The Rottweiler is a medium-large domestic dog. It is a guardian and work dog that is known for its loyalty and love for its owners. It is a powerful dog, with robust energy. The Rottweiler has excellent herding abilities when working in agricultural settings. It is also excellent when working as police dogs, search and rescue dogs, guard dogs, or as guide dogs for those with impaired sight.
The Rottweiler is an intelligent dog, with a beautiful black coat and characteristic tan colored markings on its legs, head and muzzle. It is a muscular animal, with a thick neck and broad forehead. Its eyes are almond in shape and colored dark brown. Its coat has a mahogany brown dot over each eye, on either side of its snout and on its cheeks. Its chest has the same color in a triangle shape. Its legs and paws are brown, with black on its toes. The Rottweiler’s posture has been described as noble.
Experts believe that the Rottweiler is descended from large, rugged mastiff-like drover dogs used by the Roman legions to keep their herds of cattle together while on soldiering missions. There was no refrigeration, so cattle were brought along as a food supply. The dogs also kept guard over the herds at night, protecting them from predators. The Roman army was on a quest to conquer the lands north of Italy. To do so, they traveled over the Alps and conducted their activities in what eventually became the southern area of Germany. For two hundred years, the Romans used Rottweilers to drive and guard their livestock. Eventually, a town was settled in the area and it was named Rottweil. The dogs were used during Medieval times by traveling butchers, who used them to tie their money pouches around the dogs’ necks for safekeeping. This prompted their reputation and naming as“Rottweiler Metzgerhund”, which means Butcher’s Dog. Other common nicknames include “Rottie” and “Rott”.
During World War I and II, Rottweilers were trained as service dogs, working as messengers, guard dogs, with ambulance crews, and as draught, pulling various sleds, carts and carriages.
Some early kennel clubs formed in Germany to accomplish differing goals; focusing on either creating working dogs or promoting the breeding of the finest quality dogs. These clubs ensured that the breed would not become extinct;as had been a concern when modern trains began to transport livestock.
Much is written about the supposedly vicious temperament of the Rottweiler, but in fact, this dog is generally loving toward its owner and family members. It is good natured, protective, placid and obedient to its leader. As long as the owner establishes leadership at the beginning, and maintains it by providing obedience training coupled with consistent signals and clear socialization cues, the Rottweiler can be playful and comical. When owners neglect their Rottweilers, abuse them, or teach them to be fearful, however, the dogs can be extremely aggressive to the point of attacking strangers. These attacks have resulted in human deaths. Due to their need to control, their territorial nature, and their excessive strength, they must have daily exercise and lifelong obedience and socialization training.
Size and Exercise
Male dogs are 24 to 27 inches tall, while females are generally 22 to 22 inches tall, when measured from the withers while standing. Males generally weigh 110 to 132 pounds, while females generally weigh 77 to 105 pounds. Their weight is in proportion to their height.
The first formal exercise that each Rottweiler needs is group participation as part of obedience training. The AKC considers this to be mandatory at the youngest age possible, and that training should continue throughout the Rottweiler’s life. It is important to select the instructor who is familiar with the breed and has experience with the training process. Because Rottweilers are devoted to their owners, they will perform when together, but typically remain aloof with strangers.
A fenced yard with plenty of opportunities for running and play are crucial to the breed. They need to have daily exercise. However, they should never be left alone, chained in the yard, because they can be destructive when anxious. They prefer to be with their owners and will follow them everywhere so that they can see them.
Health Issues and Living Conditions
The health issues which most specifically affect the Rottweiler include:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Osteochondritis dissecans- This condition affects the shoulder joints and sometimes the elbows due to the breed’s tendency to rapid growth.
- Eyelid abnormalitiesa) Ectropian- inward curling of the eyelid resulting in scratched eyeballs, irritated or infected eyelidsb) Entropian- outward rolling of the eyelid resulting in damage to sensitive eye tissues
- Parvo virus- Rottweilers are particularly susceptible to this illness
- Obesity – this can lead to other problems including diabetes, arthritis, reduced resistance to diseases, breathing difficulties, overheating due to excess fat padding under their skin, skin diseases, reproductive problems and even heart failure
The Rottweiler has an expected lifespan from 8 up to 10 years.
The short-length primarycoat on The Rottie is coarse. The undercoat is softer and shedson females when they are in estrus, andmaleswith the seasons.In order to keep it looking its best, it should be brushed once a week. This will bring out its shine. As with all dogs, checking ears for debris or wax, trimming nails and brushing teeth regularly is best to avoid infections and discomfort.
Caring for Rottweiler Puppies
In addition to obedience training, socialization will be important for puppies, but also as they grow into adulthood. Rottweilers need to be with people, but they also must come to understand their role in the family that adopts them. The official position of the AKC is that Rottweilers are, first and foremost, working dogs. However, many breedersnote that these dogs, when properly trained and led, are capable of putting their natural working skills to good use by playing with children and even pulling them in sleds or carts.
Before Taking Your New Rottweiler Puppy Home
- Buy a collar and a leash
- Buy a large crate for sleeping and training
- Buy puppy food recommended by a veterinarian
- Plan where the puppy will exercise and walk
- Buy plenty of chew toys
- Research Obedience Training specific to the Rottweiler
On Arrival at Your Home
Rottweiler puppies need training and boundaries from the very beginning. They are pack animals and depend on cues to learn who is the leader of their pack. Here are steps to take to ensure they know their place:
- Plan to visit many places and people with the new puppy
- Encourage meeting many children and adults and give treats with each visit
- Reward the puppy for sitting, staying in one place, and chewing on chew toys only
- Redirect wrong behaviors to right ones: if the puppy jumps where it is not allowed; have it sit
- Give chew toys to redirect the puppy from chewing on people or things• Crate train the puppy by playing with toys inside it
- Feed the puppy inside the crate
- Place the crate near your bed so the puppy will know you are near and feel safe
- Insist that the puppy spend the night in the crate, not on your bed
- Cuddle a frightened puppy inside the crate
- Take the puppy outside to potty at the same place every two hours
- Teach the puppy to wear a collar and walk with a leash right away
- Train the puppy to walk at your heel and do not allow tugging on the leash
- Be consistent with training, as the puppy will soon grow too big to control without it
- Never pet or reward negative behaviors, but be sure to praise good ones
Rottweiler Mixes and Types
Over 20 Rottweiler mixes are popular today. They are not purebred breeds. Each mix results in puppies that exhibit a blend of the physical characteristics and temperament of the parent breeds. Potential buyers should research each before purchasing a mix. Knowing what to expect of each in advance is the best way to anticipate training and socialization needs; which are often increased with these mixes:
- Afghan Hound mixed with Rottweiler= Rottaf
- American Staffordshire Terrier mixed with Rottweiler= Staffweiler
- Bernese Mountain Dog mixed with Rottweiler= Bernweiler
- Boxer mixed with Rottweiler= Boxweiler
- Brussels Griffon mixed with Rottweiler= Brottweiler
- Bullmastiff mixed with Rottweiler= Mastweiler
- Bull Terrier mixed with Rottweiler= Rottbull
- Cane Corso mixed with Rottweiler= Rotticorso
- Chesapeake Bay Retriever mixed with Rottweiler= Rottpeake
- Dalmatian mixed with Rottweiler= Rottmation
- Doberman Pinscher mixed with Rottweiler= Rotterman
- English Mastiff mixed with Rottweiler= English Mastweiler
- French Bulldog mixed with Rottweiler= French Bullweiler
- Golden Retriever mixed with Rottweiler= Golden Rottie
- Great Dane mixed with Rottweiler = Weiler Dane
- Great Dane and Bullmastiff mixed with Rottweiler= Great Bullweiler
- Jack Russell Terrier mixed with Rottweiler= Jackweiller
- Labrador Retriever mixed with Rottweiler= Labrottie
- Miniature Pinscher mixed with Rottweiler= Pinweiler
- Newfoundland mixed with Rottweiler= New Rottland
- Pit Bull mixed with Rottweiler= Pitweiler
- Poodle mixed with Rottweiler= Rottle
- Saint Bernard mixed with Rottweiler= Saint Weiler
- Siberian Husky mixed with Rottweiler= Rottsky
- Siberian Husky and Great Dane mixed with Rottweiler= Great Rottsky
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier mixed with Rottweiler= Miniature Rottweiler
- Standard Schnauzer mixed with a Rottweiler= Schnottie
- Weimaraner mixed with Rottweiler= Weimarrott
Some attention is also given to two types of Rottweilers; the German and the American. The German style is described as shorter and stockier, while the American style is said to be taller with longer legs and a head that is less block-like in appearance. These are casual descriptions which stem from breeders working to breed for either German or American characteristics. Often, the debate about the two types is settled by those who note that a Rottweiler will be either German or American depending simply on where it was born.
The Rottweiler was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1931.The American Rottweiler Club is the official American Kennel Club National Breed Club for this breed in the U.S.A.
The Federation Cynologique accepted the Rottweiler breed on a definitive basis in 1955.
Other recognitions include:American Canine Association Inc. (ACA)American Canine Registry (ACR)American Pet Registry, Inc. (APRI)Australian National Kennel Club (ANKC)Canadian Kennel Club (CKC)Colonial Rottweiler Club (CRC)Continental Kennel Club (CKC)Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA)Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub (DRK)International Rottweiler Club (IRK)Kennel Club of Great Britain (KCGB)National Kennel Club (NKC)New Zealand Kennel Club (NZKC)North American Purebred Registry, Inc. (NAPR)United Kennel Club (UKC)