Rottweiler: Difference between revisions

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[[Image:Rottweiler.jpg|thumb|right|An [[Docking (dog)|undocked]] Rottweiler in profile]]
[[Image:Rottweiler.jpg|thumb|right|An [[Docking (dog)|undocked]] Rottweiler in profile]]
Natural bob tailed or if present the tail was historically docked. Docking is banned in Germany, the U.K and some other countries. An un-docked Rottweiler tail is level in extension of the upper line; at ease it may be hanging.
Natural bob tailed or if present the tail was historically docked. Docking is banned in Germany, the U.K and some other countries. An un-docked Rottweiler tail is level in extension of the upper line; at ease it may be hanging.ok

Revision as of 17:55, 1 September 2009

Common nicknames Rottie
Origin Germany
Weight Male ≈50 kg (110 pounds)
Female ≈42 kg (93 pounds)
Height Male 61 to 68 cm (24-27 inches)
Female 56 to 63 cm (22-25 inches)
Coat Double coated, Short, hard and thick
Color Black and tan or black and mahogany
Litter size average 8 to 12 although larger litters are known
Life span 10-12
Classification / standards
FCI Group 2, Section 2 #147 standard
AKC Working standard
ANKC Group 6 (Utility) standard
CKC Group 3 - Working standard
KC (UK) Working standard
NZKC Utility standard
UKC Guardian Dog standard
Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The Rottweiler, or Rottweil Metzgerhund ("Butchers Dog"), is a "medium to large size, stalwart dog"[1] breed originating in Germany as a herding dog. It is a hardy and very intelligent breed. Rottweilers also worked as draught dogs, pulling carts to carry meat and other products to market. "Rottweiler breeders aim at a dog of abundant strength, black coated with clearly defined rich tan markings, whose powerful appearance does not lack nobility and which is exceptionally well suited to being a companion, service and working dog." [2]

The Rottweiler was kept busy in these traditional roles until the mid-19th century when railroads replaced droving for getting livestock to market. Although there are still Rottweilers working stock all over the world, many other roles have been found for this versatile breed.

During the First and Second World Wars, Rottweilers were put into service in various roles including as messenger, draught, and guard dogs. Currently they are often used as search and rescue, assistance, guide dogs for the blind, guard and police dogs in addition to their traditional roles.


Rottweiler memorial in Rottweil, Germany

Although an extremely versatile breed used in recent times for many other purposes, the Rottweiler is first and foremost one of the oldest, if not the oldest, of herding breeds. A multi-faceted herding and stock protection dog of exceptional ability, it is capable of working all kinds of livestock under a wide variety of conditions. [3]

The breed is an ancient one, whose history stretches back to the Roman Empire. In those times, the legions traveled with their meat on the hoof and required the assistance of working dogs to herd the cattle. One route the army traveled was through Württemberg and on to the small market town of Rottweil. The principal ancestors of the first Rottweilers during this time was supposed to be the Roman droving dog, local dogs the army met on its travels, 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 driving and protecting the cattle from robbers and wild animals. However, by the end of the 19th century as railroads became the main method for moving stock to market, the breed had declined so much that in 1900 there was only one female to be found in the town of Rottweil.

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 German Rottweiler Club) on the 27 April 1907 and became the IRK (International Rottweiler Club). The DRK counted around 500 Rottweiler, the SDRK 3000 Rottweilers. The goals of the two clubs were different. The DRK wanted to produce working dogs and did not emphasize the morphology of the Rottweiler. The main stud dog of this club was Lord von der Teck. The IRK tried to produce a homogeneous morphology according to their standard. One of the main stud dogs of this club was Ralph von Neckar.

The various German Rottweiler Clubs amalgamated to form the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiller Klub - e.V (ADRK) which is recognised worldwide as the home club of the Rottweiler.

The build up to World War I saw a great demand for police dogs, and that led to a revival of interest in the Rottweiler. From that time the breed has become popular with dog owners, and in 1935 was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club. In 1936, Rottweilers were exhibited in Britain at Crufts. In 1966, a separate register was opened for the breed. In fact, in the mid 1990s, the popularity of the Rottweiler reached an all time high with it being the 1st most registered dog by the American Kennel Club. [4]

Rottweilers were said to have been used by travelling butchers at markets during the middle ages to guard money pouches tied around their necks. [5]


Anatomy of the Rottweiler
  1. Stop
  2. Snout (teeth, tongue)
  3. Dewlap (throat, neck skin)
  4. Shoulder
  5. Elbow
  6. Forefeet
  7. Highest Point of the Rump
  8. Leg (thigh and hip)
  9. Hock
  10. Hind feet
  11. Withers
  12. Stifle
  13. Paws
  14. Tail


Rottweiler Head

The skull is of medium length, broad between the ears. The forehead line is moderately arched as seen from the side. The occipital bone well developed without being conspicuous. The stop is well defined.

The Rottweiler nose is well developed, more broad than round with relatively large nostrils and always black. The muzzle should appear neither elongated nor shortened in relation to the cranial region. The nasal bridge is broad at the base and moderately tapered.

The lips are black and close fitting with the corner of the mouth not visible. The gums should be as dark as possible.

Both the upper and lower jaws are strong and broad. According to the FCI Standard Rottweilers should have strong and complete dentition (42 teeth) with scissor bite, the upper incisors closely overlapping the lower incisors. It has a 335lbs bite force

The zygomatic arches should be pronounced. The eyes should be of medium size, almond-shaped and dark brown in colour. The eyelids are close fitting.

The ears are medium-sized, pendant, triangular, wide apart, and set on high. With the ears laid forward close to the head, the skull appears to be broadened.

The skin on the head is tight fitting overall. When the dog is alert, the forehead may be slightly wrinkled.


Strong, of fair length, well muscled, slightly arched, clean, free from throatiness, without dewlap and very long neck


The back is straight, strong and firm. The loins are short, strong and deep.The Croup is broup, of medium length, and slightly rounded, neither flat nor falling away. The chest is roomy, broad and deep (approximately 50 % of the shoulder height) with a well developed forechest and well sprung ribs. The flanks are not tucked up.


An undocked Rottweiler in profile

Natural bob tailed or if present the tail was historically docked. Docking is banned in Germany, the U.K and some other countries. An un-docked Rottweiler tail is level in extension of the upper line; at ease it may be hanging.ok


When seen from the front, the front legs are straight and not placed too closely to each other. The forearm, seen from the side, stands straight and vertical. The slope of the shoulder blade is about 45 degrees to the horizontal. The shoulders are well laid back. The upper arm is close fitting to the body. The forearm is strongly developed and muscular. Pasterns are slightly springy, strong but not steep. The front feet are round, tight and well arched, the pads hard, nails are short, black and strong.

When seen from behind, the rear legs are straight and not too close together. When standing free, obtuse angles are formed between the dog’s upper thigh and the hip bone, the upper thigh and the lower thigh, and the lower thigh and metatarsal. The upper thigh is moderately long, broad and strongly muscled. The lower thigh is long, strongly and broadly muscled, sinewy. The hocks are sturdy, well angulated, not steep. The hind feet are slightly longer than the front feet. Toes are strong, arched, as tight as the front feet.


The Rottweiler is a trotting dog. In movement the back remains firm and relatively stable. Movement is harmonious, steady, full of energy and unrestricted, with good stride. Loves to play and run around.


The coat consists of a top coat and an undercoat. The top coat is of medium length, coarse, dense and flat. The undercoat must not show through the top coat. The hair is a little longer on the hindlegs.

Rottweilers living in hot climates may have aclimatised and may be missing the undercoat.

Rottweiler coats tend to be low maintenance, although they experience heavy shedding prior to their seasons (females) or seasonally (males).


Black with clearly defined markings of a rich tan on the cheeks, muzzle, throat, chest and legs, as well as over both eyes and under the base of the tail.


Technically a "medium / large" breed, according to the FCI standard the Rottweiler stands 61 to 68 cm (24-27 inches) at the withers for males, and 56 to 62.5 cm (22-25 inches) for females, and the average weight is 50 kg (110 pounds) for males and 42 kg (93 pounds) for females.[6]


According to the FCI Standard, the Rottweiler is good-natured, placid in basic disposition and fond of children, it is very devoted, obedient, biddable and eager to work. Their appearance is natural and rustic, his behaviour self assured, steady and fearless. They react to their surroundings with great alertness. [7]

The American Kennel Club says it is basically a calm, confident and courageous dog with a self-assured aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. A Rottweiler is self-confident and responds quietly and with a wait-and-see attitude to influences in its environment. It has an inherent desire to protect home and family, and is an intelligent dog of extreme hardness and adaptability with a strong willingness to work, making him especially suited as a companion, guardian and general all-purpose dog. [8]

Rottweilers are a powerful breed with well developed genetic herding and guarding instincts. As with any breed, potentially dangerous behaviour in Rottweilers usually results from irresponsible ownership, abuse, neglect, or lack of socialization and training. Inherent breed characteristics are not a factor.

The breed has received some negative publicity. In the US, in a report by the CDC, the Rottweiler was listed as the second most likely breed of dog named in fatal human attacks, following pitbulls. The report acknowledges that the broad popularity of the breed may contribute to high numbers of fatalities, but suggests Rottweilers are still disproportionately represented in attack figures. Breed-specific bite rates are not known, and less responsible owners being drawn to certain breeds may be a factor.[9] American insurance company Allstate (depending on the state) may not insure homes with Rottweilers as well as Pit Bulls, Boxers, Akitas, Chow Chows, Dobermans, or wolf hybrids.[10]

The portrayal of Rottweilers as evil dogs in several fictional films and TV series, most notably in The Omen, and negative press has added to their negative publicity. This has led to Rottweilers being banned in some municipalities and are sometimes targeted as dangerous dogs by legislation, such as in the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and the Republic of Ireland. However, the Dutch law has since been changed as of 2008. On the other hand, not all mainstream media has portrayed the breed in a negative light: for example, a gentler side of the Rottweiler's personality was observed in the movie Lethal Weapon 3 where a Rottweiler guarding a gun smuggling operation was placated by the main character, played by Mel Gibson, with dog treats. The dog was subsequently rescued and de facto adopted by the protagonist. Also, in the HBO series Entourage a rottweiler is a dear pet of the main characters. Cujo the loveable family dog and voice of the official website in the TV series Kath and Kim, is played by National Rottweiler Council (Australia) Champion and Dual Champion (Tracking) Goodiesway Basko (AI) C.D.X. E.T.

Working style

The Rottweiler has a natural gathering style with a strong desire to control. They generally show a loose-eye and have a great amount of force while working well off the stock. They make much use of their ability to intimidate.

The Rottweiler will often carry the head on an even plane with the back or carry the head up but have the neck and shoulders lowered. Some females will lower the entire front end slightly when using eye. Males will also do this when working far off the stock in an open field. This is rarely seen in males when working in confined spaces such as stock yards.

The Rottweiler has a reasonably good natural balance, force-barks when necessary and when working cattle uses a very intimidating charge. There is a natural change in forcefulness when herding sheep. When working cattle he may use his body and shoulders and for this reason should be used on horned stock with caution.

The Rottweiler, when working cattle, will search out the dominant animal and challenge it. Upon proving his control over that animal he will settle back and tend to his work.

Some growers have found that Rottweilers are especially suited to move stubborn stock that simply ignores Border Collies, Kelpies etc. A Rottweiler will use their body to physically force the stubborn animal to do his bidding if necessary.

When working sheep the Rottweiler shows a gathering/fetching style and reams directions easily. He drives sheep with ease.

If worked on the same stock for any length of time the Rottweiler tends to develop a bond with the stock and will become quite affectionate with them as long as they do as he says. [11]


  1. ^ Fédération CynoIogique Internationale-Standard N° 147/ 19. 06. 2000 / GB The Rottweiler. Translated by - Mrs C. Seidler Country of Origin – Germany. Available online at ADRK websiteRottweiler Breed Standard
  2. ^ FCI Standard N° 147 Op. Cit.
  3. ^ Schanzle, Manfred, Studies In The Breed History Of The Rottweiler. German edition Published by Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiller Klub - e.V. 1967. English edition published jointly by Colonial Rottweiler Club & Medallion Rottweiler Club - Sept 1969. 1981 Printing (updated) - Published by Powderhorn Press 3320 Wonderview Plaza, Hollywood,CA90068. Copyright 1981 Clara Hurley
  4. ^ The History of the Rottweiler
  5. ^ [
  6. ^ FCI Standard N° 147 Op. Cit.
  7. ^ FCI Standard N° 147 Op. Cit.
  8. ^ American Keneel Club Standard for the Rottweiler
  9. ^ Breeds of dog involved in fatal human attacks in the U.S. between 1979 and 1998
  10. ^ "Washington Bill Asks Insurers to Consider Dogs' Deeds, not their Breeds". 2005-03-18. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  11. ^ National Dog - The Ringleader Way, Volume 12 Number 1&2, Jan/Feb 2009 Breed Feature "Bernese Mountain Dogs, Leonbergers & Rottweilers", page 12.


  • Blackmore, Joan. A Dog Owners Guide to the Rottweiler
  • Brace, Andrew H. (Ed), The Ultimate Rottweiler, Ringpress Books, Surrey, 2003. ISBN 1-86054-263-8
  • Coren,Stanley. The Intelligence of Dogs, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. (1994).
  • Chardets,. Know your Rottweiler
  • Australian National Kennel Council, Extended Breed Standard of the Rottweiler. Available online at
  • Fédération Cynologique Internationale-Standard N° 147/ 19. 06. 2000 / GB The Rottweiler. Translated by - Mrs C. Seidler Country of Origin – Germany.
  • Kaneene JB, Mostosky UV, Miller R. Update of a retrospective cohort study of changes in hip joint phenotype of dogs evaluated by the OFA in the United States, 1989-2003. Vet Surg 2009;38:398-405. Link to abstract:
  • National Dog - The Ringleader Way, Volume 12 Number 1 & 2, Jan/Feb 2009 Breed Feature "Bernese Mountain Dogs, Leonbergers & Rottweilers".
  • Pettengell, Jim. The Rottweiler
  • Pirnkoss, Adolf. Rottweiler
  • Schanzle, Manfred, Studies In The Breed History Of The Rottweiler. German edition Published by Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiller - Klub (ADRK) E.V. 1967 English edition published jointly by Colonial Rottweiler Club & Medallion Rottweiler Club - Sept 1969. 1981 Printing (updated) - Published by Powderhorn Press 3320 Wonderview Plaza, Hollywood, CA90068.
  • Yrjola, J.A.U. & Tikka, Elvi. Our Friend the Rottweiler.

External links