The Rottweiler dog breed is known in German as Rottweiler Metzgerhund which means Rottweiler butchers’ dogs because they were mainly bred to herd livestock and pull carts laden with butchered meat to the market. But today, they are popular family guardians and friends. Let us know more about the history and characteristics of the Rottweiler dog breed.
The Molossus was the ancestor of the Rottweiler which is a mastiff-type dog. They marched to Germany together with the Romans while driving the cattle that sustained them as they conquered the known world. As their army traveled, large dogs mated with native dogs in the areas they passed through which laid the foundation for new breeds. One of the places they passed through was southern Germany where the Romans have set up colonies, taking advantage of the climate and soil suitable for agriculture. The Romans built villas roofed with red tile.
After 600 years, while a new church was being built, inhabitants of the town excavated the site of the ancient Roman baths and they discovered one of the red-tiled villas. That discovery inspired a new name for the town which is “das Rote Wil” meaning, the red tile.
Over the centuries, Rottweilers thrived as a market area for cattle. The descendants of the Roman Molossus dogs drove the cattle to town for butchering and to keep the money safe from thieves, cattlemen placed their filled purses around their Rottweiler’s neck when they’re on their way home. They were also used to pull carts loaded with meat.
However, Rottweilers nearly became extinct. In 1882, a dog show in Heilbronn, Germany only exhibited one nondescript Rottweiler. But in 1901, things changed when the Rottweiler and Leonberger Club was founded, and the first breed standard for Rottweilers was written. Since then, the description of the appearance and character of Rottweilers have changed a little. They even began to be used in police work where they were well suited.
Over the years, there were several Rottweiler breed clubs that were formed but only one stayed which is the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub that was founded in 1921. This club was able to survive World War II and it continued to promote good breeding programs in Germany and other parts of the world.
It was in the late 1920s when it’s thought that the first Rottweiler came to the United States with a German emigrant. In 1930, the first litter was whelped and the first dog named Stina v Felsenmeer was registered by the American Kennel Club. The breed became more popular after the Second World War and during that time, it was primarily known as an excellent obedience dog.
The mid-1990s was the height of the Rottweiler’s popularity when a hundred thousand dogs were registered with the American Kennel Club. However, popularity isn’t always good because irresponsible breeders started producing puppies without regard for health and temperament problems which is what happened with the Rottweiler breed, leading to bad publicity and decrease in demand.
But there are still dedicated and reputable breeders who are taking chances in turning the breed around and ensure that Rottweilers are the type of dogs they were meant to be. In the present time, the Rottweiler breed ranks 17th among the 155 breeds and varieties registered by the AKC.
Characteristics of Rottweilers
Average height: 1 foot and 10 inches – 2 feet and 3 inches tall
Average weight: 85 to 130 pounds
Rottweilers belong to the working dogs breed group and they can live from 8 to 11 years. Male Rottweilers can grow from 24 to 27 inches tall and can weigh from 95 to 130 pounds. Females on the other hand can grow from 22 to 25 inches tall and can weigh from 85 to 115 pounds.
They have short double coats that are straight and coarse. Their outer coats are medium in length and shorter on the head, ears, and legs. They are always black with markings that are colored rust to mahogany. These markings usually appear over the eyes, on the cheeks, on the chest and legs, beneath the tail, and on each side of the muzzle. They also have tan lines that resemble pencil marks on their toes.
Rottweilers are ideally calm, confident, and courageous. They are never shy, however, they also have self-assured aloofness and they do not make friends with people easily. They are affectionate towards their family and they will often follow you around the house. They are smart and adaptable with a strong work ethic.
Rottweilers usually love children especially when they are raised with them. However, they should be supervised around younger children because this dog breed is big and strong due to their cattle-driving heritage.
Caring for Rottweilers
Rottweilers should live in a home with their family or people because if they are left alone in a backyard most of the time, they can become aggressive, bored, and destructive as well. They are large dogs but are inactive indoors. They are homebodies but they also need a fenced yard because they can become aggressive with other dogs and strangers. Rottweilers can also become very energetic and may need longer exercise times and more structured activities.
To maintain their coats, brushing them weekly using a firm bristle will help remove dead hair and distribute skin oils. Rottweilers shed twice a year and brushing them frequently during those times will keep their loose hair under control. They should also be bathed as needed and if you bathe them outdoors, make sure you use warm water. It’s also important to brush their teeth two to three times a week to prevent gum diseases.
The recommended daily amount of food for Rottweilers is 4 to 10 cups divided into two meals a day. This will depend on your pet’s metabolism, age, activity level, and as well as size.
Rottweilers are indeed robust working breed with great strength but they are also gentle playmates and protector within a family. If you’re looking for a loving and loyal pet that will protect you, then you might consider getting a Rottweiler.