Unfortunately for the Rottweiler breed their rapid rise to popularity led to some issues with disreputable breeders trying to cash in on the demand for puppies. Breeding of poorly selected dogs by uniformed breeders triggered reports of increased aggression in the breed as a whole, which is simply not true. As a breed the Rottweiler, also known as the Rottie, is a calm, loyal and very even tempered dog that is a natural protector but not naturally aggressive.
The breed originated from early Italian Mastiffs that accompanied the Roman legions as they moved through what is now modern Europe. The dogs remained behind and were used as herd dogs, guardians and trackers. Almost completely extinct by the early part of the 20th century as a unique breed, owners in Germany developed a club, set breed standards and began to rebuild the breed. It didn’t take long until this large sized dog became a major working dog in a variety of different areas. They are now used as police and military dogs, search and rescue animals and for all types of competitive obedience events.
The Rottweiler inherits from its early ancestors a heavy, thickly muscled body and frame. Males are bigger and heavier than females and the largest can weigh up to or over 130 pounds and measure up to 27 inches at the shoulder. They do have a tendency to put on weight quickly, which is partly due to their relatively sedentary lifestyle. These are not highly active dogs in the house and they can adjust very well to living indoors or in an apartment provided they have routine exercise and time to run on a daily basis. Although inactive inside the Rottie needs significant structured exercise per day to stay physically in shape. They are great jogging companions in moderate weather conditions but should not be exercised in very hot or humid periods of the day.
The biggest health issue for the Rottweiler, besides their tendency towards putting on weight, is problems with their ACL. The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is the ligament that runs over the knee connecting the upper and lower bones of the hind leg. This can cause a lameness that seems to come and go or significant difficulty in bearing any weight on the leg. Treatment can include surgery or therapy combined with pain management and weight loss.
The Rottweiler is a great breed for a family although they are not by nature a highly playful dog. They do enjoy a romp with the kids and, when raised with other animals and socialized, these dogs are very friendly. Naturally they will act as watchdogs and will also show fierce loyalty in protecting their family and their territory if they sense a threat. Rottweilers have a loud deep bark but they usually only bark when they feel threatened. These dogs are very intelligent and very easy to train.
Although they are sometimes considered to be stubborn, they are really just highly focused. The Rottweiler, with its distinctive black and brown markings and shorter, dense coat is a beautiful dog with a lot to offer.