The Rottweiler started out its life as a cattle dog and hauler of carts before becoming a military and police dog, as well as a guard dog. The Rottweiler has never been a fighting dog as is sometimes suggested, but has proved to be a loyal companion who is highly intelligent and easy to train. Originating from Rottweil, in Germany, they are a medium to large breed of domestic dog and are known to be good natured with a placid disposition and a strong sense of adaptability and an eagerness to work. As with all powerful breeds the Rottweiler makes a perfect house pet as long as he receives the care and attention, particularly exercise, which he requires.
Typical Rottweiler facts
Height: 23-27 in (58-69 cm)
Weight: 90-110 lb (41-50 kg)
Average litter size: 8
Life expectancy: 9-12 years
Good with children: Yes
Kennel Club classification: Working
Colour of a Rottweiler
A Rottweiler is mainly black on the body with tan markings on the face, chest and legs.
Grooming a Rottweiler
The Rottweiler has a short coat which doesn’t require large amounts of grooming, although some essential care and maintenance is needed to keep him happy. Rottweilers have a double coat which sheds heavily twice a year, which is when you will want to groom him using a slicker brush and comb to collect most of the fur-rather than your vacuum! At other times, a daily brush will suffice. The teeth should be cleaned once a week with meat flavoured toothpaste, which is made especially for dogs, as well as keeping the nails trimmed. Rottweilers don’t tend to require bathing as often, so three or four times a year should be adequate unless he rolls in something particularly unsavoury.
Rottweiler common ailments and health issues
Rottweilers are a particularly strong breed and don’t seem to suffer from many ailments. They are hardy and will very rarely become ill. There are genetic illnesses that large dogs are particularly prone to, such as Canine Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia, although with a reputable breeder who has routine tests performed this should be a rare occurrence. Ensuring your breeder is reputable and has paperwork to show that the parents have been tested is essential.
Keeping the dog at a healthy weight is advisable to avoid unnecessary pressure on the joints. Bloat is something that can affect large, deep chested dogs and Rottweilers can be prone to bloat. This is where the stomach becomes swelled up with gas and fluids, with the stomach twisting. This can be fatal and veterinary advice should be sought immediately if suspected. To avoid bloat in Rottweilers you should not exercise them up to an hour before feeding time or up to two hours after food. The tail of a Rottweiler was commonly docked in previous years but it is now usual to leave the tail natural.
Temperament of the Rottweiler
Unlike the image created by the media, the Rottweiler is a placid animal that is loyal, devoted and very good natured. However, there is no denying that they are protective and assertive as well as being capable of showing their temper. Firm handling, which combines a training regime with good socialisation skills, will produce a fine specimen of a Rottweiler who is good natured.
Rottweilers are not happy being left alone as a guard dog and are happier with their pack or family. As with any powerful breed, conscientious owners who invest time in the training and exercise of a Rottweiler will have a happy dog with very few issues. Rottweilers who have been in the media tend to have been neglected with very little training and exercise, with poor socialisation skills, having been used as guard dogs by their owners.
Training a Rottweiler
Rottweilers are highly intelligent and quick to learn, responding well to a training regime. Firm handling is essential, as well as obedience training. Many Rottweilers do exceptionally well in agility or other competitive sports as they learn very easily and are eager to please. Some form of activity which will enable them to utilise their natural herding skills will help to drain their energy and keep them calm.
Exercise for a Rottweiler
Rottweilers require large amounts of exercise which should take the form of at least two daily walks, but can also be combined with agility or another activity that will drain energy. A bored, frustrated Rottweiler will look for some way to relieve the boredom and may result in him chewing your shoes and furniture. Some Rottweilers will be content with two daily walks, of a reasonable duration, combined with a short training session followed by a lazy day on the couch.
History of the Rottweiler
The Rottweiler history dates back to ancient Roman times when a mastiff type dog was used as a Roman drover to herd cattle during the times when the Roman army was travelling. These dogs were also used to pull carts, utilising their vast strength. When the Roman soldiers were sleeping, the dogs would guard them, alerting the soldiers at the first signs of danger. Some of these drover dogs were left in Germany and the people there decided to breed them to make use of their talents as guards and herders.
In the town of Rottweil, Germany, these dogs became known as the ‘butcher’s dog’ as they were used to herd and control animals being brought for slaughter. As the job of pulling carts and barges to transport goods came to an end with the advent of railroads, the Rottweiler became almost extinct. However, as its skills were recognised, the Rottweiler became popular in many areas and remains so today. The Rottweiler is used as a police dog, for search and rescue, herding, guarding and also for therapy work. The Rottweiler enjoys working and still enjoys activities that require mental and physical stamina, providing a challenge for his strength, both physical and mental.
Famous Rottweiler dogs
A series of wordless children’s books by Alexandra Day feature a Rottweiler named Carl, who entertains children with his antics and is immensely popular. Another Rottweiler who is well known played the part of Snot in the movie National Lampoons Christmas Vacation in 1989.
The Rottweiler also appeared in the horror movie ‘The Omen’, where it was controlled by the Devil, which led to the portrayal of the Rottweiler as a vicious dog and helped to give it a negative media image.
Useful Rotweiler Links