Rottweilers, or “Rotties” as owners often nickname this breed, are both an ancient dog breed and a very popular modern pet dog choice today.
Learning more about the Rottweiler breed is a great way to ensure you take the best care of your precious Rottie!
About the Rottweiler History
The Rottweiler today can trace their ancestry back to the ancient might of the Roman Empire. These drover, herder, and guard dogs were true canine warriors – a job description they still carry out today.
Learn About the Friendly and Fierce Rottweiler Dog Breed
This great YouTube video shows you exactly why the Rottweiler is so enduringly popular and why the Rottweiler is not always the right choice of dog breed for every family.
As the video points out, Rottweilers are not permitted in all areas. Some homeowners’ insurance providers will increase premiums or refuse coverage to homeowners who keep Rottweiler dogs.
Researching your local laws and insurance guidelines before bringing a Rottweiler into your life for this exact reason is essential. Doing your research can prevent a painful relinquishment and rehome for your dog and you.
Rottweiler Dog Breed Overview
Rottweilers are considered a large to giant dog breed. The male Rottie can easily weigh 135+ pounds!
Here is a brief overview of the Rottweiler dog breed as per the official American Kennel Club (AKC) dog breed standard:
Rottweiler breed popularity
The American Kennel Club (AKC) publishes an annual list of the most popular purebred dog breeds in the United States.
Out of 195 registered purebred dog breeds, the Rottweiler currently ranks eighth!
Rottweiler weight, height, and size
Rottweilers are sexually dimorphic, which means it is often possible to tell males apart from females in adulthood simply by looking at them.
Rottweiler males are typically taller and heavier than adult females.
The adult male Rottweiler averages between 95 and 135 pounds and typically stand 24 to 27 inches tall from paw pads to shoulder girdle.
The adult female Rottweiler, in contrast, typically weighs between 80 and 100 pounds and stands from 22 to 25 inches tall, again from paw pads to shoulder girdle.
So here, you can see that there can be some small amount of genetic overlap, but a well-bred Rottweiler will usually fall into these general gender-based weight and height/size categories.
Rottweiler shedding and coat care
The Rottweiler is an actual working dog breed. This dog has always been bred to work hard inactive job duties like herding, guarding, protecting and service, military, police dog, and search and rescue work.
Because of this, the Rottweiler has a thick double-layer coat, characteristic of working dog breeds.
The outer layer is more coarse and has weather-resistant properties. The under-layer is soft and thick, providing the dog with insulation against water and the elements.
Because the Rottweiler’s coat is so vital to protect the dog while “on the job,” Rotties do shed a lot year-round, twice per year, they go through an event owners call the “coat blow.”
Blowing coat is as it sounds – an explosion of shed dog hair. The inner layer will shed and replenish, and the outer layer will.
Brushing your Rottweiler daily can help control the amount of shed hair, but you will also want a dustpan and broom, vacuum, and de-lint brush handy.
Rottweiler activity level and exercise needs
Even though the Rottweiler is an actual working dog breed, these dogs only have medium energy levels.
Rottie puppies will be very energetic and continue into young adulthood, but after the first year or so, your dog will settle down into the medium energy levels the breed is known for.
However, Rottweilers do need to exercise and play for at least an hour or two daily, or they tend to put on weight. Rotties are amazing canine athletes and tend to excel in canine agility, herding, carting/droving, nose work, obedience, and show competitions.
However, it is essential not to give your dog too-intense exercise too early in life because Rottweilers are so big that they take longer to grow up.
Your canine veterinarian can tell you when your Rottweiler’s growth plates have closed and hardened, and it is safe to enjoy long runs, walks, or hikes together.
Rottweilers are not just extremely popular because they are so loving and loyal. They also have strong territorial instincts and are excellent guarding and protection dogs.
This is why so many people choose the Rottweiler dog breed as a family pet. However, giving your Rottweiler enough early training and socialization is vital so your dog learns how to tell the difference between a friend and a threat.
Rottweilers need lots of exposure to unknown people and animals, new situations, and interactions to temper their territorial tendencies for life in a family and community.
Rottweilers – good with kids and other pets?
A well-bred and adequately trained, and socialized Rottweiler can make a fantastic family companion for family members of all ages.
However, it is essential to remember that Rottweilers can grow extremely large. Just having an enormous dog in the family around babies or very young children can come with some risks – for example, if your dog were to fall over on your child.
As Vetstreet points out, overall, Rottweilers are less well-suited for a life with small kids and babies than other dogs may be.
This is particularly the case for small, vulnerable prey-type family pets. If you have adult cats, they may be okay taking care of themselves around a Rottweiler dog.
But Rotties, in general, need to be only dogs and only pets for the safety of everyone in the family. They have an intense chase and prey drive and may have difficulty resisting the urge to go after other family pets.
Rottweiler health issues
One of the most concerning aspects of choosing a Rottweiler dog is its known genetic health issues. The breed, as a whole, has several severe health issues.
Luckily, there are genetic health tests that responsible dog breeders can have done on breeding pairs to reduce the likelihood of passing on some conditions to puppies.
The Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) database keeps up-to-date health records on the Rottweiler breed based on known genetic health conditions and required pre-testing.
Currently, the Rottweiler breed is known to be vulnerable to these genetic health issues:
- Hip dysplasia.
- Elbow dysplasia.
- Heart issues.
- Eye issues.
- Juvenile Laryngeal Paralysis & Polyneuropathy (JLPP).
Hip and elbow dysplasia is a malformation of the ball and socket joint. Depending on the severity, this issue can be correctable via physical therapy or surgery.
Another serious health issue is more common in the Rottweiler dog breed, for which no health pre-testing exists. This issue is osteosarcoma, cancerous bone tumors.
The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) explains that as many as 12 percent of all Rottweiler dogs may develop osteosarcoma during their lifetime.
The condition is 100 percent fatal in most cases. Only 10 percent of treatment efforts currently lead to success. Osteosarcoma is very painful and debilitating, and research thus far has failed to discover an underlying genetic link that can be tested for.
Rottweiler life expectancy
The Rottweiler dog has an average life expectancy of nine to 10 years. This is consistent with the inverse relationship between a dog breed’s size and life expectancy.
Do Rottweilers Bark a Lot?
Rottweilers are undoubtedly capable of barking loudly when the need arises.
But, as with so many protection and guard dog breeds, Rottweilers are not known to be “barkers,” per se.
These dogs know when to stay silent and when to make noise.
The exception is when a Rottweiler is left alone, poorly trained, and socialized. In these cases, you can expect a Rottweiler to bark more than is typical for this dog breed. There are two main reasons for this.
Rottweilers are “people” dogs.
A Rottweiler may bark more than usual for this dog breed if often left alone.
Being “left alone” includes being in the company of other dogs or family pets. The Rottweiler is a “people” dog and needs to be included in your daily life as much as possible.
Rottweilers crave human company and want to be with you at all times. This is also in keeping with their long history of guarding, herding, and protecting dogs. The Rottweiler dog breed has been developed to bond closely with people.
So when you choose a Rottweiler, knowing this upfront is essential and ensuring you have the time to include your dog in your everyday life.
This is also not a dog breed that can tolerate being “home alone” for hours while you are gone to work.
Destructive behavior, including barking, remodeling the furniture, digging up the yard, escape attempts, and inappropriate elimination, can occur when a Rottweiler is frequently left alone for long periods.
Rottweilers are very territorial dogs.
The second reason you may find your Rottweiler barks more than most Rotties do is when your dog has not yet learned how to deal with their own territorial and guard dog instincts.
Rottweilers need to learn how to differentiate between a friend and a threat. Rotties can learn to remain calm around unknown people and other animals, but they will typically be somewhat aloof and err on caution.
A Rottweiler may also bark a lot if they are being provoked. Other dogs walking by the yard, teasing from neighborhood children, and other factors can cause a Rottweiler to display territorial aggression in the form of barking or worse. This can sometimes lead people to ask, “Are Rottweilers aggressive?”
Nearly every experienced Rottweiler owner, breeder, and trainer advises careful consideration before choosing a Rottweiler for this exact reason. You must devote much time to training and socialization right from day one.
Did You Know There Are Different Types of Rottweiler Dogs?
This is one of the areas of most significant controversy among Rottweiler keepers and breeders.
Some breeders and owners believe there are many different types of Rottweiler dogs, while others believe there is only one Rottweiler dog breed.
But what most people do agree about is that the Rottweiler dog breed has been bred independently in more than one geographic location over the lengthy course of this dog breed’s history.
As Mississippi Rottweilers breeder and kennel explain, some differences can often be easily spotted between American, German, and Serbian (sometimes called Russian) Rottweilers.
Depending on who you are talking to, there can be as many as seven different “types” of Rottweiler dog breed, some based on the location of birth and some based on appearance features as follows:
- Roman Rottweiler.
- European Rottweiler.
- Russian Rottweiler.
- Serbian Rottweiler.
- American Rottweiler.
- Tailed Rottweiler.
- Rare Rottweiler.
Some historians believe the German Rottweiler is the original Rottweiler line. The ancient Romans occupied Germany and left behind the Rottweiler dog breed as part of their legacy.
And in fact, there is a lot of basis for this assumption. The Rottweiler dog breed takes its breed name from a small town in Germany named Rottweil.
But Rottweilers are famous all around the world today. This has resulted in Rottweilers being bred in Germany, Russia, Serbia, Europe, America, and elsewhere.
This has led to some appearance differences between Rottweilers bred in different geographic areas. As Mississippi Rottweilers points out, one example is the head shape.
Serbian or German Rottweilers are known to have more of a “block” or apple head shape, while American Rottweilers are often thought to have more of a thin or berry head shape.
However, this is debatable because sometimes Rottweiler breeders in America may have parent Rottweiler dogs born or bred in Germany.
Ultimately, the only way to determine the significant geographic influence in your Rottweiler’s bloodline is to talk to the breeder and learn as much as possible about your Rottweiler’s lineage and history.
When it comes to other non-geographic labels such as “rare” or “tailed” Rottweilers, these are simply ways to distinguish between different colors and patterns, including s standard or non-standard coat colors.
If you plan to show your Rottweiler competitively, you will want to ensure your dog comes from a breed lineage of standard show colors and patterns.
According to the American Rottweiler Club (ARC), the breed standard only specifies a dog with black and mahogany, black and rust, or black and tan markings.
A base (dominant) color that is anything other than black is disqualified in the show ring, as is any solid (single) color coat.
Some “rare” Rottweiler colors can only be produced by breeding practices that some breeders find questionable. Again, working with a responsible and reputable breeder is the best way to choose the healthiest Rottweiler.
Tail docking is a practice that is still commonly done in America. But in many parts of the world, tail docking is now disallowed or non-legal for animal welfare and anti-cruelty laws.
When you see a designation like “tailed” Rottweiler, it simply means the dog’s natural tail has not been docked (removed).
Working Rottweilers Versus Show Rottweilers
There is a long tradition with many working dog breeds to breed solely for temperament traits rather than appearance standards.
In contrast, in show dog competitions, the emphasis is mainly on breeding to a specific appearance, breed standard, or conformation.
You can look at the current official breed standard for the Rottweiler dog filed with the American Kennel Club (AKC), which governs all show dog competitions.
Even a casual glance reveals that the breed standard is highly detailed. Eyes, ears, tail, body, coat, expression – the dog that wins any show contests will be judged in large part based on appearance.
Breeding for working dog temperament traits and breeding for show dog appearance traits can have very different results, as you might imagine.
Sometimes when a dog breed line is bred too closely for specific appearance traits over all else, genetic health issues can get coded into the breed line. This is often less likely when a dog is bred for temperament over appearance.
However, you can find a healthy Rottweiler dog by working with any breeder that maintains detailed breeding records, completes all required and recommended health pre-tests, and offers an initial guarantee of health and proof of all required vaccinations.
Meeting and interacting with the parent dogs yourself is also brilliant. This will give you an excellent insight into what your Rottweiler puppy will be like in appearance and temperament when they grow up.
Why Are Rottweilers So Expensive?
Earlier here, you learned that Rottweiler dogs are illegal to own in all geographic areas. And some insurers will not provide coverage or increase the rottweiler insurance price for homes where a Rottweiler is part of the family.
This, in turn, drives up the Rottweiler price. Rottweilers can be more expensive to breed and insure, a cost passed to the owners.
As CBS News reports, it is common to find breeders charging anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500 for a Rottweiler puppy.
And this is just the initial cost to bring your Rottweiler puppy home. Many more costs are waiting for once your puppy comes home to stay.
If you decide to purchase pet insurance, which is an intelligent choice for Rottweiler owners who may have to spend thousands on health insurance claims, this will also be more expensive.
And Rottweilers require early and ongoing training and socialization to help ensure your dog will not become a danger to others. Many people wonder, “Are Rottweilers dangerous?”
The Rottweiler is not recommended as a dog choice for inexperienced or first-time dog owners. Still, the popularity of this breed nationwide speaks for itself on how rarely this advice is heeded.
For this reason, it is wise to budget for a high-quality canine training program that starts in puppyhood and extra training in canine athletics or service work.
Why Choose a Rottweiler Dog?
After reading through this Rottweiler dog breed information guide, you may be wondering if the Rottweiler is the right dog breed for you.
Rottweilers have been famous since ancient times for their tremendous skills in guarding, protecting, and servicing people.
Rottweilers make amazing guide dogs, service, and therapy dogs. They frequently choose private protection, police, and military dog roles.
Rottweilers are also incredible canine athletes and make excellent hunting, herding, carting, agility, tracking, search and rescue, and droving dogs.
And Rottweilers are very loving with “their” people and will be intensely loyal to their family.
These are all great reasons to choose the Rottweiler dog breed.
But it is equally important to consider whether you have the time, resources, and finances to accommodate the needs of a large to giant breed dog like the Rottweiler.
Everything tends to be more expensive when the dog is bigger, from buying bedding, crates, and food to veterinary care, training and socialization expenses, and toys and treats. For the right owner, there is no better dog than the Rottweiler.