Canine Breed Menu



Breed Organization
American Rottweiler Club
Native Country
Other Names
Rottweiler, Rottweil Metzgerhund, Butchers Dog
Life Expectancy
Approximately 9-11 Years
Litter Size
Average 7-10 Puppies
Breed Group
AKC Working
Breed Appearance
The ideal Rottweiler is a medium large, robust and powerful dog, black with clearly defined rust markings. His compact and substantial build denotes great strength, agility and endurance. Dogs are characteristically more massive throughout with larger frame and heavier bone than bitches. Bitches are distinctly feminine, but without weakness of substance or structure.

Breed Description
Head: Strong. Broad, moderately convex skull. Pronounced stop. Rectangular nose bridge. Large nose. Powerful jaws. Black, tight lips.
Ears: Set on high, medium size, triangular, very wide set. Drop, hanging forward tightly against the head.
Eyes: Medium size, almond. Dark brown color.
Body: Compact. Powerful neck without loose skin (no dewlap). Well pronounced forechest. Roomy chest. Ribs well sprung. Short loin.
Tail: Docked (to one or two vertebrae) or natural.
Hair: Medium length, coarse to the touch, dense, and lying flat. Presence of undercoat.
Coat: Black with distinct tan markings on the cheeks, above the eyes, on the muzzle, on the underside of the neck, on the forechest, legs, and under the root of the tail.
Size: Dog: 61 to 68 cm Bitch: 56 to 63 cm
Weight: Dog: approx. 50 kg Bitch: approx. 42 kg

Some writers believe this very German dog is descended from the Bavarois Bouvier. Others contest that it is descended from Roman Molosser dogs brought to Germany during the Roman invasions. By the Middle Ages, this powerful, courageous dog was already guarding the herd and defending cattle merchants against bandits in the village of Rottweil in Wurtemberg, Germany. Butchers commonly kept this dog, and as a result, the breed became known as the "butcher dog." The first Rottweiler club was formed in 1907. During World War I, the Rottweiler served in the German army. The breed was officially recognized in 1966, and it became well-known worldwide around 1970.

According to the FCI Standard, the Rottweiler is good-natured, placid in basic disposition, very devoted, obedient, biddable and eager to work. Their appearance is natural and rustic, their behavior self-assured, steady and fearless. They react to their surroundings with great alertness. 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 them especially suited as a companion, guardian and general all-purpose dog.

Rottweilers are a powerful breed with well-developed genetic herding and guarding instincts. Potentially dangerous behaviour in Rottweilers usually results from irresponsible ownership, abuse, neglect, or lack of socialisation and training. However, the exceptional strength of the Rottweiler is an additional risk factor not to be neglected. It is for this reason that breed experts declare that formal training and extensive socialisation are essential for all Rottweilers. According to the AKC, Rottweilers love their owners and may behave in a clownish manner toward family and friends, but they are also protective of their territory and do not welcome strangers until properly introduced. Obedience training and socialisation are required.

A 2008 study surveying breed club members found that while Rottweilers were average in aggressiveness (bites or bite attempts) towards owners and other dogs, it indicated they tend to be more aggressive than average towards strangers. This aggression appears correlated with watchdog and territorial instincts.

Rottweilers are a relatively healthy, disease-free breed. As with most large breeds, hip dysplasia can be a problem. For this reason the various Rottweiler breed clubs have had x-ray testing regimes in place for many years. Osteochondritis Dissecans, a condition affecting the shoulder joints, can also be a problem due to the breed's rapid growth rate. A reputable breeder will have the hips and elbows of all breeding stock x-rayed and read by a recognised specialist, and will have paperwork to prove it.

They will also have certificates that their breeding animals do not have entropion or ectropion and that they have full and complete dentition with a scissor bite.

As with any breed, hereditary conditions occur in some lines. The Rottweiler is very prone to cancer which is amongst the most common causes of early death in Rottweilers. For unknown reasons, Rottweilers are more susceptible than other breeds to become infected with parvovirus, a highly contagious and deadly disease of puppies and young dogs. Parvovirus can be easily prevented by following a veterinarian's recommended vaccine protocol.

If overfed or under exercised, Rottweilers are prone to obesity. Some of the consequences of obesity can be very serious, including arthritis, breathing difficulties, diabetes, heart failure, reproductive problems, skin disease, reduced resistance to disease and overheating caused by the thick jacket of fat under the skin.

Breed experts declare that formal training and extensive socialisation are essential for all Rottweilers. It requires considerable space and exercise. He does not like to be closed in or tied up. This breed does not tolerate heat well.

Guard Dog, Police and Army Dog, Pet.

Horse Herd