People that love large dogs typically love one or two breeds because of their size. More often than not, one of those breeds includes the Rottweiler. Most people firmly believe that the Rottweiler is a dog of German descent. Even if you look at its name, the name itself is clearly German. However, you might be surprised to learn exactly where this dog originated from and what it was used for. In addition, you’re likely to be enlightened when it comes to understanding how the dog rose in popularity and why it isn’t nearly as popular today as it once was.
Some people have a great respect for the Rottweiler and others fear the breed as a whole. The truth is, this is a dog that is misunderstood by most people. In addition, it’s a breed that has a storied history and it should have a rightful place in the hearts of many individuals. Most people that have owned a Rottweiler in the past want nothing more than to own another one in the future. If you’re interested in Rottweilers yourself, go ahead and read the 20 fun facts about Rottweilers that you probably never knew.
1. They came from Rome
You might be surprised to learn that Rottweilers actually came from Rome, as many people think that they came exclusively from Germany. The truth is, Romans who were at the time beginning to inhabit Germany brought the dogs with them. They had them trained to do several things, not the least of which included pulling heavy carts and doing other work on their farms. These dogs were well suited for this type of work because of their disposition and their strong built. As such, the Romans thought it would be a good idea to bring the dogs with them as they settled into a new country. Somewhere along the way, people forgot about the initial history of the Rottweiler and started believing that it was in fact a German dog, probably because of its name. In reality, this dog had existed for many years throughout Rome before the first Rottweiler ever set foot in Germany. This is likely to surprise many people, as people from Germany tend to claim the breed as their own.
2. Trains almost made them extinct
You’re probably scratching your head and wondering how on earth something like a train could affect the number of Rottweilers in existence one way or the other. Remember, they were initially used to do work on farms, and they frequently pulled carts from these farms into towns in order for the people that owned the farms to sell their goods. For many people, these dogs were the only way to transport their goods from place to place. When trains came along, the people didn’t really need the dogs as much anymore, so they stopped breeding them. Before it was all said and done, the Rottweiler was practically nothing more than a memory. It was only because of a few kennel clubs that came into existence that made people realize how valuable these dogs really were, along with a few other pivotal moments. Eventually, people realized that these dogs were good for more than just working on farms. They started working to reestablish the breed, but by then their numbers were few and far between.
3. They make great police dogs
Today, Rottweilers are a mainstay at dog shows sponsored by organizations like the American Kennel Club. However, there was a time when they were lucky if one Rottweiler was represented in this particular form of competition. It really wasn’t until police officers started to realize how valuable these dogs would be in their line of work that the breed started to make a comeback. Somewhere along the way, somebody realized that the dogs were strong enough physically and stable enough mentally to deal with police work and they put a few of them to work in that particular arena. It wasn’t long before other police departments were starting to take notice of how well these dogs performed and wanted Rottweilers of their own. Many people consider the fact that Rottweilers were eventually made police dogs to be the thing that saved the breed from total extinction.
4. They have been in the US a relatively short time
Most people think of Rottweilers as dogs that have been in the United States for as long as virtually any other breed of dog, but that simply isn’t true. In reality, this breed has only been in the United States since the 1920s. That’s really not very long as the history of an entire breed goes. They believe that the Rottweiler got its start in the United States when a person who had been living in Germany immigrated to the U.S. and brought the dog with him. Perhaps that is the reason that so many people have the misconception that the Rottweiler is a breed that originated in Germany. Whatever the reason might be, this is still a relatively young breed in the United States, although it has been around for far longer in other parts of the world.
5. They are popular
Although breed numbers have decreased somewhat, there was a time in the not-too-distant past when Rottweilers were one of the most popular breeds of dogs in existence. During the 1990s, they were one of the most sought-after breeds in the United States. In fact, full blooded Rottweilers that were registered were numbered at more than 100,000 in the U.S. alone. Unfortunately, their numbers would soon decrease due to issues related to breeders that were far less than reputable. As is usually the case with this type of situation, it was the dog that ultimately paid the price for the lack of responsibility in humans. To a certain degree, that is a problem that is still plaguing this particular breed and others. More will be discussed about it later on.
6. You have to be careful when you buy from a breeder
If you read the paragraph above, you’ll understand that there have already been several issues when it comes to breeders that are not reputable who are associated with this breed of dog. Part of the problem is related to puppy mills, which is where most people ended up getting their Rottweilers during the peak of their popularity. When they were so popular in the 1990s, reputable breeders could not breed enough puppies to meet the demands of public. As a direct result, some people that operated puppy mills and other breeders that had ethical issues wound up breeding dogs in staggering numbers. The problem was that they weren’t doing anything to ensure that the dogs they bred were healthy and well-balanced. Because they bred dogs in such large numbers, a lot of people ended up with dogs that either had health concerns or had mental issues.
7. They’re strong
If you stop and think about it, this should be a given. Any dog that was originally bred to pull carts and do work on the farm is going to have to be strong enough to handle those types of demands. The same is true for dogs that serve on the police department. These were not the dogs that merely went to sniff things out, they were there to protect their handlers and take down criminals. As such, this is easily one of the strongest breeds in existence. They’re usually fairly large dogs as well. In fact, they typically rival the size of a German shepherd and in many cases, Rottweilers are physically stronger than shepherds or many other dogs that are out there.
8. They’re obedient
There was a time during the history of the Rottweiler when they were actually considered to be one of the most obedient dogs that ever existed. As such, they were used in obedience contests and they usually did extremely well. When the dog has been bred responsibly and then has been properly trained and socialized, the Rottweiler is truly one of the most well-balanced and obedient dogs that you’ll ever run across. The truth is, they have to be obedient because of their sheer size and strength. A Rottweiler that isn’t obedient could potentially hurt someone by simply coming to greet them and standing up on them. The dog might not mean that person any harm whatsoever, but it’s big enough to do damage, so it’s imperative that it be given proper obedience training and that the training be reinforced throughout the dog’s life.
9. They’re not fearful animals
Some dogs are naturally more excitable than others. Some breeds are well known for being somewhat neurotic and under certain circumstances, many of these dogs can become so fearful that it impairs their ability to live a happy life. Rottweilers do not fall into this category. Typically, they are almost without fear by nature. Even when they’re puppies, Rottweilers don’t tend to be afraid of hardly anything. Instead, they’re usually very curious and they want to explore every aspect of the world around them, no matter what it is. This makes them great guard dogs, but it can get them in trouble if they’re not socialized well. It also means that they could potentially injure themselves if they come up on a poisonous snake or something similar, because they are far less likely to realize the danger and back away due to a fear response.
10. They require experienced handlers
The Rottweiler is probably not the best dog for somebody that is a first time dog owner. It’s not that they’re bad dogs, nor are they aggressive. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. It’s all about their size and strength, coupled with the fact that they fear almost nothing. These are dogs that need to be properly socialized and trained. Even if the first time dog owner takes them to a professional trainer, it doesn’t do any good if that training is never reinforced at home. As such, larger dogs like Rottweilers usually need experienced handlers. First time dog owners may not be doing the things they should be doing with a Rottweiler. In contrast, they can sometimes do things they probably shouldn’t do and instead of creating an environment of positive reinforcement, they’re actually creating a situation that could be potentially dangerous for both them and the dog. Rottweilers are great to have around, but it’s probably a good idea to get a dog that is easier to handle until you gain some experience as opposed to going with a Rottie the first time out.
11. They have unfairly gained a bad reputation
Remember reading about how Rottweilers were bred in puppy mills and by breeders that had bad reputations? This is when their reputation really started to betray them. The dogs that were being bred typically had physical problems or they were mentally unstable. This created puppies that had the same problems. When these types of breeding practices are repeated over and over again, it has a negative impact on the breed as a whole. A few of these dogs were notorious in news stories were Rottweilers attacked people and as a result, people became fearful of the breed in general. When this happened, the Rottweiler was no longer a popular breed to have. No one wanted them and they gained a reputation that they never should have had in the first place. The same thing happened to German shepherds before them and now, it is occurring with pitbulls. It’s important to remember that when it comes to getting a dog, you have to take each individual dog and its personality into consideration. In addition, any dog can be made aggressive, just as any dog can be taught not to be.
12. They usually live about 11 years
As you can see, getting a Rottweiler is a big commitment. 11 years is an average lifespan for dogs of this size and if you’re going to have a dog for a decade or more, you need to make sure that the animal is a good fit for you and your family. Any dog is a commitment and it’s important to make them a part of your family as opposed to treating them like a piece of property. Some Rottweilers live more than 11 years and unfortunately, there are those that don’t get anywhere close to that age. More will be discussed about their health later on.
13. They can weigh over 100 pounds
If you get a male rottweiler, you can expect that dog to be somewhere between 90 pounds to well over 100 pounds. In fact, some of the largest dogs top the scales at about 130 pounds. As you can see, this is a dog that is going to require a lot of obedience because there is no way you will ever be able to manhandle that dog in order to get it to do what you want, nor should you. That simply isn’t the proper way to train any animal. If you get a female, it might be a little bit smaller, and in some cases, breeders even think that the females have a tendency to mind better. This is true in a lot of cases, but it certainly isn’t true in every case. Again, it’s important to judge the dog based on the individual and not the breed.
14. They’re undercoat is waterproof
Rottweilers have two coats. They have the outer coat, which is the hair that you see, and they have an undercoat which is waterproof. This allows them to get wet without the water actually reaching their skin. It makes them great water dogs and in a lot of cases, Rottweilers generally love going into the water. Of course, that isn’t the case with every dog so it’s important to see if your particular Rottweiler enjoys time spent in the water or not.
15. They are dedicated and loyal
Rottweilers have a tendency to develop close bonds with the people in their family and they make great family dogs. They’re good with kids and in most cases, they become very protective of their family. As such, they can sometimes become territorial because in their mind, they’re protecting the people they are closest to. Again, this is where proper socialization comes in. As long as the dog has been properly trained, there usually isn’t a problem with aggression. If the dog is becoming aggressive, there might be a good reason for it but if there isn’t, it’s time to seek professional help right away. This is not something that can be ignored in the Rottweiler or in any other breed.
16. They may be aloof toward others
Because Rottweilers are so dedicated to their family members, they can sometimes be so aloof to other people that they don’t pay any attention to them at all. Some people think this is a good thing, but a dog that has been properly socialized will not usually have a problem with a stranger petting It. You want the dog to be well socialized, but you don’t want it to be so incredibly friendly that it isn’t doing its job if you have it for guard dog purposes. Again, it all comes back to proper training.
17. They’re intelligent
Rottweilers are easily one of the most intelligent dog breeds out there. They have a capacity to understand commands and even think things through that surprises a lot of people. They definitely don’t have a tendency to merely do something because that’s what they’ve been told to do. Like most intelligent dogs, they get bored easily and if they’re not receiving enough exercise and mental stimulation, they can’t even become destructive because they don’t have anything better to do. Therefore, it’s important that you spend time with your Rottweiler. Take them on walks, play with them and give them things to do where they have to figure out how to get a treat out of a toy or something similar. This will make both of you happier and it will give you a chance to strengthen your bond at the same time.
18. They’re usually calm
Most Rottweilers exhibit an extreme sense of calm, even when other dogs have a tendency to start going crazy. They don’t usually bark a lot and they aren’t typically over-excited or over-stimulated by most situations. These dogs have a tendency to maintain their composure even when they are faced with something they don’t fully understand. This is part of what makes them so good in police work and for use as guard dogs. More often than not, the Rottweiler will remain calm at times when virtually any other breed of dog would practically be climbing the walls.
19. They can be stubborn
Rottweilers are smart and they think for themselves. Just like border collies and German shepherds, this also means they can be stubborn. It seems like the smarter a dog is, the more it is inclined to figure things out for itself. Sometimes, this means that it isn’t really inclined to listen to its owner or handler because it’s more interested in exploring something else instead. This is another reason that it’s vitally important to train the Rottweiler and then work with the dog to ensure that the training is enforced on a daily basis. Otherwise, they may not come when called or they may not be responsive when you’re trying to get their attention for some other reason. This can put the dog in danger and in some cases, it might put another human being in danger as well.
20. They’re prone to several health conditions
Unfortunately, Rottweilers are prone to a lot of different medical issues such as hip dysplasia, cancer and other serious diseases. It’s imperative that you get your dog from a reputable breeder. If a breeder is reputable, they should have no problem producing proof that the dogs they breed do not typically have these types of problems, as well as other medical conditions or issues related to mental stability. The last thing you want to do is get a dog and then be heartbroken when it develops a serious or potentially life-threatening condition a few years later. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your breeder is not breeding dogs that carry these genes. This minimizes the chances that you will have to go through something like this with your own dog.