Rottweilers – Choosing a Rottweiler

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The Rottweiler is a strong powerful breed with natural protective instincts. Originally used as a herder, the Rottweiler quickly developed a reputation as a highly effective guard dog. Though sometimes maligned due to improper training leading to aggression, properly trained and cared for Rottweilers can make excellent companions.


The Rottweiler is the eighth most-popular breed of dog according to the American Kennel Club (AKC) tallies.

History & Origin

It is believed that today’s Rottweiler is a descendant of the herding drover dogs of the ancient Romans. As the Romans expanded their power across Europe by foot, the Rottweiler was at their side to control cattle herds and protect the soldiers and their food from predators. History records that Roman troops eventually entered Germany and settled in 74 A.D. At the time, red tile roofs were the common architectural style and the settlement was named Rottweil, a take on the German words for red tile. This settlement gave rise to the name of the breed that so loyally and courageously contributed to the development of ancient Roman and German civilization. The Rottweiler is categorized as a working dog and was first registered by the American Kennel Club in 1931.


The Rottweiler is a medium-size black dog with rust markings. The breed’s coat is a medium length, straight and almost coarse. The head is broad with hanging and triangular ears. The Rottweiler possesses great strength and has a broad, deep chest. The tail is docked (shortened in length) to only one or two vertebrae (back bones).


The adult Rottweiler averages 22 to 27 inches in height at the shoulders and weighs an average of 90 to 110 pounds.


The Rottweiler is generally a quiet, alert pet and excellent watchdog. Seemingly fearless, the breed is well known for providing undying protection to the guardian. Barking is often reserved for unwelcome intruders.

Home & Family Relations

The Rottweiler is a good pet for individuals seeking a loyal friend and faithful watchdog. Owners share a strong bond with their pets; however, the breed is not known for the ability to form quick, friendly relationships with strangers. Often viewed as threats by the Rottweiler, strangers may be greeted with an aggressive response. The breed may not be suited for a family with small children due to the pet’s strength and potential intolerance of children’s antics. The Rottweiler enjoys being the only dog in the household.


Rottweilers are highly intelligent and have courageously served as watchdogs for centuries. During the early years of the 20th century the breed worked as police dogs. They are eager and willing to learn. Unfortunately, some people have chosen to take advantage of the Rottweilers enthusiasm to learn and have trained them to be aggressive. This has resulted in a bad reputation for the breed that many Rottweiler owners desperately try to repair. With appropriate training, the Rottweiler can be a loving devoted member of the family.

Famous Rottweilers

There have been a number of Rottweilers who have made appearances in pop culture, including:

  • Arnold: In the hit HBO show Entourage, the main characters adopt a pet Rottweiler named Arnold.
  • Hellhound: In the 1976 horror flick The Omen, a Rottweiler referred to as Hellhound makes an appearance.  
  • Bueller Family Dog: In the classic 1986 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the titular character’s family dog is a Rottweiler. When Principal Rooney tries and catch Ferris skipping school, the trusted family pet comes to the rescue.

Celebrities With Rottweilers

Some of famous celebrities that love Rottweilers include:

  • Will Smith: The Fresh Prince of Bel Air is an avid lover of Rottweilers. Smith owns 5 pet Rottweilers.
  • Bruno Mars: The hit vocalist has a pet Rottweiler named Geronimo.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio: The oscar-winning actor has a pet Rottweiler named Baby.
  • Miley Cyrus: The actress/singer adopted a Rottweiler-Beagle mix named Happy.

Special Concerns for Rottweilers

Some Rottweilers snore while they sleep and occasionally cough as a result. This is not a health concern for the pet. However, if coughing is a common occurrence, especially while your pet is sleeping, this may be an indication of heart or lung disease. These are serious problems that should be treated promptly.

The Rottweiler should be brushed about twice weekly. This is a general rule for all shorthaired breeds. A grooming glove is adequate to use for a thorough brushing. Brushing encourages the growth of new, healthy hair and removes older hair ready to shed. It also allows you to bond with your Rottweiler. Beginning this regimen while your pet is a puppy is an excellent way to begin a close, trusting relationship.

Health Concerns for Rottweilers

Gastric torsion (bloat)is a life-threatening sudden illness associated with the stomach filling with air and twisting.

Osteochondrosis is a joint disease that can lead to pain, limping and arthritis.

Diabetes is a disease of the pancreas that results in inadequate production of insulin.

Parvovirus is a devastating gastrointestinal virus that primarily affects unvaccinated puppies.

Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness and arthritis.

Osteosarcoma is a type of cancer that typically arises in the bones of the limbs, or the appendicular skeleton.

Retinal dysplasia is a congenital disease of the retina.

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a disease that causes nerve cells at the back of the eye to degenerate. The condition usually begins in older pets and can lead to blindness.

Retinal detachment is the separation of the retina, the innermost layer of the back of the eye, causing blindness.

Entropion is a problem with the eyelid that causes inward rolling. Lashes on the edge of the eyelid irritate the surface of the eyeball and may lead to more serious problems.

Cataracts cause a loss of the normal transparency of the lens of the eye and can lead to blindness.

Ruptured cranial cruciate ligament is a problem that results from tearing of the cruciate ligament in the knee, causing lameness that may be severe .

Other health concerns for the Rottweiler include kidney failure, muscle and nerve diseases, skin tumors and elbow dysplasia.

In addition, although these occur infrequently, the following disorders have also been reported:

Aortic stenosis – is a disease caused by stenosis of the aortic valve and causing symptoms such as weakness, collapse and sudden death.

Congenital Hypotrichosis – is a congenital disease causing symmetrical hair loss.

Atlantoaxial subluxation is a condition in which the first two cervical (neck) vertebrae are not firmly attached.

Average Lifespan of Rottweilers

The average lifespan of the Rottweiler is 10 to 12 years of age.

We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.