10 Facts You Should Know About Rottweilers (with Pictures)

Taylor A Ritz

The Rottweiler is an incredibly strong, large breed of dog descended from the mastiff war dogs that traveled with the Roman legions. They can be considered a breed of opposites, capable of both gentle play and fierce protection. 

1. Where Does The Rottweiler Come From?

When Roman legions marched to different corners of the world in search of conquest, they brought herds with them to feed their armies. These herds required tough dogs capable of both protecting the flocks as well as keeping up with the traveling troops. Using Asian mastiff breeds, the Romans developed the Rottweiler’s ancestors.

In the centuries following the collapse of the Roman empire, the legions’ dogs found a haven in the town of Rottweil, Germany. Here they worked moving herds of cattle from pasture to market and back again, all the while keeping their charges safe from bandits and thieves along the route. These dogs earned the name “Rottweiler Metzgerhund” or “Butcher’s Dog of Rottweil.” 

The Rottweiler’s illustrious cattle-herd career all but ended in the 1800s with the rise of railroad cattle cars. The powerful dogs found work instead in positions such as cart dogs, police dogs, guide dogs, and even as search-and-rescue dogs.

2. What Does A Rottweiler Look Like?

Rottweilers are a very recognizable breed and their breed standard has changed little since it was first created in 1901. This breed is medium to large in size and very strong. Their coat is black with rust, tan, or mahogany markings. The outer coat is medium length, coarse, and dense, lying flat on the body.

Rottweilers sport a large, broad head with a well-developed muzzle. Though docked tails are part of the breed standard, this practice is illegal in most parts of Europe. Some argue that there are differences between German and American Rottweilers. German Rottweilers are thought to be shorter, stockier, with a bigger and blockier head.

3. How Big Is a Rottweiler?

Known for their strength, power, and intimidating appearance, it’s no wonder that Rottweilers are quite large. Male Rottweilers can reach 24 to 27 inches in height at the shoulder and weigh 95 to 130 pounds. Females usually reach between 22 and 25 inches tall and weigh 85 to 115 pounds.

4. Are Rottweilers Aggressive?

Well-bred Rottweilers are calm and confident. They are wary of strangers but, if well trained, should not be timid, fearful, or aggressive. This temperament creates a perfect guard dog with a mellow disposition. These dogs have a natural instinct to protect their families; they will defend their people ferociously.

While Rottweilers have garnered an undeserved reputation for aggression, they do walk a fine line between protection and hostility. Training should begin young for a Rottweiler and remain consistent. A calm, confident Rottweiler will be protective but also intelligent, gentle, and playful.

5. How Much Exercise Does a Rottweiler Need?

Rottweilers can be found swimming, walking, and running with their people. They are involved in herding, tracking, and obedience competitions too. This breed is muscular and athletic, and regular exercise will keep your Rottie fit and healthy. Plus, a tired dog is a well-behaved dog; dogs that do not get enough exercise can become bored and resort to undesirable, and even destructive, behaviors. 

While Rottweilers love all sorts of physical activities, they are also calm and quiet in their homes; a well-exercised Rottweiler can thrive even in an apartment setting.

6. How Do You Train A Rottweiler?

In addition to plenty of physical exercise, Rottweilers need consistent training from a young age. Training and socialization are vital from an early age for any dog, but especially one as strong and intelligent as the Rottweiler.

These dogs are loyal and eager to please their people, so establish your relationship early on and your Rottweiler will do anything for you. This bond is incredibly important for a breed such as this one. They need to view you as a leader they can trust to gauge a situation so that they do not perceive friends as foes.

Training behaviors such as sit, stay, and come are essential. The more time you put into training your Rottweiler, the better it will pay off in the long run. Training is not only a time for learning but a time for bonding with your dog as well.

7. How Healthy Is A Rottweiler?

Like many pure breeds, Rottweilers experience their fair share of health issues. Here are a few common health concerns Rottweiler owners should be aware of:

  • Hip/elbow dysplasia (bones of the hip joint/elbow don’t fit together correctly)
  • Aortic stenosis (heart defect caused by narrowing of the aorta artery)
  • Bloat (life-threatening twisting of the gastrointestinal tract)
  • Osteosarcoma (aggressive bone cancer found in many large dog breeds)
  • Hypothyroidism (thyroid hormone deficiency)
  • Allergies

The Rottweiler has a life expectancy that is typical of a large breed: 8 to 11 years.

8. Where Should You Get a Rottweiler?

Never buy a Rottweiler – whether adult or puppy – from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Any reputable Rottweiler breeder will choose dames and sires based on physical appearance and personality to create well-rounded Rottie puppies. They should also have their breeding dogs tested for genetic diseases before planning a new litter.

Many great breeders will offer information and support that will help you be the best Rottweiler owner you can be.

9. Do Rottweilers Shed?

Rottweilers have a double coat and will shed heavily in both spring and fall. However, this does not mean these are the only times Rotties shed. Rottweilers will shed moderately year-round.

These dogs should be brushed weekly to cut down on shedding and to distribute their natural oils throughout their coat. Bathe your Rottweiler regularly and trim nails periodically as well. 

10. Does a Rottweiler Make A Good Pet For A Family?

A Rottweiler is a loyal, protective guard dog that is also gentle and loving. They bond quite strongly with their human companions and love nothing more than to be with their people.

With the right training and socialization throughout puppy and adulthood, a Rottweiler can be an amazing family companion.


Taylor Ritz

Taylor has a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. She is a former zookeeper and animal trainer. She has her own dog, Dobby, with whom she has bicycled across the U.S. and thru-hiked the Long Trail.