Breed Standard

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential.

Group: Utility
Size: Large
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Exercise: Medium
Grooming: Very low
Trainability: Medium
Watchdog ability: Very high
Protection ability: Very high
Area of Origin: Germany
Date of Origin: Ancient times
Other Names: None
Original Function: Cattle drover, guardian, draft


The Rottweiler descends from a line of powerful dogs that drove and guarded the cattle of the Roman Army as it traversed Europe. In Rottweil, Germany, this mastiff-type dog was crossed with local herding dogs and was bred specifically as the “butcher’s dog of Rottweil.” The dog would accompany and guard the butcher on the way to cattle sales, carrying his money en route; he would then drive the purchased beef-on-the-hoof home. An effort was made to conserve the breed when mechanised transport replaced the job of the courageous Rottweiler. This breed requires plenty of room and exercise. He is often nicknamed the “Rottie”.

The Rottweiler is a very territorial, imposing dog breed and is ideal for protection. Headstrong and stubborn, this dog breed requires a strong leader and firm training.

The Rottweiler needs daily physical and mental activity, either in the form of long walks or jogs, or a vigorous game in a safe area, as well as obedience lessons. It enjoys cold weather and may become overheated in hot weather. It can live outdoors in temperate to cool climates, as long as plenty of shelter is available. It needs to spend significant time inside with its human family so that proper bonding can occur. Coat care is minimal, consisting only of occasional brushing to remove dead hair.

Official Breed Standard

General Appearance:
The Rottweiler is an above average sized stalwart dog. His correctly proportioned, compact and powerful form permits of great strength, manoeuvrability and endurance. His bearing displays boldness and courage; his tranquil gaze manifests good nature and devotion.

Head and Skull:
The head is of medium length, the skull between the ears is broad. The forehead line is moderately arched as seen from the side. Occipital bone well developed but not conspicuous. Cheeks well muscled but not prominent, with the zygomatic arch well formed. The skin on the head should not be loose although it is allowed to form moderate wrinkle when the dog is attentive. Muzzle fairly deep with topline level and length not longer than the length from stop to occiput.

The nose is well developed with proportionately large nostrils and is always black.

The eyes should be of medium size, almond shaped and dark brown in colour; eyelids close lying.

The ears are pendant, small in proportion rather than large, set high and wide apart on the head, lying flat and close to the cheek.

The teeth are strong and the incisors of the lower jaw must touch the inner surface of the upper incisors. The flews are black and firm; they fall gradually away towards the corners of the mouth, which do not protrude excessively.

The neck should be of fair length, strong, round and very muscular. It should be slightly arched and free from throatiness.

The shoulders should be well placed on the body, long and sloping with the elbows well let down, but not loose. The legs should be muscular with plenty of bone and substance. The pasterns should be bent slightly forward and not be completely vertical. The front legs seen from all sides must be straight and not placed too closely to one another.

The chest should be roomy, broad and deep with the ribs well sprung. The depth of brisket will not be more, and not much less than 50 percent of the shoulder height. The back should be straight, strong and not too long; ratio of shoulder height to length of body should be as 9 is to 10; the loins short, strong and deep, the flanks should not be tucked up. The croup should be broad, of proportionate length, and very slightly sloping.

The upper thigh not too short, broad and strongly muscled. The lower thigh well muscled at the top and strong and sinewy lower down. Stifles fairly well bent. Hocks well angulated without exaggeration and not completely vertical.

The feet should be strong, round and compact with the toes well arched. The hind feet are somewhat longer than the front. The pads should be very hard and the toenails short, dark and strong. Rear dewclaws re moved.

In movement the Rottweiler should convey an impression of supple strength, endurance and purpose. While the back remains firm and stable there is a powerful hind thrust and good stride. First and foremost, movement should be harmonious, positive and unrestricted.

Carried horizontally. It is short, strong and not set too low. Customarily docked at the first joint.

The coat, which consists of top coat and undercoat, should be of medium length, coarse and flat. The undercoat, which is essential on the neck and thighs, should not show through the outer coat. The hair may also be a little longer on the back of the forelegs and breechings.

The colour is black with clearly defined markings on the cheeks, muzzle, chest and legs, as well as over both eyes and the area beneath the tail. Colour of markings ranges from rich tan to mahogany brown.

The height at the shoulder should be: Dogs: Between 63 and 68 cm (24 and 27 in) Bitches: Between 58 and 63 cm (22 and 25 in). However, height should always be considered in relation to the general appearance of the dog.

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