The Rottweiler is a breed that has been known throughout history. It’s known as one of the oldest herding dogs and dates back to the days of the Roman Empire. When part of the Roman army needed to move through Europe, they used Rottweilers to keep their cattle in line. In the Middle Ages, butchers would use the breed as guard dogs if they were travelling with money. The breed worked for as long as guard dogs were needed, but once railroads became popular their numbers began to decline.
When World War I came around, however, the need for working dogs was great. Rottweilers found work as police and guard dogs in both World Wars One and Two. Their popularity has increased since then, reaching its peak in the 1990’s when the American Kennel Club reported the Rottweiler as the most registered dog. Today they’re a popular working dog, assisting police in tracking and in search and rescue tasks.
The Rottweiler is a medium sized, broad-chested dog. Their head is broad and arched with a well developed nose. Their eyes are medium sized, almond shaped and usually brown. Some Rottweilers have eyes that are blue and a few have mismatched blue and brown. Males are larger than females and will be around 63 to 69 centimetres high and weigh approximately 40 to 50 kilograms, while females will stand at 58 to 63.5 centimetres and weigh around 32 to 40 kilograms. The usual lifespan of a Rottweiler can be anything from 9 to 12 years.
The coat of a Rottweiler is very distinctive. The majority of the coat is black, but the muzzle, paws and legs are mahogany. Some will have a coat that is red with brown markings, but this is considered a flaw. The coat has two layers, the top of which is thicker than the bottom. This coat does not require much grooming, although it does go through some occasional shedding.
Rottweilers are often described using words that begin with “c”: confident, calm, and courageous. They tend not to just jump into a situation, but rather have a “wait and see” attitude towards the world around them. They’re very protective and hard working. If their family is in danger they will not hesitate to defend them. They are an intelligent breed and do well in working situations.
Recently the breed has had some negative publicity from reports of attacks and biting. As with any breed, if a dog is poorly trained, bad behaviours can result. However, an action that might be cute coming from a Chihuahua will come off as aggressive and terrifying from a Rottweiler. Because of their size and strength, it is absolutely crucial that this breed receives proper, consistent training. Unless you already have some experience training dogs, it’s probably a good idea to turn to professionals to make sure your Rottweiler is taught correctly. Breed experts do advise formal training and thorough socialization due to the strength and power of this breed.
When compared to many other breeds, Rottweilers are healthy dogs. They do run the risk of hip dysplasia due to their size and, depending on heredity, cancer can be a problem. Strangely, this breed is very susceptible to the parovirus, but this can be avoided through vaccination.
Rottweilers are natural herders. They are not afraid to use intimidation to make their flocks do what they want them to. Their strength and determination help control even the most stubborn groups of animals.
While perhaps not thought of as a family dog, properly socialized Rottweilers do make good pets. They do not do well in isolation and require attention. They keep a close eye on the people in their lives. Friends and family of their owner will find them to be friendly and approachable. People with bad intentions, however, will find them to be just the opposite.