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BaxterBoo Blog
July 15, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Rottweiler

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  • Height: 22"- 27”
  • Weight: 85-130 pounds
  • Historical function: Guarding, herding, messenger, cart puller, police dog
  • Modern function: Guarding, therapy dog, police dog, search and rescue
  • AKC classification: Working

Physical Characteristics:

The Rottweiler, also called a Rottie, is a massive, muscular dog that is thick and robust. The head is large and set with medium almond-shaped brown eyes. The ears are triangular, set high and hang forward. The muzzle is broad ending in a wide, black nose and the jaw is strong. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. The chest is deep and full. The legs are muscular and powerful. The tail is often docked except in Europe where docking is illegal. The rear dewclaws are often removed. The coat is short to medium in length and is glossy black with rust markings over the legs, chest, muzzle, and eyebrows. The coat is usually double, but the undercoat may be missing in dogs living in hot climates.       

History of the Breed:

The Rottweiler is most likely a decendent of Italian Mastiffs that accompanied herds that were used to feed the Roman armies. As the Romans invaded Europe, the town of Rottweil became an important trading town, especially for livestock. The decendents of the Roman Mastiffs that were crossed with Molossers became important to the region in Germany acting as herd drovers and guards. It is said that the Rottweilers were also used to carry butchered meat to markets in carts. After trains came to the area to transport livestock, the Rottweiler nearly became extinct in the 1800s. Unlike most breeds that declined during the world wars, the Rottweiler became more valuable as a police and war dog and enjoyed renewed interest as a versatile working dog. They were employed as guards, messengers, draught and ambulance dogs. In modern history, the dog has been used in police work, as a service dog, for search and rescue, in customs work, as a guide dog for the blind, and in competitive obedience training. 


The Rottweiler is an even-tempered dog that is highly trainable, but it should be noted that because of its size and strength, proper socialization and training must begin at puppyhood to ensure this dog is a good citizen. While very friendly and loving towards its family, the herding and guarding instinct is strong to give this dog a slighty higher rating than average for aggressiveness towards strangers. Every family member must achieve higher pack status over this dog with calm, firm leadership. A dog that understands his proper role in his pack will be very well behaved, tolerate cats, and be friendly towards strangers after an introduction. If they sense a stranger has ill intentions, the intruder will not succeed in getting anywhere near the house. As a working dog, this dog has a large amount of stamina and requires a lot of exercise.

  • Best suited for: Active families willing to properly train and focus this hard worker to tasks of obedience.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog can overheat. Provide plenty of shade and water. He likes to work and live closely with his family.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy-care coat sheds moderately, especially seasonally. Brush regularly to remove dead hair and bathe rarely.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk or jog. Likes swimming and fetching. Thrives on active jobs and exercise. 
  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to ACL damage and hip dysplasia. Likes to overeat, so watch food intake to keep weight in check.

Breed Club Links: American Rottweiler Club Perfect Pairings: Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug in Large

Have any stories about a Rottweiler? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Arne List.

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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