A ROTTWEILER enthusiast is looking to change perceptions about the breed and prove they can make great family pets.

Matt Ship, who is originally from Basingstoke but now lives in Andover, has a 14-month-old Rottweiler named Mya and organises meet-ups with fellow owners.

The next takes place at Cherished Farm Shop, in Laverstoke, next weekend and Matt said that as well as being a good way of bringing dog lovers together, he hopes the events can help spread his message about the breed.

He said: “This is my first Rottie and ever since we got her, I noticed there was just so much negativity about them.

“I just wanted to get the word out that they are not these aggressive dogs.”

Basingstoke Gazette: Four-legged friendFour-legged friend

Matt previously owned a Staffordshire Bull Terrier rescue dog, but after she died of cancer he eventually began looking for another four-legged friend. He says he spent a long time researching Rottweilers and had many recommendations from friends.

“Every time I spoke to people they just said, ‘get a Rottweiler, they are the best family dogs’.

“I’ve got a friend who used to have one and he had nieces and nephews and he said they are just so great with them.”

Matt now sees Mya as part of the family and has no qualms about her playing with his 19-month-old son Oliver.

He said: “He still runs around with her. He could do what he wants with her and she wouldn’t retaliate.

“Me and her can have a proper play fight and then when he comes in the room she just stops because she knows that’s what to do.”

Matt says the usual reaction is for people to steer clear when they see him with his Rottweiler. But he says people are more than welcome to come to the meet-up he arranges to see that Rottweiler’s are not necessarily bad dogs.

The next meet-up takes place on Sunday, August 18, from 3.30pm at Cherished Farm Shop.

Visitors come from all over the country have attended previous meet-ups, with one guest set to travelling from Birmingham after she discovered her Rottweiler came from the same litter at Mya. Other breeds and crosses are also welcome.

He added: “I think it’s just brought all these people together that had never really thought about talking to each other.”

For more search for ‘Rottie/Rottie cross meets’ or ‘Cherished Farm Shop’ on Facebook.