History and Origin:
Likely descended from the ancient Roman “Drover dog”, the Rottweilers ancestors were used as utility dogs for the Roman army. A Mastiff-type herding dog was needed on the long campaigns to conquer Europe; the tenacity and stamina of the Rottweilers ancestor allowed it to control livestock and guard camps as the army travelled. By 260 AD, the army was stopped by the Swabians, a southern Germanic tribe, who kept the Roman dogs and cattle. The Rottweiler, named after Rottweil, or das rote wil (the red tile after the ruins of Roman baths were unearthed during the building of a church in 700 AD), helped the local economy by providing security for the cattle herds. The butchering trade grew immensely, as the Rottweiler dog could drive large herds of cattle for far distances to Rottweil. During the nineteenth century, however, cattle driving became outlawed in Germany, and donkeys and trains became preferred methods of freighting product. The Rottweilers numbers suffered after this, as it was no longer needed as an all-around working dog. Luckily, the turn of the twentieth century saw the Rottweiler rise to prominence as a police dog, a position that kept it popular through the world wars into the present day.
Personality and Temperament:
Courageous and powerful, the Rottweiler is a tough working dog with an exceptional awareness of its surroundings. It is hesitant to develop relationships, however, with patience and confidence, the Rottweiler will make the most loyal and protective of companions. A firm and experienced owner is required in order for the Rottweiler to develop into a well-adjusted, sociable dog.
Exercise & Training:
Due to its working past, the Rottweiler needs a fair amount of both physical and mental exercise to keep it happy and healthy. At least one long walk or run is needed every day. If raised properly, the Rottweiler is incredibly loyal, and can be safely walked or jogged off-leash with no fear of it running away. It should have access to a fenced yard to burn off excess energy, as such, it is not suited for apartment living. Due to its often aloof personality, the Rottweiler requires extensive training and socialization. It is a highly intelligent dog, however, and highly trainable if it receives confident leadership from its handler. The Rottweiler is used in a variety of capacities in the present day, working as a police, service, therapy, and search & rescue dog.
The Rottweiler is an average shedder, and brushing the short, glossy coat once or twice a week will remove excess hair and keep the skin healthy. Bathe only when necessary.
The Rottweiler is of Mastiff origin, and as such shares qualities and physical appearance with breeds such as the English Mastiff, Boxer, and Great Dane. It is frequently associated with the Dobermann Pinscher, both because of the similar markings and because of their shared use as a working dog in Germany. However, the two breeds are not known to be related.
Interesting Facts about the Rottweiler:
1. As a herder, the Rottweiler typically uses intimidation to control its flocks and herds, however will become very affectionate with the animals in its care.
2. The Rottweiler has one of the strongest jaws in the canine world.
3. The Rottweiler was the most popular breed in the United States in the 1990s according to the American Kennel Club.
4. In 2009, a Rottweiler named Jake was awarded a medal of bravery by the RSPCA (UK) for chasing off a man who was assaulting a woman.