Breed of the Week - Rottweiler

The Rottweiler developed in and around Rottweil Germany. Its ancestors are generally accepted to be ancient Roman drover dogs, which were mastiff type dogs who accompanied the Romans on their repeated campaigns to Germany. Over the centuries the breed excelled at driving and guarding cattle, and also the proceeds from sale of cattle. The Rottweiler metzgerhund, or butchers dog, were valued for their physical strength as draft animals to pull carts and sleds. In the mid-nineteenth century transportation of cattle by train and the use of donkeys to pull carts made the Rottweiler obsolete as a working dog and near extinction.

In 1901 a group of Rottie fanciers formed a club and created a breed standard. That club was short lived but more clubs formed and merged in 1921 to become the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub (ADRK) which is the only representative of the Rottweiler recognized by the German Kennel Club (VDH).

The Rottweiler was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1931 but was not a commonplace breed until the 1980’s when Rotties became “the breed to own”. While popularity made the breed more recognizable, it also allowed unscrupulous breeders, and owners who were not prepared for the requirements of owning this breed, to flourish.

The Rottweiler is a confident dog who is usually guarded with strangers. This powerful breed requires socialization with people and other animals from the time it is a puppy and consistent obedience training throughout its life in order to develop into a well balanced adult. A Rottweiler can be stubborn and is very protective, but should not be aggressive without provocation. Unfortunately, the breed has acquired a bad reputation due to owners who are not willing to commit to the amount of time and effort required for proper, patient, positive training. Owning a Rottweiler is an 8-11 year responsibility, both to the dog and to others whom the dog will come in contact with and is not to be entered into lightly.

Rotties are intelligent, loyal family members. Despite being aloof with strangers, Rottweilers love their family. This dog is happiest with a job, and if the job involves his loved ones, so much the better! Possibly a holdout from their herding days, if your Rottie is not at your feet, you can be sure he knows exactly where you are at all times. He wants nothing more than to please his owner and, if allowed, will happily be a lap dog. Of course since males weigh 95 to 135 lbs and measure 24 inches to 27 inches and females weigh 80 to 100 lbs and measure from 22 inches to 25 inches, you might not be as enthusiastic about them being a lap dog as they are!

As stated earlier, Rottweilers need a job. They are true working dogs who were bred to herd, haul, guard and protect and will be happiest when performing a task. Herding, Carting and Tracking are all activities in which Rottweilers do well. This intelligent breed also enjoys Obedience, Agility and Rally because they are events which allow him to please his owner. More information about activities for Rotties, as well as more information about the breed can be found at The American Rottweiler Club.

Regular exercise, daily walks and mental stimulation are all requirements for a happy Rottie. A bored dog can be a destructive dog and these large, powerful dogs have strong jaws which can cause massive amounts of damage to your possessions, especially as puppies. If you are not willing to provide at least two good walks a day and interactive romps in a fenced area, perhaps you should consider another breed.

This breed requires very little grooming. Their short, straight coat sheds twice a year and can be aided with a rubber curry or bristle brush. Otherwise, clip nails, clean ears and brush teeth regularly. Bathe them when they need it with a mild or color enhancing shampoo. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors you can apply a sunscreen to keep the black from looking red.

There are a few health issues which can be minimized by buying from a responsible breeder who tests their breeding stock. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) is dedicated to lowering “the incidence of orthopedic and genetic diseases”. A reputable breeder will have both sire and dam tested for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia, both, unfortunately, common in Rottweilers. Sub-Aortic Stenosis is an abnormally narrow connection between ventricle and aorta which eventually leads to heart failure. Disease of the bones and eyes, such as Ectropian (eyelids roll outward) and Entropian (eyelids roll in) are also concerns.

Looking for gifts, apparel, jewelry and home decor featuring the Rottweiler? Visit and select the Shop by Breed tab to see the large variety of products available.
Until July 31, 2010 get 10% off of Dog Ink Rottweiler Lead and Collar Sets by Clicking HERE.

by Jamie Pyatt