What defines the Rottweiler? Why was he formerly known as the butcher dog and what does the city of Rottweil have to do with him? Find out here!
If there is one thing that applies to the Rottweiler, it is the expression “hard shell, soft core”. There is hardly a dog breed that fits the well-known saying as well as the Rottweiler.
Large, stocky, muscular, with powerful teeth – at first glance, the big dog looks quite impressive from the outside and maybe a little scary for some people.
A wonderful being and a kind-hearted, gentle and affectionate character slumbers inside him, who would like nothing more than a whole lot of cuddles and lots of treats.
How big is a Rottweiler?
When fully grown, the Rottweiler male reaches an average height at the withers of between 62 cm and 68 cm. The Rottweiler bitch is between 56 cm and 63 cm tall. The ideal height at the withers is 65 cm for males and 60 cm for females.
How heavy is a Rottweiler?
As a large, compact working breed used to hard work, the Rottweiler grows in weight to match: males can range from 43kg to 59kg and females from 38kg to 52kg. The ideal weight for dogs is around 50 kg for males and around 42 kg for females.
What does a Rottweiler look like?
The dog breed got its start as a shepherd and guard dog of cattle herds, which can still be seen in their appearance today.
The dogs have a stocky, muscular build with a straight back and broad chest. Despite its bulk, the Rottweiler is very agile, agile, persistent, and can overcome almost any obstacle with its strong hocks.
The Rottweiler’s coat is short, stock-haired, and usually glossy black over most of the body.
The Rottweiler’s coat is reddish-brown on the cheeks, muzzle, underside of the neck, legs, and under the base of the tail. One speaks of the so-called “brand” badge.
The breed’s head is broad with large floppy ears, a rather short muzzle, and almond-shaped eyes.
How Has the Rottweiler’s Appearance Changed?
The appearance of the Rottweiler has changed somewhat over the course of history, so it was probably not as heavy and bulky as it is today just a hundred years ago, but only weighed up to approx. 30 kg at the same height at the withers today.
The changed, heavier characteristic in the breeding of the breed probably has to do with the changed use of the dogs: If they were primarily shepherded dogs in their early days and should primarily be agile and fast, from the beginning of the 20th century they were mainly used as Operational dogs for the police, military and (unfortunately) also used as private “attack dogs”. As a result, muscle mass and strength played a more important role for breeders than speed.
In the meantime, it was also customary for dogs to crop their tails and ears, which is now absolutely forbidden in Germany and other countries.
How old does a Rottweiler get?
The average life expectancy of the “Rotties”, as they are also called by enthusiasts, is 9 to 10 years. How old the dogs get in individual cases naturally depends on their health, attitude, care, and diet.
In order to enable a Rottweiler to live as long as possible in good health, you should therefore respond to the needs of the dog as best as possible and, for example, rely on a high-quality diet (such as BARF).
What character or nature does the Rottweiler have?
Many inexperienced and uninformed people attribute a negative character to the breed and describe the Rottweiler as aggressive to dangerous.
Bad experiences with the dog can only be traced back to people and wrong, incompetent training.
In fact, powerful dogs are usually extremely friendly, peaceful, obedient, easy to train, affectionate, and playful. Raised by experienced, consistent, and sensitive owners, the Rottweiler will develop into a loyal, affectionate, and well-balanced member of the family that is no more dangerous than other large dog breeds.
Guard and protective instinct
Due to its history as a herding and guard dog, the dog has a strong guard and protective instinct. If the Rottweiler is competently socialized and trained by its owners right from the start, i.e. already at the age of a puppy, the dog will not be aggressive towards strangers or animals, but at most reserved. It can then usually be integrated well and quickly.
The Rottweiler has a personality with very strong nerves and is usually difficult to irritate, provided that his caregiver also keeps his nerves in extreme situations.
The breed is more headstrong than other working dog breeds and less inclined to please the owner at all costs. In this, he differs, for example, from the shepherd dog. In the case of insecure or anxious people, there is the possibility that the dog would like to take over the “leadership”.
However, if an owner is sovereign and consistent in leadership and posture, the dog will easily accept its subordinate role and is characterized by a very high level of obedience.
Where does the Rottweiler come from?
The Rottweiler is a working dog. It is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world and is used both as a family dog and as a service dog in the military and police.
The ancestors of the breed can be traced back to ancient Rome. At that time, butchers preferred to use them as shepherds and guard dogs for their herds of cattle. To do this, they had to be quick and agile on the one hand, but at the same time powerful and strong to be able to put a galloping bull in their place.
When the city of Rottweil (in today’s Baden-Württemberg) developed into one of the most important trading hubs for cattle breeding in the Roman Empire, shepherd dogs also reached the city and spread from there as so-called butcher dogs to many other parts of Europe. They immediately took the name “Rottweiler” with them.
With the industrialization and the invention of the railway and other means of transport for herds of cattle, the breed slowly changed from a butchered dog to a service dog for the military, police, and border guards, until today it has also arrived as a loyal and clever family dog.
Rottweiler: The right attitude and training
Due to its nature as an intelligent, watchful shepherd and guard dog and its muscular strength, the training of the Rottweiler requires consistency, competence, and a clear line, even as a puppy. In the ideal case, the breeder starts with a consistent but loving upbringing.
The powerful dogs prefer to live with close family contact, plenty of space, and (fenced) free range where they can romp around without any problems. Many outdoor activities such as fetching are also a must. However, Rottweilers are not extreme athletes who should run a marathon with their mistresses and masters.
Early training and socialization are essential so that the naturally suspicious dog learns how to deal with other people and animals at an early age.
If he grows up with children or gets used to them early on, he usually poses no danger to them and is a loyal and child-loving companion. It is important here to always consider its character as a shepherd and guard dog: it can sometimes instinctively want to “round up” playing and running around children (and other animals) by bumping into them. It’s important to keep this in mind, keep a close eye on interactions between children and the dogs, and intervene if the Rottweiler gets too rowdy.
Requirements for the holder
Life with a Rottweiler also requires certain character requirements from its owners: Anxious, nervous, indecisive, and inconsistent people are not suitable for the breed, as the dog subordinates them to them only with difficulty or not at all.
Instead, training the animal requires experience, expertise, vigilance, prudence, and calm. The working dog breed is, therefore, better suited to experienced and trained dog owners rather than first-time dog owners.
You, as the owner, should also be physically able to deal with the dog’s muscular strength. After all, in an emergency, up to 60 kg can pull on the leash.
What care does the Rottweiler need?
The biggest challenge in keeping dogs of this breed is competent and consistent training. Otherwise, caring for the Rottweiler does not require much effort.
You should brush the short fur regularly and check the floppy ears for mites and parasites. Further special care is usually not necessary for the Rottweiler.
What typical diseases does the Rottweiler have?
The Rottweiler’s health is very robust compared to other large dog breeds. As one of the few breed-specific diseases, the animal could develop hip dysplasia and narrowing of the heart due to its size and weight.
If attention is paid to a balanced diet and exercise for the puppy and the dog is checked regularly by the vet, the probability of these diseases can be reduced.
How much does a Rottweiler cost?
The prices for a puppy vary greatly from breeder to breeder and from region to region. If you want to buy a Rottweiler, you have to reckon with purchase prices between 1,200 euros and 2,000 euros. However, special specimens can also be significantly more expensive, because the Rottweiler is one of the most expensive dog breeds of all.
As with all large dog breeds, the maintenance costs add up for the shepherd and guard dog: it needs a lot of food, high-quality equipment, regular medical examinations, and, ideally, competent education and training in the dog school.
We wish you a lot of joy with this wonderful dog breed!