You probably wont like what I'm about to say, but Rotts are NOT my fav. breed. My husband had one before he and I got together, she bit me, and took after my son, the fact that she was on a chain was my son's saving grace. She passed away this spring. They are beautiful dogs, and I believe if she would have been introduced to us as a pup, things might have been different, however she has jaded my view of the breed all together.
I understand your fear of them. But as with all breeds, it has to do with how they are raised, and nothing at all to do with the specific breed. They certainly aren't first time pets for anyone, I agree. They are incredibly intelligent and require training from puppyhood to adult. The females tend to be more aggressive than the males, especially to other female dogs. But with someone who is capable of, and willing to devote the time to proper training, they are wonderful.
My husband worked in Camden, NJ during the 80s when the city was ranked every year as the most dangerous in the country. Drug dealers brought home rotts and intentionally made them as mean as possible. So, hubby's view of them was very jaded. When I lost my mastiff and wanted a rottie, he was very skeptical. It took some convincing on my part and a trip 3 hours north of us to visit the one I wanted to adopt to convince him. But when he met Baron it was love at first site.
Bear was 120 pounds of all rottie love. That dog didn't have a mean bone any place in his body. He was raised properly and it showed. We lost him when he was 8 years old. He had inoperable hip dysplasia for over a year, muscle atrophy and arthritis. Even in the pain he was in, he was the sweetest, most gentle loving dog I've ever met. We woke up one morning to find him not able to get up on his own. He had bad days like that. My son and I tried to help him up but when he tried to put weight on his feet we actually felt the hip pop and dislocate in both his legs.
At that point, there really was no option but to let him go. That was one of the most sad days of my life.
But in his lifetime, he changed the opinion of several people about rotties. We've got a photo of the chimney guy who came to our house terrified of the breed, laying on our fireplace with three huge rottie heads shoved up the chimney beside him, trying to 'help'.
I do wish you could meet the female and male I have now. Just like Baron, so sweet. I think you'd see that it is the way they're raised, not the breed.