At a glance
Rottweilers are heavily-muscled, medium to large dogs and are usually black with defined rust markings. The breed’s origins can be traced to the Roman times when they were used for herding cattle. Since the breed’s recognition by the American Kennel Club in 1935, these dogs have been vital in police units and as family pets.
- Names – Rottie, Rott, Weily
- Group – AKC: Working Group; KC: Working
- Size – large
- Life expectancy – average of 11 years; range of 9 to 15 years
- Cost of ownership – medium
- Ease of ownership – medium
- Aggressive tendency – high
- Amount of Exercise – high
- Amount of Grooming – low
- Ease of Training – high
- Obedience level – high
- Suitable for Children – medium
- Amount of Care Required – medium
- Susceptibility to Health Problems – medium
Rottweilers are medium to large, heavy-looking dogs, with solid black, flat-lying coats with clearly defined rust-colored markings. The under coat is very fine and impossible to see given the coarse and medium length outer coat. These dogs have the reputation for being among the strongest and most powerful dogs in the world, mainly because of their size. Built for trotting, the movement of Rotties suggests even balance. The power within the dog is even more obvious with the Rottie’s agility and ability to run and jump with ease.
Bitch: 22–32 kilograms (49–71 lb)
Dog: 30–40 kilograms (66–88 lb)
Bitch: 55–60 centimetres (22–24 in)
Dog: 60–65 centimetres (24–26 in)
- Color – black with well-defined bright rust markings along their legs, underbelly and muzzle
- Coat – an outer coat that is short, straight, dense and of medium length
- Shedding – medium
- Allergies – low
- Causes Allergies – medium
Sometimes, the Rottweiler can see good clean fun in anything; however, it will also want to occasionally put his energy and authority to use. Early obedience training and socialization cannot be emphasized enough. This breed can be very territorial and protective of their family and their environment; furthermore, he will single-mindedly defend what he perceives to be his pack members. Rottweilers can look intimidating and sometimes this intimidation becomes more than just a facade. Despite the misconception that all Rotties are capable of horrific meanness, these dogs can be quite sweet and do extremely well in a family environment.
- Separation Anxiety – medium
- Barking tendency – medium
- Aggressive tendency – high
- Compatibility with other animals – medium
- Suitable for children – medium
- Watchdog suitability – high
The standard Rottweiler is cheerful, calm, serene, fond of children, loyal, obedient, eager to be useful and to please. His appearance is natural and rustic, his behavior confident, steady and unruffled. The dog is inquisitive and keen of everything going on around, but he is also alert.
As with any breed, the potentially dangerous attitude a Rottweiler can develop can usually be traced back to irresponsible ownership, abuse, neglect, or lack of socialization and training. A Rottweiler’s inner temperament varies from one reaction to another. For instance, one moment he may act like a natural clown, the next, affectionate to almost everyone and a moment later he may choose to save his affection for his closest family member. Rottweilers are calm and alert companions. They often follow their masters around the house keeping a constant and sometimes obtrusive watch over their loved ones. Examples of undesirable Rottweiler traits are nervousness, shyness, excitability, or hyperactivity.
Once more, the significance of socialization and training from an early age cannot be overemphasized. These are intelligent dogs, so much so that they will seek out the dominant member in a household or family. Then, if left unchecked, the dog will try to impose his will on the discovered “pack leader” using many methods, i.e. aggressive behavior, bumping or “herding” or, as in the case of cattle or sheep, through charging. They need firmness and consistency from puppyhood, guidance and training from a capable, experienced, calm, consistent handler. Being sensitive to the human voice and its varying tones, a human can use their voice to communicate with the dog, such as when giving commands, correction and praise.
Keep in mind, attack training will only lead to more trouble, since it agitates their already protective natures and they may mature into an uncontrollable canine.
In case a Rottweiler proves to be stubborn, training him will call for stronger methods. Handlers need to impose discipline in a method that is consistent, fair and firm, without roughness. Those who need to refrain from obtaining Rottweilers are people with timid personalities, or who cannot commit to carefully supervising the dog by putting in training time and effort year after year.
Obedience – high
The Rottweiler thrives and enjoys strenuous activity. Urban or rural dwellers can take their Rotties out on daily walks or jogs. Running in the woods and in open country with their master or other family members will complete their day. Other activity options are swimming or running beside a bicycle and retrieving a ball.
- Energy – high
- Amount required – 1 to 2 hours per day of varied activities that put to use the dog’s tracking skills, stamina and strength
The Rottie is easy to care for. The occasional bath is fine and dry shampooing is an alternative that does not strip the coat of its essential oils. Regular nail clipping is essential as is teeth brushing.
Without factoring in the size, age, sex, and activity level of a Rottie, they will eat around 5 to 10 pounds of high quality kibble a week. Feeding can be adjusted to 4 to 10 cups of kibble, split into two feedings a day.
The smooth, glossy coat will need a once-a-week grooming, but it can be done more frequently if the hair littering the house starts to become a problem. Use a firm bristle brush or rubber grooming mitt; bathe only when necessary.
- Ease of grooming – high
- Amount of grooming – low
When it comes to showing just how lacking in profit or material gain dog breeding is, Rottweiler breeding is a classic example. After accounting for all the pre-breeding tests, including OFA certification and a Brucellosis Test, stud fee, whelping supplies, prenatal care and vet visits, delivery costs, dewclaws removal, booster shots, and AKC litter registration, the total costs are roughly bound to reach as high as $2,300 per dog.
Responsible breeders need to be on the watch for the so-called “red” Rotties, and should not make them part of breeding plans. A “Red Rottweiler” essentially carries a genetic fault that makes it less black and has more of a light brown or auburn base coat color with light auburn markings. Furthermore, “Red Rottweilers” have physical characteristics that are linked to eye and cardiac problems.
Breeders and the public need to know that the breeding and selling of “Red Rottweilers” is a major cause for concern, since the breeders of these unhealthy dogs pollute the breed pool and have misleading marketing tactics, because these genetic variants are actually sold as “rare”. Besides, it is unthinkable for ethical breeders to consider turning disqualifying faults into assets. Moreover, the danger not only resides in the red-coated Rottweiler puppies found in a litter but in all the littermates as well, even though the littermates may have a base color of black.
- Litter size – average of 8; range of 6 to 12
- Puppy cost – average of $1, 500; range of $1,000 to $2,000 for show quality puppies, with pet prices approximately half the show price
Rottweilers are subject to structural problems like hip and elbow dysplasia, malformations of the joints that can be crippling, and osteochondrosis (OCD), a bone and cartilage problem. Another threat is panosteitis, an intermittent lameness brought about by varying bone density in young dogs.
There is a risk of inheritable retinal problems and spinal cord paralysis. Like all deep-chested dogs, the Rott is also susceptible to bloat, a condition in which the stomach can turn and block, causing a buildup of gas.
- Life expectancy – average of 11 years; range of 9 to 15 years
- Susceptibility to illness – medium
- Common health problems – Temperament, Pancreatic Problems, Heart Disease, Various Cancers
To be blunt, the Rottweiler is not a dog for everyone, much less for beginners. The following individuals will need to be discouraged from getting a Rotttie: those interested in obtaining a dog for protection purposes only, those who do not want to accommodate a Rottie inside, those who sincerely do not have time to spend training a dog, those without leadership qualities, those who cannot appreciate the companionship of a Rottie, those who dislike exercising a dog and those not ready to take on the fulltime responsibility of owning a Rottweiler.
Indeed, failure to select a well-bred Rott and to train it appropriately can result in individual tragedy and in prohibition of the entire breed in a community. Some cities and towns have added the Rottweiler to a list of restricted or banned breeds; some training schools refuse Rotties; and some insurance companies deny coverage to owners of this breed.
- Living conditions – A large yard with a six-foot fence is the best space to entertain and keep busy a Rottie; however, these dogs have done well in large apartments when sufficiently exercised. A yard is all the more useful in case you are getting a puppy or young dog. A yard will help keep the dog fit and prevents restlessness, and possibly preempts aggressive and destructive tendencies.
- Good with Children – Some are very tolerant and loving, others may resent rough-housing, while others will try to herd the kids by “bumping” them. It’s best to wait until children are at least school age or older before introducing the dog and interactions should always be supervised.
The Rottweiler may be an offshoot of the Italian Mastiff. At the height of the Roman Empire until the Middle Ages, he was used as a herd dog. Rottweilers were bred in the German town of Rottweil in Wurttemberg. They were thought to be extinct in the 1800’s but the breed’s population was revitalized in the early 1900’s thanks to the efforts of breeders based in Stuttgart.
- County or origin – Germany
- AKA KC name and group. – Mastiff Group, Working (AKC), Working (KC)
- Recognition – CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, KCGB, CKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR
Did you know…
- Famous owners of Rottweilers –
- Basketball Player Cheryl Miller – Bella
- Baseball Player Ken Griffey, Jr – Akeiba
- Malcolm-Jamal Warner Actor Makeba
- Alicia Silverstone – Samson a mutt – part rottweiller, part pit bull
- Will Smith Entertainer Indo and Zhaki
- Dedee Pfeiffer Actress Boe (or Boecephus)
- Bass Guitarist Craig Montoya – Madison
- Actor Jay Mohr – Shirley
- Punk drummer Travis Barker – Lil Kim
- News agency BBC Oxfordshire reported in 2008 about Chris Tuffrey from Banbury, Oxfordshire and his Rottweiler named Beamish. The dog located a cancerous mole on his owner, Mr. Tuffrey claimed, by continuously trying to lift his arm to indicate where the cancerous mole was.