Size: Large, muscular powerful body
Height: Dogs 63-68 cm (24-27 in) Bitches 58-63 cm (22-25 in)
Weight: Dogs 43-59 kg (95-130 lb) Bitches 38-52 kg (85-115 lb)
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Colour: Black with tan on the cheeks, muzzle, chest, legs, beneath tail and over the eyes
Temperament: Protective, stubborn, alert, confident
The Rottweiler is a solid, stocky, deep-chested dog with a dependable and willing disposition, great intelligence and an unusually strong guarding instinct. Because of irresponsible breeders and owners who neither raised nor socialized their dogs properly, the Rottweiler has developed an undeserved reputation as a dangerous dog. However, their calmness, confidence and desire to please make them extremely popular for police, therapy, obedience, service and guide dog work. They are one of the most popular breeds as family and personal companions and when raised with love and kindness are no more dangerous than any other powerful dog breed.
The mature male Rottweiler stands 24 to 27 inches at the withers and typically weighs between 95 and 130 pounds. Females should be 22 to 25 inches in height and usually weigh around 100 pounds. Their short coat is easy to care for, and regular brushing will help to control shedding. The only acceptable colour for this breed is solid black with rust to mahogany markings. His high-set tail is almost always docked extremely short.
When you say “Rottweiler”, it can often conjure up images of a violent, aggressive dog – the kind that isn’t exactly friendly to the mailman. But that’s not all there is to this German breed of dog, and as you’re about to find out, Rottweilers can make loyal and trustworthy pets that are worthy of the distinction of “guard dog”. But is aggressiveness to outsiders all that really defines a Rottweiler? Throughout this breed description, you’ll find out all that goes into making a Rottweiler tick and what separates it from other breeds of similar size.
The Rottweiler might seem like a recent breed given its German heritage, but the origins of the Rottweiler go back to the Roman Empire – ancient times. The ancestors of the breed would help Roman armies by functioning as a working dog, and one of the towns that ancient Roman armies would trek through is the town of Rottweil. As the breed developed, its role shifted from that of a working dog to become a more guard dog. Many Rottweilers were used during the Middle Ages by merchants who wanted to protect their pouches of money. These merchants would tie the pouch around a Rottweilers neck – for many people, it was better than using a bank account! Rottweilers declined as the technology to protect items improved, but in the 1900s a new demand for police dogs rose and interest in the Rottweiler was revived. Today we know all about the aggressive but loyal Rottweiler and it has become a household name.
Descending from those ancient Roman working dogs, the pedigree of the Rottweiler goes back to antiquity. For this reason it’s hard to precisely track down the pedigree of this dog unless you’re familiar with the types and breeds that Romans used to help herd cattle. Rottweilers descend from its own breed ancestors as far back as the Middle Ages.
The Rottweiler has a fairly typical diet compared to many dogs its size – in males, adult Rottweilers can be over 100 pounds in weight. This corresponds with a fairly aggressive appetite. Rottweilers, like many dogs, often prefer meat as a treat but can find nutritional value in other dog foods as well as vegetables. The Rottweiler might have a reputation as a biter, so it’s generally a good idea to keep your dog properly exercised and fed. No one likes a grumpy Rottweiler.
Rottweilers can be highly responsive to training that takes advantage of its general fearlessness. It’s assumed that this breed is naturally aggressive but you can find them to be peaceful in its down-time. Because it is so responsive to training, however, Rottweilers are often used as police and guard dogs and will fully embrace these roles. Rottweilers, however, have also been used as messenger dogs and have even helped medical teams in the past. Rottweilers are more versatile than many people give them credit for – this is, again, thanks to their general obedience and responsiveness to working with humans. Quality training is important in Rottweilers and if you haven’t worked with dogs before, a Rottweiler is not always a good breed to start developing your skills with. Friendlier dogs like Labrador Retrievers are better large breeds for people without a lot of dog experience.
Coming in at an average of over 100 pounds (many far over a hundred pounds in many cases), the Rottweilers weight strongly depends on its height. Some males might weigh a very hefty amount – say, in the 140 pounds range – while females will also frequently weigh over 100 pounds. Rottweilers outweigh many dogs that might look similar in size, so be sure that you give your Rottweiler a proper and healthy diet.
Many people can be scared of Rottweilers because of the negative press many have received. The truth is, while this breed does relish a role of guarding and herding, they are not always aggressive. Many times, episodes of aggressiveness can be a result of bad ownership and training and not necessarily a problem that the breed has. The Rottweiler, like many dogs, will respond to perceived threats as well as fear. Since Rottweilers are such large, heavy dogs and have a reputation as being aggressive, this does not always make them friendly to new faces. But a properly trained Rottweiler will generally give welcomed houseguests nothing to be afraid of. Rottweilers often perform best when they’re occupied – a bored Rottweiler is generally not something that your house guests will want to interact with. It’s good to give your Rottweiler plenty of exercise as well as make it feel as though it has objectives to fulfil. This will help facilitate bonding and ensure that your dog acts loyally.
Common Health Problems
Rottweilers are actually a relatively healthy breed and don’t have many hereditary diseases. As with many large breeds of dog, joint problems and hip dysplasia can be a frequent theme, especially in the dog’s later years. It can also become obese if overfed or under-exercised.
Typically, this dog will live around 10 to 12 years depending on a number of factors like inherited traits, quality of diet and nutrition, and exercise.
Being a large dog, the Rottweiler requires a healthy amount of daily exercise, but don’t have any particular or excessive exercise requirements.
Rottweilers have a short coat that requires minimal maintenance.
Puppies can be perfectly safe, but should be raised with knowledgeable training in order to ensure that they are properly handled as they grow into adults. Generally a Rottweiler is not a great dog to raise if you don’t have at least some experience in handling dogs as they mature.