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Gentle giants of Germany

 | July 6, 2012

Loyal, affectionate and intelligent unless he is at the mercy of vicious owners.


The Rottweiler is a pretty misunderstood breed. Rather than the ferocious, man-killing beast he is made out to be, the Rottweiler is just like any other dog – loyal, affectionate and intelligent unless he is at the mercy of vicious owners who either ill-treat him or train him specifically to attack and kill.

This article strives to understand the Rottweiler better and show his true nature when brought up in the care of responsible owners who love and respect him for what he is.

Originating from Germany, Rottweilers were once known as ‘Rottweil butchers’ dogs’. Known to many of us today as the Rottie, their medium to large bodies made them ideal for herding livestock and pulling carts laden with butchered meat to the market in a town called Rottweil.

It is from this town in Germany that the official Rottweiler name came about. Interestingly, a Rottweiler’s tendency to lean against people is in his DNA – when herding cattle eons ago, a Rottweiler would typically lean against them to direct them down the intended path.

There is also a theory that Rottweilers are descendents of cattle-herding mastiffs that crossed the Alps into northern Europe with the Roman soldiers.

Rottweilers are black, with a smattering of brown on their face, chest, belly and legs. They stand at between 60-69 cm while the males weigh 43–59 kg and the females 38-52 kg.

In terms of personality, Rottweilers are laid back, intelligent and very loyal. Because of his sheer size and strength, you have to assert yourself as his pack leader from day one.

He also requires firm and consistent training from as early as possible so he is easy to manage when he gets bigger and stronger. This may not be as difficult a task as you think, as he is the most intelligent and easiest to train of all dog breeds.

He is defined by his self-confidence, calmness, courage, independence, cautious eye and protective nature. Possibly the world’s most popular and reliable guard dog, he is also tough, powerful and has loads of endurance.

Being a somewhat territorial breed, he is not very spontaneous about making new friends, preferring instead to take his time to assess you well and good first before letting his guard down.

Despite his tough exterior, a Rottweiler is a social bird and thrives of being around the people he loves. He especially loves kids and as his nature dictates, will be very protective of them too.

Although he has a short coat, Rotties shed a fair bit so you’ll probably encounter his fur on almost any surface he’s been on. You could give him a good brushing once or twice a week just to remove any loose fur on his body.

A healthy Rottweiler can live anywhere from 9-12 years although they are prone to ACL (anterior cruciate ligaments) damage and hip dysplasia. Like most dogs, they love to eat so do watch his food intake.

Being a working dog, a Rottweiler loves nothing better than a good run outside with the wind in his face. He also loves mind-challenging tasks and you’ll soon see he excels in obedience training, tracking and carting.

It’s no wonder that so many Rottweilers are service dogs working with the police force, search and rescue teams as well as customs and border security officers. They are also great guide and therapy dogs.

Once you understand what makes a Rottweiler tick, you can look forward to a meaningful and rewarding relationship with him.





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