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Country of Origin: Germany

Height: Males 24–27 inches, females 22–25 inches

Weight: Males 110 pounds, females 92.5 pounds

Coat: Double coat with medium-length, straight, coarse, dense, flat-lying outercoat and an undercoat

Colors: Black with rust to mahogany markings

Other Names: Rottweil Metzgerhund

Registries (With Group): AKC (Working); UKC (Guardian)


As Roman soldiers marched across Europe, herds of cattle accompanied them as sources of food. The herds were guarded and driven by mastiff-type dogs who kept thieves at bay and potential deserters in the ranks. As the cattle were eaten, dogs were left behind—sometimes as guardians at the various outposts and sometimes to fend for themselves. The northern boundary of the army’s ventures traced through southern Germany, including the town of Rottweil, which became a major European center for livestock commerce during the next 18 centuries. The mastiff types that came to populate Rottweil became known as German “butcher” dogs, or Rottweilers, driving cattle and carting the meat and other wares to market. These excursions were dangerous; butchers and other traders were often ambushed and robbed. To safeguard themselves, travelers often tied their money belts around their Rottweilers’ necks.

As railroads and other means of transportation put the Rottweiler out of a job, he lost favor for some time. When the police and military began using him for protection and other work, his popularity made a comeback throughout the 1900s. His extreme popularity led to overbreeding and a deterioration of his steady temperament, which caused him to be targeted as dangerous. As a result, his popularity level again dropped off. Today, he is bred in far fewer numbers by those who know his true nature and value his noblest qualities.


A well-bred Rottweiler is a calm, confident, and courageous dog, although he tends to show aloofness toward strangers and a reserved or cautious attitude in new and unfamiliar situations. This is a dog who needs to trust his owner completely to properly do his job as guardian of family and home. The Rottweiler has been a service dog to sectors as diverse as the military and the infirm because of his intelligence and discretion. Although a strong, powerful guard dog, he can also be a true friend with a deep reserve of respect and love for those in his care.


Exercise: The Rottweiler thrives on plenty of exercise, and because he is a robust and energetic working dog, he can never have too much to do. He must be taken on long walks or runs daily, and just about any outdoor activity will make him happy. Participating in sports such as agility, cart pulling, competitive obedience, tracking, and so on will work wonders for his physical and mental well-being. Participating in various outings also provides him with much-needed opportunities for socializing.

Grooming: Average shedders, Rottweilers should be brushed and combed regularly to keep their coats in shape. Folds around the face must be kept clean of dirt and debris as well.

Life Span: The average life span of the Rottweiler is 10 to 12 years.

Training: The Rottweiler must receive obedience training beginning in puppyhood. Positive, firm, careful, and consistent training is essential to handle this powerful breed. HeThey also requires an owner who can manage his massive size and strength. This breed needs a lot of leadership, companionship, and socialization to be truly happy.

Find a Nylabone chew, treat, or toy for your Rottweiler or large dog!

Excerpt from World Atlas of Dog Breeds, 6th Edition. © 2009 TFH Publications, Inc.
World Atlas of Dog Breeds

World Atlas of Dog Breeds Book

Other Books on this Topic:
Rottweilers (Animal Planet™ Pet Care Library)
The Rottweiler (Terra Nova)

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