(Rottweil Dog, "Rottie")
Catherine Marien-de Luca for Dog Breeds of the World 2004-2010 © All rights reserved by and

Dog Books
Dog Breeds A to Z
Dog encyclopedia - list of dog groups
Dog Breeds of the World > Guard dogs, Molossers and German dog breeds > Rottweiler
Related Pages
Bulldog breeds
Molosser breeds
Guard dogs
Japanese dogs
Best dogs for families with children
Bull and Terriers
Sled dogs
Hairless dogs
Molossser breeds
Dogo argentino
Tosa Inu
Bulldog breeds
Japanese dog breeds

Dog breeds of the world
Popular dog breeds
Dog Breeds of the World 2004-2010 © All rights reserved and
Photo of Rottweiler with little girl by Cynoclub. Original idea, design and development by C. Marien-de Luca. Photos of the Dog Breeds of the World sphere of flags by Mark Stay.
No part of may be copied, distributed, printed or reproduced on another website without the owner's written permission.
Recommended Books
About Dog Breeds of the World: About us | History | Privacy | Copyright | Contact
Character and Temperament
The Rottweiler is a medium large, strong-minded and powerful dog  breed originating from Germany.

It was bred as a herd guard and protection dog to protect cattle proprietors travelling from market to market.

The breed is of ancient origin, but its true history remain misty to this day. (See further: Rottweiler history)

History, Origin and Etymology
The Rottweiler is a short-coated, black-and-tan dog. The body is compact and powerfull, with a broad deep chest and muscular neck, conveying boldness and courage. The coat color is predominantly black with clearly defined tan markings on the cheeks, muzzle, chest, legs, and eyebrows.
The eyes are dark brown and should indicate good humor. The ears are set high and wide and are proportionally small. The tail is usually docked.
The breed standard mentions self-confidence and fearlessness, together with "a self-assured aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships".

Rottweilers are highly trainable and intelligent dogs. In their home country a 'trainability level' or breeding level forms an integral part of the dog's pedigree.
Training and proper socialization are a must, but training must always be undertaken professionally to avoid overstimulation of the naturally protective instincts of the Rottweiler. For the same reason and more than with any other breed, prospective owners are encouraged to seek a reliable breeder to avoid getting a potentially ill-bred dog with antecedents of problem behavior in the breeding lines.

Signs of anxiety, shyness, or hyperactivity are not characteristic of the breed and specimens displaying these traits should not be bred. However, it should be noted that Rottweilers were once used as cattle drivers and what appears to be aggression or dominance in some dogs may possibly be herding behavior.

With a high-drive dog like a Rottweiler dominance and drive must be properly channeled to avoid that this turns into aggression (or what could be perceived as aggression), especially in dogs with unstable temperaments.  For all these reasons this is not a dog for a novice owner, and even more experienced dog owners will preferably buy their Rottweiler puppy from an established breeder who takes great care in selecting his breeding lines.
In Germany the breed was first known as the Rottweiler Metzgerhund which translates literally as the 'butcher's dog from Rottweil', because it was utilized as a butcher's dog in the whole region around Rottweil.

Rottweil is a city lying on the banks of the River Neckar in the Land of Baden-Würtenberg, between Stuttgart and Freiburg.

The city of Rottweil used to have a famous cattle market, where this dog was used as a cattle drover, hence its name "Rottweiler". The city itself dates back to 73 A.D. when it was founded by the Romans and baptized Arae Flaviae. The current name "Rottweil" dates from 771 and means "red villa" (rote Villa in German, and in the year 771 "Rotuvila") which probably referred to the color of the ancient Roman villas.

The cattle-dealers swept the country around Rottweil, buying cattle and driving them to market. Their dogs not only had to possess excellent driving abilities, but they also had to be intimidating to protect their owner  from thieves and bandits that infested the region. The dogs were so trusted that it was common practice to attach the moneybags required for trade  to the collars of the dogs and it was said that the neck of a Rottweiler was safer than any bank vault.

With the arrival of the industrial revolution in the 19th century, the breed had declined so much that by the end of the 1800's it was almost extinct. In 1882, only one Rottweiler was entered at the dog show in Heilbron in Germany. Cattle were now being moved by rail rather than along country roads, and the Rottwiler gradually became obsolete. Then, with the outbreak of World War I, it found an important new role as a military service dog in the German army.

In 1901 a combined Rottweiler-Leonberger Club was founded in Stuttgart, probably due to the vicinity of the Leonberger's home town to Rottweil more than to the breeds likeness.

The Rottweiler's enormous strength, its intelligence, and its ability to take orders proved during the War opened a new blossoming career as a guard dog after the war, and the Rottweiler's numbers began to rise again. The Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub (ADRK) was founded in 1921 with a registry of about 3400 dogs. In the 1930's Rottweilers were exported to both Britain and the United States. The breed was officially recognized by the AKC in 1935 and in 1936 Rottweilers were exhibited in Britain at Crufts. It was not until 1966 that the breed was recognized by the Kennel Club in London, though.
In recent years, the breed has received a lot of bad press. Unscrupulous breeders have produced dogs with highly aggressive tendencies and some owners have used or owned these dogs for the wrong reasons. Potential owners are encouraged to seek a proven, reliable breeder to avoid getting an ill-bred specimen with a potentially unstable temperament.

Despite the media's fascination with Rottweilers who run afoul of canine behavioral standards, people who have experience with well-socialized examples of the breed can attest to the Rottweiler's friendliness and often clownish nature. In fact, the FCI standard calls for a dog that is fond of children. Nevertheless, this breed is not for the inexperienced or uninvolved dog owner.

"Barron". Owner: Diane Donley
Photo: Denise Kappa
Photo: Milan Vachal

Rottweiler of the early 1900's
Photo: Brenda A. Smith

Rottweiler with little girl
Breeding Levels

Kör- und Leistungszucht: both parents are "gekört" (see further) and grandparents have a training title (at least Schutzhund I)

: both parents are "gekört".

: both parents and grandparents have Schutzhund titles.

: both parents have Schutzhund titles.

Einfachzucht or Einfache Zucht
: (NOT Einfachtzucht, as can sometimes be read in English sources) only one of the parents has a Schutzhund title.


Gekört means declared suitable for breeding. The "Körung" is valid for two years. It is subject to revision and to be accepted to the Körung dogs and bitches must satisfy follwing criteria:

- for the dog:

- for the bitch:

Both dog and bitch must have passed the Breed Suitability Test ("Zuchttauglichkeitsprüfung").
The United States Rottweiler Club (USRC) calls this test the BST and the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub (ADRK) calls the test the Ztp. In the confirmation part of the test, the dog is measured, weighed and compared to the FCI Standard by a qualified international judge (usually an ADRK or FCI judge), followed by a short obedience routine. Part of the test is to measure the dog's reaction when firing gunshots.  If the dog shows any reaction, it must recover right away. The character part of the test is similar to the SchH I protection routine.
If a dog doesn't pass the confirmation part he may never be retested. If he fails the second part (character) of the test, he is granted one more attempt.

Further required are a passing hip evaluation from a recognized body and show ratings of excellent ("vorzüglich") or very good ("sehr gut").

: is a German dog sport, with three competitive levels (SchH I, SchH II, SchH III), SchH I being the first title and SchH III the most advanced. The purpose of Schutzhund is to identify dogs that have or do not have the character traits required for the demanding jobs like police work, bomb detection, search and rescue, and many others. Some of those traits tested are:
Schutzhund training tests these traits. It also tests physical traits such as strength, endurance, agility, and scenting ability. The goal of Schutzhund is to illuminate the character of a dog through training. Breeders can use this insight to determine how and whether to use the dog in producing the next generation of working dogs.

The sport includes three phases: obedience, tracking and protection. A dog must pass all three phases in one trial to be awarded a schutzhund title. Each phase is judged on a 100-point scale. The minimum passing score is 70. At any time the judge may dismiss a dog for showing poor temperament, including fear or aggression.

In 2004 the VDH, the all breed kennel club of Germany, changed the name of the titles from "SchH" (Schutzhund) to "VPG" (Vielseitigkeitsprüfung für Gebrauchshunde which roughly translates Versatility examination for working dogs). The SV, the German Shepherd Dog Club of Germany (which has  the most powerful influence on the sport) has retained the "SchH" title names, but otherwise conforms to the VDH/FCI rules.

Without Schutzhund, the working ability of most working breeds would quickly deteriorate and it would be difficult to find suitable dogs for police work, bomb detection, or search and rescue, as police departments and many other organizations using working dogs do not allow their dogs to breed, so the only breeding stock for these working dogs are dogs developped through Schutzhund.

The Professional's Book of Rottweilers
(Professional Book of Series) (Hardcover)
by Anna Katherine Nicholas
More information:

The Professional's Book of Rottweilers
The Ultimate Rotweiler
The Ultimate Rottweiler
Second Edition (Hardcover)
by Andrew H. Brace (Editor)
More information:

Training Dogs for Protection Work
Training Dogs:
For Protection Work
by Fred Mandilk
More information:

An Owner's Guide Raising your Pet Protector
An Owner's Guide to Raising Your Pet Protector
by Lori Berg, Michael ''Gypsy'' Stratten
More information:

Everything About Purchase, Care, Nutrition, Breeding, Behavior, and Training
(Complete Pet Owner's Manual)
by Kerry V. Kern
More information: