Rottweiler: Breed Profile, Characteristics, and Care Guide

| Updated: August 18, 2023
Rottweiler sitting on a hill with the sun at its back

Rottweilers are powerful and loyal dogs that have a long history of working as guardians, herders, and companions. They are known for their confidence, intelligence, courage, and affectionate and playful nature with their family. Rottweilers are not a breed for everyone, as they require early socialization, consistent training, and regular exercise to thrive. However, a Rottweiler might be the right dog for you if you are looking for a devoted and protective friend who will always be by your side.

This article will cover everything you need to know about the Rottweiler dog breed, including their temperament, history, health, appearance, types, and more. Whether you own a Rottweiler, are considering getting one, or just like learning about dogs, this guide will help you understand and appreciate this amazing breed.

History of the Rottweiler

The Rottweiler is one of the oldest surviving dog breeds, dating back to Roman times. Drover dogs, such as the Molossian (An ancient and extinct breed common in the Roman empire), are thought to be the ancestors of Rottweilers. They were large, powerful, and courageous dogs that could cope with harsh conditions and long distances. “Droving” essentially means “driving stock” and is how cattle would get to market or across the Alps with the Roman legions. These dogs were also used to guard the camps and the livestock from predators and thieves.

As the Roman Empire expanded, these dogs reached different regions and mixed with the local dogs. One of these regions was Rottweil, a town in southern Germany, where the dogs became known as Rottweiler Metzgerhund, meaning Rottweil butcher’s dogs. The butchers of Rottweil used these dogs to drive and guard their cattle and pull carts loaded with meat and other goods to the market. The dogs also carried money pouches around their necks for safekeeping. After all, who was going to approach this dog and steal its money?

The Rottweiler was a versatile and valuable dog that its owners highly regarded. However, with the advent of railroads and industrialization in the 19th century, the need for drover dogs declined and the Rottweiler’s population dwindled. The breed was at risk of extinction until a group of enthusiasts revived its interest and established the first Rottweiler club in Germany in 1914.

The Rottweiler soon proved its worth as a working dog in various roles, such as guard dog, police dog, military dog, rescue dog, and service dog. The breed also gained popularity as a companion dog for its loyalty, intelligence, and courage. The Rottweiler was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1931 and has since become one of the most popular breeds in the United States and around the world.

The Rottweiler’s history reflects its strong work ethic, adaptability, and devotion to its family. The breed has evolved from a herder and a drover to a protector and friend, but it still retains its natural instincts and abilities, making it a remarkable dog.

Rottweiler flinging water at a river

Myths About Rottweilers

The Rottweiler is a breed that has been surrounded by many myths and stories, some of which are positive and some of which are negative. Some of these myths and stories are based on facts, while others are based on stereotypes or misinformation. Here are some of the most common myths about Rottweilers and the truth behind them:

Myth #1 Rottweilers are Inherently Vicious and Aggressive

This is one of the most widespread and harmful myths about Rottweilers, which has led to many people fearing or discriminating against this breed. The truth is they are not born vicious or aggressive; they were bred to do certain jobs and some people perceive this as aggression. Rottweilers are loyal, obedient, and eager-to-work dogs that respond well to positive reinforcement and clear leadership.

Myth #2 Rottweilers Have Locking Jaws

This myth is also shared by other breeds that have been labeled as dangerous, such as Pitbulls or Dobermans. The myth claims that Rottweilers have a special mechanism in their jaws that allows them to lock onto their prey or enemy and not let go until they die. The truth is that there is no such thing as a locking jaw in any dog breed. All dogs have the same anatomy and physiology in their jaws: muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and teeth. The only difference is the size and shape of these structures, which may affect the strength and bite force of the dog. Rottweilers have powerful jaws and strong bite force but can open and close their mouths like any other dog.

Rottweiler Appearance and Characteristics

The Rottweiler is a medium-to-large or large breed that has a robust and muscular body. The breed standard describes the Rottweiler as “a calm, confident, and courageous dog with a self-assured aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships.”

The Rottweiler has a broad head with a well-developed muzzle and strong jaws. The ears are medium-sized, triangular, and pendant, lying close to the head. The eyes are almond-shaped, dark brown, and expressive. The nose is black and wide. The teeth meet in a scissors bite.

The Rottweiler has a strong neck that blends into a deep chest and a straight back. The tail is docked short or natural (depending on the country’s regulations) and carried slightly above the horizontal when the dog is alert. The legs are well-boned and muscular, with compact feet and black nails. The dewclaws may be removed or left intact.

The Rottweiler has a short, hard, thick, and shiny coat that lies flat on the body. The coat is black with clearly defined rust or mahogany markings on the cheeks, muzzle, eyebrows, chest, legs, and under the tail. Some dogs may have a small white patch on the chest or throat, which is acceptable but not desirable.

The height of the Rottweiler at the withers is 24 to 27 inches (61 to 69 cm) for males and 22 to 25 inches (56 to 63 cm) for females. The weight is 110 to 132 pounds (50 to 60 kg) for males and 77 to 106 pounds (35 to 48 kg) for females.

The Rottweiler’s appearance reflects its strength and determination of purpose.

three Rottweilers laying in a field with different facial expressions

Rottweiler Temperament

The Rottweiler is a breed of great strength, courage, and loyalty. The American Kennel Club describes the Rottweiler temperament as “a calm, confident, and courageous dog with a self-assured aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships.” They are not aggressive or vicious dogs by nature (no dog truly is); they are simply doing their job as they were bred to; by protecting and serving their family and territory. This is not a dog that will greet strangers with a wagging tail and a lick; rather, he will observe them with a wary and reserved attitude until he decides whether they are trustworthy or not. The Rottweiler’s natural instinct is to protect his family and territory from any perceived threat, which makes him an excellent guard dog.

A well-socialized and well-trained Rottweiler will be able to distinguish between friend and foe and will only act aggressively when necessary. On the other hand, a poorly socialized or poorly trained Rottweiler may become overly suspicious or fearful of strangers, other dogs, or new situations and may react unpredictably or dangerously.

The Rottweiler is not a breed for a novice or timid owners; he needs a confident and experienced owner who can provide him with clear and consistent leadership. The Rottweiler is a strong-willed, independent dog who will test his owner’s authority and boundaries. He needs to know his place in the family hierarchy and respect his owner’s commands. The Rottweiler responds best to positive reinforcement methods that reward his good behavior and discourage his bad behavior. Harsh or abusive methods will only damage the bond between the owner and the dog and may cause the dog to become fearful or aggressive.

The Rottweiler is not a couch potato; he is an active and energetic dog who needs plenty of physical and mental stimulation to keep him happy and healthy. The Rottweiler enjoys brisk walks, hikes, runs, fetch games, tug-of-war games, agility courses, obedience trials, Schutzhund (a sport that combines protection, obedience, and tracking), or any other activity that challenges his body and mind. The Rottweiler also needs a spacious, secure yard to roam freely and safely.

The Rottweiler is not a solitary dog but a people dog who thrives on human companionship. The Rottweiler loves his family dearly and wants to be involved in everything they do. He is loyal, affectionate, playful, and sometimes silly with his family members. He is especially gentle and patient with children he knows well, but he may not tolerate rough or rude behavior from them. The Rottweiler should always be supervised around young children or children who are unfamiliar with dogs.

The Rottweiler does not get along with everyone; he is selective about his canine friends. They may be aggressive or dominant towards other dogs of the same sex, especially if they are not neutered or spayed. He may also chase or harm smaller animals such as cats, rabbits, squirrels, or birds. They should be socialized from an early age with other dogs and animals to reduce their prey drive and territorial tendencies.

Common Health Issues Affecting Rottweilers

The Rottweiler is a healthy breed, but like any dog, it can be prone to certain health problems. Some of these problems are inherited, while environmental factors or lifestyle choices cause others. As a responsible owner, you should be aware of the potential health issues that may affect your Rottweiler and take preventive measures to keep them healthy and happy.

Some of the common health problems that may affect Rottweilers are:

  • Obesity: The Rottweiler is a large and muscular dog that needs a balanced and nutritious diet to maintain its optimal weight and condition. Overfeeding, lack of exercise, or feeding low-quality food can lead to obesity, which can cause various health problems such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and reduced lifespan.
  • Joint problems: The Rottweiler is a heavy-boned and fast-growing dog that can develop joint problems such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. These are genetic conditions that cause the abnormal development of the hip or elbow joints, leading to pain, inflammation, lameness, and arthritis.
  • Eye problems: The Rottweiler can suffer from various eye problems such as cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), entropion, ectropion, cherry eye, and glaucoma. These are conditions that affect the clarity, function, or structure of the eyes, leading to vision loss, irritation, infection, or pain.
  • Other health problems: The Rottweiler may also be affected by other health problems such as bloat (gastric dilatation-volvulus), cancer (especially osteosarcoma), heart disease (especially subaortic stenosis), hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone), and allergies (skin or food).
Rottweiler puppy running toward the camera with big floppy ears

Caring for a Rottweiler

This is a breed that requires a lot of care and attention to keep it healthy and happy. The Rottweiler is not a low-maintenance dog; it needs regular grooming, exercise, training, and socialization.


The Rottweiler has a short, hard, thick, and shiny coat that lies flat on the body. The coat is easy to maintain and does not need much brushing. However, the Rottweiler sheds heavily twice a year, in spring and fall. During these periods, you should brush your Rottweiler daily with a rubber curry or slicker brush to remove the dead hair and keep the coat shiny. You should also check your Rottweiler’s ears regularly for any signs of dirt, wax, or infection. You should clean the ears with a cotton ball and a mild ear cleaner as needed. You should also trim your Rottweiler’s nails every few weeks with a nail clipper or a grinder to prevent them from cracking or splitting. You should also brush your Rottweiler’s teeth at least once a week with a dog toothbrush and toothpaste to prevent dental problems and bad breath. You should bathe your Rottweiler only when necessary with a mild dog shampoo to avoid drying out the skin and coat.


The Rottweiler is a very energetic and active breed that needs plenty of exercise to stay fit and happy. The Rottweiler needs at least one hour of exercise every day, preferably in the form of long walks, runs, hikes, or bike rides. The Rottweiler also enjoys playing fetch, tug-of-war, or frisbee with its owner or other dogs. The Rottweiler should always be leashed or in a fenced area when outside to prevent it from wandering off or chasing after something. The Rottweiler should always have access to fresh water to prevent dehydration.


The Rottweiler is a very intelligent and trainable breed that responds well to positive reinforcement and clear leadership. The Rottweiler needs early and consistent training to learn basic commands, manners, and social skills. The Rottweiler can be stubborn and dominant sometimes, so you must be firm and confident when training your Rottweiler. You should also use treats, praise, and toys as rewards for good behavior and avoid harsh corrections or punishments for bad behavior. You should also enroll your Rottweiler in obedience classes or puppy kindergarten to expose it to different people, animals, sounds, and situations. You should also consider teaching your Rottweiler some advanced skills or tricks to challenge its mind and keep it entertained.


The Rottweiler is a wary and reserved breed that needs early and frequent socialization to overcome its natural aloofness and protectiveness. The Rottweiler needs to be exposed to different people, animals, sounds, and situations from an early age to learn how to behave appropriately and confidently in various scenarios. Read more on socializing your dog here.

The Rottweiler is a breed that requires a lot of care and attention, but it will reward you with its love, loyalty, and companionship. The Rottweiler is a breed that can suit many different lifestyles and families as long as you can provide it with proper care, training, socialization, and exercise. The Rottweiler is a breed that will protect you and your family with devotion but also play with you and cuddle with you. The Rottweiler is a breed that will make you proud and happy to have as your friend for life.

Rottweiler puppy standing on a cut tree trunk

Interesting Facts About Rottweilers

The Rottweiler is a fascinating dog breed with a rich history and unique personality. Here are some interesting facts about Rottweilers that you may not know:

  • The Rottweiler is a versatile and adaptable dog that can perform many different jobs. They have been used as guard dogs, police dogs, military dogs, rescue dogs, service dogs, therapy dogs, obedience competitors, guide dogs, customs inspectors, drafting and carting dogs, and of course, a devoted companion. The Rottweiler is intelligent, tireless, and eager to please, making it suitable for any task that requires strength, courage, and loyalty.
  • The unique coloring adds to its imposing appearance. The Rottweiler has a sleek and shiny coat that lies flat on the body. The coat is predominantly black with smart rust markings on the cheeks, muzzle, eyebrows, chest, legs, and under the tail. Some Rotties may also have patches of white on the chest or toes.
  • The Rottweiler has a distinctive feature that sets it apart from other breeds: it is a “leaner.” A leaner is a dog that likes to lean its big body up against its owner or other people it knows well. This action is thought to originate from the breed’s need to move cattle when they would use their bodies to head the cows in the right direction. Some people may find this behavior annoying or intrusive, but it is a sign of affection and trust for Rottie lovers.
  • Rottweilers have won several awards for achievements in various fields. For example, Wynd, a therapy dog owned by Renice Zimmerman, won the Canine Excellence in Therapy Award in 2015. Wynd worked and served as a therapy dog with The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors as well as Hampton Veterans Hospital and Suffolk Humane Society’s BARKS reading program. Another example is Jake, a search and rescue dog owned by Mary Flood, who was one of the first dogs to arrive at the scene of the 9/11 attack in New York. Jake helped to locate survivors and human remains in the rubble of the World Trade Center. Jake also became a therapy dog and visited schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. Jake was awarded the AKC Award for Canine Excellence in Search and Rescue in 2004.

Rottweiler vs Doberman

The Rottweiler and the Doberman Pinscher are two powerful and loyal breeds that are often associated with each other because they share some similarities, but they have some differences as well. Both breeds are of German origin and have been used as guard dogs, police dogs, military dogs, and companions. Both breeds are intelligent, alert, courageous, affectionate, and playful with their family. Both breeds need early socialization, consistent training, and regular exercise to thrive.

However, there are also some notable differences between these popular dog breeds. Here are some of the main aspects to consider when comparing the Rottweiler vs. Doberman:

  • Size: The Doberman is taller and more slender than the Rottweiler, standing between 24 and 28 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 60 and 100 pounds. The Rottweiler is bulkier and more muscular than the Doberman, standing between 22 and 27 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 80 and 135 pounds.
  • Appearance: The Doberman has a sleek and elegant appearance, with a long pointed muzzle, long erect ears (often cropped), a docked tail (in some countries), and a short shiny coat that comes in black and tan, red and rust, blue and rust, or fawn and rust. The Rottweiler has a more robust and imposing appearance, with a large, broad head, a thick muzzle, floppy ears (never cropped), a natural tail (in most countries), and a short, dense coat that comes in black and tan or black and mahogany.
  • Temperament: The Doberman is a fearless, loyal, and alert dog that is very protective of its family and territory. The Doberman is not a dog that will make friends easily with strangers; it will be wary and reserved until it trusts them. The Doberman needs a confident, experienced owner who can provide clear and consistent leadership. The Doberman is also very energetic and needs plenty of physical and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. The Rottweiler is a confident, courageous, and loyal dog that is also very protective of its family and territory. The Rottweiler is not an aggressive or vicious dog by nature; it is simply doing its job as it was bred to do. The Rottweiler needs a confident, experienced owner who can provide positive reinforcement training and socialization. The Rottweiler is less energetic than the Doberman but still needs regular exercise and stimulation to keep it happy and healthy.

Where to Buy a Rottweiler

Rottweiler puppy staring down the cameraman
  • Rottweiler Adoption. This option is also beneficial because you are giving a second chance to a dog that may have been abandoned, abused, or neglected. You are also helping to reduce the overpopulation of dogs and the euthanasia rate in shelters. The adoption fee for a Rottweiler can vary depending on the shelter or rescue group, but it is usually between $50 and $150. This fee covers some of the expenses of caring for the dog, such as spaying/neutering, microchipping, vaccinating, and deworming. However, there are also some challenges involved in adopting a Rottweiler. You may not find many Rottweilers available for adoption in your area, or they may have special needs or behavioral issues that require extra attention and training.
  • Rottweiler Breeders. The most common way to buy a Rottweiler is from a breeder. This option gives you more control over the dog’s quality, rarity, and location. You can also choose a puppy that matches your preferences in terms of gender, color, size, and pedigree. However, this option is also the most expensive one. The price of a Rottweiler puppy can vary depending on the quality of the dog and the breeder. The average price is around $1,150, but it can range from $600 to $4,000. Show-quality Rottweilers can cost from $1,500 to $4,000, while pet quality can cost about $500 to $2,000. Champion bloodlines and those directly imported from Germany can cost $3,000 and up.


The Rottweiler is a wonderful breed of dog that deserves respect and admiration. They have a rich history and unique personality. The Rottweiler is a breed that will work hard to enrich your life with its presence and companionship. But they are not the dog for everyone; they require a confident and experienced owner who can provide proper care, training, socialization, and exercise. The Rottweiler is a dog for those who appreciate its strength, courage, loyalty, and love.

More Dog Breeds

If you’re interested in learning about similar dog breeds, check out:


Do Rottweilers shed a lot?

Rottweilers have a double coat that sheds moderately throughout the year and more heavily during the spring and fall. They need regular brushing to remove loose hair and keep their coat healthy and shiny.

How long do Rottweilers live?

Rottweilers have a lifespan of 9 to 10 years on average. However, some Rottweilers may live longer or shorter depending on their health, genetics, and lifestyle.

Are Rottweilers good with kids?

Rottweilers can be gentle and affectionate with kids if they are raised with them and socialized well from an early age. Rottweilers love people and enjoy being part of family activities. They can also be playful and reliable companions for kids. However, Rottweilers are also large, powerful dogs that may not always know their strength. Therefore, they should always be supervised around young kids or kids who are not familiar with dogs. Kids should be taught to respect the dog’s space and boundaries and not disturb it when it is eating, sleeping, or resting.

Do Rottweilers growl when happy?

Rottweilers may growl when they are happy or excited to express their emotions. They may also growl when they are playing or being affectionate with their owners or other dogs. However, growling can also be a sign of aggression, fear, pain, or discomfort in some situations. Therefore, paying attention to the dog’s context and body language is important to understand its message.

How much does a Rottweiler cost?

The average price of a Rottweiler puppy from a breeder is around $1,150, but it can range from $600 to $4,000 depending on the pedigree, bloodline, and the dog’s quality. Owning a Rottweiler throughout its lifetime is estimated to be around $21,670, including food, grooming, training, health care, and other expenses.

BuzzPetz Staff Author Image
BuzzPetz Staff

Temporary BuzzPetz About Us

Read More

More From BuzzPetz

Before you go - You'll want to check out these articles!
[ultimatemember form_id="4648"]

Already a member?

Login Here

[uwp_register id="3" title="register"]

Not a member?

Register Here