Breed Type: Herding Dog, Livestock Guardian, Molosser
Country of Origin: Germany
Popular Names: Rottie
Size: Large
Males:  Weight
50–58 kg Height 60-70cm
Females: Weight
40–48 kg Height 56 -63cm
Best suited as: Family Pet /Guard Dog
Lifespan: Average 10 Years

The Rottweiler is an ancient breed of dog developed in Germany in the Middle Ages. They are powerful and muscular with a massive build indicative of their Molosser heritage. In Australia they are both much loved as gentle family Guardian dogs as well is being aligned to being an unnecessarily large, powerful and potentially dangerous dog to be kept as a family pet.

Appearance
The Rottweiler is a heavily built and powerful dog. The large boned, heavily muscled to very athletic. They have a distinctive broad head with a rounded forehead. The breed standard requires them to have a sizzle bite. Eyes are large dark and expressive. Ears are triangular shaped with the tips hanging forward. Have a broad black nose generous, thick lips which a black inside and out.

The most commonly seen coat colour is black with chocolate brown markings apparent on the cheeks, paws, muzzle and legs though they are also seen in a red colour with brown markings.

Through some discussion as to what constitutes a true Rottie. Originally from Germany, the Australian and US standards are now slightly different from the current German Rottweiler standard. The German version is somewhat shorter with a more massive head. Some people argue this is just a regional preference and effectively both  varieties would meet the standard of the other country. Some say that for a dog with such a lengthy history in Germany it seems unreasonable for offshore varieties to take in appearance diversion from the German dogs. Whatever the case this tram Rottweiler stands generally taller and somewhat leaner than the German variety.

Until recent years in Australia traditionally the tales of Rottweiler’s were docked however recent legislation in Australia in all states has banned his practice except in cases where it is deemed necessary for the health and well-being of the dog. Whilst the tail version is now very common, there are still many docked versions. The reason it is perhaps is the natural development so that some Rottweiler is a born either with almost no tail or a diminutive tail that requires docking in any case. In dogs were traditionally an intact tail was the breed standard pre-requisite this of course would have been a problem and prevent such dogs being included in breeding programs but in the Rottweiler it was of no issue.

The breed standard in Australia allows for the Rottweiler tail to be docked or kept intact by this of course does not change the fact the Rod Wallace tail may only be legally docked if there is a health reason to do so.

Breed History
Is thought the history of the Rottweiler can be traced back to the Middle Ages when the Romans were running rampant across Europe.  The Roman armies did not rely on being able to source a reliable local food supply. Raiding the farms of the conquered lands was a sure way to incite rebellion so the Roman armies brought herds of cattle with them. Initially the dogs would have been smaller dogs with higher stamina and more natural herding ability as the car was moved across great distances. At the Romans stopped in richer areas such as Germany the dogs roll was less of driving and more of guarding the herds bus they were bred with large a loss to dogs from northern Europe and England and the Roman herding dog became a utility herding livestock Guardian dogs.

They gain their name from the town of Rottweil where the breed was further developed over many hundreds of years as a utility work, Guardian and even as draft dog pulling small carts. By the middle of the 19th century many of their tasks have been made redundant as a driving duties were replaced with cattle trains and donkeys took over their light cartage role. Since they were not traditionally kept as pets at this stage the breed felling to a steep decline in by the start of the 20th century there were almost too few Rottweiler’s remaining to the breed to be viable.  Certainly in the town of Rottweil itself this was now the case.

Fans of the breed who recognised its importance in history plus the value in retaining such a majestic dog in the canine world and in 1901 created a club in order to ensure the continuance of the breed.  Though this club was only short lived the breed standard set was adopted by two subsequent clubs which formed in 1907, later merged into a single club in 1921.  The revival of the Rottweiler has been nothing short of spectacular as they have gone from a status of virtual extinction to incredible popularity, indeed they are presently the second most popular breed in the US. This was somewhat assisted by their large litters – it’s not uncommon for litters of 12 puppies to be born.

Temperament
Their livestock Guardian tenancies are obvious in their self-assured, alertness of their surroundings and imposing somewhat dominant appearance. They are obvious protectors. As with all such dogs that need to make their own decisions regarding what is best for their flock they tend to be iron willed and resolute that they know best. They are typically gentle and joyous dogs with their family that can be overly aggressive in addressing any perceived threat to their family. Their herding instinct remains strong as well and individuals have been known to “herd” their family especially the children to keep them close within their watchful eye on safe.

They require considerable guidance when young to ensure they develop good social skills and understand what level of protection is appropriate for them to offer. They require consistent training – they will not respect the authority who is wishy-washy. They require rather more exercise than many other large breeds, again because of their herding rather than straight livestock Guardian background.

The personality of individual dogs within the breed can vary greatly from that are very alert and dominant guard dog  to huge friendly sook which one your puppy turns out to be can be predicted to an extent by ensuring you choose and interested but not overly aggressive puppy and by a ensuring you choose a puppy from a reputable breeder focused on good temperament and confirmation. This is not a dog that is ever advised to buy as part of a cross breed and certainly you should never buy one from someone other than an experienced registered breeder.

Care and Grooming
They are a very low maintenance breed. Their short coat is generally tangle free and requires only occasional bathing. Brush the coat to keep it clean and to remove excess loose hair. Keep the nails trimmed at its unlikley they will keep them short enough on their own.

Health
As with all the large breeds they are prone to ACL damage, hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. It’s important to view the hip and elbow scores of the parents as well is getting your puppy scored. Don’t let your young Rottweiler by the exercise especially don’t let them jump from heights.  They are a heavy build dog in this place is too much pressure on growing shoulder joints which can lead to permanent damage and a life of discomfort.

They are one of several breeds that are noted as being prone to entropion which can cause damage and discomfort to dogs eyes even eventually leading to blindness. Again speak to your breeder about history of this condition in the breed stock though in dogs with no history of the condition can have puppies that suffer from it.

Their large powerful bodies are not built for speed, or stamina and they will overheat if forced to exert themselves in the hot Australian summer.  They can also suffer from bloat so don’t feed them directly before or after exercise.

They make wonderful family pets, or single owner pets but owning a dog of such power comes with an increased level of responsibility that may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

For those willing to do the right thing by their Rottweiler, they are a wonderful, loyal and loving dog that will integrate into your life whilst retaining a level of independence.