- In ancient times, Roman drover dogs guarded and drove the cattle that accompanied Roman troops on long marches. Some of these dogs were left behind in southern Germany, where they remained valued as cattle drovers.
- The town of Rottweil became a center of cattle commerce, and the drover dogs played a vital role driving the cattle to town, protecting them along the way, guarding the money earned from their sale, and even pulling carts of supplies back from town. Some dogs lived in town as butcher's helpers, a job at which they especially excelled. They became known as Rottweiler metzgerhunds (butcher dogs).
- In the mid 1800s, cattle driving was outlawed and dog carts were replaced by donkey carts and railroads, forcing the Rottweiler into near unemployment.
- Realizing the breed was on the brink of extinction, fanciers set about to revive it in 1901. Little by little the Rottweiler regained its footing, and by 1931 the AKC recognized the breed.
- In the early 1990s, the Rottweiler rose to become the second most popular breed in America. It has since fallen dramatically in popularity.
- The Rottweiler has been a target of breed specific legislation in some communities.
Rottweiler Behavior Concerns
- Makes a loyal and protective companion.
- Playful and generally good with children, but may be overly protective of them when around strangers.
- Tends to be aloof toward and even suspicious of strangers. Early socialization is essential.
- Not friendly toward strange dogs, and may not be good with small pets.
- The Rottie learns quickly, but can be stubborn. It tends to rebel against forceful methods.
- Does best with a firm owner who can combine reward-based training with good control and leadership.
- Some owners train their dogs in Schutzhund, a sport that combines obedience, tracking, and protection.
Rottweiler Suggested Exercises
- Makes a calm and alert housedog.
- Requires daily exercise in the form of a long walk, jog, or energetic games.
- The Rottweiler enjoys cold weather and may overheat easily in warm weather.
- Obedience training is essential not only for control, but for the mental exercise it provides.
- Coat is short, straight, and dense. Rarely, a long coated Rottweiler occurs.
- The coat needs only occasional brushing, once every week or so, to remove dead hair.
- Shedding is average.
Suggested Rottweiler Nutritional Needs
- Rottweilers tend to stay in good weight.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.
- Puppies should be fed a large-breed growth food, which slows their growing rate but not final size. This has been shown to decrease the incidence or severity of hip dysplasia in adults.