Like the idea of a strong dog to go running or hiking with, or even help you on a farm? Fantastic! The Rottie is a dedicated and hardworking breed, making them a great addition to a family that can give this breed a job.
The Rottweiler was originally bred as a cattle-driving dog during the reign of the Roman Empire. The vastness of the Empire meant that a widespread military presence was necessary to maintaining stability. Because of this, large herds of cattle were used to feed the army in distant lands. Over time, a military route was established that led through the town of Rottweil, Germany, and the dogs native to that region became an essential part of the military apparatus by serving as excellent herding dogs that also provided protection for the cattle.
Although the advent of the railroad contributed to a major decline in the Rottweiler's prevalence, the 20th century saw a heavy demand for police dogs, bringing them back into immense popularity, and the breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1931.
Dog of All Trades
Since it's early history as a cattle herder, the Rottweiler has been bred as more of an all-purpose dog. Rottweilers make excellent companions, but they are also commonly used as military dogs, police dogs, guide dogs, herders, search and rescue dogs, and cart pullers. In fact, the Rottie was known in Rottweil as the "Rottweil Butchers Dogs" because they were commonly used to pull carts full of butchered meat to the markets.
Rottweilers are in the large breed class. They can weigh anywhere from 75-130 pounds, and they usually grow to 22 - 27 inches in height. This combination of size and strength is a large part of why they are so multifaceted.
Protective, but Good Natured
Bred to be hard workers, Rottweilers are happiest when they have a job to do. Despite their unfortunate reputation, this breed is known to be good natured, calm, confident, and extremely devoted. However, keep in mind that, over thousands of years, the Rottie has been bred with a strong herding and guarding instinct, so obedience training is a must.
While activity level will vary from dog to dog, the Rottweiler's activity level is generally moderate. They're a breed that wants to work for you, but are also comfortable relaxing in the shade when it's quittin' time!
A Beautiful Animal
Their coat length is short, but daily brushings are still recommended to prevent shedding. The Rottweiler coloring is overall black with "rust" or "mahogany" markings. Their eyes are strikingly dark, and their nose is black with large nostrils.
Because the Rottweiler was originally bred as a cart puller and working dog, the tails were traditionally docked short to prevent them from being caught in a cart wheel or grabbed by thieves. Today, this is no longer a concern, but the practice still exists for aesthetic purposes. Tail docking is highly controversial and has been outlawed in some countries, but it is still legal in the United States and Canada. Breeders claim that, when the operation is performed by a veterinarian within 1-3 days of birth, the procedure is virtually painless, as nerve endings are undeveloped.
As you begin looking for a Rottweiler, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
And on a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
So, what's the verdict? Have you fallen for the striking good looks and loyal companionship of the Rottweiler?
Dog Bible, Edited by Kristin Mehus-Roe, 2005