5 Things to Know About Rottweilers

Rottweilers are intelligent, loyal and protective dogs with ancient roots in Rome. Learn much more in this Rottweiler dog breed profile.

Rottweilers are intelligent and powerful. Photo: Pixabay

1. Key Characteristics of Rottweilers

  • AKC Group: Working
  • Height: 24–27 inches (male); 22–25 inches (female)
  • Weight: 95–135 pounds (males); 80–100 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 9–10 years

Rottweilers (a.k.a. Rotties) are strong, powerful, intelligent dogs who are known for their high endurance and guarding instincts.

This medium-sized dog has a short, black coat with either rust or mahogany markings.

2. Where Rottweilers Came From

The Rottweiler is believed to have descended from the drover dogs in ancient Rome.


The dogs accompanied armies on long missions and were used to herd and guard livestock. Some of the earliest evidence of these ancestor dogs traces back to 74 A.D.

The breed declined drastically and almost went extinct in the mid-1800s, when they were no longer used as working dogs. A dog show in Germany in 1882 had only 1 Rottweiler, which was described as a poor representation of the breed — perhaps the only one who could be found at the time.

A club formed in 1901 to represent the Rottweiler breed, as well as the Leonberger breed, and recorded a breed standard for Rottweilers. The breed became a go-to police dog in the early 1900s, and this greatly improved their numbers.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) entered the breed in 1931, and a Rottweiler parent club was formed in 1971.

The breed was subjected to breed-specific legislation during the last century, which has since passed on to focus on variations of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier breeds.

Rottweilers are highly trainable dogs. Photo: Petful

3. How Friendly Are Rottweilers?

Rottweilers are known for being loyal and protective, but they are also intelligent and highly trainable.

Their even-tempered disposition means they’re generally calm dogs, but they are also quite courageous. In fact, Rottweilers are said to defend so fiercely at times that they appear immune to pain.


Training and socialization should start as soon as possible. A properly socialized Rottweiler with a clear understanding of leadership will be a fine companion for children, dogs, cats and other household pets. Know that they will generally keep strangers at a distance.

Unfortunately, these dogs may be considered a dangerous breed by insurance companies. Check with your insurer before adopting a Rottweiler to make sure your insurance company will not cancel your coverage.

4. Is This the Right Dog for You?

Exercise Needs

HIGH: This breed thrives on exercise. Rottweilers love to work, and daily walks or jogs are ideal to keep yours in shape and expel energy.

Swimming and retrieving are fun exercises that your Rottweiler may enjoy. They are relatively inactive indoors but will do well in an apartment as long as their exercise needs are met.

Grooming Needs

MEDIUM: The short, smooth double coat may be prone to heavy shedding.

Brush and bathe your Rottie weekly or as necessary, and make sure to maintain the nails, ears and teeth regularly.

These dogs are often the victim of tail docking, even when they are not being used as a working dog, but with any luck this practice will be banned in the future (it is already illegal in several European countries).

Health Problems

MEDIUM: There are some health problems related to the Rottweiler:

Learn more about these intelligent, powerful dogs in this video:

5. How to Adopt a Rottweiler

Rottweilers end up in shelters and rescues all the time. Check Petful’s search function to find one near you or check with your local resources.

If you decide to buy a Rottweiler from a breeder, take care to ensure the breeder doesn’t show signs of operating a puppy mill.

Additional Resources

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