Rottweilers are a descendant of the Molossus, a mastiff-type dog. The Molossus marched to Germany with the Romans, herding the cattle that sustained them while conquering the known world. As the Army moved, the big dogs mated with native dogs, laying the foundation for newer breeds.
The Romans set up colonies in southern Germany to take advantage of the soil and climate ideal for agriculture. The Roman Baths were later excavated more than 600 years later, inspiring a town named das Rote Wil (the red tile).
Over time, Rottweilers flourished as a breed and they drove cattle to the town butcheries. They were also used to keep money safe.
The Rottweiler and Leonberger Club were founded in 1901 when the first Rottweiler breed standard was written. The club was formed to safeguard the welfare and purity of the Rottweiler breed.
With time, breeders began to focus on the breed’s appearance. Breeding records were organized with the standards intended to preserve the working qualities of the Rottweilers. German Rottweilers are slightly larger than American ones. During World War I, Rottweilers were employed as messengers, guard dogs, and ambulances dogs by the German Army. At the end of the war, the dog could no longer be traced.
The first post-war Rottweilers were brought to the UK by Captain F. Roy Smith of the Royal Veterinary Corps in 1953. A lot more were imported from Europe, and breeding was started. It was only in 1965 that the UK Kennel Club registered the Rottweiler as a breed.
They also started being used for police work, a role for which they were ideally suited. Today, Rottweilers rank 17 out of 155 breeds that the AKC registers.
All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems which puppies inherit. Any breeder that does not offer a guarantee of health on puppies is best avoided. A reputable breeder should be open and honest about all the breed’s health problems and any incidences that have occurred in her lines.
Rottweilers are prone to a whole lot of health problems. For instance, they are the one breed that is most affected by hip dysplasia. The condition ranges from mild to severe, with the extreme cases being harrowing and need surgery. They also lead to arthritis in the later age of the dog.
Elbow dysplasia and osteochondrosis of the shoulder and knee are also known to occur in the breed. Rottweilers can also develop progressive retinal atrophy, eyelid deformities, cataracts, and other eye problems.
The breed is also known to develop heart problems which include subaortic stenosis and cardiomyopathy. The condition causes the aorta to narrow and causes a slight murmur. SAS can lead to sudden death no matter the age of the dog and should be regularly checked.
Rottweilers are also prone to other conditions such as Von Willebrand’s disease, Addison’s disease, hypothyroidism, gastroenteritis, and a high cancer rate. The conditions are not easily detected in a growing puppy, hence looking for a reputable breeder. The breeder should produce the certification that the parents of the dog had already been screened for the defects. Breeding healthy parents is the only sure way of getting healthy puppies that do not have genetic conditions.
Before Rottweilers can be entered into the Canine Health Information Center, they are required to first get a clearance from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation, hip and elbow evaluations, and an OFA cardiac exam. The OFA and CHIC websites can be used to check whether the parents of the puppy are listed.
A Rottweiler is an incredibly loyal dog, and when you start with a puppy, you can give them all the training from scratch. Training a Rottie can be pretty tricky, and beginning the practice earlier is better.
They enjoy being with their owner and form a strong bond with them. They are also known to be naturally protective, but this is not to confuse them as aggressive. Once they have been trained, they will make out the difference between a friend and a foe. They will be able to determine when there is a threat after being well socialized.
Rottweilers have prominent personalities and are always affectionate with the people that they feel safe with. They are also good with children and are known to be tolerant. However, it is essential to take the precaution of never leaving a child alone with any animal. Rotties have always retained some herding instincts from their ancestors, and they may feel like herding small children. The herding can sometimes cause the children to fall and hurt themselves.
Once you have acquired a Rottweiler, positive reinforcement training is the first thing that you should do. The dog can be very tenacious and stubborn by nature, and unless you are dominant and firm, you will have a massive problem on your hands. For instance, you should never punish your Rottie by hitting them. In-home training is recommended and should be immediate. Always socialize as this kind of training can be invaluable for your dog.
Grooming is minimal for Rottweilers and includes bi-monthly baths, ear cleaning, and regular nail trims. Their shedding also calls for daily vacuuming and sweeping. Calling in a professional groomer will also be required if you do not have enough nail trimming experience. Their nails are black, and it can be challenging to see the “quick.”
- It is believed that the sturdy dogs are descendants of drover dogs from Ancient Rome. They were used to herd animals, pull carts of meat, and guard homes. They were perfected in Germany, where they were interbred with local dogs to create the Rottweiler we have today. With railroads and paved roads changing the way livestock was brought to the market, these dogs were no longer needed. The breed was out of a job and almost vanished altogether. However, a small group of breeders fought hard to keep them, and they eventually found a place in the military and the police in the 20th century.
- The Rottweiler is currently the 10th most popular breed in the United States. They are, however, not recommended for households that have elderly or young children. The breed is always black and only has brown markings on its faces, chest, and paws. These brown spots are available in three variations: tan, rust, and mahogany.
- Rottweilers have a mighty bite and have jaws stronger than pit bulls and German shepherds. Their bite force is half that of a shark. Training is always necessary for the breed and ensures that they grow accustomed to their owner. They are powerful dogs and need to have enough training to control their power. Thankfully, they are easy to train, and when you start with a puppy, you get to keep them in line throughout their lives.
- Once used as guard dogs, the Rottweilers are very loyal dogs. They form powerful bonds which enable them to know the difference between a friend and a foe. They cannot tolerate staying alone and will always enjoy the company of others.