Dog Breed Group: Working Dogs
Recommended for: Families
Maintenance Level: Medium
Life Span: 8 – 10 years
Height: 61 – 69 cm
Weight: 42 and 50 kg
Temperament: Obedient, Devoted, Fearless, Courageous, Alert, Self-assured, Good-natured, Calm, Steady, Confident
Colors: Black, Tan, Mahogany
Rottweiler Breed Overview
The Rottweiler, or Rottie, is a highly recognizable breed, a canine with a muscular, strong body and an intelligent and mellow personality. Adaptable with a strong work ethic, the Rottweiler is a large and powerful dog who typically comes with a reputation, no matter how unearned. In reality, the Rottweiler is a loving and loyal dog who is dedicated to his family. This breed does need early training and socialization combined with a firm but positive ownership style. Adequate exercise and time with his family are necessary for a well-adjusted, happy Rottweiler.
Rottweilers have an instinct to herd based on their inherent traits, so they are appropriate for families without children or with older children. This breed can be a calm, confident contributor to your family with love, care, and proper training.
Rottweiler can reach up to 69 cm in height and 50 kg in weight.
Their life expectancy is approximately 10 years.
- Suitability for Children – Medium
- Tendency to Bark – Low
- Energy – High
- Suitability as a Guard Dog – High
- Grooming Requirements – Upto Once a Week
- Trimming Required – None
- Amount of hair shed – Medium
- Food Cost – More than $20
- Average Monthly Pet insurance Premium – $97
Rottweilers are a generally healthy breed, although they are prone to certain genetic diseases and medical conditions as are all dog breeds. Because the Rottweiler is a large breed, his life expectancy can fall anywhere between 8 – 12 years. Male Rotties weigh around 50 kg while females are somewhat lighter, approximately 42 kg.
Children and Other Pets
Rottweilers like children, especially if they have grown up with the kids. Any age child is acceptable; however, it is worth noting that Rottweilers are large dogs and can easily knock over small children by accident. Some Rotties enjoy chasing quick moving objects, including small children, so always supervise your dog around children and guests. Never leave your Rottie unsupervised with a child.
This breed tends to tolerate and even like other family pets if they grew up together. Strange dogs or new pets may not be as readily accepted. Proper training and socialization will help your Rottie become tolerant of any other pets in the home.
Origins of Rottweiler
Long considered one of the oldest dog breeds, the Rottweiler is descended from the Molossus, a mastiff dog during the days of Rome. Roman soldiers and commanders brought these large dogs with them as they marched across Germany; the dogs would herd the cattle the Romans used as sustenance. Those Roman dogs bred with the local Germanic canines, and the result was what would become the Rottweiler.
In one area of southern Germany, the Romans settled down and started and farmed the land. This area was eventually called Rottweil, or “red tile,” for the color of the roofs in the town. The Roman dogs flourished in this area, and after some time, they were identified with the town’s name and called “Rottweilers.” The dogs were used primarily for herding cattle and driving them into town to slaughter. Sometimes they were used to pull butcher’s carts loaded with meat throughout the town. Rotties were frequently put outside to guard the cattle and property, and did so with talent and relish. With modern times came the train which replaced the need for cattle drives, and the Rottweiler breed almost went extinct.
It wasn’t until 1901 that the Rottweiler and Leonberger Club was established and the Rottweiler breed standard was written. The breed found new life in military and police positions and was declared an official police dog in 1910. Through the significant dedication and efforts of some people, survived World War II. In the late 1920s, the first Rottweiler was brought to the United States, and the breed became popular. By the mid-1990s, there were over 100,000 Rottweilers registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC). The breed suffered another blow when, based on its popularity, unscrupulous breeders and backyard puppy mills began to breed and produce Rottweilers with no care for temperament issues or health conditions. The demand for the breed dropped; however, it has recently been on the upswing with Rottweilers in the top 20 registered dog breeds by the AKC.
The Rottweiler is a self-assured, calm, collected, and confident dog. He is not overly friendly to people he does not know, but observes and slowly determines who he will accept into his world. Rotties are loyal and affectionate toward their families, mainly because this breed has an inherent need to protect his territory and his family. Intelligent and versatile with an admirable work ethic, the Rottweiler makes for an efficient watchdog for his people.
Although the Rottweiler is highly trainable, he is a dog that an owner must dedicate time for training. This breed can at times be too independent and stubborn, and a Rottie owner must be firm yet positive in training and disciplining this breed. A Rottweiler’s temperament is influenced by genetics, socialization experiences, and training. The earlier the socialization for a Rottweiler, the better; preferably, early socialization should occur during puppyhood. Socialization, whether that involves walking in the park, taking puppy training classes, or meeting different people, will help your Rottie become a happy and emotionally healthy dog.
General Exercise and Care
Depending on his age, your Rottweiler can go from snoozing to racing around a room in no time flat. Some Rottweilers are more laid back and likely to prefer lounging on the couch to walking outside, while other Rotties thrive on an exercise like hiking, tracking, or therapy work. At a minimum, a Rottweiler should have two 10 – 20 minute walks daily. If your Rottie is more athletic and energetic, you will need to dedicate more time to exercise him.
Rottweilers are a quick study, especially because they love their owners and family. Positive reinforcement and training techniques will result in a well-trained and socialized Rottie. That said, even trained Rottweilers will object to being left alone in the house or backyard for extended periods. Destructive and aggressive behaviors can creep in if your Rottie becomes bored, depressed, or suffers from separation anxiety disorder. A fenced yard is a must for a Rottweiler for his protection from traffic and the protection of any visitors who may enter your property that he shows aggression toward.
Personal care for your Rottweiler should include brushing his teeth, checking his ears, and trimming his toenails. Oral diseases can lead to cardiovascular illnesses, so keeping your Rottie’s teeth clean is a must. Gently brush your dog’s teeth two to three times a week to prevent tartar buildup and keep your dog’s breath fresh. Check your Rottie’s ears weekly for signs that may indicate the presence of an infection, such as redness, odor, or dirt. Clean the ears with a leaner to keep your dog’s ears infection-free. The Rottweiler’s toenails should be trimmed monthly unless worn down on their own.
Coat and Grooming
Rottweilers have a double coat consisting of a top coat and an undercoat. The top coat is medium length, dense, flat, and coarse, although shorter around the ears and head. The undercoat should not show through the body at all. The hair on the hind legs may be a bit longer than on the rest of the body. The Rottweiler is black in colour with distinctive tan markings on the snout, cheeks, throat, over the eyes, on the chest and legs, and underneath the base of the tail. Some Rotties also have tan lines on their toes.
Rottweilers shed twice a year heavily, and weekly brushing with a bristle brush can remove dead hair and prevent excess shedding around the house. Brushing also redistributes the skin oils on your dog’s body. Accustom your Rottweiler to grooming when he is a puppy by handling his paws frequently and looking inside his ears and mouth. Make grooming a fun, positive experience early on in your Rottie’s life, and it will make veterinarian exams and other situations requiring examination easy for him to endure.
Common Diseases and Conditions
Although quite healthy, the Rottweiler is susceptible to certain diseases and illnesses of which a prospective owner should be aware. If you are buying a Rottweiler puppy, work with a trustworthy and reputable breeder who will have health clearances for the puppy’s parents on hand for inspection. This paperwork proves that your puppy’s parents have been tested for and cleared from association with a particular medical condition. Here are the medical conditions that most affect the Rottweiler breed:
Allergiesare a common problem in some Rottweilers. Most allergies are caused by an inflammatory reaction to heritable predispositions to an allergen, environmental or contact conditions, or food intolerances. Observe your Rottie, and if you witness excessive scratching, biting, or itching at his ears, face, neck, paws, legs, sides, stomach, or hind end, he is probably suffering from some allergy. Ask your veterinarian for help diagnosing the allergy and then determining its source. The veterinarian will offer multiple options, from over-the-counter topical applications to prescribed medications to manage allergic reactions. For food-based allergies, a complete change in diet will be necessary, and your veterinarian or a certified canine allergist can develop a new food plan for your Rottweiler.
Bloat (gastric dilatation-volvulus), also called torsion, is a serious and life-threatening medical crisis that can occur in dogs with large, deep chests, such as the Rottweiler. Dogs who are fed one large meal daily, who eat that meal quickly, and either exercise or drink large quantities of water after eating are prone to developing bloat. It is also a condition common in older dogs. Bloat happens when the Rottweiler’s stomach is distended with air or gas and twists. Because the dog cannot belch or vomit to dispel the excess air, the return of blood to the heart is prevented. This situation causes the dog’s blood pressure to drop, resulting in shock. Immediate medical attention is required, or the dog may die. Symptoms of bloat are retching without vomiting, distended stomach, excessive salivation, lethargy, depression, weakness, and a rapid heart rate.
Hip Dysplasia is a genetic condition wherein the thigh bone does not fit properly into the hip joint. This condition typically begins during puppyhood. Over time, this condition can lead to severe lameness, limping, hind end weakness, and difficulty getting up and down stairs. As your Rottie ages, he is likely to develop osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease; both diseases will have a significant impact on your Rottweiler’s quality of life. Genetics and diet are the primary causes of hip dysplasia. This disease can be managed with moderate non-impact exercise like swimming, dietary supplements, weight management, and corticosteroids.
Aortic Stenosis or Subaortic Stenosis (AS/SAS) is an inherited heart defect that occurs in some Rottweilers. With aortic or subaortic stenosis, the aorta below the aortic valve narrows, forcing the heart to work much harder to pump blood throughout the body. This type of heart defect is generally diagnosed after the veterinarian has detected a heart murmur. Aortic or subaortic stenosis can result in your dog fainting or, in worst case scenarios, sudden death.
Osteosarcomais a particularly aggressive bone cancer that is hard to diagnose initially. The first sign is lameness, but x-rays are needed to determine if osteosarcoma is in evidence. Because this is such a fast moving cancer, it must be treated with equal aggressiveness. The best ways to manage the cancer and give your Rottweiler more time is chemotherapy treatments combined with amputation of the affected limb. These two aggressive treatments can extend a Rottie’s life another nine months to two years.
Hypothyroidismis a disease that occurs when the thyroids are unable to produce enough thyroid hormone to regulate the body’s systems. Rottweilers with hypothyroidism may show signs of unexplained weight gain, hair thinning or loss, mental dullness, and lethargy. Hypothyroidism can be controlled and managed with prescribed medication that your Rottie will have to take every day for the remainder of his life.
Rotties drool and pass gas much more than other dog breeds.
- Rottweilers have a goofy side, and they enjoy climbing on your lap.
Cattle drovers would place their money in a small bag and tie it around their Rottweiler’s neck to keep it safe. The Rottie’s large, intimidating size meant that no one was going to try to remove that bag of money from its neck.
The Rottweiler is a popular dog amongst celebrities, including Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Bruno Mars.
Rottweilers are fully mature by the age of two, later than most other canines.
Rotties do not bark much but instead “talk” by making low, grumbling sounds, almost like a cat’s purr.
Rottweilers have a tendency to lean on people that goes back to the breed’s earliest days when they would lean on cattle to move them in a specific direction.