What Is A Rottweiler

What is a Rottweiler? [history of the rottweiler dog]

The Rottweiler is a working dog originally bred to herd and guard livestock and work as military dogs. Its modern-day usage as a guard dog has led many people to believe it is a ferocious dog. While Rottweilers do have natural protective instincts many people feel they make a loving family pet if handled with care. 

Rottweilers are powerful dogs with a rich and long history. Although they may have a somewhat intimidating appearance on the outside, they are often huge softies with sweet and loving personalities. 

history of the rottweiler dog
History of the Rottweiler Dog

This article covers the history of the breed, the Rottweiler’s temperament, and other important things that prospective Rottweiler owners need to know about how to properly care for these dogs.

Keep reading to learn everything you ever wanted to know about the Rottweiler dog!

Rottweiler History

The exact origins and history of the Rottweiler are not definitively known, but they were first bred in Germany. Some say around 400 years ago.

They are known as one of the most intelligent breeds and have been used in many different jobs such as herding, guarding livestock, pulling carts, and more.

The breed was originally called the Rottweiler Metzgerhund or butcher’s dog because they were used by butchers in Germany to herd cattle to market. 

Did You Know the Roman Army used Rottweilers to Herd Cattle During Their Campaign Marches all Over Europe?

Over time they have been bred so that these traits are accentuated more than any others.

How Did the Rottweiler Get Its Name?

There are different opinions on the origins of the name. 

Some say “Rottweiler” means “red pawed.” And this comes from their distinctive red coloring around the paws which appears due to their being crossed with mastiff breeds.

Others believe the Rottweiler name comes from the German word “rot,” meaning red. This may be because these dogs are usually born with dark fur that fades over time to reddish-brown or grey giving them an older look. 

Rottweiler Name Meaning

Rottweiler Name Meaning
Rottweiler Name Meaning

Probably the most credible theory, in my view, is that they get their name from the town of Rottweil in Germany. It is said the “Rottweiler” cattle driving dogs were abandoned in Germany by Roman soldiers when they left the region.

One certainty is that the Rottweiler is a very popular breed of dog in the United States.

What is a Rottweiler Bred For?

As we have mentioned, the Rottweiler has had many jobs over the years, and the origins of this dog breed date back to the Roman Empire. 

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) website, the Rottweiler played an important role in the movement of the Roman Army.

“They used their dogs to herd livestock and march them along with the army. This was the only viable way for the soldiers to have a steady food supply without refrigeration.”

The Rottweiler was initially created by breeding the Roman Drover dogs that the Romans traveled with to the native German herding dogs. 

During this time the Rottweiler’s main job was to herd and guard livestock, and this job continued until the 1800s. 

At this point, Rottweilers were used less for herding and guardian livestock and more for guarding people’s homes and pulling carts. 

These jobs earned this breed the nickname “Rottweiler Metzgerhund”, which some suggest translates to “the butcher’s dog of Rottweil”. 

The Rottweiler also has a history of being both police dogs and guide dogs for the blind. 

What Is a Rottweiler Bred For
What Is a Rottweiler Bred For?

However, today working Rottweilers are most commonly seen being service dogs, rescue dogs, and even as a therapy dog. 

Rottweiler Temperament 

The Rottweiler is often described as being a sweet, goofy, loyal dog that has a high energy level. It is said Rottweilers truly love their families. 

In fact, Rottweilers can be very protective of their family members, especially those who are small children. They have their guard dog instincts, and this can make them suspicious of strangers. 

They are also described as intelligent, playful, and loving dogs that make excellent companions.

Rottweilers Like to Bark

Because of their strong protective instincts, they like to bark when somebody or something new enters their home or yard. 

Rottweilers can also be territorial with other animals in the house so it makes sense to not already have cats or other small dogs living in your home before adopting a Rottie! 

You’ll also need plenty of patience and time for proper training of these strong-willed animals. They are good learners but need tender loving care along the way.

Rottweiler Temperament
Rottweiler Temperament

For this reason, early socialization is crucial when raising and training a well-rounded Rottweiler. When well trained and socialized this dog can truly be a gentle giant. 

Rottweilers Have a Strong Prey Drive

They have a strong prey drive, so it’s important to keep them on a leash at all times when they’re outside of your home. 

Rottweilers also have a strong herding instinct. It is not uncommon for them to try and herd children or smaller pets by nipping at their heels and circling around them in an effort to move them from one place to another like sheep or cattle would be moved. 

Rottweilers make excellent guard dogs.

Are Rottweilers Aggressive?

The answer to this question varies depending on the circumstances and the individual. 

However, for those who are considering adopting a Rottweiler as a pet or have already done so, it’s important to understand some of the breeds’ traits. 

In general, these dogs are very loyal and protective of their owners but can be territorial with other animals. 

They also have been known to display dominant behavior from time-to-time which includes guarding food against other pets in the household or not listening when told no about certain behaviors such as jumping up on people.

Are Rottweilers Aggressive
Are Rottweilers Aggressive?

Controversy over the Rottweilers temperament has been going on for years. Some say it is true that they are aggressive while others say it is just another myth about them giving the Rottweiler a bad reputation.

Most experts say the Rottweiler is not a naturally aggressive dog but they can be taught to be aggressive. Any dog can bite and the Rottweiler is no different. If provoked, they can be aggressive and even bite.

A Rottweiler is a large powerful dog and that needs to always be taken into consideration if you own one.

How Big Is A Rottweiler?

Rottweilers are large dogs that can weigh anywhere between 80 to 135 pounds. Height-wise, these dogs should be anywhere between 22 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder. 

On average, a full-grown male Rottweiler will grow to be about 27 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh around 90 to 120 pounds, while female Rottweilers will be slightly smaller.

This big dog has an imposing stature which makes them perfect for guarding or herding livestock or people!

Rottweiler Lifespan

The Rottweiler’s average lifespan is eight to ten years. This is fairly average for dogs of this size.

Rottweiler Lifespan
Rottweiler Lifespan

Of course, if you take good care of your Rottweiler with proper diet, exercise, and medical care there have been cases where they live up to 12 to 15 years. 

Rottweiler Diet

Rottweilers tend to do well on high-quality dog food. They usually should eat about three cups of this food a day to stay at a healthy weight. Consult with your veterinarian about the correct daily amount of food for your dog. Every dog has different needs.

It is important to mention that Rottweilers can be prone to developing a variety of food allergies over time. 

Dog owners will find that their dogs can suffer from allergies to wheat, soy, corn, and beef. Food allergy symptoms vary but can include skin irritation around the mouth or paws, diarrhea, or vomiting. 

It is important to be aware of what your dog eats and owners should keep an eye out for any signs of food allergies. If you are unsure about anything contact your vet.

Grooming Requirements For A Rottweiler 

The Rottweiler has a short and smooth coat that does not require much grooming at all. 

However, you may want to brush your dog when they are shedding to keep their coat looking kept during that time. 

In addition to this, you will need to trim your Rottweiler’s nails and brush their teeth regularly to keep them healthy and happy. 

You will also need to clean their ears somewhat regularly. 

Rottweiler Exercise Needs 

It is important to remember that the Rottweiler is a working dog that was originally intended to be active. 

Rottweiler Exercise Needs
Rottweiler Exercise Needs

Rottweilers should be exercising for about an hour and a half each day. This exercise can include long walks, fun games like fetch, and anything else that gets their mind and body moving. 

Training a Rottweiler

Rottweilers do best when they are well socialized and trained in obedience from an early age. 

Of course, Rottweilers excel when they are trained using positive reinforcement methods early on. Consistent training is a must when it comes to this breed as well. 

This not only teaches the dog some vital skills that will help them succeed throughout their life, but it will also make the dog more confident and social. 

Rottweiler Health Conditions

Unfortunately, the Rottweiler can be prone to developing some health problems as they age. 

Some of these health issues are genetic, while others may occur more unexpectedly. Rottweiler owners should be on the lookout for the following medical conditions: 

  • Hip dysplasia 
  • Elbow dysplasia 
  • Lymphoma 
  • Bloat 
  • Osteosarcoma 
  • Subvalvular aortic stenosis 
  • Von willebrand’s disease 
  •  Entropion 
  • Heart disease
  • Progressive retinal atrophy 
  • Panosteitis 
  • Osteochondritis dissecans 

Of course, if you suspect that your dog is showing signs of having any medical conditions then you should take them to the vet to be evaluated immediately. 

It is also important that you purchase a Rottweiler puppy from a reputable breeder that tests their dogs for the above health conditions. 

This makes it much less likely that your Rottweiler puppy will develop them. 

Related Rottweiler Questions

There is a lot that goes into a dog breed and what they are like. As a result you likely still have some questions about the Rottweiler. 

Are Rottweilers Good Family Pets?

Yes, Rottweilers can make a great family pet when they are properly trained and socialized with children from a young age. 

Although Rottweilers do tend to do well around children, children should always be supervised when playing with these dogs. 

This is especially true if the child is not one that the dog is familiar with. 

How Much Is A Rottweiler Puppy?

The average price for Rottweiler puppies from an ethical breeder is about $1,500 in the United States. 

However, show-quality dogs will likely cost you more, and they tend to cost anywhere between $3,000 to $5,000. 

What Is The Difference Between a German Rottweiler and an American Rottweiler?

If you are researching purchasing a Rottweiler puppy from reputable breeders then you may have come across people talking about the differences between the German Rottweiler and the American Rottweiler. 

Although there may be slight differences in appearance between these two types of Rottweiler there won’t be that much of a difference to the untrained eye.

Both will be excellent dogs if obtained from a reputable breeder.  

Some suggest that American Rottweilers are slightly smaller than German Rottweilers, maybe weighing around 20 pounds less in some cases. But this may just come about because the American Kennel Club allows a smaller dog to still meet the breed standard.

German standards will not allow a docked tail but American breed standards will.

German breeders are known for their strict adherence to rigid breed standards. For the average dog owner, the way to tell the difference is based on where the dog was actually born.

The truth is the main differences come up when you compare a dog that has come from a backyard breeder to one that comes from a reputable breeder. High-quality breeders conform to breed standards to produce great dogs.

Can a Rottweiler Kill You?

Technically speaking, yes a Rottweiler could kill a person. However, it is extremely unlikely that this would happen, and most Rottweilers are not this aggressive towards people. 

In fact, the more trained and socialized the Rottweiler is, the less likely they are to hurt someone. 

Why Does My Rottweiler Growl When I Pet Him?

Most Rottweilers are not really growling at their owners when they are petting them. 

Instead, most of them are grumbling at their owners, and this is a vocalization that many Rottweiler owners make when they are feeling happy. 

This grumbling is often a growl-type sound that is broken up, and the dog will always appear to be happy and relaxed when they are making this sound. 

A true growl on the other hand will be a low and stagnant sound, and the dog will likely appear to be stiff or tense when they are doing this. 

Remember! Growling is a very clear “back off” signal. 

Are Rottweilers Born With Tails?

Yes, Rottweilers are born with tails. However, sometimes Rottweilers are seen with a tail that has been docked. This gives the appearance of that extremely short tail that people may think of on a Rottweiler.

What is a Docked Tail? 

Tail docking (shortening of the tail) is not natural, and it is done through a medical procedure that is done when a puppy is just a few days old. 

Why Do Some Rottweilers Have Cropped Ears?

Like docked tails, Rottweilers having cropped ears is not natural, and it is also done through a medical procedure when the dog is still a young puppy. 

In fact, Rottweilers are born with a short floppy ear. 

Do Rottweilers Shed?

Yes, Rottweilers do shed, and they shed more than a lot of people initially think that they would. Rottweilers have a short double coat that tends to shed a lot before winter and summer. 

These shedding seasons occur in many different dog breeds, and it allows for dogs to grow their winter coat before it gets cold out and to shed it all off before summer hot weather. 

What Is A Rottweiler’s Bite Force? 

The Rottweiler’s bite force is around 300 PSI, which is up there when it comes to bite force in dogs. However, it is definitely not the highest number that can be seen. 

In fact, the Rottweiler is pretty comparable to most other dogs with strong jaws such as the Pit Bull and the American Bulldog. 

The measurement PSI stands for pound per square inch. This means that the PSI number, 300 in the case of a Rottweiler, is the amount of pressure that they are giving off in their bite per pound. 

Although 300 seems like a lot of bite force, this is nowhere near the Kangal dogs 743 PSI bite force rating! In fact, the Rottweiler only places 12th on the dog bite force list

What Are The Most Common Rottweiler Mixed Breeds? 

Mixed breeds have been growing in popularity over the past 20 years, and this does include Rottweiler mixes. 

Most of the time Rottweiler mixes that include other similar breeds are among the most popular. These include: 

  • German Rottie (German Shepherd Rottweiler mix) 
  • Rotterman (Doberman Pinscher Rottweiler mix) 
  • Boxrott (Boxer Rottweiler mix) 
  • Bullweiler (Bulldog Rottweiler mix) 
  • Rotticorso (Cane Corso Rottweiler mix) 
  • Rottweiler (American Pitbull Terrier Rottweiler mix) 

However, other times people have combined the Rottweiler with dog breeds that are extremely different from them. 

Here are some examples of some unlikely Rottweiler pairings that have created some popular breed hybrids. 

  • Rottoodle (Poodle Rottweiler mix) 
  • Cockweiler (Cocker Spaniel Rottweiler mix)
  • Labrottie (Labrador Retriever Rottweiler mix) 
  • Rothuahua (Chihuahua Rottweiler mix) 
  • Puweiler (Pug Rottweiler mix) 
  • Golden Rottie (Golden Retriever Rottweiler mix) 

Rottweiler Names

Alright, so you have decided that you want a Rottweiler puppy. Now you just need a few names on hand for when you bring your puppy home. 

After all, you will need a great name that you’re going to call him since you are going to be saying it every day! 

Here are some of our favorite Rottweiler names that have become popular recently. 

Rottweiler Names Male

  • Titan 
  • Zeus 
  • Bear 
  • Loki 
  • Dexter 
  • Odin 
  • Tank 
  • Ace 
  • Bane 
  • Ted 
  • Bobby 
  • Tyson 
  • Rocky 
  • Axel 
  • Kobe 
  • Bruno 
  • Diezel 
  • Leo 
  • Hercules 
  • Moose 

Rottweiler Names Female

  • Xena 
  • Nova 
  • Coco 
  • Roxy 
  • Zelda 
  • Koda 
  • Ripley 
  • Jojo 
  • Juno 
  • Jasmine 
  • Luna 
  • Karma 
  • Raven 
  • Stella 
  • Wilma 
  • Bella 
  • Buttercup 
  • Athena 
  • Sophie 
  • Harley 


The Rottweiler makes for an excellent companion for anyone that is willing to put the time into training and socializing their dog from an early age. 

In fact, these popular dogs can even make excellent family pets and playmates for children when proper care is taken. Of course, children should always be supervised while playing with dogs. 

It is crucial that if you are looking to purchase a Rottweiler puppy from a breeder that you do your research to ensure that the breeder is reputable and ethical. 

In addition, you should also do some more research on the Rottweiler breed to ensure that this dog will fit in well with your family and lifestyle.

If you want to learn more about the amazing Rottweiler dog visit the American Rottweiler Club website.

What Is A Rottweiler

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