AKC Working Group


Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

The Rottweiler, though probably descended from mastiffs accompanying the Roman legions, was named for the German town of Rottweil where the breed was used by butchers to drive herds of cattle. The butchers fastened their money belts around the dogs’ necks, because their earnings would be completely safe there. When railroads made cattle driving obsolete, the Rottweiler almost disappeared. These versatile dogs found new roles in the early 1900s as guards and police dogs. Their calm temperament also makes them suitable as family guardians and companions. Today, the Rottweiler is one of the most popular breeds in the United States.


The Rottweiler is a muscular, athletic, extremely powerful dog with a broad head and rounded forehead. The body is slightly longer than high, with a level topline. The muzzle is slightly shorter than the backskull. The short black coat has clearly defined rust-colored markings over each eye and on the cheeks, throat, chest, lower legs, and under the tail. The triangular ears are pendant and the nose is wide and black. The lips are black and the inside of the mouth is dark colored. Though often born with rear dewclaws, these are usually removed when the tail is docked.

Key Facts

  • Height:  24 to 27 in. (male); 22 to 25 in. (female)
  • Size:  Large
  • Weight:  Averages 115 lbs. (male); 100 lbs. (female)
  • Availability:  Very popular
  • Talents:  Tracking, herding, watchdog, guarding, police work, carting, competitive obedience, and Schutzhund


Beware of hip dysplasia; buy only from stock with OFA, PennHIP, or another national hip-dysplasia clearance. Tends to snore and overeat. Rottweiler bitches often have large litters-12 puppies are not unusual. This breed needs a lot of companionship, exercise and socialization to be truly happy. Rottweilers should always be thoroughly obedience trained. The breed does well in competitive obedience, Schutzhund, and tracking. Schutzhund lines tend to be more aggressive and thus should be avoided if the dog is purely intended as a pet. Since Rottweilers are so popular, only buy from a reputable breeder.


Calm, trainable, courageous, and devoted. Protective: He will defend his family fiercely. Serious, steady, and confident. Firm and careful training is essential for this breed, otherwise you might wind up with a very powerful and overly aggressive dog. Requires a dominant, experienced owner. A natural guard dog with a mellow temperament.


  • Children:  Good only when raised with children from puppyhood
  • Friendliness:  Reserved with strangers
  • Trainability:  Easy to train
  • Independence:  Fairly independent
  • Dominance:  High
  • Other Pets:  Good with other pets if raised with them from puppyhood
  • Combativeness:  Tends to be fairly dog-aggressive
  • Noise:  Average barker
  • Indoors:  Relatively inactive indoors
  • Owner:  Not recommended for novice owners


  • Grooming:  A little grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping:  No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat:  Short coat
  • Shedding:  Average shedder
  • Docking:  The tail is customarily docked
  • Exercise:  Vigorous daily exercise needed
  • Jogging:  A good jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
  • Outdoor Space:  A small yard is sufficient
  • Climate:  Does well in most climates
  • Longevity:  Average (10 to 12 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Rottweiler Breed Standard

Rottweiler Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the Rottweiler

Rottweiler Gifts