Rottweilers rank as one of the most popular dog breeds in America. This is most likely because this breed is loyal, sturdy, and they’re intelligent dogs that have a long history of hard work. They were first used as cattle dogs for the Roman Empire, but today you’re more likely to see these black and brown fur babies prancing around a dog park. The Rottweiler requires lots of training, exercise, and of course, love!
Rottweilers are large dogs that are easily recognizable. This breed is truly powerful, which is reflected in its sturdy build. Their coat is black with defined brown markings that are typically around the mouth, chin, neck, chest, paws, and thighs. The head is broad and the Rottweiler often carries a look of nobility and pride.
Deep-seated almond-shaped eyes convey friendliness and alertness. Rottweilers have a wide chest and a dense build that makes them heavy. In fact, they often have weight problems as they get older, which is something owners need to watch out for.
The Rottweiler’s outer coat is straight and of medium length. It lies flat and is present on the neck and thighs of the breed. The undercoat should be completely hidden by the outer coat. This powerful breed has strong front and high quarters and they often walk at a trot. Rottweiler’s are typically born with a long tail, but it is often cropped at birth to about 2 inches of length. The ears hang sloppily forward, almost replicating an upside down triangle.
This medium to large-sized dog is absolutely built like a tank! Rottweiler males can range from 24-27 inches while female Rottweilers are just a bit smaller, 22-25 inches. With a natural tail, these dogs are longer than they are tall.
Rottweilers tend to grow at a slow pace compared to other dogs. It is typical for it to take 18 months to 2 years for this breed to reach full size. Because of how long it takes this breed to grow, owners often grow impatient and try to bulk their dog up by increasing their diet. Overfeeding is known to cause bone, weight, and other health issues later in life for Rottweilers. Take your time, be patient, and wait for your pup to grow to full size naturally.
At birth, Rottweilers typically weigh between 1-3 lbs. By 2 months, which is the minimum acceptable adoption age, a Rottweiler pup that is healthy should weigh between 12-15 lbs. By the time your pup is fully matured at age two, owners can expect a weight of 100-120lbs.
Be forewarned, this breed might not be ideal for first-time dog owners! However, Rottweilers are loveable dogs, but they truly need a decent amount of training. They are protectors at their core and their loyalty is unquestioned.
While male Rottweilers may be more aggressive and dominant than their female counterparts, both sexes must be socialized with humans and other dogs at an early age to help curb this trait. Intelligent and active, Rottweilers will enjoy a good exercise alongside their owner.
Rottweilers are infamous barkers, and it can become a serious nuisance for owners unless this habit is also curbed early on. Rottweilers are great with children, but owners should be cautious around groups of kids. If you have a child that your Rottweiler feels it must protect, your dog may confuse playful wrestling and other kid games as an attack.
It is essential to keep your eye on your pet in these situations because though they may feel like they are protecting your child, they actually might harm others. Owners must be very patient, firm, and strong with their Rottweiler. Behavioral training is not mandatory but may be needed for particularly headstrong Rottweilers. These dogs are lovers who will cuddle up and demand your love.
How To Care For Rottweilers
There are four things that are essential for owners when it comes to taking care of your Rottweiler: Exercise, grooming, training, and dental. Conscientious and responsible pet owners will keep up with these things regularly. Nevertheless, routine trips to the vet are highly suggested.
Rottweilers are a very active breed. It would be best for owners to provide at least 1.5-2 hours of exercise a day for their energetic Rottweiler. This breed thoroughly enjoys swimming, running, jogging, and playing fetch. Rottweilers love being put to work as well, so try to tie tracking, obedience, or herding into daily exercises as well. Because this breed is known to become obese with little exercise, owners should make this the most important part of their Rottweiler’s daily routine. A healthy dog means a happy dog!
It is a good idea to take your Rottweiler to the dog park for socialization at an early age. There is healthy exercise to be had at the doggy park, and it is important for your Rottweiler to familiarize itself with other dogs as young as possible. Encourage play with other dogs, even if your Rottweiler would prefer to stay close to you.
It will actually be hard for you to over-exercise your Rottweiler. In fact, your pet may over-work you! These dogs are sturdy, strong, and they are built for labor. Of course, too much of anything is not good, but unless you’re pushing over 2.5 hours of exercise a day, your Rottweiler should be fine.
Rottweilers have a medium length outer coat that lies flat on their body. An undercoat exists on the chin, neck, and thighs. Shedding is not regularly heavy but can become a problem during seasonal changes. This occurs twice a year in the Spring and Fall. Owners should brush their Rottweiler once a week at the least to help combat shedding. During seasonal shedding, many owners opt to take their Rottweilers in for professional grooming.
Rottweilers need to be bathed often. This is because of their dense coat, which can trap dead hair and skin. It is recommended that you bathe your Rottweiler every 2-3 weeks. For pets that spend more time outdoors, owners should formulate a more frequent bathing schedule.
Although there are many owners who like to kick back and allow their dogs to have an untrained lifestyle, that will probably not work for Rottweilers. Training is pretty much mandatory for these dogs, which is why we mentioned Rottweilers are not the ideal breed for first-time owners.
These pups grow to be very large and can become unruly and lazy if they are not trained properly. Basic obedience training, such as sit, stay, lay down, no, heel, and stop should be peppered in as much as possible while your Rottweiler is a puppy.
Socialization is an important part of training as well. Make sure to bring your pup to the dog park so that it familiarizes itself with other dogs at a young age. Although Rottweilers are known to be compatible with other dogs, little to no socialization at an early age can create a timid and stressed-out adult when placed in social settings.
Stressed-out dogs act out, so it is important to socialize early and often. Rottweilers are made to perform tasks, so they are more than eager to be taught. Stimulate their need to work with reward-based training such as tracking and hunting games.
Rottweiler pups typically have 28 temporary teeth that erupt at roughly a month of age. Adult teeth will begin to appear between three and four months. When teething is complete, your Rottweiler should have 42 adult teeth. Many owners do not brush their pet’s teeth, which is a common mistake. But imagine if you did not brush your teeth for weeks, months, or years? Dogs often get periodontal diseases because of poor dental hygiene. Owners should brush their Rottweiler’s teeth every other day, and also employ chew toys and treats that encourage good dental health.
The distant forefathers of the Rottweiler were Roman Empire task dogs. The Romans had armies sprawled out across Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa, and they needed reliable and tough herd dogs. They first began using Asia Mastiff breeds, and many of these breeds ended up finding a foothold in Germany. This is because Roman’s northward expansions in Germany.
Several centuries later, the ancestors of these durable herd dogs were still in use in Germany. They also began to gain use as protectors, guarding their owners against bandits and thieves. Butchers found a use for the strong breed and had them ferry meat trucks. The small town of Rottweil popularized these work dogs and so they gained the name Rottweiler Metzgerhund, or Butcher’s Dog of Rottweil.
In the 1800s, Rottweilers began to lose work in cattle herding due to technological advances. Subsequently, their breed began to lose popularity and set off towards the brink of extinction. Ever pliable, Rottweilers soon began to gain popularity again during World War I. Their strength and loyalty were needed in the military and police forces. They entered the workforce as police dogs, guide dogs for the blind, and search and rescue dogs. Since then, Rottweilers have enjoyed popularity around the world as amazing guard dogs and task dogs that are loyal and hard-working.
Rottweilers have a lifespan of 8-10 years. They are relatively healthy dogs, but every breed comes with a few unfortunate medical aberrations. Among the list of more common ailments that are found in Rottweilers are Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Aortic Stenosis, Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Cancer, and Osteochondritis Dessicans.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Rottweilers have particularly weak eyes that are subject to a range of issues. Cataracts and progressive loss of sight are prevalent issues, but Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is the most common. PRA develops when the photoreceptors at the back of the eye start to fail.
The first signs of PRA are night blindness, which is an extreme difficulty seeing in the dark. This gets worse until daytime vision is also affected. Most cases result in the total loss of eyesight. There is no cure for PRA, but it can be diagnosed as a puppy. This means owners at least can be aware if their dog will develop PRA.
Cataracts are very common in Rottweilers, who have weak eye health to begin with. A cataract is when an opacity forms on the eye. Incipient cataracts are typically benign and cause no loss in vision. An immature cataract is the most common form, and it will impair the vision of your Rottweiler moderately. Hyper mature cataracts are the most severe form and it causes almost complete blindness. Vets will typically perform surgery on your pet to get rid of cataracts.
Yet another common eye condition in Rottweilers, Entropion is the turning inwards of the eyelids. This causes the eyelashes to grind on the surface of the eye, which will damage the cornea and can lead to ulcers. Vets have several methods to deal with Entropion, from slight cosmetic fixes to surgery.
Ectropion is the opposite of Entropion. In this case, the eye has been turned outwards. This typically resolves itself as the pup gets older and is typically only a cosmetic issue that shouldn’t cause owners much concern. Both Ectropion and Entropion conditions are inherited.
This is a cardiovascular system condition that obstructs blood flow near the left side of the heart. The aorta, which pumps blood throughout your pet’s body, becomes compromised. This causes the Rottweiler’s heart to work double-time, which puts damaging wear and tear on the muscle. Sadly, oftentimes, this leads to a heart attack. Fortunately, there are several tests that owners can take their pet in for to see if Aortic Stenosis is an issue.
Hip & Elbow Dysplasia
Like with most large dogs who like to lounge, Rottweilers have an increased risk of Hip and Elbow Dysplasia. Hip Dysplasia is when the ball of the hip does not properly fit into the socket. This can cause excruciating pain, and you will notice your pet either limping, straining to put weight on certain limbs, licking at this hip incessantly, or squealing when the area is strained. Elbow Dysplasia has a similar concept, except it relates to the elbow joint. Treatments range from medication to surgery.
OCD (Osteochondritis Dessicans)
Osteochondritis Dessicans in Rottweilers typically occur between 4-6 months and it affects all the joints in the body. Much like Hip and Elbow Displaysia, OCD is prevalent in bigger dogs. This ailment happens when pups are growing, and their cartilage is maturing into joints.
In some instances, this cartilage forms improperly, or bones stretch and grow too fast. This can lead to pain much more severe than Hip or Elbow Dysplasia for your pup. OCD can result in bones breaking and abnormally formed joints. In some cases, broken pieces of bone become lodged into joints, causing severe pain. Surgery is needed to correct this ailment.
Recent studies have shown that one of the most common causes of death in Rottweilers is cancer. Lymphoma cancers tops this list, but liver, spleen, and bone cancer will also be very common in this breed. Much like in humans, cancer can be cured in Rottweilers but it does take considerable time and money. Symptoms for cancers in Rottweilers vary greatly, so making sure you take your pet in for regular vet checks ups is key to recognizing, fighting, and stopping cancer.
Cruciate Ligament Rupture
This is an expensive and painful ailment. There are ligaments that criss-cross being the kneecap. They help hold together the top and bottom parts of the hind legs. When these ligaments rupture, snap or stretch, it causes mobility issues. In severe cases, it can cause your dog to lose the ability to walk. Cruciate Ligament Ruptures are common in Rottweilers and must be fixed with surgery.
Nutrition and Feeding for a Rottweiler
Rottweilers are prone to gaining weight, and fast! Keep track of your pet’s calorie count and rely on high-quality foods only. Because of Rottweiler’s penchant for becoming obese, owners must also be wary of table food and treats of any kind. Using treats for training is great, but that is it. Do not overdo it.
Owners should try to stick to grain-free and organic dog food. Highly processed dog foods have often been connected to a number of health ailments such as cancer. Skip over the cheap kibble and go for wet or raw food if possible. Or purchase kibble that you know is healthy and is not packed with preservatives, flavoring, or coloring.
There are three coat colors associated with Rottweilers. Black and Tan, Black and Mahogany, and Black and Rust. Simply put, all Rottweilers are covered in Black fur, with some type of brownish markings around the nose, chin, chest, paws, and belly. The eyebrows will also be colored to match the markings of your Rottweiler.
It may be difficult for the average pet owner to discern between the coat types. Black and Mahogany Rottweilers will have the darkest markings of all three coat types. It should be a deep red-brownish mahogany. The Black and Rust coat is the most distinguishing, while the Black and Tan offers the lightest coloring of the trio.
We are sure you have heard of Red Rottweilers, Blue Rottweilers, and Albino Rottweilers. These extremely rare coat colors are typically a product of unethical breeding or crossbreeding. For example, experts agree that the Red Rottweiler, which displays an auburn and tan coat, is the result of cross-breeding. These rare coats also are associated with higher medical risks as well. Consumers should be extra careful when looking into these expensive variations.
Children And Other Pets
When raised around children, Rottweilers make excellent companions to the little ones. It is important to socialize your Rottweiler around children when the pup is young. Because of their herding nature, sometimes this pup may softly bump little children in an attempt to guide them. This can cause your toddler to fall and get injured, so parents should always be aware and alert when their young child is with their Rottweiler.
Rottweilers do have predatory nature, which can be triggered by cats. Honestly, it all depends on the unique personality of your Rottweiler. Some of them enjoy the company of cats, while others cannot get over this predatory urge. Rottweilers are also known to be more aggressive to other dogs of the same sex. Early socialization with other pets can help curb these habits.
Because of the popularity of Rottweilers, there are several rescue groups for them across the nation. A quick Google search should lead you to the best rescue center near you. Rottweiler Rescue is one of the best rescue groups in America and has an interactive map so that owners can search their particular state of residence for potential rescues.
Owners should always check the ASPCA as well. The ASPCA rescues animals and sets up adoption for low costs that include vaccines, spay/neutering services, food, and toys. There are hundreds of Rottweilers in shelters across the country, it would change the lives of these wonderful creatures if you could take one home!
The Ameican Rottweiler Club and the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub are two of the most reputable breed organizations for Rottweilers. The Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub was founded in 1907 in Germany, and although they are only available in that country, their standard should be the bar for all other organizations. Owners should also check locally for clubs and organizations that specialize in treatment, safety, rescue, and education for Rottweilers.
More About This Dog Breed
Rottweilers are a great breed for seasoned dog owners. They are loyal, strong, and require lots of training. It is rare to find a dog that works harder than this breed. Highly intelligent and somewhat headstrong, an alpha personality type is strongly recommended for owners of this breed. They make great family dogs, and with a little guidance, can be wonderful around children and pets as well. If you are going to invest in a Rottweiler, make it a priority to invest in obedience training. It will do wonders for your relationship with your pet. If you are looking for a strong, loving, and loyal companion, look no further.
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Written by Karlton at www.holistapet.com