The Rottweiler is a working dog breed that has been serving alongside humans for centuries. But it is only recently that the Rottweiler has become a popular choice for a companion canine – a family pet.
Whenever a dog breed becomes very popular, this drives up demand for more puppies. Increased demand can pressure dog breeders and may open the door for less ethical breeding operations such as puppy mills.
This is often when you see dogs marketed as having unusual coat colors. Sometimes this is a genetic fluke, but often it is a deliberate attempt to charge higher prices for Rottweiler puppies.
Before choosing a Rottweiler puppy, you need to know how coat color can affect your new dog’s health.
In this article, we review Rottweiler colors and share information you need to know to choose your Rottie puppy wisely.
Rottweiler colors come in two categories. The first is American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized colors. These are the colors considered desirable for show dog purposes.
The second is so-called rare or unusual colors. Several genetic reasons a Rottweiler might have a coat color other than what is described in the official Rottweiler breed standard.
It is important to learn as much as possible about why a Rottweiler has an unusual coat color before committing to a lifetime of care.
See a Rottweiler Puppy With White Markings
There are a lot of controversies today surrounding unusual, unique, or rare Rottweiler colors. White colors on a Rottweiler have been singled out for special critique.
However, as this YouTube video points out, the Rottweiler breed does include genes that can produce white spots on the Rottweiler dog’s chest.
This is far different than an all-white Rottweiler, which we will discuss further in this article.
The American Kennel Club Approved Rottweiler Colors and Markings
The American Kennel Club, or AKC, is the largest, oldest, and most widely recognized purebred dog registry in the United States.
Currently, the American Kennel Club has 197 purebred dog breeds in its registry. The Rottweiler is the eighth most popular breed on the AKC rolls!
The AKC is the official keeper of the official breed standard for all 197 dog breeds in their registry. These breed standards are submitted to the AKC by the official purebred breed club for each breed.
The official Rottweiler breed standard is very clear about what Rottweiler colors and markings are acceptable for show dog standards.
In the following sections, we will review what the breed standard says about acceptable colors for the topcoat layer, the bottom coat layer, and the coat markings.
Then we will look at what the Rottweiler breed standard states are unacceptable colors or markings on a well-bred Rottweiler dog.
AKC-approved Rottweiler outer coat colors
A well-bred Rottweiler dog should have the following colors in the outer coat.
- Black and rust.
- Black and mahogany.
- Black and tan.
AKC-approved Rottweiler undercoat colors
Rottweilers are a working dog breed. Like nearly all working dog breeds, Rottweilers have a double-layer coat.
While the only visible layer in most cases is the outer coat, the inner lining (the coating layer closest to the skin) also has a color.
The AKC breed standard for Rottweilers states that these are the only acceptable colors for a Rottie undercoat.
AKC-approved Rottweiler coat markings
Rottweilers are bi-color dogs. Here, bi-color refers to the colors on the top or outer coat layer only (the color of the bottom coat layer doesn’t count as a third color, even if it is different from either of the two colors in the topcoat layer).
According to the AKC Rottweiler breed standard, all Rottweilers should have a very specific set of markings in very specific places to be considered well-bred by show dog standards.
The breed standard specifies here a proper Rottweiler coat color pattern.
– The coat should always have black as the dominant color.
– The secondary color of rust, mahogany, or tan should not exceed 10 percent of the overall color content of the outer coat layer.
– The secondary color should appear in the following places: cheeks, over each eye, on either side of the muzzle in a thin strip, on the throat, on either side of the chest, on the ankles and toes of the front legs, on hind legs from stifle to hock, under the tail.
This is a generalized description, as the breed standard is precise about where the secondary color markings should and should not be.
AKC NOT approved Rottweiler coat colors and markings
The official Rottweiler breed standard is also very specific about which colors and markings are disallowed or considered serious faults by show dog standards.
The breed standard specifies that the following colors and markings on a Rottweiler dog are serious concerns.
- Any primary (base) color except black.
- Any white markings (except very few random white hairs).
- Any secondary color markings fall outside the approved areas on the dog’s body.
- Secondary coat colors exceed 10 percent surface area on the dog’s body.
- Single coat coloration on a Rottweiler.
- Minimal or sooty secondary coat colors.
- Straw-colored markings.
What You Need to Know About Rare Rottweiler Colors
As you can see, breeding a show-quality Rottweiler with all the right colors in all the right places can be very complicated!
But unless you are planning to show your Rottweiler at AKC-sponsored events or want to breed purebred Rottweilers, it isn’t necessarily beneficial to hold out for a Rottweiler that meets all the criteria in the official breed standard.
What is necessary is to notice when a Rottweiler puppy or rescue dog has coat colors that are very unlike what the breed standard describes.
As Dog Coat Colour Genetics points out, there are times when a dog’s unusual coat colors may point to other concerning issues, such as serious health problems.
You might be wondering why the coat color on a Rottweiler has anything to do with health problems, and you might be wondering?
The reason is that the genes that influence coat color in a dog can also influence other things, such as skin sensitivity, vision and hearing, temperament problems, neurological disorders, immune system disruption, and an increased chance of illness.
As von Der Rottweilers’ breeder explains, there are reasons why rare or unusual colors on a Rottweiler might lead to health problems.
Rottweiler colors and Inbreeding
One of the most common reasons is inbreeding. Inbreeding is the unethical practice of allowing closely related dogs to mate. Often inbreeding is allowed when two related dogs have desirable characteristics, such as particular coat color.
When dogs are inbred, the genetic diversity, which has protective health benefits for the puppies, is reduced. With fewer genes to choose from, genes that could create serious health problems become more prominent and are likely to pass to puppies.
Inbred puppies can inherit various health issues along with a particular coat color or color pattern.
Structural malformation and abnormalities, shyness or aggression, autoimmune disorders, blood and nervous system disorders – all of these and more have been linked to the practice of inbreeding.
This is why you need to do your homework and research whenever you consider adopting or purchasing a Rottweiler with unusual coat color.
The more you learn about the dog’s genetic history and parents, the less likely you are to choose a dog that will cause you heartache and extra expense.
Rottweiler colors and crossbreeding
As the American Rottweiler Club points out, another reason you want to research the breeder carefully you buy your puppy from is to make sure you are buying a purebred Rottweiler!
Whenever a supposedly rare or unusually colored Rottweiler is advertised, you want to be able to be sure the coat color is not the result of a hybrid dog breeding.
Crossbreeding, also called hybrid or designer dog breeding, occurs when a breeder crosses two purebred dog breeds to create a new breed.
As Big Sky Rottie Rescue explains, many breeders who openly advertise rare or unusual Rottweiler puppies for sale are doing so purely to make a profit.
Either the breeder doesn’t have the genetic knowledge to breed a true-to-breed purebred Rottweiler or just wants to make money by selling innocent dog lovers poorly bred pups.
Often the puppies are not purebred Rottweilers but cross with mixed or unknown parentage in their gene pool.
For example, since Rottweilers do not have the genes to be pure white, when you see an all-white Rottweiler, there are only two ways this could happen.
The first way to get a white Rottweiler is by heavy inbreeding. The second way to get a white Rottweiler is by cross-breeding a Rottweiler with another dog breed with the genes to produce an all-white coat.
In the first case, your white Rottweiler will likely grow up with severe health and behavioral issues and may have a shortened life expectancy. In the second case, you are paying for a purebred Rottweiler but getting a hybrid Rottweiler.
Either way, you lose, and the unethical breeder pockets the profits.
How to Choose a Responsible Rottweiler Breeder
The American Rottweiler Club has issued recommendations for selecting an honest, ethical, and experienced Rottweiler dog breeder.
Of course, the first way to know is by confirming that the Rottweiler puppies have the coat colors described in the Rottweiler breed standard.
The second way to know is when the breeder allows you to visit their kennel, walk around, see the operation and meet your puppy’s parent dogs.
And the third way is to examine the breeder’s credentials and verify them with the AKC.
When in doubt, ask your veterinarian to examine any Rottweiler puppy or rescue dog you consider adding to your family. Ask the breeder to provide records of their breed lineage and AKC registration papers for parent dogs and puppies.
And be sure that the breeder can prove that both parent dogs have been pre-tested for all known genetic health problems in the Rottweiler breed line. This is the best way to ensure you work with a responsible and experienced Rottie breeder.
How can you tell you might be dealing with an unethical dog breeder? You can tell when the marketing says things like “rare red Rottweiler” or “rare long-haired Rottweiler.” Anytime you see the word “rare” in Rottweiler advertising, run.
You can also tell when the Rottweiler breeder will not allow you to visit their kennel in person, see their operation and meet the parent dogs. When this occurs, it means that breeder may have something to hide.
Finally, you can tell when the Rottweiler breeder refuses to give you health records, pre-screening test results, breed lineage information, proof of puppy vaccinations and pest treatments, an initial guarantee of good health, a take-back guarantee, and registration papers.
This is a breeder that just wants to take your money and will likely sell you a poorly bred Rottweiler or even a sick Rottweiler.
Which Rottweiler Colors Are Your Favorite
While it is only natural to have your favorite Rottweiler colors, the most important consideration when choosing your puppy is ensuring your new dog is healthy.
Otherwise, those beautiful Rottweiler colors may cause you heartache too soon.
With a little research, you should be able to find a beautiful Rottweiler puppy or rescue dog that also comes with a clean bill of health and a reasonable price tag.