The Rottweiler is a medium to large size breed of domestic dog that originated in Rottweil, Germany. The dogs were known as "Rottweil butchers' dogs" (Rottweiler Metzgerhund) because they were used to herd livestock and pull carts laden with butchered meat and other products to market. Some records indicate that earlier Rottweilers may have also been used for hunting, although the modern Rottweiler has a relatively low hunting instinct. It is a hardy and very intelligent breed.

The Rottweiler was employed in its traditional roles until the mid-19th century when railroads replaced droving for getting livestock to market. While still used in herding, Rottweilers are now also used in search and rescue, as guide dogs for the blind, as guard or police dogs, and in other roles.

Rottweiler description

"Rottweiler breeders aim at a dog of abundant strength, black coated with clearly defined rich tan markings, whose powerful appearance does not lack nobility and which is exceptionally well suited to being a companion, service and working dog."

Anatomy of the Rottweiler
  1. Head (eyes)
  2. Snout (teeth, tongue)
  3. Dewlap (throat, neck skin)
  4. Shoulder
  5. Elbow
  6. Forefeet
  7. Highest Point of the Rump
  8. Leg (thigh and hip)
  9. Hock
  10. Hind feet
  11. Withers
  12. Stifle
  13. Paws
  14. Tail

Rottweiler Head

The skull is of medium length, broad between the ears. The forehead line is moderately arched as seen from the side, with the occipital bone well developed without being conspicuous. The stop is well defined.

The Rottweiler nose is well developed, more broad than round, with relatively large nostrils and always black. The muzzle should appear neither elongated nor shortened in relation to the cranial region. The nasal bridge is broad at the base and moderately tapered.

The lips are black and close fitting with the corner of the mouth not visible. The gums should be as dark as possible.

Both the upper and lower jaws are strong and broad. According to the FCI Standard Rottweilers should have strong and complete dentition (42 teeth) with scissor bite, the upper incisors closely overlapping the lower incisors.

The zygomatic arches should be pronounced. The eyes should be of medium size, almond-shaped and dark brown in colour. The eyelids are close fitting.

The ears are medium-sized, pendant, triangular, wide apart, and set high on the head. With the ears laid forward close to the head, the skull appears to be broadened.

The skin on the head is tight fitting overall. When the dog is alert, the forehead may be slightly wrinkled.

Rottweiler Neck

The neck is strong, of fair length, well muscled, slightly arched, clean, free from throatiness, without dewlap.

Rottweiler Body

The back is straight, strong and firm. The loins are short, strong and deep. The croup is broad, of medium length, and slightly rounded, neither flat nor falling away. The chest is roomy, broad and deep (approximately 50% of the shoulder height) with a well developed forechest and well sprung ribs. The flanks are not tucked up.

Rottweiler Tail

Natural bob tailed ("stumpy") or if present the tail was historically docked. Docking is banned in Germany, the U.K and some other countries. An un-docked Rottweiler tail is level in extension of the upper line; at ease it may be hanging.

Rottweiler Limbs

When seen from the front, the front legs are straight and not placed close to each other. The forearm, seen from the side, stands straight and vertical. The slope of the shoulder blade is about 45 degrees. The shoulders are well laid back. The upper arm is close fitting to the body. The forearm is strongly developed and muscular. Pasterns are slightly springy, strong but not steep. The front feet are round, tight and well arched, the pads hard, nails are short, black and strong.

When seen from behind, the rear legs are straight and not too close together. When standing free, obtuse angles are formed between the dog’s upper thigh and the hip bone, the upper thigh and the lower thigh, and the lower thigh and metatarsal. The upper thigh is moderately long, broad and strongly muscled. The lower thigh is long, strongly and broadly muscled, sinewy. The hocks are sturdy, well angulated, not steep. The hind feet are slightly longer than the front feet. Toes are strong, arched, as tight as the front feet.

Rottweiler Gait

The Rottweiler is a trotting dog. In movement the back remains firm and relatively stable. Movement is harmonious, steady, full of energy and unrestricted, with good stride.

Rottweiler Coat

The coat consists of a top coat and an undercoat. The top coat is of medium length, coarse, dense and flat. The undercoat must not show through the top coat. The hair is a little longer on the hind-legs.

Rottweilers living in hot climates may have acclimatised and may be missing the undercoat.

Rottweiler coats tend to be low maintenance, although they experience heavy shedding prior to their seasons (females) or seasonally (males).

Rottweiler Size

Technically a "medium/large" breed, according to the FCI standard the Rottweiler stands 24-27 inches at the withers for males, 22-25 inches for females, and the weight must be between 110-130 pounds(weight relative to height) for males and between 90-105 pounds (weight is relative to height) for females.

Rottweiler Temperament

According to the FCI Standard, the Rottweiler is good-natured, placid in basic disposition, very devoted, obedient, biddable and eager to work. Their appearance is natural and rustic, their behaviour self-assured, steady and fearless. They react to their surroundings with great alertness. The American Kennel Club says it is basically a calm, confident and courageous dog with a self-assured aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. A Rottweiler is self-confident and responds quietly and with a wait-and-see attitude to influences in its environment. It has an inherent desire to protect home and family, and is an intelligent dog of extreme hardness and adaptability with a strong willingness to work, making them especially suited as a companion, guardian and general all-purpose dog.

Rottweilers are a powerful breed with well developed genetic herding and guarding instincts. As with any breed, potentially dangerous behavior in Rottweilers usually results from irresponsible ownership, abuse, neglect, or lack of socialization and training. However, the exceptional strength of the Rottweiler is an additional risk factor not to be neglected. It is for this reason that breed experts recommend that formal training and extensive socialization are essential for all Rottweilers. According to the AKC, Rottweilers love their people and may behave in a clownish manner toward family and friends, but they are also protective of their territory and do not welcome strangers until properly introduced. Obedience training and socialization are musts.

The breed has received some negative publicity. In the US, in a 1997 report by the CDC, the Rottweiler was listed as the second most likely breed of dog named in fatal human attacks, following Pit Bulls, although at approximately half the rate of the Pit Bull. Breed-specific bite rates are not known, and less responsible owners being drawn to certain breeds may be a factor. Dog related human fatalities need to be considered in the context that there are fewer than 30 dog related fatalities in the United States each year out of approximately 4.7 million bite incidents, from a total dog population estimated by the American Pet Products Association at 77.5 million dogs. A 2008 study surveying breed club members found that while Rottweilers were average in aggressiveness (bites or bite attempts) towards owners and other dogs, it indicated they tend to be more aggressive than average towards strangers. This aggression appears unrelated to the fear of the dog, but is correlated with watchdog and territorial instincts.

The portrayal of Rottweilers as evil dogs in several fictional films and TV series, most notably in The Omen, and negative press has added to their negative publicity. This has led to Rottweilers being banned in some municipalities and are sometimes targeted as dangerous dogs by legislation, such as in the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and the Republic of Ireland. However, the Dutch law has since been changed as of 2008. On the other hand, not all mainstream media has portrayed the breed in a negative light: for example, a gentler side of the Rottweiler's personality was observed in the movie Lethal Weapon 3 where a Rottweiler guarding a gun smuggling operation was placated by the main character, played by Mel Gibson, with dog treats. The dog was subsequently rescued and de facto adopted by the protagonist. Also, in the HBO series Entourage a Rottweiler named Arnold is a dear pet of the main characters. Cujo the loveable family dog and voice of the official website in the TV series Kath and Kim, is played by National Rottweiler Council (Australia) Champion and Dual Champion (Tracking) Goodiesway Basko (AI) CDX ET TSDX PT (pet name "Polo"). The hero of the picture book Good Dog, Carl and its sequels is a Rottweiler, and quite favorably portrayed as a gentle, attentive, protective and intelligent guardian of his family members.

In an event widely reported by the media, a two-year-old UK Rottweiler named Jake owned by Liz Maxted-Bluck was recognised for his bravery by the RSPCA. The dog was out walking with his owner when they heard screams. Jake chased off a man as he molested a woman on Hearsall Common, Coventry, in July 2009. He located the attacker and his victim in thick scrub, chased off the attacker, led his owner to the scene, then stood guard over the victim until police arrived. The attacker was convicted of serious sexual assault and jailed for four years. Jake was nominated by police for the bravery award and medallion after the incident. Det Con Clive Leftwich, from Coventry police station, said: "From our point of view Jake the Rottweiler stopped a serious sexual assault from becoming even worse."

Rottweiler Working style

According to the American Kennel Club Rottweilers have a natural gathering style with a strong desire to control. They generally show a loose-eye and have a great amount of force while working well off the stock. They make much use of their ability to intimidate.

The Rottweiler often carries the head on an even plane with the back or carries the head up but with the neck and shoulders lowered. Some females lower the entire front end slightly when using eye. Males also do this when working far off the stock in an open field. This is rarely seen in males when working in confined spaces such as stock yards.

The Rottweiler has a reasonably good natural balance, force-barks when necessary, and when working cattle uses a very intimidating charge. There is a natural change in forcefulness when herding sheep. When working cattle it may use its body and shoulders and for this reason should be used on horned stock with caution.

The Rottweiler, when working cattle, searches out the dominant animal and challenges it. Upon proving its control over that animal it settles back and tend to its work.

Some growers have found that Rottweilers are especially suited to move stubborn stock that simply ignore Border Collies, Kelpies, and others. Rottweilers use their bodies to physically force the stubborn animal to do its bidding if necessary.

When working with sheep the Rottweiler shows a gathering/fetching style and reams directions easily. It drives sheep with ease.

In some cases Rottweilers have begun herding cattle without any experience at all.

If worked on the same stock for any length of time the Rottweiler tends to develop a bond with the stock and will become quite affectionate with them as long as they do as it says.

Rottweiler Health

Rottweilers are a relatively healthy, disease-free breed. As with most large breeds, hip dysplasia can be a problem. For this reason the various Rottweiler breed clubs have had x-ray testing regimes in place for many years. A reputable breeder will have the hips and elbows of all breeding stock x-rayed and read by a recognised specialist, and will have paperwork to prove it.

They will also have certificates that their breeding animals do not have entropion or ectropion and that they have full and complete dentition with a scissor bite.

As with any breed, hereditary conditions occur in some lines. Because of recent overbreeding, cancer has become one of the leading causes of early death in Rottweilers. For unknown reasons, Rottweilers are more susceptible than other breeds to become infected with parvovirus, a highly contagious and deadly disease of puppies and young dogs. Parvovirus can be easily prevented by following a veterinarian's recommended vaccine protocol.

If overfed or under exercised, Rottweilers are prone to obesity. Some of the consequences of obesity can be very serious, including arthritis, breathing difficulties, diabetes, heart failure, reproductive problems, skin disease, reduced resistance to disease and overheating caused by the thick jacket of fat under the skin.

Top 100 Pets Sites on - Add your Site, Boost Your Traffic! Dog Topsite The Puppy Network Top Dog Sites
List your site in the Hot Vs Not web directory You can find other related resources in the Pets Directory