When the Romans invaded Europe 2,000 years ago, they moved huge armies in waves across Europe. Feeding an army this large was a massive undertaking, so they drove herds of cattle along with them. The Romans used Rottweilers to move the herds. In their new lands, the dogs continued to ply their trade until the mid-1800s, when the driving of cattle was made illegal. The Rottweiler (Rottie) is strong, muscular, and powerful. The head is broad, eyes are almond-shaped and dark, and ears are folded and triangular. The body is slightly longer than it is tall at the shoulder. The coat is straight and coarse and is always black with rust-colored markings. The tail is docked. The Rottweiler dog breed’s temperament is dignified, calm, and confident. They are naturally reserved with strangers but should not be aggressive unless there is danger facing the dog or his people.
The Rottweiler was developed for strength.
Grooming a Rottweiler is not difficult. The medium-length coat can be brushed twice weekly with a pin brush. The Rottweiler was developed for strength, not speed, so long-distance running is not the breed’s favorite exercise. A long walk, a game of fetch, and some carting training will use up that excess energy.
All Rottiweiler puppies should attend a puppy training class that emphasizes socialization. As this breed is naturally reserved with strangers, the Rottweiler puppies should meet many different people. Puppies should also meet and play with puppies of other breeds and sizes. Training can begin at an early age, too, to teach obedience commands and household rules. Rottweilers are devoted and loyal to their families, and friends will be remembered forever and greeted with a wiggling stump of a tail. The breed is not particularly friendly to strange dogs; this is not a dog park breed.
Rottweilers can be good with children as long as the kids treat the dog with respect. They can also be good with other pets. Health concerns include hip and elbow dysplasia, osteosarcoma, bloat, torsion, and allergies.
Rottweilers have a natural gathering style with a strong desire to control. They generally show a loose-eye and have a great amount of force while working well off the stock. They make much use of their ability to intimidate. The Rottweiler often carries the head on an even plane with the back or carries the head up but with the neck and shoulders lowered. Some females lower the entire front end slightly when using eye. Males also do this when working far off the stock in an open field. This is rarely seen in males when working in confined spaces such as stock yards.
The Rottweiler has a reasonably good natural balance, force-barks when necessary, and when working cattle uses a very intimidating charge. There is a natural change in forcefulness when herding sheep. When working cattle it may use its body and shoulders and for this reason should be used on horned stock with caution. The Rottweiler, when working cattle, searches out the dominant animal and challenges it. Upon proving its control over that animal it settles back and tend to its work. Some growers have found that Rottweilers are especially suited to move stubborn stock that simply ignore Border Collies, Kelpies, and others. Rottweilers use their bodies to physically force the stubborn animal to do its bidding if necessary. When working with sheep the Rottweiler shows a gathering style and reams directions easily. It drives sheep with ease. In some cases Rottweilers have begun herding cattle without any experience at all. If worked on the same stock for any length of time the Rottweiler tends to develop a bond with the stock and will become quite affectionate with them as long as they do as it says.