Rottweilers (Rotties) gained a bad reputation in the 1980s for being vicious. In truth, these dogs are incredibly intelligent and affectionate. They also really want to please their owners, even if their owners want to train them to be attack dogs. Rottweilers have great strength and are not recommended for first-time dog owners.
Rottweilers are thought to descend from the Italian Mastiff, a breed that dates back to the Roman era when the Roman army tried to breed an all-purpose dog. The breed was refined in an area in southern Germany called Rotweil, hence the name. The breed nearly disappeared in the 1800s, but by 1910 it was popular again. It got its own breed association in Germany in 1921, and the American Kennel Club admitted the breed in 1931.
Rottweilers were bred to do many things around the farm, including haul carts, gather livestock to bring to the market and guard the farm from intruders. In the early 1900s, these qualities were refined to make them an excellent police and army dog. They were bred so that they looked a lot fiercer than they really were. Currently, you can find Rottweilers as police dogs, guard dogs, therapy dogs, companion dogs and even acting in movies, including "The Fan."
This is a big, muscular, chunky breed with big eyes, semi-floppy ears and a lolling tongue. Their heads resemble a Mastiff's. They are mostly black with rusty-tan points at the feet, face, eyebrows and belly. Their coats are usually a medium length, which is easy to groom. Some Rotties grow their coats shorter; some longer. The average size of Rottweilers is just over 2 feet tall at the highest point of their shoulders. They weigh anywhere from 75 to 110 pounds.
Rottweilers are not born with short tails. Any short-tailed Rottweilers have had their tails docked. Their natural tails are long and slightly curving, often slightly shaggy. Docking is a procedure mostly outlawed in Europe, but it is still allowed in America.
Rottweilers are not born mean. They have to be trained by mean people in order to attack people.
Although they are not vicious, Rottweilers do not know their own strength and can hurt you just by being over-exuberant. Rotties need to live with people with a lot of experience handling dogs.
You can prevent a lot of Rottweiler health issues by making sure your Rottweiler gets plenty of exercise and is not allowed to overeat. Rottweilers can put on weight really fast, which makes them more prone to heart problems, diabetes, arthritis and hyperactivity. By spaying or neutering your Rottweiler, you also make your dog less prone to fight other dogs and be more responsive in training.
- Photo Credit Rotties are big softies. (Image from Wikimedia Commons)
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