The Rottweiler is known for its powerful looking, robust body with sturdy musculature. On the larger end of a medium size breed, the Rottie is a sleek black with russet colored markings. The male Rottweiler's body is strong with a rather large frame while the female, while still powerful, exudes femininity.
The head of a Rottie is expansive with a forehead round in shape. The eyes are slightly deep-set and almond-shaped, dark brown in color with a warm, intelligent gaze. Triangular in shape, the ears of the Rottweiler will lie flat near the head, sometimes with a slight fold. The neck is burly and powerful with taut skin and slightly arched. Their deep, wide chest denotes power and expands to the elbow area.
The muzzle of the Rottweiler is strong and well-shaped with a scissor bite. Inside the mouth is dark with black lips and a pinkish tongue. Legs of a Rottie are muscular and long, although the back legs do have a bit of a squat to them and the toes are straightly condensed and arched slightly. Strong black nails, thick feet pads and a four to six inch long undocked tail complete the typical Rottweiler package.
Just an average shedder, the Rottweiler has both an undercoat as well as a medium length outer coat. The undercoat is usually seen only on its powerful thighs and neck area with the outer coat being straight and coarse with a flat position. The color of the coat is typically black with russet colored markings on strategic places such as above each eye, the forelegs, cheeks, throat area, under the tail and even on the inside rear legs. General climate conditions typically dictate the amount of undercoat present on a Rottie.
With historic tendrils extending to the ancient Roman Empire, the Rottweiler was used as a herding dog to work the cattle and help these ancient ranchers get their cattle to market. They also served as guardians and watchdogs for Roman warriors traveling to other parts of Europe to conquer them. Some of these Romans ended up in the German town of Rottweil with their dogs.
Natives in Rottweil and the surrounding areas started breeding the dogs to guarding, protection and companionship as well. The dogs were named Rottweilers in deference to the city name. The Rottie guarded butcher shops, protecting the meat from being stolen and they were adept at keeping cattle rustlers at bay. These dogs even traveled with their master’s long distances and served as guard dogs at camp.
Eventually, at the beginning of the 20th century, cattle drives were phased out in favor of using rail cars for cattle transportation over long distances so the Rottweiler was virtually banned as a cattle dog and fell out of favor. Their numbers dwindled until breeders resurrected the breed around World War I and trained them to be police dogs. This move proved so successful that the Rottweiler made a comeback, still serving as guardians and police dogs today in addition to being respected family pets.
When trained early on and integrated with people, the Rottweiler is a very affectionate and loyal family pet. They are self-assure and sociable with their humans. With a firm, strict hand during training, they will love and respect the adults in the family and cherish the children too. And contrary to popular belief, the Rottweiler is not an aggressive or destructive dog. This rumor got started when isolated breeders raised and trained them to fight without socializing them. Luckily, these instances are few and far between.
The Rottweiler is a very intelligent dog and therefore must be engaged with activities and exercise in order to avoid destructive and aggressive behaviors. For this reason, training them early is recommended. Rotties are sensitive by nature so callous treatment and verbalization should be avoided during the training and upbringing of them. These dogs make great guardians of your home and property because they do not bark unnecessarily. So if they do, owners know someone is nearby the dog does not recognize.
Overall, the Rottweiler is a robust breed but as with all dogs, there are a few health conditions they are prone to, many of them hereditary. One common condition is elbow and hip dysplasia, which presents itself as an arthritic pain caused by a deformity in the joints that can also spread to the cartilage. Because they are predisposed to this condition, owners are encouraged to exercise their dogs as puppies but avoid any climbing or jumping as this could aggravate the joints.
To a lesser extent, Rotties could develop hypothyroidism, heart problems and even bone cancer. Potential owners are encouraged to research their probable Rottweiler's genetic history to ensure there are no previous occurrences in the immediate gene pool. All Rotties have the tendency to overeat so owners must keep that in check or the dogs will suffer bloating which could develop into a twisted stomach, which is fatal if left untreated. By dispersing the dog's allotted amount of food throughout the day, this bloating condition can be deterred.
Rottweilers have a short coat so brushing during the grooming process is rather easy and present a glossy softness. However, keep in mind that many of these dogs will have a double coat which sheds biannually so a quick daily brushing can prevent large deposits of hair in the home.
When dental care is neglected, this can lead to a whole host of health problems. Therefore, dental care is important in a Rottie as they tend to accumulate tartar and other food particles rather quickly. Two times a week is advised and in between these times, dog biscuits and ones can help keep tartar from hardening along the gum line.
Foot care is important in a Rottweiler so it is important that their nails are trimmed periodically along with the hair in between the foot pads. Nail trimming should be done in small increments to ensure the meaty part of the nail called the quick is not nicked. Trimming the hair in between the foot pads prevents dirt and other objects do not get lodged and stuck there, hindering movement.
Rotties have a tendency towards flaky, dry skin (thanks to mild allergies) so repeated bathing is not necessary. In fact, the dog should only be bathed when it smells or gets extremely dirty. Using simple, hypoallergenic baby wipes for its coat is sufficient between baths. Their ears however, should be diligently cleaned at least once a week to prevent infection and odor. Mild tear-free shampoo, water and a soft toothbrush are sufficient to clean the ears or even the use of cotton balls and a cleaning solution.
A large yard to roam around in or at least daily walks is sufficient for the Rottweiler when it comes to exercise. As a puppy, owners should not allow them to jump and run to excess as this can contribute to dysplasia. Simple walks and games of fetch are great exercise for a Rottie and they enjoy agility exercises when training too. It is important to provide a physical outlet for these dogs on a daily basis as they have a tendency towards overeating which leads to excessive weight gain.
It takes no time at all to train a Rottweiler because they are smart and gifted. To avoid aggressiveness and curb their herding instinct, training should start early. With a firm hand, early socialization and integration with all family members and other pets, the Rottie will learn to obey commands from each person in the family from the children to adults and respect their position. By working early with children, the Rottweiler will learn to behave properly around them.
Stimulation is necessary to avoid destructiveness in this dog breed; it's just part of their nature. Crate training is strongly suggested should owners have to leave their Rotties alone for part of the day. Not only will this help with housebreaking but also avoid the destructiveness in the home. Of course, placing a few toys in the crate is advisable for the Rottie's entertainment.