Don’t blame breed, blame the owner
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Since the beginning of the year the Cape Argus has reported on two serious attacks involving Rottweilers. Readers have since also phoned in to report a number of similar incidents.
“We cannot blame the breed,” said Osman Damon, an accredited breeder and chairman of the Cape Rottweiler Club.
“Rottweiler attacks are more likely to attract public interest because they have the potential to cause a lot of damage. Also, Rottweilers are often used as guard dogs. These dogs have to be aggressive sometimes, so they require good training to control their behaviour.”
But training is less important than genetics in determining the temperament, said Dr Melvyn Greenberg, a veterinarian and founder of the Animal Behaviour Consultants Group of South Africa.
“Temperament is highly hereditary,” said Greenberg.
“Having said that, pure-bred Rottweilers in South Africa today have no extraordinary predisposition towards aggression.”
There was a time in the 1990s when private vets refused to see Rottweilers, because irresponsible breeding had created a class of aggressive dogs, explained Greenberg. “But I must commend efforts of Rottweiler breeders for the successes they’ve had in reversing this trend.
Rottweilers “need a lot of exercise and consistent attention from their owners”.
The experts agree that a “bad dog” is always the product of human error. - Cape Argus