The Rottweiler or German Rottweiler is a very heavy and muscular, large dog breed. The Rotweiller is relatively short and compact with a powerful body and strong back. The Rottie’s head has a broad skull and deep muzzle; its small ears are set high and hang close to the cheek; and its tail is normally docked at the first joint in countries where it is permitted. Rottweiler puppies are always less than a week old when tail docking is done. Rottweilers have a short to medium length, coarse top coat with a fine undercoat. The coat is always black with light brown to mahogany markings that shouldn’t exceed 10% of body color. Male Rotties stand about 24 to 27 inches tall and females 22 to 25 inches tall at shoulder height. Male dogs weigh from 100 to 130 pounds and females can weigh from 80 to 100 pounds.
Rottweilers are members of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Working Dog Group.


The Rottweiler is descended from the ancient Roman Molossian dogs of war. After the Roman legions retreated from Europe, they left behind their large mastiff type dogs. These dogs were used to hunt wild boar. During the middle ages in Rottweil Germany, these dogs were crossed with local sheepdogs to produce the ‘Rottweil butcher’s dogs’ which were used to herd cattle and act as guard dogs. After the introduction of the railroads, cattle driving became illegal in Germany and the Rotties popularity declined and the breed almost became extinct. Fortunately some breeders recognized the potential of the Rottie as a police dog because of its intelligence, strength and courage. The Rottie came to the U.S. during the late 1920’s and the first dog was registered by the AKC in 1931. Today the breed is a popular family dog, watchdog, guard dog and obedience and schutzhund competitor. Rottweilers were ranked 16th
out of 154 dog breeds in 2005 AKC registrations.


A well-bred Rottweiler is calm, intelligent, serious, loyal confident and courageous but has territorial instincts and can be aggressive in defence of its family. The Rottie is a very strong dog with a pronounced sense of duty to protect its owner and family from strangers and strange dogs. Therefore it is imperative that this breed be thoroughly socialized and obedience trained starting when it is a puppy and continuing through adolescence. Rotties remember what they learn and are fairly easy to train. This breed enjoys mental stimulation as well as exercise and makes a good obedience, agility and schutzhund competitor. Rotties are working dogs and are not happy unless being challenged both physically and mentally. Rottweilers are not suited for indoor life and enjoy being outside. Rotties do well with children and also other pets if they are raised with them. Because of unscrupulous breeders and breeders
that trained Rottweilers as guard dogs, a fair amount of hysteria has developed around the breed. Some cities and towns have banned the breed and some insurance companies will not provide homeowners insurance. A well trained Rottie makes a great family pet but this breed is not for everyone. Only people who have the time to thoroughly socialize, obedience train, and keep this dog active should become Rottie owners. This dog must have an experienced and assertive dog owner who knows how to handle a strong willed dog.


The Rottweiler is an outdoor dog that needs lots of exercise and daily activities. Rotties enjoy mental challenges as well as physical activities, so get them involved in advanced obedience, agility or schutzhund training. See our article on “Fun Dog Activities” for information on these and other activities. After the Rottie is 12 to 18 months old you can give him lots of vigorous exercise by taking him jogging and biking.


The Rottie is a medium shedder that is easy to maintain by brushing 2 or 3 times per week with a bristle brush and a hound glove. This breed only requires an occasional bath – at most twice per year. Remember to rinse the dog thoroughly.

Health Considerations:

Rottweilers can only be expected to live for 8 to 10 years. Rotties have a number of common health problems including: orthopedic disorders (hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, panosteitis, and osteochondrosis); eye diseases (progressive retinal atrophy, retinal dysplasia, cataracts and entropion); heart disease (aortic stenosis); bloat; and spinal cord paralysis. See our article on “Hereditary Diseases in Dogs” for information on these diseases and suggestions for avoiding bloat. Prospective Rottie buyers should insist on seeing the breeding parents Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) orthopedic test results and also the Canine Eye Registry (CERF) recent ophthalmologists report.

Article type: xdogbreed