A Rottweiler is a medium-large, robust and powerful dog breed originating from Germany.
The breed is black with clearly defined tan markings on the cheeks, muzzle, chest, legs, and eyebrows. The markings on the chest should form two distinct upside-down triangles; a tiny patch of white in between is not acceptable for show dogs. The cheeks should have clearly defined spots that should be separate from the muzzle tan. The muzzle tan should continue over the throat. Each eyebrow should have a spot. Markings on the legs should not be above a third of the leg. On each toe should be a black 'pencil' mark. Underneath the tail should also be tan.
Nails are black. Inside the mouth, the cheeks may have black patches, although the tongue is pink. The skull is typically massive, but without excessive jowls. The forehead is wrinkly when the Rottweiler is alert.
A Rottweiler's eyes are a warm, dark brown—any other color may not be acceptable as part of the "pure breed". The expression should be calm, intelligent, alert, and fearless. The ears are small drop ears that lie flat to the head. 'Flying' ears are considered undesirable by some breeders. The coat is medium length and consists of a waterproof undercoat and a coarse top coat. Rottweilers tend to be low maintenance, although they experience shedding during certain periods of the year.
Naturally, Rottweilers are a tailed dog. Tails were originally removed to prevent breakage and infection that would occur when the tail became covered in mud and other debris collected from pastures and livestock. Today, many owners in U.S. decide to have the tails removed soon after the puppy's birth for purely cosmetic reasons. The tail is usually docked to the first joint. In the past this was a commonly accepted practice, but it has been banned in the European Union.
The chest is deep and should reach the dog's elbows, giving tremendous lung capacity. The back should be straight; never sloping. According to FCI standard, the Rottweiler stands 61 to 68 cm (24-27 inches) at the withers for males, and 56 to 63 cm (22-25 inches) for females. Average weight is 50 kg (110 lb) for males and 42 kg (95 lb) for females.
In the hands of a responsible owner, a well-trained and -socialized Rottweiler can provide both excellent personal protection and loving companionship. A badly trained or insufficiently restrained Rottweiler, however, can be extremely destructive, and pose a significant physical threat to its owner or other humans or dogs on account of its size and strength. In general, Rottweilers are quick to learn and eager to please, and thrive on mental stimulation. They can also be strong-willed at times, however, and should thus be disciplined in a firm, consistent manner. Rottweilers are playful animals who constantly demand attention from their owners and will find creative and often destructive ways to get it if they are excessively neglected.
The Rottweiler is not usually a barker: males are silent watchers who notice everything and are often quite stoic. Females, however, may become problem barkers in order to protect their den. In the event a dog feels threatened, they tend to go very still before attacking, and there may be no warning growl. This is one of the breed's characteristics that lends itself to the reputation of being unreliable. An observant owner, however, is usually able to recognise when the Rottweiler perceives a threat. When the dog barks, it is more of a sign of annoyance with external factors (car alarms or other disturbances) rather than threats.
The Rottweiler is typically a dominant dog, and they can resort to aggressiveness in unfamiliar situations. The Rottweiler's large size and incredible strength make this an important point to consider, and for this reason the Rottweiler is a breed that only experienced dog owners should consider. Rottweiler owners who are not aware at the outset of the breed's aggressive nature often have difficulty handling such dogs when they reach adulthood. Early socialization and exposure to as many new people, animals, and situations as possible are crucial to producing a dog that is tolerant of strangers.
Aggression in Rottweilers is associated with boredom, poor handling, lack of socialization, natural guarding tendencies, and abuse. Owners are advised to neuter/spay the dog to reduce aggressive tendencies. Unneutered males can become aggressive and hard to manage and are predisposed to some cancers. Unspayed females can become moody and difficult and predisposed to uterine problems and cancers.
The Rottweiler Welfare Association offers the following advice for would-be Rottweiler owners:
- Like all dogs, the Rottweiler needs to be trained properly and controlled at all times
- No-one should own a Rottweiler unless they are absolutely sure they can control it, and are willing and able to devote time and effort to teach the dog good basic manners
- The Rottweiler has a natural guarding instinct. Do not do anything (for instance, rough play) to enhance this guarding instinct
- No Rottweiler should be in the sole charge of a person such as a child who is not capable of controlling it
- Any person who owns a dog should be aware that he will be devoted to and feel protective towards his household. This should be borne in mind when children are playing, people arguing or visitors are calling
- Third party insurance should be taken out on any Rottweiler that you own.
- Some abandoned/rescued Rottweilers can make wonderful pets while others can be very protective.
The breed is an ancient one, and its history stretches back to the Roman Empire. In those times, the legions travelled with their meat on the hoof and required the assistance of working dogs to herd the cattle. One route the army travelled was through Württemberg and on to the small market town of Rottweil.The principal ancestor of the first Rottweilers during this time was supposed to be the Roman war dog, local sheepdogs meet during the travel, and dogs with molosser appearance coming from England and The Netherlands.
This region eventually became an important cattle area, and the descendants of the Roman cattle dogs proved their worth in both droving and protecting the cattle from robbers and wild animals. It would be a brave villain who would try to remove the purse around the neck of a Rottweiler Metzgershund (Butcher's Dog of Rottweil).
However, by the end of the 19th Century, the breed had declined so much that in 1900 there was only one female to be found in the town of Rottweil. But the build up to the World War I saw a great demand for "police dogs," and that led to a revival in interest for the Rottweiler. Its enormous strength, its intelligence, and its ability to take orders made it a natural weapon of war.
From that time, it has become popular with dog owners, and in 1935 the breed was officially recognised by the American Kennel Club. In 1936, Rottweilers were exhibited in Britain at Crufts. In 1966, a separate register was opened for the breed.
The first Rottweiler club in Germany, named DRK ("Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub" — German Rottweiler Club) was created the 13 January 1907, and followed by the creation of the SDRK ("Süddeutscher Rottweiler-Klub" — South Rottweiler German Club) on the 27 April 1907 and became the IRK (International Rottweiler Club). The DRK counted around 500 Rottweiler, the SDRK 3000 Rottweilers. The goal of the two clubs was different. The DRK want to produce working dogs and didn't take lot of care in the morphology of the Rottweiler. The main stud dog of this club was Lord von der Teck. The IRK tried to give an homogeneous morphology according to their standard. One of the main stud dogs of this club was Ralph von Neckar. One dog emerged and gave us the base of the actual Rottweiler type: Lord von der Teck son of Lord Remo vom Schifferstadt.
On 14 August 1921 the two clubs merged to become the ADRK (Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub) which is now known as the official German Rottweiler club. The first currency of the ADRK was : "Die Rottweilerzucht ist und bleibt Gebrauchshundezucht" (The Rottweiler breeding is and stay the breeding of a work dog)
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