The Rottweiler, also known as the rott or rottie, is loyal to their family but has developed a negative public image due to irresponsible dog owners. Once you get to know this breed, their devotion is astonishing and they will Velcro themselves to you. Whether you want to go on adventures regularly or choose to have a movie day, a Rottweiler will gladly keep you company.
Origin and History
Rottweilers were developed in Germany to pull carts and drive cattle. Their huge, stocky form indicates they were bred for labor. Because Rottweilers were so effective at driving cattle and were useful in protecting their owner's money from thieves, they began to flourish.
Cattle drives were eventually phased out in favor of rail transport. The Rottweiler was on the verge of extinction at that time. When the Rottweiler and Leonberger Club was created in 1901, the Rottweiler breed standard was written. The Rottweiler seen today isn't much different from those from the early 1900s.
The first Rottweiler came to the United States in the 1920s. The first litter in the United States was produced in 1930. Shortly thereafter, in 1931, the first of the breed was registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
The Rottweiler has a reputation for being ferocious, but once you get to know a well-rounded member of the breed, they will capture your heart with their love and affection.
Rottweilers are big dogs. They are perhaps not as large as mastiffs or Irish Wolfhounds, but they are substantial nevertheless. According to the breed standard, males usually top out around 27 inches tall at the shoulder, while females are typically a little smaller and usually wind up around 25 inches tall. Their average weight ranges from 85 to 115 pounds. Both sexes have deep chests, and they should have enough muscle mass to balance their frames.
Rottweilers have a short, straight, coarse coat. Even though their coat tends to be short, they do have a double coat. Their outer coat is short on the head, ears, and legs. The undercoat varies based on where the Rottweiler lives.
The Rottweiler is black with mahogany markings over their eyes, on the muzzle, and on their cheeks, chest, and legs. They also have thin, tan lines along their toes.
Rottweilers are calm, self-assured, fearless dogs. They don't have a reputation for being timid. They are reserved with strangers, but once rotties get to know them, they will become loving and calmly wait for attention. They're highly affectionate and enjoy being with their family.
Due to their attachment to their families, it's not uncommon for them to take on the role of family protector. It's critical to provide these dogs with training, structure, and consistent guidance, not only when they are puppies, but throughout their lives. Develop a strong bond to allow them to trust your judgment in all situations, especially those that involve people they don't know.
Temperament tends to vary between males and females. Males tend to be more mindful of their surroundings, watching their territory cautiously. Females are often more affectionate than males.
Rottweilers require early socialization and exposure to a variety of people, sights, sounds, and experiences. All dogs need to be socialized, but this is especially important with rotties, given their public image and the need to present positive traits of the breed. Your Rottweiler puppy is more likely to become a well-rounded adult dog with proper socialization.
Rottweilers are intelligent and eager-to-please, but they also come with a stubborn streak. Keep training fun and interesting to ensure your rottie is motivated. Stay patient and use positive reinforcement techniques to establish a strong bond with your dog.
Energy levels vary on a dog-by-dog basis in this breed. Some are extremely hyper, whereas others would rather lounge on the couch. Make sure you choose a dog with the energy level that suits you. Most Rottweilers require 20 to 30 minutes of exercise each day, but more active rotties need additional stimulation. Regardless of activity level, this breed needs to be physically and mentally engaged throughout the day.
Like all breeds, Rottweilers are prone to certain diseases and disorders. Some of the most common include:
- Dysplasia: This is a painful, degenerative joint disorder that affects the hips and elbows.
- Cruciate ligament injuries: This includes tears and ruptures to the ligaments that hold the knee joint in place.
- Bloat: This is a life-threatening condition where the stomach fills up with gas and fluid and then twists closed on itself.
- Entropion: This is a condition where the eyelid rolls inward and irritates the eye.
- Heart disease: This includes conditions such as subvalvular aortic stenosis, dilated cardiomyopathy, and congestive heart failure.
Rottweilers live 8 to 10 years on average.
Brush your Rottweiler weekly with a bristle brush to distribute oils throughout their coat and remove dead fur. During shedding periods, you should brush your rottie each day. Bathe them as needed to avoid damaging the oils in your dog's coat.
To prevent periodontal disease, brush your Rottweiler's teeth a minimum of three times per week. If your rottie will tolerate it, daily brushing is recommended.
Fun Facts About the Breed
Because the Rottweiler is such a well-known breed, you would think there's nothing left to know about them. Surprisingly, there are still facts that many people remain unaware of:
- Their ancestors once herded and guarded the livestock used to feed the Roman army.
- Unfortunately, you may be required to carry liability insurance on this breed, depending where you live.
- They are named after the town of Rottweil in Germany.
- They're excellent police dogs.
- Rottweilers were used as messengers, ambulance dogs, and guard dogs through World War I and II.
Purchasing or Adopting a Rottweiler
If you're looking for a Rottweiler puppy, a good place to start is the United States Rottweiler Club. The club has a breeder directory available as well as helpful tips on how to find responsible breeders with quality dogs. The AKC PuppyFinder page also has a breeder search. Expect to pay around $1,200 to $2,000, although higher-end show dogs from champion lines can cost as much as $9,500.
Because many dog owners are unaware of what goes into raising and maintaining a Rottweiler, and because many rotties grow too large for some, many members of the breed can be found in shelters throughout the nation. Begin by searching through the directories on PetFinder and Save-a-Rescue. You can also contact these breed-specific rescue organizations:
- MidAmerica Rottweiler Rescue: A Rottweiler rescue dedicated to educating the public about the breed, locating rescues, and finding forever homes. This organization serves the areas of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.
- Hudson Valley Rottie Rescue: A non-profit dedicated to rescuing, training, and placing Rottweilers in their forever homes.
- R.E.A.L. Rottweiler Rescue: An organization devoted to locating and rescuing Rottweilers from high-kill shelters, among other areas.
Is this the Breed for You?
Before bringing a rottie home, it's important to understand they won't stay a puppy forever. Although they aren't the largest breed, they become considerably imposing as adults, and understanding this prior to purchasing or adopting a rottie is important. You should also be prepared to spend time training this breed and building a bond. If you are searching for a loyal, large breed dog that will happily protect you, then continue your search. Don't forget to meet both of the parents and each puppy individually to get a feel for their temperament, and to help choose the pup that's right for you.