Germany’s “Rottie” is Family Oriented

The Rottweiler has made a name for itself over the years—centuries, actually—as an intelligent, hardworking dog that gets the job done. The breed also gets a bad rap from time to time, either by misrepresentation or the result of mishandling, which can give some the wrong impression.

None the less, the Rottweiler has become a popular choice for families, notably landing in the top 10 breed list as one of the most popular dogs for the first time ever in 2011.


The Rottweiler, affectionately referred to as the “Rottie,” was bred to be working dogs in Germany, used mainly as cattle and sheep herders and hunting companions. The breed is considered to be one of the oldest herding dogs, dating back to the Roman Empire during which time the Rottweiler traveled with the Roman army to herd the cattle that served as a food source for the soldiers.

Nicknamed the “Rottweil butchers’ dogs,” the breed also spent its days during the Middle Ages pulling carts of butchered meat and livestock carcasses through village of Rottweil.

By World War I, the Rottweiler had graduated to that of a service dog, used to guard, fetch water, run messages from one location to another, and assist with moving injured soldiers. The Rottie also performed these same services during World War II. In the years since, the breed is in high demand as a search and rescue dog, a guide dog for the blind and as a K-9 in police departments.

In 1931, the Rottweiler was recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Despite some negative portrayals of the breed in film and television, the Rottweiler is known to have a good-natured, affectionate personality that can sometimes veer toward the goofy, playful side.

The Rottweiler is a suitable family companion, inherently driven to protect and please its companions. Although the Centers for Disease Control reported in 1997 that Rottweilers were the second-most likely dog to be involved in a fatal dog attack on humans, citing 29 deaths in a 20-year span, by 2011 those numbers had dropped: four of the 33 dog attack fatalities in the United States were attributed to Rottweilers.

It should be noted that any dog breed can become aggressive if neglected, abused or subjected to irresponsible ownership. The Rottweiler is an intelligent breed that responds well to training and obedience; due to its origins, this is a working dog at heart that thrives when put to a challenge or is given a job. With proper training and socialization at an early age, your Rottweiler can be a trusted, faithful companion with a good disposition.

Rottweiler dog

The Rottweiler is a medium to large-sized breed with a muscular build, weighing on average 90 to 130 pounds.

The breed has a signature black, dense coat with tan markings on its face, neck, chest and paws. The Rottweiler has a broad head with medium-sized, triangular-shaped ears. While docking the breed’s tail used to be common, the tradition has become less popular in recent years, so more Rotties are seen with their full-length tails.

While these medical conditions are generally uncommon they are known to occur in the breed. Your Rottweiler will not necessarily develop any of the conditions listed below. Choosing a reputable breeder from which to purchase your pet will help minimize the risks.

Rottweiler dog
  • Cranial crucialt ligament rupture is a condition affecting the knee of dogs. CCL rupture results in acute lameness of the rear leg and arthritis of the knee if not surgically treated. Genetics and anatomical abnormalities of the rear legs are thought to predispose the breed to this condition.
  • Entropion, inward curling of the lower eyelid or ectropion, rolling out of the eyelid, is fairly common in the breed. The condition should be corrected surgically to prevent damage to the cornea of the eye.
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia is a malformation of the hip or elbow joints that cause arthritis. Dogs with either of these conditions usually are obviously lame. Signs may be noted as early as four months of age. Although considered a lifelong problem, most dogs can be helped with surgery.
  • Osteochondritis dissecans is a condition affecting the shoulder joints, usually attributed to a dog’s rapid growth.
As with any pet, be sure to regularly consult a veterinarian for routine care and medical advice for your four-legged friend.