The majestic and noble-looking Rottweiler is a dog that stands strong with an almost intimidating presence. That is until it sees the family it belongs to and melts into a puddle of loving silliness!
When observed among those it feels belonging to, one cannot fail to fall in love. If you are planning to own one of these stunning dogs, this is the article for you.
What is a Rottweiler?
The Rottweiler is one of the oldest breeds of dog that still exist in modern times. It is classed as a large to medium or large dog. It boasts a glossy black coat with distinctive brown accents, usually present on the face, chest, and legs.
They have a strong, muscular stature as well as a weighty presence. They were perfectly suited for their original use – protecting livestock from predators as well as driving and herding them. The breed is thought to have originated from Asian breeds such as the Mastiff, a similarly tough and fearless dog.
We know for sure that the Romans used Rottweilers to protect their livestock. Rottweilers joined as they traversed the regions of Western Europe to acquire more territory for themselves and defend what they already had. Their strength and resilience suited the difficult journeys over the Alps.
It wasn’t until they reached the region of Rottweil, Germany, that the name Rottweiler was born. The full original name was Rottweiler Metzgerhund, which means, when translated, ‘Butcher-dog of Rottweil.’ These dogs were highly valued for their ability to pull heavy meat-laden carts to market, as well as herding butchers’ livestock.
Over time, this breed of dog has been appreciated for many other uses in addition to herding. It is not unusual to see a Rottweiler as a police or military dog, a personal or private guard dog, for search and rescue missions, or in other types of service.
In World War 2, they were even used as messengers! It is thought that this breed has lasted through the ages because of its versatility and aptitude for training.
What do Rottweilers Look Like?
Rottweilers are hefty-looking dogs with thick and muscular bodies. They should have a flat-lying, straight, black coat that is very dense and coarse, making for a glorious glossy sheen. Attractive markings are often seen in a rich tan color upon the cheeks, above both eyes, on the muzzle, neck, chest, legs, and just under the tail.
These distinctive spots and patches may also be found in rich dark mahogany or rusty brown color.
Many describe the Rottweiler as ‘noble-looking, because of the strong and yet elegant features and the confident stance and smart coloring.
They have a medium to long head which is broader towards the top. Their two black pointed ears sit wide and high as though ready to pick up the whisper of even the slightest threat. From the side, the head has a pleasing arch, ending in a sweet wet black nose.
Their noses follow suit with the rest of the features in broadness rather than roundness. Nostrils are also large and excellently utilized to pick up the scent of an intruder. Their eyes are a gorgeous shade of deep brown with a soft almond shape.
They have a strong and broad jaw and a strong and stocky neck. All skin on a Rottweiler is tidy and tight, neat, and smart looking. They have a strong and straight back and chest. Their chest and rib cage are deep and broad – around half the height from paw to shoulder!
Tails are a proportionate size to the rest of the body, strong, with a slight curve. They reach down to the hocks when brought down by the leg. Their tails used to be docked very short to the second or even first vertebrae.
Tail docking was a traditional practice for the working dog to keep it from getting caught in machinery. Docking is now illegal, even for working dogs.
From the front, the Rottweiler has nice and straight legs with a firm, wide, powerful stance. Paws follow suit in strength and tidiness with hard pads and strong black nails, ready for action.
Rottweilers get a bad rap in the general minds of the public. They are widely considered to be violent and dangerous animals. This is partly due to the misunderstanding of untrained animals and partly to do with the Hollywood filmmaker.
Rottweilers have often been cast in the role of the villain, inciting the fear and phobia of children everywhere.
Rottweilers are, in fact, wonderfully natured, social dogs. They love to be around other dogs and people as much as possible.
Their basic disposition is calm and peaceful. They are ‘thinking’ dogs that assess the situation before reacting unnecessarily. They are very alert, and things do not easily escape their attention. A lovely trait amongst this breed is their never-ending desire to please those they are loyal to.
They follow their owners with absolute devotion, always ready and eager to do whatever is required. Supervision is always a good idea for any large dog when in the company of children or small dogs. This is especially true with a Rottweiler.
Due to the strength of this breed, a playful nip could cause considerable damage. Due to the Rottweiler being a highly intelligent breed, they can easily get bored if not given enough play, attention, exercise, or challenge. This can result in destructive behaviors – as is true with any dog.
As the Rottweiler is such a strong and able dog, the resulting destruction may be quite serious. They are sensitive dogs that love their family wildly but are unsure of strangers.
They can be shy and protective. They are not afraid of strangers but do not quickly love every new person. They must be properly introduced to new people.
As inherent guard dogs, they need to be properly socialized when young. If not introduced slowly and properly to new dogs and people, a Rottweiler may feel threatened. It may also feel there is a threat to its owner. When a Rottweiler becomes comfortable with you, it will be a loveable and almost clownish companion.
They are even-tempered in the main, steady, and fearless in the face of danger. Rottweilers will bring you endless joy and laughter, all the while helping you to feel safe.
Male Rottweilers are said to have a higher need for play than females. They can also have a greater drive for defending their owners, as well as sharpness and confidence.
A Rottweiler can become aggressive. This can happen if they remain untrained and unsocialized or if their owners neglect or abuse them. Leaving a Rottweiler to mature unchecked is irresponsible on the part of the owner. This could result in a dangerous animal that could easily hurt or kill other dogs and people.
Are Rottweilers Good Family Dogs?
Yes! A Rottweiler will thrive in a family environment, being both loyal and affectionate. They have a huge need for play and exertion, which children can readily provide. They will play all day long if the child should wish it.
They are more family members than family dogs and become almost clingy to their chosen person. They can often be seen following their owners around the house, even at a distance. They just want to give and receive as much love as they can!
How Big do Rottweilers Get?
Males will reach from 24 inches up to 27 inches (about the height of the average work desk). Females measure a little shorter, from around 22 inches up to 25 inches.
The breed falls into the medium-large category, so it isn’t particularly well suited to small dwellings like caravans or the like.
How Much do Rottweilers Weigh?
A healthy weight range for a male Rottweiler is anywhere from 110 to 132 pounds. Females will usually weigh between 77 and 105 pounds. Rottweilers are prone to weight gain, so if this is left unchecked, the average Rottweiler will quickly become obese.
Do Rottweilers Shed?
Yes. Rottweilers have a double-layered coat, which, like everything Rottweiler, is highly adaptable. Their coats change seasonally, so they are warmer in the winter and cooler in the summertime. This change will be as dramatic as the climate it lives in, especially if it spends a lot of time outside.
There will be a little bit of shedding throughout the year, but most shedding coincides with the change in weather. If the winter has been especially brutal, the Rottweiler will develop a thicker undercoat than usual. This lush, thick undercoat sheds off to make way for a cooler summer coat in the spring.
The shedding process will happen again when the weather turns cold. If a Rottweiler lives in a hot climate all year round, it may acclimatize and lose its undercoat altogether.
Shedding can be kept to a minimum by giving your Rottweiler a good brush once a day through the shedding seasons. Once a week for the rest of the year should suffice. It also helps to pay attention to the diet and stress levels of your Rottweiler. A stressed and vitamin deficient dog will lose more hair than a relaxed and healthy one.
How Often Should a Rottweiler be Bathed?
Not too often, as this can dry out their skin and remove healthy oils from their coats. A good rule of thumb is around once per season. If your Rottweiler gets particularly dirty or smelly, they can be bathed more.
Are Rottweilers Hypoallergenic?
Unfortunately, Rottweilers are not hypoallergenic. There is a high level of shedding in spring and fall and moderate shedding all year round. They also have high levels of animal dander, so this breed is not the best friend of those with conditions like asthma.
Are Rottweilers Easy to Train?
Yes! Rottweilers are extremely intelligent; they are in the top ten of the most intelligent breeds of dogs. They are highly trainable for obedience, tricks, and complicated tasks. They are often used as police or military dogs. For Rottweilers to reach their full potential, professional training is strongly encouraged.
Do Rottweilers Bark a Lot?
It is not like a Rottweiler to respond to every stimulus with a bark. They are more inclined to assess a situation carefully before reacting vocally. Typically, they will only bark when they feel there is a good reason for doing so.
This is one of the reasons why people adore them as security or guard dogs; when they bark, you can take them seriously. Many owners remark on the quietness of their Rottweilers, being a calm dog most of the time. Rottweilers are not the drama queens of the dog world, but more so the strong and silent types.
Behavioral Problems of Rottweilers- Territorial Aggression, Destruction, Barking
Of course, any dog left untrained will bark unnecessarily, and the Rottweiler is no exception to this. However, a Rottweiler that barks a lot is usually the result of owner error. If an owner doesn’t spend enough time with their Rottweiler, it may bark out of boredom or anxiety.
Remember, Rottweilers are a sensitive breed that needs companionship and attention from those they love. They are also an intelligent breed that needs mental stimulation. No stimulation and no company make for an unhappy Rottweiler.
An unsocialized Rottweiler will become, at best unfriendly, and at worst, dangerous. Because of this, it is best not to keep a Rottweiler in a kennel or chained up in isolation. Fenced yards are better, and company wherever possible. Socialization should continue into adulthood, not only as a puppy.
An untrained Rottweiler will become over-territorial. From an early age, it must be taught to distinguish between potential threats and things (or people) that are simply new.
Obedience training is essential, and the main owner should act calmly but firmly towards the dog, thus becoming a pack leader. If the dog doesn’t have a clear pack leader, it will assume it is the alpha dog.
The result is a disobedient and dangerous animal that allows itself to do whatever it wants. The dog will simply ignore instructions from the owner, however loudly they are shouted.
How Much Do Rottweilers Cost?
The price of a Rottweiler will depend on whether you intend to buy a puppy, an adult, or a rescue. An eight-week-old Rottweiler puppy from a reputable breeder will set you back anywhere from $1,500 to around $2,500.
The cost of a high-quality training course should be added, which may be somewhere in the $300. Add another $300 or more on top of that (per year) for decent pet health insurance. A rescue dog will cost much less outright, but Rottweilers are highly sought-after, and you may have considerable competition.
You may also have a long time to wait before one even becomes available. Rescue dogs may also not be full pedigree Rottweilers. Animals are often donated to shelters without proof of pedigree.
Should you intend to breed from your dog, it may be best to find a breeder that allows this. Many shelters will have you sign a contract that promises you will have the animal spayed or neutered as soon as possible.
Where to Buy or Adopt a Rottweiler
You can usually find a genuine breeder not too far from home through a search engine. Reputable breeders will be able to provide proof of pedigree. They can also show you any health issues present in the breeding lines.
How many exercises Do Rottweilers Need?
An adult Rottweiler is happiest when it can enjoy copious amounts of exercise with its owner. A healthy adult Rottweiler should be exercised for 2 hours or more per day.
This keeps them happy, well-behaved, and at a healthy weight. They do best with intermittent sessions of exercise rather than all in one go. If you are already in the habit of taking a long walk/run twice a day, then this is the perfect dog for you. They can also join in on a family hike, for example.
A Rottweiler puppy, however, should never be given this much exercise. This is because until a Rottweiler is a fully grown adult, the growth plates in its body haven’t solidified yet. They don’t properly fuse until all the muscles, ligaments, and bones have finished growing.
If a growing Rottweiler is over-exercised before this point, it could get seriously injured. Experts on the breed recommended slowly increasing exercise time as the dog gets older and bigger. Sounds complicated? Have no fear!
There is a formula to calculate how much exercise to give a Rottweiler at any given stage of its life. Simply multiply the age number in months by five until the 2-year mark. That number is the amount of exercise in minutes you should be spending exercising your dog.
For example, a six-month-old Rottweiler should have 30 minutes of exercise per day (6×5=30), whereas a nine-month-old should have? (9×5=45) That’s right, 45 minutes. Easy when your know-how! Just think, by owning a Rottweiler, you’ll not only be getting more exercise but also Math practice!
What are the Dietary Requirements of a Rottweiler?
To feed all those muscles, a Rottweiler should be fed a diet packed with protein. Adults need around a quarter of their diet to be made up of protein-rich foods. Turkey, chicken, and herring are all good choices.
Rottweilers are prone to food allergies and have sensitive stomachs, so care should be taken to make food hypoallergenic from the get-go. Cheap dog food fillers can cause allergic reactions for Rottweilers. Even homemade table scraps could trigger flatulence or painful wind.
Bad diet ingredients for a Rottweiler include chemical preservatives, foods with high sodium, soy and soy products, corn, wheat, yeast, and spices.
Barley, potatoes, fish, and venison are good foods for soothing stomach inflammation caused by allergies and preventing further discomfort.
Rottweilers should be fed two or preferably three small meals a day in a non-elevated bowl. This will help to avoid bloating and trapped wind.
Despite these food sensitivities, Rottweilers are very food motivated and will not stop eating if more food is to be had. For this reason, Rottweilers are very prone to obesity. Owners must resist their puppy-dog eyes to keep their furry friend in healthy condition!
Common Health Complaints in Rottweilers
The most prevalent health complications among Rottweilers are hip dysplasia, eye problems, and sub-aortic Stenosis.
Hip dysplasia occurs when a deformity in the hip socket, causing it to fit together poorly.
This causes painful rubbing and grinding. It can be surgically corrected, but arthritis is a common complication even after such measures.
Eye problems are common for the Rottweiler, as they tend to develop things like cataracts and PRA (progressive retinal atrophy). The latter is an inherited disease, so it should be traceable with DNA testing. Breeders will be aware of it if it is present in the lineage of any of their dogs.
Sub-Aortic Stenosis is another genetic disease that affects Rottweilers. It affects the blood flow through the aortic valve and can be mild or even deadly. Rottweiler puppies should have their hearts checked for this condition.
The traits and needs of a Rottweiler should be carefully considered before adding one to your home. They have a large need for exercise and specific grooming and dietary needs, not to mention the need for proper training and attention throughout their lives.
They are as beautiful as they are strong, they can grow up with children, they can adapt to a wide variety of situations, and they are fiercely loyal to those they feel belong to them.