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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Rottweiler


Origin: Germany

AKC Group: Working

Height: 22 - 27 inches (56-69 cm) (Male)

Weight: 85 - 130 pounds (39-59 kg) (Male)

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Male height: 
22 - 27 inches (56-69 cm)
Male weight: 
85 - 130 pounds (39-59 kg)
Straight, coarse and dense, with an undercoat.
Black with rust to mahogany markings on the cheeks, muzzle, and above the eyes; legs; prosternum; and under the tail.

Sometime around 74 C.E., as Roman soldiers marched across Europe, herds of cattle accompanied them as sources of food. The herds were guarded and driven by mastiff-type dogs who were also sufficiently imposing to keep thieves at bay and potential deserters in the ranks. As the cattle were eaten, dogs were left behind - sometimes as guardians at the various outposts established by the Romans and sometimes to fend for themselves. Because the main route of travel was over the Alps through the St. Gotthard Pass, these dogs figured in the background of many of the Swiss breeds. The northern boundary of the army's ventures traced through southern Germany, including the town of Rottweil, which became a major European center for livestock commerce during the next 18 centuries. The mastiff types that came to populate Rottweil became known as German "butcher" dogs - helping drive cattle and cart the meat and other wares to market. These excursions were dangerous, as the butchers and others bringing supplies to markets in town were often ambushed and robbed. Their owners often tied their money belts around their Rottweilers' necks to safeguard them.

As railroads and other means of transportation put the Rottweiler out of a job, he lost favor for some time. When the police and military began using him for protection and other work, his popularity rose through the 20th century. He was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) in 1930, and he became one of the most popular breeds in the United States in the early 1990s. However, his extreme popularity led to overbreeding and a deterioration of his steady temperament, which led to his being targeted a "dangerous" breed. The Rottweiler's subsequent drop in popularity was actually a boon to the breed, and now he is being bred in far fewer numbers by those who value his noblest qualities. Today's resolute Rottweiler is the versatile companion he has been through the ages.

The Rottweiler is a sturdy, strong, dependable, self-assured and intelligent dog. He tends to be aloof with strangers and has a natural guarding instinct and an inherent desire to protect home and family. With his loved ones, he is a mellow and loving animal who can be extremely playful and even silly. He is happiest in the company of those he loves, and he needs this companionship and lots of socialization to bring out his finest qualities. He has been a service dog to sectors as diverse as the military and the infirm because of his intelligence, patience, and discretion. He is a strong, powerful guard dog, but he is also a true friend with a deep reserve of respect and love for those in his care.
At home: 
Most Rottweilers love to be with their owners every minute of the day, and it's not unusual for them to be constantly underfoot. This is not a breed that does well unattended for long periods. They are territorial and will defend home and property, so training is essential. While the ideal living situation would be a home with plenty of space, lots of Rotties live comfortably in the suburbs or city - as long as their exercise and training needs are met. Yards should be fenced, and Rotties should never be left outside tied to a stake all day - this is a breed meant to live with its owners. They do not tolerate hot temperatures well and are prone to heatstroke.
The Rottweiler needs plenty of exercise. A healthy adult will probably need three outings a day to satisfy his energy requirements. Taking him for long walks and on various outings will also provide him with opportunities for socialization. Exercise and interactive play will help keep the intelligent Rottie from becoming bored and turning to destructive behavior and will also increase the bond with his owner.
Rotties are enthusiastic eaters and will usually gobble whatever is fed to them; this means that it's especially important to monitor their food intake to prevent obesity. They need the highest-quality diet to ensure that they are getting adequate nutrition - especially if they are participating in any sports or service work. Feeding twice a day is preferred.
The Rottweiler must receive obedience training from puppyhood on. Not only will it help him bond to his owner and understand that his owner is in charge, but it will help him become a tractable and lovable dog. Obedience training is also the foundation for participation in organized sports, which will benefit the Rottie immensely. He is a sensitive dog and so needs a firm, fair leader who will train him with respect and rewards. Socialization is a critical part of his training as well.
Rotties are generally tolerant of children, especially in their own family, and can be tireless playmates. However, because of their large size and tendency to herd, they should be supervised around children. Rottweilers, especially the males, can be aggressive toward other dogs, which is why socialization is necessary from an early age. Properly socialized Rotties can and do get along with other pets, provided the dogs do not have an extremely high prey drive.
The average life span of the Rottweiler is 10 to 12 years. Health problems of the Rottweiler include bloat, cancer; elbow and hip dysplasia; epilepsy; hypothyroidism; osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD); panosteitis; subaortic stenosis; and von Willebrand disease.
Fun fact: 

Years ago, two sizes of Rottweiler existed: a larger one for draft work and a smaller size for herding cattle.

Grooming blurb: 
Rottweilers are average shedders who should be brushed at least once a week using a soft bristle brush to keep the coat in shape. Folds around the face should be kept clean of dirt and debris.
This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.