The Rottweiler is a muscular breed.
|Country of origin
|Classification and breed standards
||Group 2 Section 2 #147
||Group 6 (Utility)
||Group 3 - Working
|Not recognized by any major kennel club
|This breed of dog is
A Rottweiler is a medium large, robust and powerful
The breed is black with clearly defined tan markings on the cheeks, muzzle,
chest, legs, and eyebrows. The markings on the chest should form two distinct
upside-down triangles; a tiny patch of white in between is acceptable. The
cheeks should have clearly defined spots that should be separate from the muzzle
tan. The muzzle tan should continue over the throat. Each eyebrow should have a
spot. Markings on the legs should not be above a third of the leg. On each toe
should be a black 'pencil' mark. Underneath the tail should also be tan.
Nails are black. Inside the mouth, the cheeks may have black patches,
although the tongue is pink. The skull is typically massive, but without
excessive jowls. The forehead is wrinkly when the Rottweiler is alert.
A Rottweilers's eyes are a warm, dark brown—any other color may not be
acceptable as part of the "pure breed". The expression should be calm,
intelligent, alert, and fearless. The ears are small drop ears that lie flat to
the head. 'Flying' ears are considered undesirable by some breeders. The coat is
medium length and consists of a waterproof
and a coarse
top coat. It is low maintenance, although experiences shedding during
certain periods of the year.
Rottweilers are not naturally without tails. Tails were originally removed to
prevent breakage and infection that would occur when the tail became covered in
mud and other debris collected from pastures and livestock. Today, many owners
decide to have the tails removed soon after the puppies' birth for purely
cosmetic reasons. The tail is usually
docked to the
first joint. Although this is a commonly accepted practice, many people and
organizations believe it to be cruel and unnecessary; it must be noted that
there is debate about the degree of suffering experienced by a
characteristically pain-tolerant breed at such an early age.
The chest is deep and should reach the Rottie's elbows, giving tremendous
lung capacity. The back should be straight; never sloping. The Rottweiler stands
25 to 27 inches (63-68 cm) at the
males, and 23 to 25 inches (58-63 cm) for females. Weight is usually between 90
and 110 lb (41-50 kg) but can be even higher.
A well-trained and socialized Rottweiler can provide the right owner with a
great deal of exercise and loving companionship. They are usually quick to learn
and have a strong desire to please their owners. They are intelligent, to the
point that they shouldn't be left to their own devices, and are happiest when
mentally stimulated. Despite this, they can also be strong willed at times, and
should be taught in a firm, consistent manner. This is generally a calm breed.
That said, they are playful animals, usually very excited at the first sign of
fun. Rottweilers thrive on attention from their owners and need their people to
be happy. If a Rottie has been neglected excessively, he will usually strive,
creatively, to get the owner's attention.
The Rottie is not usually a barker: he is a silent watcher who notices
everything. In the event the dog feels threatened, he tends to go very still
before attacking, and there is no warning growl. This is one of the breed's
characteristics that lends itself to the reputation of being unreliable. An
observant owner, however, is usually able to recognize when the Rottie perceives
a threat. When the dog barks, it is more of a sign of annoyance with external
factors (car alarms or other disturbances) rather than threats.
The Rottweiler can resort to aggressiveness in unfamiliar situations. For the
most part, this is not of grave concern to most dog owners. However, the
Rottie's large size and incredible strength make this an important point to
consider. For this reason, early socialization with as many people, animals, and
situations as possible is very important in order to produce a dog that is
tolerant of strangers.
The Rottweiler is not a breed for the inexperienced dog owner. A Rottie owner
should be willing to provide extensive socialization from puppyhood and onward,
and should already have prior experience teaching dogs to be obedient.
The breed is an ancient one, and its history stretches back to the
Empire. In those times, the
travelled with their meat on the hoof and required the assistance of working
dogs to herd the cattle. One route the army travelled was through
Württemberg and on to the small market town of
This region eventually became an important cattle area, and the descendants
of the Roman cattle dogs proved their worth in both droving and protecting the
cattlemen from robbers and wild animals. It would be a brave villain who would
try and remove the purse around the neck of a Rottweiler Metzgershund
(Butcher's Dog of Rottweil).
However, by the end of the
Century, the breed had declined so much that in
1900 there was only
one female to be found in the town of Rottweil. But the build up to the
I saw a great demand for "police
dogs," and that led to a revival in interest for the Rottweiler. Its
enormous strength, its intelligence, and its ability to take orders made it a
natural weapon of war.
From that time, it has become popular with dog owners, and in
1935 the breed was
officially recognized by the
American Kennel Club. In
were exhibited in Britain at
1966, a separate
register was opened for the breed.
Good Dog Carl book cover
- Muzzle/Scout and Gerta from
Good Dog Carl
In recent years, the breed has received a lot of bad press. This is primarily
due to a lack of understanding of the breed and canine nature on the part of the
owner, and indiscriminate breeding on the part of the breeder. Unscrupulous
breeders have produced dogs with highly aggressive tendencies and some owners
have used the dogs to boost their macho images. Other owners may acquire a
Rottie for a family pet, but neglect to properly socialize and train the animal,
resulting in a dangerous, unpredictable dog who makes the rules.
Despite the media's fascination with Rottweilers who run afoul of canine
behavioural standards, people who have experience with properly raised
individuals can attest to the Rottweiler's friendliness and often clownish
nature. In fact, the
standard calls for a dog that is fond of children. Nevertheless, this breed
is not for the inexperienced or uninvolved dog owner, or anyone who lacks the
physical strength to handle the Rottweiler.
As a result of bad press, some German
Länder put the Rottweiler on an
index of so called "dangerous dogs". This includes
North Rhine-Westphalia. Visitors and residents must obey the local
muzzling and leash-length laws.
- The International Encyclopedia of Dogs; Stanley Dangerfield and
Elsworth Howell (editors), Pelham Books, London, 1985.
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