Known to have descended from the Italian Mastiff, the powerful, massive and muscular Rottweiler was bred in Rottweiler in Germany’s Wurttemberg, sometime in the Middle Age. During the 19th century when it was almost extinct, some Stuttgart breeders took the initiative to breed it again and it made a comeback in the early 1900s. Those days, it was used as a guard dog, draught dog, police work, herder and messenger dog. It is a very talented—police work, competitive obedience, a blind’s guide, search and rescue, guarding, herding, tracking, carting and watchdog. In 1931, the American Kennel Club had recognized this breed.
Compared to the German Rottweiler, the American Rottweiler is:
- Less stocky
- Less blockier
- Much taller
Some are of the opinion that there is nothing as such like German Rottweiler and American Rottweiler except that some are bred in Germany and some are bred in the US!
With a height of 24 to 27 inches (females are about 2 inches shorter) and weight of 95 to 130 pounds (females are about 10 pounds lesser), the head of the Rottweiler is broad with a developed muzzle and a forehead that is rounded. The deep chest is broad. The nose is wide and black. The almond-shaped eyes are medium sized and dark. Here, there is an important point to note—some Rottweilers have one brown and one blue eye, and some have blue eyes! The forward-carrying ears are quite triangular. It usually has a docked tail. The thick, hard, glossy and short coat comes in black color. The muzzle, cheeks, legs and paws have markings of rust to mahogany. Sometimes, brown markings on red color may be seen. An average shedder, the coat should be brushed regularly. It can be bathed only when absolutely essential.
Protective, trainable, calm, docile, courageous, even tempered, loyal, confident, serious, laid-back, devoted and powerful, the Rottweiler needs early training in socialization and obedience if you want it to be friendly and good with every family member including children. Even it would be good with your other pets (dogs, cats and non-canine) if raised with them. It is known to warmly greet people whom it knows. It must be taught to enter or exit any doorway after you enter or exit. Certain dos and don’ts should be set for the dog to follow. Everyone in your family must be taught (if not already experienced) how to handle this breed. If it feels you are timid and submissive, it would tend to be very possessive, overprotective, dominating and aggressive. Physical and mental exercises are required on a daily basis; so are walks or runs or jog. Even, swimming and ball retrieving would work out excellently for them. You need to keep it on leash, and make it heel behind or beside you (never ahead of you). If you fail to maintain this routine, it would be nervous, high strung and restless. You can put it off leash in a safe and protected area. Do not leave it alone for long; then it would show behavioral problems. Therefore, you need to be consistent, firm, stern and authoritative but not behave harshly at any point of time. Where food is concerned, give it dog food as small meals thrice a day. Other than the meals, do not try to overfeed it. Also, do not give it one large meal a day. As it is, it has a laid-back attitude and prone to snoring. Overfeeding would do the damage as it would easily put on weight.
With a lifespan of 10 to 12 years, the Rottweiler is prone to entropion and hip dysplasia. It also suffers from ACL damage.