The Rottweiler is a calm, confident, and courageous large breed of dog. Officially recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club) in 1931, the Rottweiler got its start as a working dog in the days of the Roman Empire. It’s one of the oldest herding breeds on the planet.
During their long marches across Europe, the Romans were forced to bring plenty of livestock to keep their soldiers well fed. It was the job of the early Rottweiler to herd these cattle and guard them from wild animals and thieves at night.
The next major stage of the breed’s history occurred in Germany. Large numbers of the dog were left there by the Romans. The Germans began to use Rottweilers to pull heavy carts laden with meat and other supplies to the market.
Rottweilers have been used for a number of different jobs since then. These include positions as police dogs as well as military dogs such as messenger, ambulance, draught, and guard dogs.
Today, working Rottweilers are employed as search and rescue dogs, guard dogs, and guide dogs for the blind. Their friendly, protective, and loyal temperament has also made them a popular family dog. Indeed, they’re one of the ten most popular purebreds in the United States.
Friendly and loving dogs in the right hands, Rottweilers are best suited for dog owners with previous training experience. Their breed history as working guard dogs means that extensive early socialization is required.
That’s not to say that Rottweilers aren’t loving dogs. Affectionately called Rotties or Rotts by their owners, these dogs have nothing short of loving hearts. According to the American Kennel Club, it’s actually the extent of this love that sometimes leads to difficulties. The breed is incredibly protective of their families, walking a fine line between protectiveness and aggressiveness if they perceive a family member is in danger.
From a physical standpoint, Rottweilers are solid and strong. Their strength and stamina is highlighted in a broad chest and muscled body. Yet look into the deep-brown eyes and you’ll see the warm, intelligent, and mellow dog within.
Meet a Rottweiler and the first thing you’ll notice is their calm confidence. Often aloof with strangers, this breed rarely, if ever, appears timid or fearful. In new situations, Rottweilers prefer to “wait-and-see’ how everything unfolds.
The most important characteristic to understand about the Rottweiler is that they are strong-willed. Train yours to respect and obey other people, give it plenty of socialization, and provide a structured day.
Like every breed of dogs, Rottweilers unfortunately come with their own set of health issues. By nature, they are very healthy dogs, but can succumb to several different health problems throughout their lifetime.
Many of the most common Rottweiler health issues stem from the breed’s large size and love of hard physical activity. The American Rottweiler Club states that problems like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, aortic stenosis, osteosarcoma, gastric dilatation-volvulus, and allergies are common, especially as the dogs age.
When buying a puppy, the key is to find a reputable breeder that is able to show you the health records for both parents (and possibly grandparents, etc). These show that your dog has been tested and cleared for the most common conditions. Look to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF).
Rottweilers are a naturally large breed of dogs. Males typically weigh between 95 and 130 pounds, sitting between 24 and 27 inches tall at the shoulder. Females typically weigh between 85 and 115 pounds, sitting between 22 and 25 inches tall at the shoulder.
Rottweilers have complex and multi-layered personalities. When trained and raised correctly, they are calm, confident, and courageous. Their self-assured attitude sometimes comes across as aloofness in situations where the dog meets new people.
At the same time, Rottweilers are incredibly loving to their family. They need a lot of affection and attention, following family members from room to room throughout the house. It’s very important not to get a Rottweiler if you plan to keep it primarily in the yard or a kennel.
There are minor differences in the personalities of male and female Rottweilers. Males tend to be quieter and more protective. Females, on the other hand, are often slightly more affectionate.
Thanks to their history as working dogs, Rottweilers are extremely intelligent. They have an inherent desire to learn, although they can be stubborn. Training requires firm, yet not harsh, discipline. You must assert and establish that you’re the leader at all times.
Like all dogs, a Rottweilers personality starts to develop early on. Look for a puppy with a curious and playful temperament. Meeting the dog’s siblings and parents is a good way to gauge what it’s personality will be like as it ages.
All in all, Rottweilers are well-rounded dogs. With early socialization and exposure to a variety of different people, places, and experiences, your Rottweiler will grow up to be a friendly, loyal, and not overly protective companion.
Rottweiler HQ says that the most important thing you can do is ensure your Rottweiler lives inside with you. The breed can’t be left alone in the backyard, garage, or basement at all times. If they are, they will quickly become bored and destructive. Increased neglect can even lead to aggression.
When indoors, Rottweilers are mostly inactive, despite their large size. They’re homebodies that love the comfort of their own house. Despite this, they require fenced yards if they’re outdoors alone. Not only does this prevent the dog from running way, it also prevents them from being aggressive towards strangers and other dogs.
As a breed, Rottweilers range greatly in energy levels. There are those that prefer to sleep most of the day. Then there are those that need hours of exercise. It’s important to ask your breeder for a Rottweiler that matches your needs, preferences, and lifestyle.
Most Rottweilers only need one or two 15 minute walks per day. Others enjoy playing fetch with balls or sticks. Those with higher energy levels enjoy agility and obedience competition, hiking, therapy work, and even pulling a cart or wagon like Rottweilers of old.
Rottweilers require weekly brushing with a firm bristle brush. During the two times per year that they shed, you should brush more often. Oral care consists of brushing your dog’s teeth once every couple of days to remove tartar buildup.
Rottweilers have a short double coat. It consists of straight and coarse hair that is black with lighter (rust to mahogany) markings. These markings most often appear over the eyes, on the cheeks, and on the sides of the muzzle. They’re also common on the chest, legs, and underneath the tail.
The temperament of individual Rottweilers depends on a number of factors. Chief among these is heredity, training, and socialization. As we mentioned above, it’s important to socialize your Rottweiler early on.
With that said, most Rottweilers are playful, gentle, and loving dogs. Yes, they can be overly protective of their family, but early socialization greatly helps with this. When raised correctly, these dogs are as calm and intelligent as any other breed.
Rottweilers tend to be great with children. This is especially true of children they’re raised with from the time they’re puppies. The only thing to watch out for is their herding instinct. Rottweilers will sometimes attempt to herd small children by nudging or bumping into them.
Introducing a Rottweiler puppy into a home with other animals is painless. They get along very well with cats and other dogs when raised with them. Introducing a new pet into a home with an adult Rottweiler is slightly trickier. You must make sure the introduction takes place slowly and with plenty of supervision.
It’s important to address the bad reputation Rottweilers sometimes receive. The breed has garnered some bad publicity in the past thanks to irresponsible dog owners. When brought up incorrectly, neglected, or abused, the dogs can easily become violent.
The fact is your Rottweiler’s temperament depends largely on how you raise it. You shouldn’t get this breed of dog if you can’t wholly commit to their needs. You must be willing to put in the work to ensure they’re properly socialized and trained.
There is no getting around the fact that much of the public sees Rottweilers in a negative light. If you get one of these dogs, you’ll have to accept the fact. Thanks to this prejudice, you might even have to carry extra liability insurance to own one.
Beyond this slight hiccup, owning a well-bred Rottweiler is a joy. They instantly become part of the family and love each member with all their hearts. They are intelligent, playful, and highly loyal.
As always, look for a Rottweiler from a reputable breeder. Ensure all health clearances have been met and that the puppy’s parents have a calm temperament. Start training and socializing your new dog from the get-go. Do all of these things and your Rottweiler is sure to be one of the best dogs you’ve ever had.