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Butchers Dog Breed Description

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Breed Organization

American Rottweiler Club

Native Country

Other Names
Rottweiler, Rottie, Rottweil Metzgerhund

Life Expectancy
Approximately 8-10 Years

Litter Size
Average 7-10 Puppies

Breed Group

General Description

The ideal Rottweiler is a medium large, robust and powerful dog, black with clearly defined rust markings. His compact and substantial build denotes great strength, agility and endurance. Dogs are characteristically more massive throughout with larger frame and heavier bone than bitches. Bitches are distinctly feminine, but without weakness of substance or structure. For additional detailed information please click on the tab below.

Breed Standard

Head: Strong. Broad, moderately convex skull. Pronounced stop. Rectangular nose bridge. Large nose. Powerful jaws. Black, tight lips.
Ears: Set on high, medium size, triangular, very wide set. Drop, hanging forward tightly against the head.
Eyes: Medium size, almond. Dark brown color.
Body: Compact. Powerful neck without loose skin (no dewlap). Well pronounced forechest. Roomy chest. Ribs well sprung. Short loin.
Tail: Docked (to one or two vertebrae) or natural.
Hair: Medium length, coarse to the touch, dense, and lying flat. Presence of undercoat.
Coat: Black with distinct tan markings on the cheeks, above the eyes, on the muzzle, on the underside of the neck, on the forechest, legs, and under the root of the tail.
Size: Dog: 61 to 68 cm Bitch: 56 to 63 cm
Weight: Dog: approx. 50 kg Bitch: approx. 42 kg


Some writers believe this very old German dog is descended from the Bavarois Bouvier. Others contest that it is descended from Roman Molosser dogs brought to Germany during the Roman invasions. By the Middle Ages, this powerful, courageous dog was already guarding the herd and defending cattle merchants against bandits in the village of Rottweil in Wurtemberg, Germany. Butchers commonly kept this dog, and as a result, the breed became known as the "butcher dog." The first Rottweiler club was formed in 1907. During World War I, the Rottweiler served in the German army. The breed was officially recognized in 1966, and it became well-known worldwide around 1970.


Rottweilers are a powerful breed with well-developed genetic herding and guarding instincts. Potentially dangerous behavior in Rottweilers usually results from irresponsible ownership, abuse, neglect, or lack of socialisation and training. However, the exceptional strength of the Rottweiler is an additional risk factor not to be neglected. It is for this reason that breed experts declare that formal training and extensive socialisation are essential for all Rottweilers. According to the AKC, Rottweilers love their owners and may behave in a clownish manner toward family and friends, but they are also protective of their territory and do not welcome strangers until properly introduced. Obedience training and socialization are required.

One study published in 2008 found that male Rottweilers have higher confidence, sharpness, and defense and play drives than females.

A 2008 study surveying breed club members found that while Rottweilers were average in aggressiveness (bites or bite attempts) towards owners and other dogs, it indicated they tend to be more aggressive than average toward strangers. This aggression appears correlated with watchdog and territorial instincts.

In the Rottweiler Handbook, Joan H. Walker states that "The Rottweiler is very territorial", meaning that the owner will have to regularly work with the dog to control its territorial aggressiveness.

Generally speaking, Rottweilers are good with children – a combination protector, and playmate. However, as with all dogs, caution must be exercised when infants and children are in their proximity. Infants and children should never be left unattended around any dog, including Rottweilers. Knowing and understanding the temperament of your Rottweiler is your responsibility. Remember that no dog should be brought into your home as a baby sitter. You need to teach the dog to respect your children, and teach your children to respect the dog.

The dog’s size can be a serious problem. Rottweilers have accidentally caused injuries to small children by bumping into them and knocking them down or into furniture. This bumping is a natural behavior of the Rottweiler, a legacy from the days when the breed was used to herd cattle. Rottweilers will bump and herd children or elderly family members. Some breeders recommend waiting until children are at least school age or older before bringing a Rottweiler into your home. The amount of space in your home, the age of your children, and the amount of time the dog will be in contact with your children should be part of your decision-making process.

Some Questions You Should Ask Yourself

So, before you go any further, here is a list of things to consider. This is not meant to frighten you, but rather to make certain that you understand what is required of you as a Rottweiler owner:

Am I willing to give my dog regular discipline and basic obedience training?
We believe that any dog, and especially a large protective dog, needs regular day-to-day discipline. Every dog must grow up knowing that he has limits of behavior, that he must respect people and property, and that he is, after all, a dog.

Will I see to it that both the kids and the dog treat each other properly?
Although a Rottweiler makes an excellent pet for families with children, and while they are sturdier than most other dogs, they are not punching bags and are NOT meant to be tormented or harassed any more then is any other living thing. By the same token, the playful pup should not be allowed to jump on the kids, pull their britches, or steal their toys. Too often, when puppy still looks like a fuzzy toy, these antics are cute, but they aren’t so funny when the dog hits 100 pounds.

Am I willing to invest the time necessary to raise my Rottweiler?
Rottweilers need human companionship and attention. If your idea of raising a dog is to tie him to a stake in the backyard and feed him once in awhile, do yourself a favor and don’t buy a dog. He will be miserable, you won’t have any fun, and the dog will turn into a problem instead of a joy. Rottweilers need regular grooming. This should be part of their routine from the time they get home. Regular brushing will reduce the dog hair problem, help eliminate doggy odors, and reduce the chances of skin problems. If you don’t know how to groom a Rottweiler, check with your breeder or veterinarian.

Am I willing to provide a good home for my Rottweiler?
While a Rottweiler is happy to live in the house with the rest of the family, there are times when you will want to keep him outside. A fenced-in yard is ideal when you are not outdoors with him. A ROTTWEILER SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED TO RUN LOOSE! His size and demeanor may frighten someone. His big feet and inquisitive nose can be disastrous to a neighbor’s flower bed. He has no fear of cars and could easily become a casualty. And a loose dog is an open invitation to dognappers. Your Rottweiler represents a substantial investment – one which you should protect. Although it is not a good situation; if your Rottweiler is to live outdoors, be sure that he has a clean, well-insulated, draft-free doghouse that provides a cool shady retreat or protection from inclement weather. He must always have fresh drinking water and some protection from insects.

Will I provide proper veterinary care for my dog?
Your Rottweiler will require certain routine health care. Dogs are subject to many of the same diseases as man, plus some of their own. In addition to your regular visits to the vet for “shots” (vaccinations) or titer testing to protect against various diseases, a regular check-up by the veterinarian is certainly desirable for your dog. Your veterinarian should also be contacted whenever you see any signs of illness or abnormal behavior.

Am I sure that all of my family will share in this venture?
It is a big mistake to “buy the dog for the kids” when it requires the management of responsible adults. It is also unfortunate for a pup to go into a home where it is resented by one family member who might have preferred another breed.


You may think it strange that we seem to be discouraging you. In a way, we are, but only because we want to be sure Rottweilers only go to people who will commit to being suitable owners for the lifetime of a Rottweiler. A fine dog, like a child, does not raise itself.

Please take the time to consider carefully if you have the time, the interest, and the resources to devote to your Rottweiler.

If You Decide to Buy a Rottweiler
Observe the behavior of the sire (if he is on the premises) and the dam. Ideally the dam will be calm and steady, possibly even curious and friendly. It is quite correct for her to be reserved. An openly hostile bitch who does not respond to her master’s reassurances is undesirable. Cowardice and shyness are also undesirable traits. The sire’s temperament is as important as the dam’s. Puppies should be playful, inquisitive, and trusting of people. They should submit to gentle handling and respond to their environment. Clarance Pfaffenberger’s book New Knowledge of Dog Behavior will help you pick the best puppy for you.

  • American Rottweiler Club
  • A note from Matt Bryant (The Furry Critter Network) while owning/programming this site I have noticed several traits in breed websites. Most prioritize registration and contesting and/or showing. They will touch on breed care, but to date I have come across very few who dive deep into the breed. Please go to American Rottweiler Club and review the breed carefully. It's a very insightful site, our compliments to the authors and developers.


    Guard Dog, Police and Army Dog, Pet.


    Rottweilers are a relatively healthy, disease-free breed. As with most large breeds, hip dysplasia can be a problem. For this reason, the various Rottweiler breed clubs have had X-ray testing regimens in place for many years. Osteochondritis dissecans, a condition affecting the shoulder joints, can also be a problem due to the breed's rapid growth rate. A reputable breeder will have the hips and elbows of all breeding stock X-rayed and read by a recognised specialist, and will have the paperwork to prove it.

    They will also have certificates that their breeding animals do not have entropion or ectropion and that they have full and complete dentition with a scissor bite.

    As with any breed, hereditary conditions occur in some lines. The Rottweiler is very prone to osteosarcoma, which is among the most common causes of early death in Rottweilers. For unknown reasons, Rottweilers are more susceptible than other breeds to become infected with parvovirus, a highly contagious and deadly disease of puppies and young dogs.

    If overfed or under-exercised, Rottweilers are prone to obesity. Some of the consequences of obesity can be very serious, including arthritis, breathing difficulties, diabetes, heart failure, reproductive problems, skin disease, reduced resistance to disease and overheating caused by the thick jacket of fat under the skin.

    As with the vast majority of large-breed dogs, Rottweilers are also predisposed to dilated cardiomyopathy.

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