With its background as a working dog, the Rottweiler is very intelligent, loyal, and active. Families and owners across the world have taken a liking to Rottweilers as their gentleness is such a contrast to their tough presence. Read on to learn more about this surprisingly cuddly, playful, and sweet breed that has worked as a guard dog for much of its history.
The Rottweiler, also called a Rottie, is a working dog descended from ancient Roman dogs. These dogs were used by Romans to guard armies and drive cattle, a vital role as the cattle were their food provisions. When the Roman Empire collapsed, many dogs were left behind in the town of Rottweil, Germany where they became guard dogs and herding dogs to local butchers. This breed became invaluable to butchers as they could pull carts and protect the merchants from being robbed when making deliveries.
When motorized transportation was introduced and small dogs grew in popularity, Rottweilers almost went extinct; however, lovers of this breed kept them alive and expanding. In 1973, the American Rottweiler Club was created to set a standard for Rottweiler breeders. The Rottweiler has also been recognized by the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club. Today, Rottweilers are a popular breed in the United States having been search-and-rescue dogs, guide dogs, and a favorite breed among many.
Appearance & Coat
The Rottweiler is a large, broad, and muscular dog with a docked tail and floppy ears. Although many Rottweilers have their tails docked when they are puppies, this is mainly done for appearance reasons and dog competitions. This breed is recognizable by its notoriously sleek black coat with mahogany and tan accents. These mahogany and tan markings appear on a Rottweiler’s face, chest, legs, and paws, including 2 dots above its eyes that look like little eyebrows.
Additionally, Rottweilers have a double coat that is medium-length and straight. As mentioned before, these dogs are quite large and can weigh between 80 to 135 pounds with a height of 22 to 27 inches at the shoulder.
The Rottweiler can be given a bad reputation because of its guard dog history and intimidating appearance. However, this breed is actually very playful, good-natured, cuddly, and gentle. Rottweilers are thinking dogs that are observant and vigilant without being overly excitable. It should be noted, however, that this breed is territorial and highly devoted to its owners.
Properly socialized Rottweilers are great pets for families with kids. That being said, this breed should be watched when spending time around groups of children where kids from its family are present due to this breed being very protective. Those interested in buying a Rottweiler should make sure to seek out reputable and legitimate breeders. This is important because bad breeding practices can negatively affect a Rottweiler’s temperament. Furthermore, getting to know the personalities of the puppy’s parents is a good step when picking out a Rottweiler to take home.
Those interested in adding a Rottweiler to their home should be aware that this breed tends to be susceptible to many health conditions, another reason why getting a Rottweiler from a reputable breeder is so important. Make sure the breeder you buy your Rottweiler from has a health guarantee on their puppies and can provide documentation that the dogs used in breeding are healthy and free of any genetic conditions.
On average, Rottweilers tend to live around 8 to 11 years. This breed needs to be watched for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, osteochondrosis, cardiomyopathy, von Willebrand's disease, hypothyroidism, Addison’s disease, subaortic stenosis, overheating, cruciate ligament rupture, obesity, and various cancers. Additionally, Rottweilers can have conditions that affect their eyes such as progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, and eyelid deformities.
Obesity in large dogs can create joint problems so frequent exercise and not overfeeding your Rottweiler will help keep them healthy. Lastly, while many dogs can fall victim to bloating and gastric dilatation-volvulus, Rottweilers are at a higher risk. Owners of this breed should be knowledgeable about this condition as it can be fast-acting and lethal.
Caring for a Rottweiler
The Rottweiler’s Ideal Home
Rottweilers are ideal for experienced dog owners since they require a lot of socialization. Additionally, this breed needs an owner who will be confident, consistent, and won’t give in during training. An ideal home for a Rottweiler is one with an adventurous, attentive, and active owner. These dogs can keep up with vigorous activity (as long as it isn’t too hot out for them) and enjoy activities like hiking, running, and swimming.
People interested in owning a Rottweiler should be aware that these dogs, unfortunately, can get a bad reputation and should put in the work to be responsible owners. Likewise, finding a reputable breeder is very important for Rottweilers so potential owners need to be patient and take the time to fully research breeders before buying a puppy.
Training Best Practices
Training and socialization should be consistent with Rottweilers when they are puppies to combat overprotectiveness in the future. When bringing a new Rottweiler puppy home, it’s vital to get them into training right away to properly socialize and train them. During early socialization, owners should have their Rottweiler puppy spend time around other dogs, pets, strangers, friends, family members, and kids. Rottweilers are eager to learn and highly intelligent which makes training much easier. The best training method for Rottweilers is using positive reinforcement.
Because Rottweilers are working dogs, they need physical and mental enrichment to keep them happy and engaged. This breed hates being bored so mentally stimulating dog toys, puzzles, games, and training will keep them happy. If you don’t provide your Rottweiler with daily exercise and mental stimulation, they will find other ways to burn off energy which may include destroying things.
In addition to mental enrichment, Rottweilers will need a couple of walks a day that are at least 10 minutes each. If Rottweilers don’t get the amount of exercise they need, they can become obese and face health problems. In total, this breed requires around 40 minutes of exercise a day.
Grooming & Hygiene
Grooming a Rottweiler is fairly easy as their coat doesn’t require tons of care and, since they are moderate shedders, can be brushed weekly. When the seasons change twice a year in the spring and fall, Rottweilers will shed heavily and blow out their coats. During this time, your Rottweiler will need to be brushed more often than what is usual.
In contrast to their shedding, the Rottweiler is a big drooler. However, Rottweilers don’t need to be bathed often and can have baths on an as-needed basis. Lastly, owners should follow standard dog grooming practices such as cleaning ears, trimming nails, and brushing teeth.
Although this breed can be misunderstood, Rottweiler owners continue to swear by their goofy, lovable, and good-natured personalities. Potential owners looking for a family dog that will also keep them safe should definitely consider a Rottweiler. Browse our current Rottweiler listings at Lancaster Puppies to find the perfect companion for your family.