1. Key Breed Facts
2. Breed Characteristics
3. Looking for a Rottweiler ?
8. Intelligence / Trainability
9. Children and Other Pets
11. Caring for a Rottweiler
15. Average Cost to keep/care for a Rottweiler
Rottweilers have been a popular choice as family pets and companion dogs for decades both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world. They are powerful and impressive looking dogs that boast sleek black and tan coats. Although the Rottie boasts having a natural instinct to protect and guard, they are not known to be aggressive by nature. They are however, extremely loyal which means when needed, a Rottweiler will stand their ground if they feel they have to with no hesitation at all.
These imposing dogs are not the best choice for first time owners even though they are known to be easy to train. The reason being that Rotties must be handled and trained by people who are familiar with the needs of these large, intelligent and powerful dogs. They are a great choice for people who have the time and dedication it takes to train them in which case a Rottie becomes a valued member of a family and household.
The actual origin of the Rottweiler remains a little hazy, although it is thought the dogs the Romans bought with them on their invasion across the Alps and Europe where they were crossed with native breeds such as the Entelbucher, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and others, all of which are believed to be descendants of these same Roman dogs.
They were often found in southern Germany and Switzerland and because so many of them were left in Rottweil, a livestock trading town, the breed got their name. These large, impressive dogs became popular with butchers and were often seen pulling carts. At the time they were known as Rottweiler Metzgerhunds which translated means Rottweil Butcher's Dog.
What is known is that by the 19th century Germany outlawed cattle driving which meant the need for Rotties declined and it was only in 1914 that they again started to be valued for their work as war dogs. The breed was accepted by the Kennel Club here in the UK in 1936 and a breed standard was established. Today, the Rottie remains a popular choice not only for their guarding abilities, but for their impressive yet kind and loyal natures which has seen them find a place in the hearts and homes of many people the world over.
Height at the withers: Males 61 - 69 cm, Females 56 - 63 cm
Average weight: Males 50 - 60 kg, Females 35 - 48 kg
Rotties are large and impressive dogs, being well proportioned, powerful and extremely well-muscled. They have broad heads with moderately arched foreheads and nicely muscled cheeks. Dogs have slight wrinkling on their heads when they are alert otherwise the skin is tight. Their muzzles are deep with a well-defined stop. Noses are always black with nice wide, large nostrils.
Their eyes are almond shaped and medium in size being dark brown with closely fitting eyelids. Ears are pendant and smallish and set high and wide apart on a dog's head and always lie close to a dog's cheek. Rotties boast a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Lips are tight but fall away gradually at each corner of the dog's mouth.
Necks are fairly long and very well-muscled with dogs holding them slightly arched showing a lot of power and strength. Shoulders are well laid back, sloping and rather long with Rotties boasting powerful, well-muscled front legs. Chests are broad and deep with dog's having well sprung ribs and deep briskets. Backs are level and straight with deep, strong flanks. Their croup is broad and slopes very slightly.
Hindquarters are broad and very well-muscled with lower thighs being muscular at the top, yet sinewy lower down. Back legs are powerful and very powerful. Their feet are compact, round with dogs boasting well-arched toes. Back feet are longer than the front ones. Pads are extremely strong with short, dark nails. A Rottie's tail is quite thick adding balance to a dog's overall appearance and is set level to their croup. Dogs carry their tails horizontally, but they may hold it slightly higher when excited.
When it comes to their coat, the Rottie has a medium length, coarse top coat which lies flat to a dog's body. Their undercoat is shorter and grey, black or fawn in colour, but it does not show through their top coat. The hair on the back of a dog's front legs and breechings is typically slightly longer than on the rest of their body. Accepted coat colour is as follows:
The Rottweiler is known to be a very active dog and one that needs to be given lots of exercise as well as mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-balanced characters. As previously mentioned, they are not the best choice for first time owners because they need to be handled by someone who has the right sort of experience in handling and training such a highly intelligent and powerful dog.
It's essential for a Rottweiler's training and education to start early and puppies have to be well socialised from a young age for them to grow up to be more confident, relaxed adult dogs. It's vital for these dogs to be treated with a lot of respect and to use positive reinforcement when training them. Rotties are known to be confident dogs and highly intelligent which means they quickly pick up new things, but this includes the good and the bad. However, in the right hands, they are obedient and extremely devoted dogs.
Although, a Rottie does make a good family pet, their sheer size means taking care when they are around younger children. They are a very good choice for people who work from home or for families where one person usually stays at home when everyone else is out of the house because they do not like being left on their own for long periods of time.
Rottweilers need to be well socialised when they are puppies and training has to start as early as possible. Failure to either socialise a puppy or train a young dog correctly is a recipe for disaster both for a Rottie and their owners. They are extremely intelligent, but they also boast a very dominant side to their characters. As such, they need to be taught their place in the pack and who is alpha dog in a household for them to be truly well-rounded dogs.
They are among the breeds that are super sensitive to a person’s voice and as such respond well and extremely quickly when they are given a command. With this in mind, great care has to be taken when training a Rottweiler to avoid getting them too excited which could result in a dog becoming unruly and unmanageable.
As previously mentioned, Rotties need to be treated with a great amount of respect, but when they bond with a family, this remains very strong throughout their lives. In short, a Rottweiler becomes totally devoted to their owners and families. If they are given the right amount of daily exercise and enough mental stimulation they are good pets, but care has to be taken when they are around children, especially toddlers who may not yet have been taught how to behave around dogs. With this said, any interaction between such a large dog and children has to be supervised by an adult to make sure things don’t get too boisterous.
Care also has to be taken when Rotties are around cats and other smaller animals which includes family pets. It would be a mistake to leave a Rottie in the same room as them. If they have been well socialised as puppies and trained by someone who really appreciates the strong herding and guarding instincts of the Rottweiler, they will tolerate other dogs, but care has to be taken when they are around any dogs they don't already know.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Rottweiler is between 8 and 10 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
It's essential that breeders only use "temperament-tested" dogs to breed from which helps ensure their offspring inherit their kind natures. With this in mind, it's worth noting that like so many other breeds, the Rottweiler is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues with the conditions that seem to affect the breed the most including the following:
As with any other breed, Rotties need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
A Rottie's coat is short and it's a thick double coat that is low maintenance when it comes to keeping it in tidy and in good condition. A weekly brush and rub with a chamois leather is all it takes to keep on top of things. Like other breeds, the Rottweiler sheds more during the spring time and then again in the autumn when more frequent brushing would be necessary to get rid of any dead hair and to prevent dogs from leaving it all over the house.
It's also important to check a Rottie's ears on a regular basis and to gently clean them when necessary. If there is a build of wax in a dog's ears it provides the perfect environment for an infection to take hold and these are known to be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is much easier than cure.
Rotties are intelligent, high energy dogs and as such they need to be given lots of daily exercise and heaps of mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded characters. They also need lots of space to move around being such large dogs. A minimum of 2 hours’ exercise a day is essential with as much time in a secure back garden as possible.
A well trained Rottie can be let off the lead in a safe environment whether it's in a park or in the countryside because they never tend to stray too far away from their owners thanks to their total devotion to them. Most Rotties also love swimming so care has to be taken when walking near rivers, ponds or other watery environments, just in case a dog decides to jump in.
With this said, young Rottie puppies should not be given too much exercise because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later on in their lives.
If you get a Rottie puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature Rottweiler twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Because Rotties are prone to suffer from bloat, it is really important that they be fed twice a day instead of giving them just one larger meal a day. It's also a good idea to invest in a stand to place their feed bowl which makes it easier for these large dogs to eat comfortably without having to stretch their necks down low to reach their food. You should never feed a dog just before or just after they have eaten either because this puts them more a risk of suffering from bloat.
If you are looking to buy a Rottweiler, you would need to pay anything from £350 to over £1000 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Rottie in northern England would be £54.33 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £99.20 a month (quote as of May 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £60 - £70 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Rottweiler and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over a £1000 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Rottweiler would be between £120 to £160 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree puppy.
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