Despite their imposing appearance and somewhat negative reputation, Rottweilers are gentle, affectionate dogs who excel with children. So long as they are well trained from an early age by responsible and intelligent owners, these dogs make wonderful family pets.

A Brief History

The Rottweiler is an ancient breed of dog, considered to be one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. The breed dates back to Roman times when it was used to herd cattle. The name Rottweiler comes from the German "Rottweiler Metzgerhund", meaning “Rottweil butchers' dogs” because they were primarily used to herd livestock and pull carts full of butchered meat to market. During the First and Second World Wars, Rottweilers saw service in various other roles, such as police dogs, as well as messenger, ambulance, draught, and guard dogs. In 1936, Rottweilers were first exhibited in Britain at Crufts. The breed was definitively recognised by the FCI in 1955 and first registered by The Kennel Club as a breed in its own right in 1965.

While Rottweilers do fall under French dangerous dogs legislation as category 2 "defence dogs”, they are not subject to the British Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. This means there are no limitations to owning a Rottweiler in the UK.

Physical Characteristics

The Rottweiler's build is impressive and easily recognisable for its massive size.

Body: The body is big and stocky with a broad chest and well-developed musculature. Rottweilers have a well-proportioned build with strongly muscled thighs. Despite appearances, this is a flexible and agile dog.

Head: The head is medium in size and rather broad, with a slightly curved forehead.

Ears: The ears are triangular in shape, set high and wide apart, and fall forward. In the UK, it is illegal to crop a dog's ears.

Eyes: The eyes are almond-shaped and dark brown in colour. 

Tail: The tail is long and carried horizontally. It may be raised when alert, carried in a half-moon shape when moving, and hanging down when at rest. The tail was previously customarily docked but, these days, tail docking is mostly banned in the UK.

Coat: The Rottweiler has both a top coat and an undercoat. The top coat is medium length, coarse, and flat. The hair may be a little longer on the legs.

Colour: The base colour is black, with tan markings on the cheeks, muzzle, upper neck, chest, legs, and under the tail.

Rottweiler Temperament

Well-trained Rottweilers are good-natured; not nervous, aggressive or vicious; but courageous with natural guarding instincts. This dog breed is very affectionate with family, of whom they are also incredibly protective. Rottweilers make excellent guard dogs; in addition to their dissuasive size, they don't hesitate to put themselves in danger to defend one of their own. Gentle and kind, these doggies are never abrupt and know just how to behave around children. However, as is the case with any dog, and especially a large breed dog, you must always be careful and keep an eye on your little ones in their presence. Accidents happen quickly, and your furry friend could cause unintentional harm, due to their massive size. The Rottweiler dog breed is also renowned for its intelligence. They make excellent working dogs in a variety of roles.

Do Rottweilers Get Along Well with Others?

Provided they have been socialised properly from a young age, Rottweilers get along very well with other dogs, other animals like cats, and children. You should begin socialising your new puppy as soon as you welcome them home because the pivotal age for socialisation is between 2 and 3 months old. Focus on giving your pooch positive experiences, and allowing them to meet lots of other dogs, people, and pets. The Rottweiler is not a hunting dog. As such, their predatory instinct is not particularly strong or well-developed.

Is a Rottweiler the Right Dog for Me?

Despite the huge popularity of the breed, the Rottweiler is not suitable for everyone. This powerful dog needs an experienced master with a solid understanding of dog training and behaviour. The ideal master for a Rottweiler will have a lot of self-confidence, as too much hesitation when training this pooch will prove problematic in the long run. With this dog, an owner will need to understand how to take charge, set firm boundaries, and establish their position as pack leader. This dog breed may not be suitable for first-time dog owners.

Rottweiler Health Issues

The Rottweiler is a strong dog with fairly robust health. However, the average life expectancy of a Rottweiler is between 8 and 11 years, which is relatively short for a dog. Unfortunately, this is often the case with large breed dogs, whose life expectancy can be as low as half that of small dogs. Rottweilers are also affected by certain diseases. Hip and elbow dysplasia in particular are very common with this breed. Be extra careful when buying a puppy, to ensure that your breeder has had both parents screened for this disease. The Rottweiler is also prone to cancer, heart disease, and hypothyroidism, which promotes weight gain and obesity.

Ideal Living Conditions of a Rottweiler

Surprising though it may be, it's actually pretty rare to find a dog breed that cannot adapt to life in an apartment. So long as your apartment is no smaller than 50mᒾ, and you're able to provide your pooch with sufficient exercise each day. Rottweilers can adapt quite well to city life—yes, even in an apartment!—but it's important to be aware of the constraints that this can involve. For starters, this dog breed will need to be kept on a lead at all times, especially in public places. They may also have to wear a muzzle. This means that, if you don't have a garden, your Rottweiler will never be able to run completely free. As such, the ideal living conditions for this dog breed would be a large house in the countryside with a huge plot of land for them to run around in as much as they please.

Rottweiler Training

Training your Rottweiler is something you need to take very seriously and embark upon as early as possible. Puppies are very receptive to learning, provided you engage in positive dog training without any trace of violence, either physical or verbal. This is all the more true for the Rottweiler: poor training could have serious consequences on their future. Rottweilers are intelligent dogs who like to please their master and are always eager to learn. Take advantage of their natural disposition when training your pooch. Nonetheless, the Rottweiler needs an experienced master with a firm hand. This is certainly not the breed for everyone, and we would not recommend you get a Rottweiler as your first dog. If in doubt, don't hesitate to ask a professional dog trainer for advice to help you tame this big dog.


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Diet: What to Feed Your Rottweiler

Choosing the right diet for your Rottweiler is crucial. It plays a vital role in their health and, as such, must be able to meet all their nutritional requirements and energy needs. A poor-quality diet will inevitably have repercussions on their health in the long term. One of the golden rules of dog food is to avoid the industrial dog food found in supermarkets, as much as possible. This is because it tends to be very low in quality and made using primarily plant protein. Remember that dogs are opportunistic carnivores who need animal protein to stay healthy. Good-quality dog food does not necessarily have to cost more than shop-bought dog food, however. It is not uncommon to find good deals on the Internet. Learn how to decipher product labels to understand exactly what you're feeding your dog and be sure to choose a healthy composition, without added preservatives or sweeteners.

If you want to avoid industrial dog food, opt for a tailor-made service like Hector Kitchen. You can choose between feeding your pooch dry dog food, wet dog food, or a mixture of the two. Or, if you have the time and want to control all the ingredients in your Rottweiler's food you can try feeding them homemade dog food or a BARF diet - just be sure to check with your vet first! Also, take into account the fact that your dog's dietary needs are likely to change over time, depending on their age and health condition.

Rottweiler Care and Maintenance

  • Vaccines: between £30 to £60 for the first injection series, plus annual boosters

  • Dog food: from around £50 per month for high-quality dog food

  • Monthly budget: minimum £105 per month

Thanks to their short coat, grooming a Rottweiler is fairly low-maintenance. You only need to brush your Rott once per week to get rid of any dead hair, dirt, or debris, and keep it looking shiny and healthy. However, during moulting periods in spring and autumn, dogs shed more, so you will need to brush your Rottweiler once a day. Be sure to equip yourself with the right brush! As for bathing, these doggies only need one or two baths per year, unless, of course, they get extremely dirty. Also, don't forget to brush your dog's teeth, clean their eyes, and trim their nails regularly! Particular attention should be paid to your Rottweiler's floppy ears to prevent them from becoming a breeding place for parasites and ear infections. Keep all your dog's vaccines up to date, as well as deworming and antiparasitic treatments to combat ticks and fleas. Finally, be sure to schedule regular vet check-ups for your pooch, especially as they start to get older.

Rottweiler Price

The average price of a Rottweiler puppy is between £1000 and £2400. This price varies according to several criteria. Some breeders ask for higher prices if the animal is intended for exhibition or reproduction, or if it comes from an exceptional line. Demand for the breed can also influence the price. The more popular the breed, the fewer puppies there are available for adoption. Breeders can therefore afford to charge more. However, you can also find Rottweiler dogs in shelters or through associations specialising in the rescue of a particular breed. These dogs are usually adults and have often had a difficult past, but adopting them will be much less expensive. Plus, they deserve a loving home just as much as puppies do!

Rottweiler Sleep

The Rottweiler is well-suited to sleeping outdoors, provided, of course, that they have a high-quality kennel available to them. Choosing the right kennel for your dog is essential. It should be neither too big nor too small. Most kennels on the market are made of plastic or wood. Ideally, opt for a wooden kennel that is well insulated and adapted to your dog's size. These tend to be much sturdier and constitute a great long-term investment. 

Place your Rottweiler's kennel in a strategic place in the garden, not too isolated, and which allows your dog to keep an eye on its whole territory. This is a natural guard dog after all. Never tie your Rottweiler up in front of its kennel. All dogs need to be able to freely access shelter in the event of wind, rain, or snow. In the summer, try to move your dog's kennel into the shade if possible. Please note: Rottweilers cannot stand the heat. If temperatures get too high, keep your furball inside the house to prevent them from getting cross and overheated.

Games and Physical Activities for Your Rottweiler

The Rottweiler is a lively, energetic dog. They need to exercise every day to maintain their impressive musculature, and even more so if you live in an apartment. Plan for at least one long walk each day, of about an hour and a half to two hours. Don't hesitate to take your Rottweiler for a jog with you, or even to the beach, because they love to run and swim.

During the summer, avoid going out during the hottest time of day. Take your pooch for walks in the morning and evening instead, as Rottweilers don't tolerate heat very well. In addition to physical canine activities like canicross, treibball, and flyball, Rottweilers also need regular intellectual stimulation. At home, make sure you have enough games and toys to occupy your pooch in your absence. Brain games, such as Kongs or puzzles, are ideal. Choose sturdy toys, as Rottweilers are powerful and may risk breaking smaller objects and swallowing the debris, which could prove dangerous in the long run.

Pet Insurance: Protecting Your Rottweiler

As a family dog, pet insurance is not obligatory for your Rottweiler in the UK. However, taking out a pet insurance policy for your dog helps to cover you in the event of accident or illness. Even if your dog is not aggressive by nature, accidents can happen quickly and you would be held responsible for any damage or harm caused to a third party by your dog. Pet insurance is a great way to make sure you're not hit with any nasty surprises. Most home insurance policies offer the option to include animal liability insurance. You can also purchase third party public liability dog insurance, which provides additional protection. Additionally, while Rottweilers generally enjoy robust health, they are not infallible.

Pet insurance for dogs is a great way to make sure they get the healthcare they deserve throughout their life. This dog breed is prone to certain diseases and, as vet fees are not standardised in the UK, veterinary costs can be very high. Health insurance for your Rottweiler works the same way as for humans: you pay a monthly premium to an insurance company and, in return, they reimburse you for any veterinary expenses.  In any case, before deciding on a particular contract, make sure to shop around for quotes and assess which best suits your circumstances. Then, take the time to read the fine print to ascertain the type of services offered, as well as the reimbursement rate, limits, and eligibility or exclusion clauses. Some insurance companies may refuse to insure dogs that are too old, too young, or already sick. So don't wait for your Rottweiler to get sick or old before taking out pet insurance for them, or you may risk them not being properly taken care of. Insurance companies may also refuse to reimburse costs incurred for certain diseases, genetic or hereditary diseases in particular. Read your contract carefully before signing and don't hesitate to ask your vet for advice.

Rottweiler Size and Weight

The Rottweiler is a large dog with an imposing build. Adult males measure between 61 and 68cm at the withers, while females measure between 56 and 63cm at the withers. There is also a marked difference in weight between males, which weigh between 45 and 54kg, and females, which weigh between 42 and 50kg.

The Kennel Club classifies the Rottweiler in The Working Group, which consists of dogs that were selectively bred to become guards and search and rescue dogs. Other breeds in this group include the Boxer, the Great Dane, and the St. Bernard.