The Rottweiler is a large, robust and powerful breed of dog that belongs to the Working group. It is distinctively characterized by a jet black coat with clearly defined tan or mahogany markings on the legs, chest, under tail, neck, cheeks, muzzle, and over the eyes and sports a grey, fawn or black undercoat. This above average size breed has a broad head, well-boned and muscled cheeks, fairly deep muzzle with a black nose and large nostrils. It has medium-sized almond-shaped eyes that are dark brown in colour with close fitting eyelids, highly set pendant ears that lies flat and close to the cheeks, teeth that forms a complete scissor bite and a strong, very muscular neck that proudly carries the broad head. The body features a broad and deep chest, strong and straight back with a slightly longer than tall profile supported by straight and muscular front legs and broad, strongly muscled back legs. The legs are supported by round and compact feet with very hard pads that help cushion the Rottweiler from the ground. The tail is usually docked at first joint and is carried horizontally. The Rottweiler has a coarse and flat topcoat with an undercoat that is essential on the neck and thighs, with slightly longer hair on the back of the forelegs and breechings. The Rottweiler comes in black with clearly defined rich tan to mahogany markings.
The Rottweiler is an ancient breed and its origin can be traced back as early as the Roman Empire. It is believed to have evolved from the Mastiff or the German shepherd and was extensively used by the Roman legions to drive and guard cattle herds that travelled with the army. The Roman troops marched long distances and some of them eventually settled with their dogs in Württemberg on the small market town of what was to become Rottweil. In addition to driving cattle, the dog also became an effective guard dog, protecting the cattle sale profits and pulling carts and wagons. The Rottweiler was known at that time as the “metzgerhund” or “butcher dog” and was an essential contributor to Rottweil’s economy until the middle of the 19th century when cattle driving was outlawed and the use for the dogs gradually declined. Since the Rottweiler was no longer needed, the breed’s population started to suffer and was almost lost at one time. In the early part of the 1900s, breed enthusiasts started a breeding program and formed a club to save the breed. A breed standard was established, although the club did not last long. The Rottweiler was broadly used during the First World War as an able police and guard dog. It was exhibited in Britain at Crufts in 1936 and was officially registered as a separate breed in 1966. Today, the Rottweiler is an effective police- and military dog besides being an adorable family companion.
A well-trained and properly socialized Rottweiler is a reliable, alert dog and a loving companion. Destructive and aggressive Rottweilers are a result of poor training and mishandling, which can even pose a serious threat if allowed to run at large. In general, the Rottweiler is a confident and territorial breed which makes an excellent candidate as a guard dog. es not bark excessively; in fact, male Rottweilers are silent watchers who notice everything that is happening around them but are often quite stoic. Females on the other hand can become excessive barkers especially when protecting their territory. This breed is reserved of strangers and may only become aggressive when threatened.
Training should be in a firm, fair and consistent manner as the Rottweiler can have a tendency to be strong-willed. The smooth, glossy coat is quite easy to maintain.
Occasional brushing with a firm bristle brush and bathing when needed is sufficient. The Rottweiler is considered an average shedder.
The Rottweiler is a hardy breed that can live between 10 to 12 years if properly maintained and cared for. However, there are potential health issues that may affect the breed including canine hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, subvalvular aortic stenosis, and osteosarcoma. Other medical conditions that have been known to relatively affect the Rottweiler include hypothyroidism, gastric torsion or bloat and allergies.
The ideal base diet for this breed would consist of lamb, poultry, dairy products, and wheat. As much as possible, fish, beef, corn, soy or white rice should be avoided.
It needs to be exercised on a daily basis to prevent the onset of unsocial and destructive behaviours. Daily long walks, a session of mental or physical game, or a free play in a well-secured and open space are suitable workouts. It should have a decent amount of time playing with the family which works best in stimulating the breed’s mentality. It is not suited to live in hot climates and may have the tendency to suffer heatstroke. It will do fine in an apartment dwelling provided that it is exercised daily. It is relatively inactive indoors and will do best in a house with at least a small, well-secured yard.
Although it has strong traits, including over-protective and stubborn, it is generally fond of children, very devoted and is a quick learner that is always eager to please its master and responds readily to a clear and compassionate handler. It is a playful breed that requires constant attention. It will result to destructive behaviour when it is ignored or neglected. Proper and early socialization is the key to co-existing peacefully with other pets and may become aggressive with other dogs.