Rottweilers are large, majestic-looking dogs with a distinct appearance. Although many find their size intimidating, it’s best not to let looks deceive you—they’re typically calm and obedient. These gentle giants are good-natured, loyal, and hardworking, making them popular working dogs in many parts of the world.
If you’re planning to welcome a Rottweiler in your home or want to know more about your beloved companion, here’s what you need to know:
History and Origin of the Rottweiler
The international kennel club federation, Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), recognizes the Rottweiler as one of the world’s oldest living dog breeds, with roots dating back to Ancient Rome. These strong, muscular dogs helped herd cattle, protect humans, and pull carts.
The name “Rottweiler” stems from their German name Rottweiler Metzgerhund, which means “Rottweil’s butchers’ dogs.” This is because they were a popular sight in the German town of Rottweil, where they worked as herding dogs and pulled carts with butchered meat to markets. This was their main job before railways were invented.
During World War I, the Rottweiler became popular again—this time as a police dog. The dogs were used as ambulance, guard, and messenger dogs throughout the two World Wars.
These days, however, the Rottweiler is renowned as a guard, police, and search-and-rescue dog. Many parts of the world also still employ them to herd cattle and other animals.
Notable Physical Characteristics of the Rottweiler
Rottweilers are regal-looking dogs. They’re medium- to large-sized dogs with broad heads and muscular bodies. Male Rottweilers typically stand 24–27 in (61–69cm) tall, while females are slightly smaller at around 22–25 in (56–63 cm). Their ears hang down, and their coats are short and dense.
Rottweilers all share a distinct coloration. The FCI Standard states that they’re always “black with clearly defined markings of a rich tan on the cheeks, muzzle, throat, chest and legs, as well as over both eyes and under the base of the tail.”
Behavior, Temperament, and What to Expect
Despite their fearsome appearance, well-bred and socialized Rottweilers are typically calm and obedient dogs that respond well to training. There’s a common misconception that the breed is dangerous, but bad behaviors typically arise from neglect, abuse, and a lack of early socialization.
The size and strength of Rottweilers, as well as their active and territorial nature, make them rather challenging to handle. This is why socializing them with different animals, people, and environments is crucial. However, they’re typically affectionate toward friends and family members.
Because they’re bred to work, Rottweilers are also very active dogs that need a lot of exercise. Leaving them alone for long periods and not giving them enough activities throughout the day could lead to destructive behaviors.
Grooming isn’t a big issue with Rotties. They have short fur and only shed moderately throughout the year. However, they may shed heavily during their seasonal changes.
Although they’re a relatively healthy breed, their large upper lips make them drooly and messy, so expect a lot of cleanup when you have a Rottweiler at home!
Despite their menacing appearance, Rottweilers are obedient and hardworking dogs. They’re smart and affectionate, and they can thrive with the right training and socialization.
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