Rottweiler dogs (or 'Rotties') are large, compact dogs known for their solid black coats with clearly defined rust-coloured markings. They are strong and powerful dogs for their size. For their size, Rottweilers are very agile and capable of running and jumping with ease. Adult females stand at 58-64cm and weigh around 38kg, while adult males measure 63-69cm and weigh around 50kg.
The Rottweiler's ancestors could have been the dogs used by the Roman legions to drive and guard their livestock as they crossed the Alps. By the Middle Ages, in Rottweil, Germany, these dogs had been crossed with local sheepdogs to create the 'Rottweiler Metzgerhund', the Rottweil Butchers' Dog. Butchers used these dogs to drive and guard their livestock as it made its way on foot from town to town. In the 19th century cattle-driving became illegal in Germany and the Rottweiler dog breed suffered a decline until 1914 when they were once again brought into use for the war, which proved their physical and mental abilities.
Rottweilers are unconditionally loyal to their handlers and their families and will naturally defend them and their property. A popular breed with unscrupulous breeders, it's important to find a well-bred, well-socialised pup, as temperaments can vary. The importance of socialisation and training from an early age cannot be overstressed! This breed is not suited to the novice/inexperienced owner.
In common with many large breeds the Rottweiler dog may suffer from a specific stomach condition (gastric dilation volvulus) and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.
Rottweilers need exercise and plenty of it! Failure to do this can cause all sorts of behavioural problems. They love to run through woods and in the open countryside with no desire to wander far from their owners. For an adult, two-plus hours of daily exercise is required.
Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs. Rottweilers are also prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.
One of the easiest breeds to maintain, give your Rottweiler a good brush down with a rubber glove every now and then – and more regularly during the moulting seasons – and this will suffice.