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Updated on May 13, 2011
Whitney05 profile image

Whitney has over 10 years of experience in dog training, rescuing and dog healthcare.

History of Rottweilers

Rottweilers, as a breed, are ancient, being recorded as far back as the Roman Empire. There, they traveled with the legions as working dogs who herded cattle. (Yes, the Rottweiler is a herding dog.) During this time, the first true Rottweiler was known as the Roman War Dog, but when they met with local sheepdogs and other dogs with the molosser (mastiff) breed characteristic from England and the Netherlands, the breed began to shape.

The Roman cattle dogs protected the cattle from both robbers and wild animals, but by the end of the 19th century, their numbers were declining so far that in 1900, there was only one female in the town of Rottweil.

But, upon World War 1, the military needed, a sort of, police dog, which led to the uprising of the Rottweiler. And, from that time on, the breed became popular with dog owners, and in 1935 was officially recognized by the AKC.

One of the more popular misconceptions about the breed, due to its large, muscular appearance, is that it originally was bred as a fighting breed.

Long Hair Rottweiler

Rottweiler Appearance


Rottweilers are a fairly large breed ranging from 22 to 27 inches at the withers (shoulder blades) and weighing an average of 95 to 110 pounds.

They are known for their short black hair and tan markings above the eyes and on the feet. They are moderate shedders. And, surprisingly, come in two varieties- short and long hair. The long haired rottweiler is not necessarily rare, but not as commonly seen as the average short hair variety. The long haired rottweiler is more commonly seen in native German Rottweilers. The long hair Rottweiler, is only considered as such, since the hairs are longer than normal, slightly resembling the coat of an Australian Shepherd. DNA testing can determine whether or not a Rottweiler carries the gene for long hair.

The dog should have a deep chest that reaches to the elbows.

The back should be straight and not curved.

The Rottweiler's tail is generally docked. It is presumed that the tail was originally docked to prevent breakage and infection if it was covered in mud or debris in the pasture. Another theory is that working dogs had their tails docked to avoid a "tail tax," the method of counting livestock via the tails. To this day, the tradition of docking a Rottweiler puppy's tail is continued, usually docking it at the first joint. (Side note: it is currently illegal to dock tails in many European countries, Mexico, and Australia.)

Rottweiler Temperament

Rottweilers must be at the hands of a responsible owner, who is willing to properly train and socialize them, as without this training, a rottweiler can become a danger to one's family and friends. But, with proper training and socializing, the breed can be a very reliable and loving addition to the family.

In general, Rottweilers are fond of children, devoted, eager to please, and intelligent dogs. They, typically, catch on to training easily.

The breed is playful and they may demand attention from their owners, at times. If they do not receive the proper mental stimulation, the breed can find both inventive and destructive ways to carry out what they lack from their owners, on their own...

Rottweilers can exhibit the following behavioral concerns:

  • Chewing
  • Barking for attention
  • Lack of appetite

They are not normally barkers, unless they perceive a threat is near.

The breed can be a very good at protecting its family, as it is a steady dog with a self-assured nature. But, at the same time, the breed is stubborn and strong-willed. A firm, fair, and consistent owner is the best owner for this breed.

Tips for Training Rottweilers

Training Rottweilers

You must remember the key to living happily with any Rottweiler is early training and socialization (with people, animals, and new environments). As otherwise, the dog may assert his dominance towards you and your family, which can cause a problem due to the dog's large size. So remember an untrained, poorly trained, or abused Rottie, can become aggressive and destructive, which can cause a physical threat to humans and animals.

Imagine the force of thie Rottweiler if in your home and untrained

But, at the same time, they can be gentle breed

Rottweiler Puppies

Rottweiler Health

The Rottweiler is a relatively hardy breed, that can live an average lifespan of about 8 to 11 years with the proper care and nutrition that it requires. But, one must be aware of the potential health concerns that do surround the breed.

Rottweilers are prone to having serious diseases mainly relating to the hips, such as Hip Dysplasia.

But, other common health concerns may include:

  • Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis (SAS)
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Osteosarcoma

Rottweilers can also encounter other health concerns such as hypothyroidism and gastric torsion (bloat), as well as various allergies including food and sking allergies..

As a large breed dog, Rottweilers should have their hips, elbows, heart, and eyes, tested by a veterinarian, especially before choosing to breed them.

You may, also, consider having a DNA test performed in order to screen for von Willebrand's disease (vWD).


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      cdubb 5 years ago

      Love my rottweilers. I've had 2 that have passed on and the current one is getting older. They are a very loving, loyal and smart breed. I would never have any other kind of dog! Keira, thinks she is one of my daughters. She carries her stuffie around when she wants to go to sleep and sucks on it when she's stressed out. Our neighbors gave us a hard time when first moved in the neighborhood with our rotties. They've had break ins but we have been spared, I think because of our dogs. If we had acreage, we would love to have more rotties - love them to death!

    • profile image

      Kriya 6 years ago

      I hv brought my first rott puppy home today but he is very sad,what to do? Donno he is missing his mother or angry with me for bringing him with me..

    • profile image

      Krys 6 years ago

      I've had my long haired rottie for 5 months now. He is very handsome but small. At 10 months he only weighs 60 pounds and is only 22 inches tall. Should I be worried?

    • profile image

      Ally 6 years ago

      I have a long haired rotti and i lo e her to death. Bailey, my dog is an amazing rott. Me and my family all love her. She is very protective. I must say though she is six and is losing all of her hair! She climbs in my bed at night and when i wake up my bed us all covered up with dog hair. I am not sure if this happens with short haired dogs but with my long hairdd rotti it does!

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      Chuck 6 years ago

      Good article and I agree. We purchased our first rotty in 1986 and we fell in love with her. When she was young I kept accusing my kids of leaving her cage open and then one day I watch from where she could not see me. She had figured our how to put her tongue outside the cage and flip the latch and then with her teeth bite and pull up the double handle. We were amazed by her intelligence. After we had to have her put down, I could not get another one. Now 17 years later we just brought home a new rotty pup we have named Ava. She has not had any accidents in four days and let's us know when she needs to go and is only 5 weeks old. I think we have another smart rotty. Great Breed!

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      Amy 6 years ago

      I have a beautiful long haired rotti named Ciera. She is the love of our lives. She is soo loving, patient and protective of all of us but especially of my two daughters. Ciera is 2 years old, long slim body, perfect markings and I LOVE all of the long hair on her ears and neck. The long hair makes her look more passive almost like a puppy still. I had no idea that there were long haired rottis out there. Growing up we had a short haired rotti, so you can imagine my surprise when we ended up with a long hair. I also want to say that when me and my husband chose our puppy... we chose the fuzzy little runt. She is full grown with a long body, weighs 75 lbs. I also want to say that I read that someone else seemed to have a problem house breaking their rotti. Well so did we. When crate training her, she would pee in the crate, never poop. Up until just this past March, she still has had accidents. Thought it might have been a bladder infection, vet said no. I realized, just like a child, she is too concerned that she will miss out on something and is hesitant to go out. LOl... Gotta Love Them!!!!!

    • profile image

      sheshe443 7 years ago

      NEVER get a small dog unless you know how to strictly train a dog

    • LedToolZ profile image

      LedToolZ 7 years ago from Memphis, TN

      I learned a lot from this...i just recently took in a stray. He showed up at my door a few weeks before christmas and, well, hes still with looks like a rot/pit mix...i never did much research on rots, so thanks... :)

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      Adele  7 years ago

      I'm so excited about this site. We've had Rotties before and they were both great with my kids (even more protective of them than myself). We're adopting a 9 month old Long Haired Rottie this weekend. She's Beautiful! My husband had never heard of a Long Haired so I can't wait to show him this site.

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      Jennifer Carroll 7 years ago

      I live in the woods of upstate NY and own 6 dogs...4 of which are nrotties and 2 are mix breeds from shelters...the rotties are male and female 7yrs, 1 fem 4yrs and i male 1 yr and he is long haired..I also have 4 kids one being 2yrs of ae and i have had NO problems with the rotties but the shepard mix is the biter...if people weren't so ignorant they would realize that its not the breed its the owner..i have woked in shelters and in the pet industryfor yrs and the nastiest dogs are always the small one people baby...I love my rotties, and wouldn't have another breed!!!treat your dog right and he will treat you right...

      p.s...i have found as far as house training the females learn much faster, my males seem to get their brains later on in life..but love them all...

    • Jillian Barclay profile image

      Jillian Barclay 7 years ago from California, USA

      We have a rot/shepherd mix and he is the best! He is a pussycat with kids, but if you are a man trying to come into my house without permission, he will rip your throat out! This dog is by far the most loving dog we have had. He seeks approval and thinks he is a small lap dog!

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      nicky 7 years ago

      i had a long haired rottie but lost her last year to stomach cancer. she was the best breed of dog i have every known. in the right hands i would never have another breed of dog.

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      skittle13 8 years ago

      I have 2, one that's 15 weeks and the other is 2 years old and I love my boys!! Amazingly they play together like best friends...and don't dare let no one come by our house on a bicycle or even walking for that matter especially if I'm outside, they will have a fit! They are so protective over me.

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      edbdbb1 8 years ago

      I have 3 rotties in the house and yes it is a 24/7 job but I wouldn't have any other. My female is going on 8 and has hip dysplasia which she gets a shot each week and is on meds. One male is going on 7 and is not full blooded, I rescued him from the pound and he is my biter. I have to keep him from other people. My other male just turned 2 and is a long hair. When we got him I got on the internet and looked up long haired rotties. I didn't know they exsisted. His sire and dam both had short hair. He looks like the picture you have on here. These dogs are our babies! They are loveable, brave, and I feel safe when I am by myself because I know they would protect me. These kind of dogs have a bad rap!! We even had our homeowners insurance quit us because we had rottweilers. Never have had a claim! We finally shopped around and found insurance that would take us. These dogs will be however they are raised to be. Our female and young male are not mean in anyway and are full blooded.

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      Tressa 8 years ago

      I have a long haired Rotty. I love him to death, he's been with me since he was 10 weeks old, he's now 12 years old. I don't treat him like a dog as such, I talk to him like he's a person. Sometimes I reckon he thinks he is an actual person. My whole family love him (even the ones that don't live in my house) and will protect him as much as they can. I have found that he's learnt easily over his life. And he's adapted to change over the years as well. Because he's so big I've had people step back when they see him. But he just ignores them and waits until I introduce them to him. He's very faithful to me, follows me around the house and at night he either sleeps close to my room or outside my daughters bedroom door. As with him growling at your kids, just make sure they aren't pressing too hard on him or anything. I have young nieces and nephews that visit and he used to growl at them. I told them to be gentle with him and that if he growls to leave him alone. It could be that he just doesn't want to be bothered at that particular time. Maybe if your children give him treats every now and then when they pat him, he will then associate that as a good thing and nothing to growl about. I have found that my Rotty doesn't like people in his face. I am the only one that can have my face very close to his at anytime. Unless it's the vet, he knows that the Vet is trying to help him and needs to check him out. It's all to do with training. I found that the more affectionate I was to my Rotty the more he is affectionate to others like friends and family. Sorry for the long note.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      The breed is pretty smart, but their stubborn temperament can get the better of them. It shouldn't matter that your goldens were trained in a week, not all dogs and not all breeds are the same. The age in which you got the dog shouldn't matter either as to him being house trained. The second he was old enough to go outside should have been when training started. Even at 6-9 weeks old, the puppy should have adapted just fine to house training, even after having him for a few weeks.

      What have you tried doing to house train? Have you tried crate training? That is the most effective manner to house train, and that's something that could have been started at 3 weeks.

      You also should have gotten the guy's name and info, and turned him into the city pound and fairground for selling under-aged pups.

    • profile image

      Ruth 8 years ago

      I loved the article. I was also looking for info on long haired rottis. We bought a puppy from a street fair and he didn't have papers. He is long haired and we were wondering about that, although he is so typically rotti. I am glad to see that it is part of the breed. He is super smart and can learn a trick in a couple of minutes. He barks when he wants attention also. My daughter named him Junior. I bred golden retrievers for over 20 years and dalmatians before that, so I know a good bit about dogs. I am very firm with him and he respects that and has bonded with me. He used to snap at my children 4 and 7 years old, but I would really get in his face and tell him very sternly that it was not acceptable. He still sometimes will growl when they hug him too tightly or get in his face. I still correct that, but not as sternly because he is telling them what his boundaries are and they need to respect that. He is around 3 1/2 months now and get neutered tomorrow. I know this is long, but I had one other question. The only trouble we have had with him is house breaking. My goldens have always been so easy and are usually house broken inside of a week. Junior was so young when we got him, about 3 weeks old. I think he learned to go inside because he was too little to go outside and now we are still having trouble getting him to understand to go out. Any suggestions. It is also another story of how we ended up buying a 3 week old puppy at a street fair.

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      lovely india  8 years ago

      i love my rott; they have been good boys

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      Marie 8 years ago

      I love my Rotties; they've been great with my minature schnauzers. My youngest one is a rescue and she's a long hair. They all have a wonderful

    • profile image

      Jenny  8 years ago

      I too am so very fortunate to be the proud owner of a long haired rottweiler and i am often asked what he is mixed with. He is like a big cuddly teddybear and we love him so much, he is very protective of us and very gentle with small children and elderly people. He is a thoroughbred although some breeders have contradicted that fact as his hair is long and his face is longer and thinner than the more common rottweiler, he is beautiful and I pray we have many years of love and loyalty from this magnificent animal named Tyson xxxxx

    • profile image

      Linda Henderson 8 years ago

      I am the first time owner of a rottie. He is a long-haired male. EVERYBODY asks what he is mixed with. Apparentely it is rare. He is the most loving dog though, very sweet, yet protective. Our 2 year old son LOVES him and spends hours cuddling and rolling around with him, and even though he outweighs our son, he is always gentle as can be.

    • profile image

      STEVE 8 years ago


    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      They have different temperaments, as they are different dogs. Rotties are loving, protective, territorial, etc. But some shepherds experience that as well. The general temperament of a Rottie is above. They are not for everyone, but if you can control a shepherd, then you shouldn't have problems with a Rottie; although they are a good bit more stubborn than shepherds (or at least can be).

    • profile image

      margaret 8 years ago

      when my german shephard goes my husband wants a rottie. How simular are they to german shephards in nature and temperament. Please help me understand rottie's

    • profile image

      emma 9 years ago

      i have an 8 month old rott and she is a long haired one. she is amazing so loyal and loving couldn't of asked for a better dog. i get funny looks and people crossing the road when i walk her im glad there a page that is loving th breed as much as i do

    • profile image

      Keri 9 years ago

      I own two rotts, one is 6 months (and is long haired), the other is 8 months. They are half brothers and come from a reputable breeder. I have a 5 year old English Bulldog also. The rotts are awesome, so lovable, yet protective of me. I have very pleased with everything about them.

    • profile image

      joy  9 years ago

      great site i have a long hair crosss short hair rotty about 10years old she is so gentle i was looking for info on the longhair rottys

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 9 years ago from USA

      I own two Rottweilers and they are the best! I still get though that ignorant stare like if I am walking two demons. Last week the cable guy didn't want to even get close to my dog that was wagging its tail anxiously waiting to get pet. Even toddlers play with them! I hope more people get educated about dog breeds once and for all!

    • profile image

      rottweilerpuppy 9 years ago

      Rottweilers are awesome! Good info.

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      laura 10 years ago

      my dog is really lazy so she is part of the family. she is also blind so sad but funny coz when we come back from walks shes so pumped she forgets thers a door and runs rite into it.

      lol laura

    • profile image

      claire 10 years ago

      WOW!!! I have a female Rottie who has been a member of our family for 10 years. I also had a male Rottie who was given to us as an adult, but he passed away several years back. I can't say enough about this breed. I find myself defending it to many who are uninformed or just plain ignorant. If trained properly, just as with any other breed, the Rottie WILL be your most loyal companion and your best friend! Thanks, Whitney, now I can show this to all those idiots whose thoughts about Rotties are one-sided!!

    • profile image

      Jason 10 years ago

      Great Hub !! I raised Rotts for 7 years I think they're one of the best dogs for a family !!! they're gentle as can be and if needed they will protect your family to the end.

    • sso profile image

      sso 10 years ago

      wow.. great hub.. I had one Rottweiler but he died because someone poison him.. at least that's what the doctor said.. :(

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 10 years ago from London UK

      Rottys are great dogs.

      Great hub Whitney;)

    • AnimalLoversWeb profile image

      AnimalLoversWeb 10 years ago

      Great hub Whitney, very informative and some lovely pictures of the dogs, I especially love the puppy pics!

    • lynchjo profile image

      lynchjo 10 years ago from Merrimack, NH USA

      excellent hub! I did not know the Rottweiler breed dates as far back as the Roman Empire and that they are a herding dog...good stuff...


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