- Ear infections – as labrotties can be prone to allergies and also have floppy ears, they can get recurring ear infections, causing pain and discomfort.
- Bone cancer – osteosarcoma, or cancer of the bone, can be more prevalent in some breeds, including Rottweilers. An invasive cancer, osteosarcoma can be difficult to treat.
When buying your new Labrottie, make sure you check the health records of their purebred parents for any inheritable disease.
With so much information so far, your final question must be – is a Labrottie a good fit for my family or home? This gorgeous and large crossbreed is widely known for their loving and loyal nature, with a soft personality which belies their tough guy exterior. And their loyalty trait means they are family (pack) orientated and love to be loved in a secure home. As with any breed, there are also some ‘buts’ which can help you decide whether the Labrottie is for you.
If they are not exercised, stimulated or are starved of attention, all that Labrottie energy and intelligence can lead to destructive behavior and you do need to be a confident and firm pet-parent to bring out his best. Labrotties can also be territorial and over-protective, especially if they have not been adequately socialized as a pup, meaning they may not get on well with strangers or other pets. Their size, Rottie strength and over-protectiveness and Lab over-exuberance can also mean they are not best suited to families with very young children.
That said, with early training and socialization, plus clear and consistent handling, with the Labrottie, you do have a devoted, friendly, loving and fun-loving pet. And, with this in mind, for the experienced and confident dog owner who can give them the time and love they need, we think the Labrottie will make an awesome pet.
- Rottweiler Lab Mix – Top Facts & Guide – Animal Corner