The Rottweiler is a medium/large breed of domesticated dog, originating from Germany.
One of the oldest of the herding breeds, possibly dating back as far as the Roman Empire. It is widely considered that they descended from the Drover dogs used by the ancient Romans, these were Mastiff type dogs, which were dependable, rugged and intelligent with guarding instincts. During their conquest of Europe, Roman legions traveled in large numbers bringing with them herds of cattle for food, Drover dogs kept these herds together and guarded them at night.
Around 74 A. D the Romans traveled across the Alps and into Southern Germany, for the next few centuries Roman drover dogs were used in the area for herding and driving cattle, even after the Romans had been driven out by the Swabians. (Germanic people native of Swabia, now known as Baden Wurttenberg and Bavaria).
After breeding with other dogs native to the area, the subsequent breed was named after the town and trade center of Rotweil. They were used to drive cattle to market, as well as protecting them from wild animals and robbers, in Germany they were known as Rottweiler Metzgerhund, meaning Rottweils butchers dog as they herded cattle and pulled carts of meat to market. They were also used for protection by the butchers who would often have large amounts of money in a purse around their necks.
As the railroads took over in the mid 19th century, Rottweilers were no longer needed and their numbers began to dwindle and the breed was on the verge of extinction. The lead up to World War I saw a great demand for Police dogs and led to a revival of interest in the breed, during World War I and II Rottweilers were used in a variety of roles including, messenger, ambulance service, draught and guard dogs.
The first Rottweiler club (Deutsher Rottweiler Klub) was founded in Germany in 1914, and in 1931 the Rottweiler was officially recognised by the American Kennel club. The breed was growing in popularity and in 1936 Rottweilers were exhibited at Crufts in Great Britain for the first time. By the mid 1990’s the Rottweilers popularity had reached an all time high, being the most registered dog in the American Kennel club, in 2017 the Rottweiler was ranked the eighth most popular pure breed in the United States.
The Rottweiler is a very strong muscular dog, it has a black coat with tan markings, a well-balanced dog, it is intelligent with good levels of endurance. The male Rottweiler stands 61 to 69cm at the withers, a heavy breed of dog with the male weighing 50 to 60kg, the female stands at 56 to 63cm and weighs 35 to 48kg, weight should be relative to height.
When looked after and properly socialised the Rottweiler is a placid good-natured breed, very devoted and obedient it is alert and eager to work. It is very protective of its owners with an inherent desire to protect its surroundings and those its close to. The Rottweiler makes the ideal companion, service, rescue or working dog. Any potentially dangerous behaviour in the Rottweiler is usually the result of irresponsible ownership, abuse, neglect or lack of socialisation and training.
Rottweilers are a relatively healthy disease free breed, though like most large dog breeds hip dyspasia can be a problem. Lack of exercise or overfeeding can cause obesity, this can lead to serious problems like, diabetes, heart failure and skin diseases. The average lifespan for a healthy Rottweiler is 8 to 10 years.