Rottweiler Guide

Working Dog Breeds

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The Rottweiler is a medium-large breed, slightly longer than it is tall and robust with a powerful, substantial build. It combines the abilities necessary to drive cattle for long distances as well as serve as a formidable guard dog — jobs that entail great strength, agility and endurance. Its trot is sure and powerful, with strong reach and drive. Its coat is straight, coarse and dense. Its expression reflects the Rottweiler at its best — noble, alert and self-assured.

Confident, bold, alert and imposing, the Rottweiler is a popular choice for its ability to protect. As befitting its self-assured nature, it tends to be headstrong and stubborn and is often domineering. It is reserved, often wary, toward strangers. It may be overly protective if it perceives that its family is being threatened, and it may also attempt to "herd" children. This is a powerful breed that needs socialization, consistent training and daily exercise to be the best it can be — a loyal family member and guardian.

AKC RANKING 15

FAMILY livestock dog, sheepdog, mastiff (draft/cattle)

AREA OF ORIGIN Germany

DATE OF ORIGIN ancient times

ORIGINAL FUNCTION cattle drover, guardian, draft

TODAY'S FUNCTION security, herding trials, Schutzhund

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 24-27 Weight: 85-135

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 22-25 Weight: 80-100

OTHER NAME none

Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs Medium

Playfullness Not very playful

Affection level Somewhat affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Shy

Friendliness toward other pets Shy

Friendliness toward strangers Shy

Ease of training Moderately easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Very protective

Grooming needs Low maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Low tolerance

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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, however, so that proper bonding can occur. Coat care is minimal, consisting only of occasional brushing to remove dead hair.
• Major concerns: CHD, elbow dysplasia, SAS, osteosarcoma, gastric torsion
• Minor concerns: OCD, entropion, ectropion, vWD, panosteitis
• Occasionally seen: PRA, cataract, epilepsy
• Suggested tests: hip, elbow, cardiac, blood, (eye)
• Life span: 8 – 11 years
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The Rottweiler's ancestors were probably Roman drover dogs, responsible for driving and guarding herds of cattle as they accompanied Roman troops on long marches. At least one of these marches led to southern Germany, where some of the people and their dogs settled. Throughout the succeeding centuries, the dogs continued to play a vital role as cattle drovers around what was to become the town of Rottweil (which is derived from red tile, denoting the red-tile roof of the Roman baths that had been unearthed there in the eighth century). Rottweil prospered and became a center of cattle commerce. Their dogs drove and guarded cattle, guarded the money earned by the cattle sales and served as draft animals. So evolved the Rottweiler metzgerhund ("butcher dog"), an integral component in the town's industry until the mid-19th century. At that time, cattle driving was outlawed, and dog carting was replaced by donkey carts and railroads. With little need for this once vital breed, the Rottweiler fell into such decline that it was nearly lost. With the realization that the breed was teetering near extinction, dog fanciers formed a club in 1901 and set about to revive it. Even though the 1901 club was short-lived, it did formulate a breed standard. Two subsequent clubs were formed in 1907, one of which promoted the breed as a police dog. The two clubs merged in 1921. The breed continued to grow, and by the 1930s it was competing in AKC competitions. The Rottweiler has recovered from its brush with extinction to become the second-most popular breed in America.
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