The dog breed ‘Rottweiler’ descends from a line of powerful dogs that drove and guarded the cattle of the Roman Army as it traveled throughout Europe. One route the army traveled was through Württemberg and on to the small market town of Rottweil.
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.
In Rottweil, Germany, this mastiff-type dog breed was crossed with local herding dogs and was bred specifically as the “butcher’s dog of Rottweil.” The dog would accompany and guard the butcher on the way to cattle sales, carrying his money en route; he would then drive the purchased beef-on-the-hoof home.
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 the Rottweiler.
Breed Group: Utility
Height: male: 61 to 68 cm, female: 56 to 63 cm
Color(s): Black Tan
The breed is black with clearly defined tan or mahogany markings on the cheeks, muzzle, chest, legs, and eyebrows. The markings on the chest should form two distinct upside-down triangles, and even a tiny patch of white in between is not acceptable for show dogs.
The cheeks should have clearly defined spots that should be separate from the muzzle tan. The muzzle tan should continue over the throat.
Each eyebrow should have a spot.
Markings on the legs should not be above a third of the leg. On each toe should be a black ‘pencil’ mark, and the nails are black. Underneath the tail should also be tan.
The coat is medium length and consists of a waterproof undercoat and a coarse top coat.
The skull is typically massive but without excessive jowls. The forehead may be wrinkly when the Rottweiler is alert, but otherwise, the skin should be relatively fitted, or “dry.” A Rottweiler’s eyes are a warm, dark brown — any other color does not exemplify the desired breed type.
- Group: Working
- Size: large
- Lifespan: 10-12 years
- Exercise: medium
- Grooming: very low
- Trainability: medium
- Watchdog ability: very high
- Protection ability: very high
- Area of Origin: Germany
- Date of Origin: ancient times
- Other Names: none
- Original Function: cattle drover, guardian, draft