As a natural guard dog, it is not a surprise that the Rottweiler’s roots lie with herding cattle. What is a surprise is that these roots stretch back to Ancient Rome. The Rottweiler breed, as it is known today, was bred from these Roman herding dogs in the Middle Ages in Rottweil, Germany. Here, butchers used the dogs to guard their cattle and to transport carts of butchered meat, earning them the name Rottweiler Metzgerhunds, or butcher dogs.
Today, the Rottweiler’s loyalty is another of its much sought-after qualities. This has made it one of the country’s favourite family pets, and a popular choice for search and rescue operations, guide dogs for the blind, and as guard dogs or police dogs.
The Rottweiler is a medium-large dog with quite a robust, muscular build, large head and forequarters. It is also characterised by its black coat and tan markings, and a docked tail – which is an owner-made modification.
It is quite a heavy dog and weighs in at between 43kg – 59kg for a male, while females come in considerably lighter at between 38kg – 52kg. In terms of length, males are slightly larger at between 61cm – 69cm, with females being about 5cm – 6cm smaller.
Although the Rottweiler is such a powerful dog, it has quite a calm, loving and mellow demeanour. It is very loyal to its owner and family, and will not hesitate to fiercely protect loved ones should it need to. It is also highly intelligent and can be trained easily.
As with most dogs, the Rottweiler needs adequate leadership, so that it knows its place within the family. If trained and socialised properly, it can be great with other pets and very friendly towards visitors.
Its guard dog instincts are very sharp, which means strangers with bad intentions better beware.
Rottweilers are relatively inactive indoors. This makes them suitable for living in a flat, but only if they get regular exercise. They will also do well in house with a small backyard for them to play in.
Because of their robust build, Rottweilers thrive on plenty of exercise. They love running in the woods or open country, and will not stray or wander away from you.
Their coat needs very minimal grooming and they will only need a bath when absolutely necessary.
Rottweilers are quite a strong breed and don’t have too many health issues. Like most large dogs, they might suffer from hip dysplasia later in life. They also have a chance of developing cancers and narrowed eye slits. They also tend to snore.
In terms of life expectancy, your Rottweiler will be a part of your family for 10-12 years.