A Rottweiler is a large dog breed originating in Germany as
herding dogs. The early Rottweilers also worked as beasts of
burden, carrying wood and other products to market. In addition,
they were used as draft animals to pull carts filled with various
products for their owners. During the first and second World Wars,
Rottweilers were put into service as war time guard dogs.
Currently they are frequently used as guard and police dogs.
FCI: Group 2 Section 2 #147
ANKC: Group 6 (Utility)
CKC: Group 3 - Working
KC (UK): Working
UKC: Guardian Dog
||Massive, powerful, muscular
||75-130 pounds (43-59 kg.)
||24-28 inches (61-69 cm.)
||Short, hard and thick
||Black and rust or black and a
||Broad, with rounded forehead and
||Dark, or an orangey brown
||Triangular, carried forward,
occasionally folded slightly
||Was usually docked. Docking is
Banned in Germany and U.K. An un-docked rottweiler tail is
usually around 4-6 inches and thick.
||Straight, with heavy bone
||Round, compact, with thick, hard
||Median 10-12 years
The breed is almost always black with clearly defined tan or
mahogany markings on the cheeks, muzzle, chest, legs, and
eyebrows. The coat is medium length and consists of a waterproof
undercoat and a coarse top coat. Rottweiler coats tend to be low
maintenance, although they experience shedding during certain
periods of the year. The skull is typically massive, but without
According to FCI standard, the Rottweiler stands 61 to 68 cm
(24-27 inches) at the withers for males, and 56 to 63 cm (22-25
inches) for females. Average weight is 50 kg for males and 42 kg
In the hands of a responsible owner, a well-trained and socialized
Rottweiler can be a reliable, alert dog and a loving companion.
However, any poorly trained dog can become a danger in the wrong
circumstances. Some people think of a Rottweiler as a mean,
vicious dog but those are the Rottweilers that are abused and not
treated as they should be. Rottweilers that are loved and cared
for can be just as nice as any other dog and in general they are
fond of children, very devoted, quick to learn, and eager to
please. However, if they are not receiving the mental stimulation
they desire, they will find creative and sometimes destructive
ways to elicit it. Such behavioral problems as chewing, barking
for attention and eating less can be a result of lack of human
interaction. The Rottweiler is a good working dog that is also
good for protection of children, as well as guard duties.
The Rottweiler is a steady dog with a self-assured nature, but
early socialization and exposure to as many new people, animals,
and situations as possible are very important in developing these
qualities. The Rottweiler also has a natural tendency to assert
dominance if not properly trained. Rottweilers' large size and
strength make this an important point to consider: an untrained,
poorly trained, or abused Rottweiler can learn to be extremely
aggressive and destructive and, if allowed to run at large, may
pose a significant physical threat to humans or other animals.
They can be strong-willed (bull-headed) and should be trained in a
firm, fair, and consistent manner - the owner must be perceived as
the leader. If the owner fails to achieve this status the
Rottweiler will readily take on the role. However, Rottweilers
respond readily to a clear and benevolent leader. Aggression in
Rottweilers is associated with poor breeding, poor handling, lack
of socialization, natural guarding tendencies, and abuse.
The Rottweiler is not usually a barker. Male dogs are silent
watchers who notice everything and are often quite stoic. Females
may become problem barkers in order to protect their den. An
attentive owner is usually able to recognize when a Rottweiler
perceives a threat. Barking is usually a sign of annoyance with
external factors (car alarms or other disturbances) rather than a
response to actual threats.
In recent years the breed has received some negative publicity,
possibly related to the fact that in the US, the Rottweiler is the
number two breed of dog named in fatal human attacks from 1979 to
1998 in a report by the CDC. Dangerous behavior in Rottweilers
results from their original breeding for aggressive guard dog
traits. This tendency may extend towards other animals as well.
Often injuries and maulings occur when an owner or passerby tries
to separate fighting dogs, or unintentionally triggers a guarding
behavior in a dog. In most cases, the type of behavior a
Rottweiler exhibits is the result of past training (or lack
thereof). Rottweilers may either be dangerous or benign, depending
on the action taken by the owner in socializing the dog. The
portrayal of Rottweilers as evil dogs in several fictional films
and TV series, most notably in The Omen, has added to their
negative publicity. Rottweilers are banned in many municipalities,
some scattered countries, and are sometimes targeted as dangerous
dogs by legislation, such as in the Netherlands. Many owners of
Rottweilers are forced to obey state leash/muzzle laws, as in
Germany, France and Venezuela.
The Rottweiler is a tough and hardy breed, but potential owners
should be aware of known health issues that can affect this breed.
Rottweilers are highly prone to be affected by serious diseases
mainly to its hips. The most serious genetic health risks a
Rottweiler faces are canine hip dysplasia (CHD), subvalvular
aortic stenosis (SAS), elbow dysplasia, and osteosarcoma. Other
conditions which may affect this breed include hypothyroidism,
gastric torsion (bloat), and allergies. Rottweiler owners should
have their dogs' hips, elbows, heart, and eyes tested by a
veterinarian before breeding. DNA tests should also be performed
to screen for von Willebrand's disease (vWD). Rottweilers
typically live between 8 and 11 years.[
The breed is an ancient one, and its history stretches back to the
Roman Empire. In those times, the legions traveled with their meat
on the hoof and required the assistance of working dogs to herd
the cattle. One route the army traveled was through Württemberg
and on to the small market town of Rottweil. The principal
ancestors of the first Rottweilers during this time was supposed
to be the Roman war dog, local sheepdogs the army met on its
travels, and dogs with molosser appearance coming from England and
This region eventually became an important cattle area, and the
descendants of the Roman cattle dogs proved their worth in both
driving and protecting the cattle from robbers and wild animals.
However, by the end of the 19th Century, the breed had declined so
much that in 1900 there was only one female to be found in the
town of Rottweil. But the build up to World War I saw a great
demand for police dogs, and that led to a revival of interest in
From that time the breed has become popular with dog owners, and
in 1935 was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club. In
1936, Rottweilers were exhibited in Britain at Crufts. In 1966, a
separate register was opened for the breed.
The first Rottweiler club in Germany, named DRK ("Deutscher
Rottweiler-Klub" German Rottweiler Club) was created the 13
January 1907, and followed by the creation of the SDRK "Süddeutscher
Rottweiler-Klub" (South German Rottweiler Club) on the 27
April 1907 and became the IRK (International Rottweiler Club). The
DRK counted around 500 Rottweiler, the SDRK 3000 Rottweilers. The
goals of the two clubs were different. The DRK wanted to produce
working dogs and did not emphasize the morphology of the
Rottweiler. The main stud dog of this club was Lord von der Teck.
The IRK tried to produce a homogeneous morphology according to
their standard. One of the main stud dogs of this club was Ralph
A popular misconception about the Rottweiler is that the breed was
bred for dog fighting.
This article is licensed under the GNU
Free Documentation License
ANATOMY OF DOGS
As of June 1, 1998, a federal law was passed in Germany prohibiting the
docking of Rottweiler tails.The basis for this law was
the fact that the practice of docking and cropping was deemed to be inhumane.
In order to comply with the new federal law requiring tails to be left in
their natural state, the ADRK (national breed club in
Gemany) revised their breed standard for the Rottweiler to reflect the
required natural tail.
TAIL: In natural condition, level in extension of the upper line; at ease may
be hanging. Faults: Set on too high or too low.
Disqualifying faults: Kink tail, ring-tail, with strong lateral deviation.
The FCI translated and adopted the new breed standard and gave all FCI member
countries several years to comply with the
As more and more countries are adopting the anti-docking platform for
Rottweilers in order to comply with the revised
ADRK/FCI Standard, and tails are becoming more commonplace, it is very
important to become familiar with both the good
and bad tailsets out there. Below are illustrations of those tailsets
STANDARD FOR ROTTWEILER
UTILIZATION: Companion, service and working dog
FCI CLASSIFICATION: Group 2 (Pinscher and Schnauzer type, Molossian
type, SwissMountain- and Cattle Dogs and other
Section 2.1: Molossian type, Mastiff type. With working trial.
BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY:
The Rottweiler is considered to be one of the oldest dog breeds. Its
origin goes back to Roman times. These dogs were kept as
herder or driving dogs. They marched over the Alps with the Roman
legions, protecting the humans and driving their cattle. In
the region of Rottweil, these dogs met and mixed with the native dogs in a
natural crossing. The main task of the Rottweiler
now became the driving and guarding of the herds of cattle and the defence of
their masters and their property.
This breed acquired its name from the old free city of Rottweil and was known
as the Rottweil butcher’s dog’. The butchers
bred this type of dog purely for performance and usefulness. In due
course, a first rate watch and driving dog evolved which
could also be used as a draught dog. When, at the beginning of the twentieth
century, various breeds were needed for police
service, the Rottweiler was amongst those tested. It soon became evident
that the breed was highly suitable for the tasks set
by police service and therefore they were officially recognized as police dogs
Rottweiler breeders aim at a dog of abundant strength, black coated with
clearly defined rich tan markings, whose powerful
appearance does not lack nobility and which is exceptionally well suited to
being a companion, service and working dog.
GENERAL APPEARANCE: The Rottweiler is a medium to large size, stalwart dog,
neither heavy nor light and neither leggy nor
weedy. His correctly proportioned, compact and powerful build leads to
the conclusion of great strength, agility and endurance.
IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS: The length of the body, measured from the point of the
sternum (breast-bone) to the ischiatic
tuberosity, should not exceed the height at the withers by, at most, 15 %.
BEHAVIOUR/TEMPERAMENT: Good-natured, placid in basic disposition and fond of
children, very devoted, obedient,
biddable and eager to work. His appearance is natural and rustic, his
behaviour self-assured, steady and fearless. He reacts to
his surroundings with great alertness.
Skull: Of medium length, broad between the ears. Forehead line
moderately arched as seen from the
side. Occipital bone well developed without being conspicuous.
Stop: Well defined
Nose: Well developed, more broad than round with relatively large nostrils,
Muzzle: The foreface should appear neither elongated nor shortened in relation
to the cranial region.
Straight nasal bridge, broad at base, moderately tapered.
Lips: Black, close fitting, corner of the mouth not visible, gum as dark as
Jaws/Teeth: Upper and lower jaw strong and broad. Strong, complete dentition
(42 teeth) with scissor
bite, the upper incisors closely overlapping the lower incisors.
Cheeks: Zygomatic arches pronounced.
Eyes: Of medium size, almond-shaped, dark brown in colour. Eyelids close
Ears: Medium-sized, pendant, triangular, wide apart, set on high. With
the ears laid forward close to the
head, the skull appears to be broadened.
NECK: Strong, of fair length, well muscled, slightly arched, clean, free from
throatiness, without dewlap.
Back: Straight, strong, firm.
Loins: Short, strong and deep.
Croup: Broad, of medium length, slightly rounded. Neither flat nor
Chest: Roomy, broad and deep (approximately 50 % of the shoulder height) with
well developed forechest
and well sprung ribs.
Belly: Flanks not tucked up.
TAIL: In natural condition, level in extension of the upper line; at ease may
FOREQUARTERS: Seen from the front, the front legs are straight and not placed
too closely to each other. The
forearm, seen from the side, stands straight and vertical. The slope of the
shoulder blade is about 45 degrees to
Shoulders: Well laid back.
Upper arm: Close fitting to the body.
Forearm: Strongly developed and muscular.
Pasterns: Slightly springy, strong, not steep.
Front feet: Round, tight and well arched; pads hard; nails short, black and
HINDQUARTERS: Seen from behind, legs straight and not too close together. When
standing free, obtuse angles are formed
between the dog’s upper thigh and the hip bone, the upper thigh and the
lower thigh, and the lower thigh and metatarsal.
Upper thigh: Moderately long, broad and strongly muscled.
Lower thigh: Long, strongly and broadly muscled, sinewy.
Hocks: Sturdy, well angulated hocks; not steep.
Hindfeet: Slightly longer than the front feet. Toes strong, arched, as
tight as front feet.
GAIT: The Rottweiler is a trotting dog. In movement the back remains firm and
relatively stable. Movement
harmonious, steady, full of energy and unrestricted, with good stride.
SKIN: Skin on the head should be overall tight fitting. When the dog is alert,
the forehead may be slightly wrinkled.
Hair: The coat consists of a top coat and an undercoat. The top coat is of
medium length, coarse, dense
and flat. The undercoat must not show through the top coat. The hair is
a little longer on the hindlegs.
Colour: Black with clearly defined markings of a rich tan on the cheeks,
muzzle, throat, chest and legs, as
well as over both eyes and under the base of the tail.
SIZE AND WEIGHT :
Height: at withers is 61 - 68 cm
61 - 62 cm is small
63 - 64 cm medium height
65 - 66 cm is large (correct height)
67 - 68 cm is very large
Weight: 50 kg
Height: at withers is 56 - 63 cm
56 - 57 cm is small
58 - 59 cm medium height
60 - 61 cm is large (correct height)
62 - 63 cm very large
Weight: Approximately 42 kg
FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault
and the seriousness with which the fault should
be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.
General appearance: Light, weedy, leggy appearance. Light in bone and
Head: Hound-type head. Narrow, light, too short, long or coarse head. Flat
forehead (lack of stop or too little stop).
Foreface: Long or pointed muzzle; split nose; Roman nose (convex nasal bridge)
or dish-faced (concave nasal bridge); acquiline
nose; pale or spotted nose (butterfly nose).
Lips: Pendulous, pink or patchy; corner of lips visible.
Jaws: Narrow lower jaw.
Bite: Pincer bite.
Cheeks: Strongly protruding.
Eyes: Light, deep set. Also too full and round eyes; loose eyelids.
Ears: Set on too low, heavy, long, slack or turned backwards. Also
flying ears or ears not carried symmetricaly.
Neck: Too long, thin, lacking muscle. Showing dewlap or throaty.
Body: Too long, too short or too narrow.
Back: Too long, weak; sway back or roach back.
Croup: Too sloping, too short, too flat or too long.
Chest: Flat-ribbed or barrel-shaped. Too narrow behind.
Tail: Set on too high or too low.
Forequarters: Narrow or crooked front legs. Steep shoulder placement.
Loose or out at elbow. Too long, too short or too
straight in upper arm. Weak or steep pastern. Splayed feet. Too
flat or too arched toes. Deformed toes. Light coloured nails.
Hindquarters: Flat thighs, hocks too close, cow hocks or barrel hocks. Joints
with too little or too much angulation. Dewclaws.
Skin: Wrinkles on head.
Coat: Soft, too short or long. Wavy coat; lack of undercoat.
Colour: Markings of incorrect colour, not clearly defined. Markings
which are too spread out.
Behaviour: Anxious, shy, cowardly, gun-shy, vicious, excessively suspicious,
General: Distinct reversal of sexual type, i.e. feminine dogs or masculine
Teeth: Overshot or undershot bite, wry mouth; lack of one incisive
tooth, one canine, one premolar or one molar.
Eyes: Entropion, ectropion, yellow eyes, different coloured eyes.
Tail: Kink tail, ring-tail, with strong lateral deviation.
Hair: Definitely long or wavy coat.
Colour: Dogs which do not show the typical Rottweiler colouring of black with
tan markings. White markings.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be
NB : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended
into the scrotum.
on Rottweiler Tails
by Erika Butler - Dreibergen
What is a Breed Standard?
For each breed of dog, there is a breed standard which is a word
description of the perfect dog of that breed. Standards describe the
mental and physical characteristics that allow each breed to perform the
function for which they were originated. The standard describes the
dog's looks, movement and temperament. Breeders involved with each breed
are attempting to produce a dog that most closely conforms to the breed
standard. In this respect, dog shows are not unlike cat shows, bird
shows, cattle shows, horse shows, etc. In fact, for almost every species
bred by man there are competitions among breeders. Licensed judges
examine the dogs and place them in accordance to how close each dog
compares with their mental image of the "perfect" dog as
described in the breed's official standard.
(Fédération Cynologique Internationale) is the World Canine
Organization. It has 80 members, almost every country in the world
has a Kennel Club that is a member. One National Kennel Club is
recognized from each country (the AKC in the US) and that National
Kennel Club issues their own pedigrees and trains and licenses their own
judges. The FCI also mandates breeding rules and a Code of Ethics to be
followed by breeders of each member country.
The FCI recognizes 337 breeds, each of them is the 'property' of a
specific country (normally the country of origin). The 'owner' countries
of the breeds write the breed standard for their breed and the adoption,
translation and updating of the standards is carried out by the FCI. The
Rottweiler originated in Germany and the
ADRK (Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub has the right and
responsibility to set, maintain and revise the breed standard for the
Rottweiler for the rest of the world.
Why do Rottweilers now have natural tails?
In 1999 the country of Germany passed a law that made it illegal to dock
a dog's tail or crop a dog's ears. The basis for this law was the fact
that the practice of docking and cropping was deemed to be inhumane
treatment of animals.
In order to comply with the new law, the ADRK revised the
Standard for the Rottweiler and this new breed standard required a
natural tail. The FCI translated and adopted the new breed standard and
gave all FCI member countries several years to comply with the new breed
A docked Rottweiler does not conform to the current FCI breed
standard. As each FCI member country finalizes their adoption of the new
breed standard Rottweiler breeders in those countries will no longer be
allowed to dock and docked Rottweilers will be disqualified at shows and
prohibited from breeding.
The AKC (American Kennel Club) is not a member of the FCI.
AKC does not follow any of the rules and regulations set by the FCI for
the rest of the world and they do not always follow the breed standards
set by the countries of origin. The AKC Breed Standard for the
Rottweiler has always deviated from the FCI standard and they are
currently struggling to deal with the breed standard regarding the tail.
There are a number of Rottweiler breeders in the United States that
follow the FCI Code of Ethics for breeding and strictly follow the FCI/ADRK
Breed Standard for the Rottweiler and those breeders will all leave
natural tails on their dogs.
||American Veterinary Medical Association Position Statement on Tail Docking
(Current as of June 2005)
Ear cropping and tail docking in dogs for cosmetic reasons are not medically indicated
nor of benefit to the patient. These procedures cause pain and distress, and, as with all
surgical procedures, are accompanied by inherent risks of anesthesia, blood loss, and
infection. Therefore, veterinarians should counsel dog owners about these matters before
agreeing to perform these surgeries
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s position on tail docking
The WSAVA considers amputation of dogs' tails to be an unnecessary surgical procedure
and contrary to the welfare of the dog. The WSAVA recommends that all canine organizations
phase out any recommendations for tail amputation (docking) from their breed standards. The
WSAVA recommends that the docking of dogs’ tails be made illegal except for
professionally diagnosed therapeutic reasons, and only then by suitably qualified persons,
such as registered veterinarians, under conditions of anesthesia that minimize pain and stress.
What is tail docking?
Tail docking today is the amputation of a dog's tail at varying lengths to suit the
recommendations of a breed Standard. Docking involves the amputation of the puppy's
tail either with scissors, a knife or with a rubber band. The cut goes through many highly
sensitive nerves in the tissues including skin, cartilage, and bone. This procedure is usually
performed without any anesthetic at between three to five days of age. The procedure
can be performed by either a registered veterinary surgeon or by an experienced dog
breeder. In many countries veterinarians are declining to perform this unnecessary procedure,
meaning that breeders are now docking more dogs.
Is tail docking painful for the puppy?
Yes, there is strong evidence that this is the case. The puppy has a fully developed
nervous system and a well-developed sense of pain. Puppies scream during the
procedure and they whimper, whine and cry for 2-3 days following docking. During the recovery
stage they do not eat well and gain less weight than undocked puppies. Many veterinarians
condemn the practice and refuse to perform the procedure because it is totally unnecessary and can lead to
serious complications. Some veterinarians continue perform tail amputation reluctantly in order
to keep the procedure under professional supervision, please their clients and to minimize the
risk to the pups.
Does tail docking prevent tail injuries?
The vast majority of dog breeds have natural tails.
There is no movement in natural tailed breeds to remove the tail in order to
prevent injuries. When tails
remain intact, there are no more tail injuries in breeds that were customarily docked
than in other breeds of dog.
Can docking cause problems in later life?
There is considerable scientific evidence that docking can lead to complications, including
hemorrhage, infection and occasionally death of the puppy. In later life the stump of the tail may
be painful due to the formation of neuroma (nerve tissue scar) in the stump. This also occurs
following amputation of limbs in people and causes considerable discomfort. Dogs have evolved
into their current shape over many thousands of years. If a tail were
not useful to a dog, natural selection would have eliminated it long ago. Indeed, tails have
many useful functions and are important for balance and body language among other things.
Are tailed Rottweilers different?
Certainly not! In fact once people get used to seeing dogs with their
natural tails, the docked dogs look strange, like something is missing. Once
you own a tailed Rottweiler it is hard to understand why the tails of this
breed were ever amputated in the first place. They use their tails for
balance and agility and most importantly, expression and communication. Try
to imagine if the reverse happened and you saw a breed such as Labrador
retriever with a docked tail. The dog would look quite strange without a
tail and you would wonder why the procedure was done.
Information about spaying and neutering
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