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10 Interesting Rottweiler Facts (Vet Reviewed)

Written by: Codee Chessher

Last Updated on May 29, 2024 by Dogster Team

rottweiler dog walking on the grass

10 Interesting Rottweiler Facts (Vet Reviewed)

VET APPROVED

Dr. Luqman Javed Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Luqman Javed

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

What comes to mind when you think of a Rottweiler? The brown and black coat, the powerfully muscular build, or their fearsomely unsavory reputation? It turns out there’s a lot more to this powerhouse of a dog breed than first meets the eye!

Rottweilers are versatile dogs, whether working in law enforcement or being at home with their loved ones. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about this big ancient breed, read on as we delve into the history of the Rottweiler and some lesser-known facts that’ll blow your mind.

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The 10 Most Interesting Rottweiler Facts

1. They Come From Ancient Rome

Rottweilers come from a long line of dogs that can be traced all the way back to the Roman Empire. This makes them one of the oldest surviving breeds in existence. The Romans brought mastiffs as guard, cattle, and working dogs wherever they went. By all accounts, they were strong, versatile, and reliable.

At one point, the Romans crossed the Alps with their mastiffs and came across the region of Rottweil in modern-day Germany. Some of these mastiffs were left behind by the Romans in Rottweil, where they bred with native dogs. Thus, the progenitor of the modern Rottweiler bloodline was born.

rottweiler, dog, sunset
Image Credit: KVNSBL, Pixabay

2. Rotties Are Born Working Dogs

Rottweilers are usually some form of black and brown, though the shade can vary a bit. The AKC recognizes them as black with rust to mahogany markings, allowing for a gray, tan, or black undercoat. There are stringent requirements on the quantity and location of the rust markings. 

That said, these standards are only applicable to those who wish to register their dog as an AKC Rottweiler. Rotties can be found in other colors and still make fantastic pets (they would, however, likely be disqualified from shows).


3. They’re (Almost) Always Black and Brown

Rottweilers are usually some form of black and brown, though the shade can vary a bit. The AKC recognizes them as black with rust to mahogany markings, allowing for a gray, tan, or black undercoat. There are stringent requirements on the quantity and location of the rust markings. 

That said, these standards are only applicable to those who wish to register their dog as an AKC Rottweiler. Rotties can be found in other colors and still make fantastic pets (they would, however, likely be disqualified from shows).

Rottweiler
Image Credit: Kevin Seibel, Unsplash

4. Rottweilers Get a Bad Rap

Rotties can seem standoffish and outright hostile to strangers, which feeds into the warped perception that they’re aggressive dogs. Rottweilers are inherently vigilant and watchful. This, coupled with their large size and strength, makes them dangerous if they perceive a stranger as “not friendly.”

Rottweilers simply want to protect their family, but that can come off as aggression if they’re poorly socialized or trained by their owners. Like other big dogs with a bad reputation, aggression in Rottweilers is virtually always due to improper ownership and handling. 

Many dog trainers hold the opinion that there’s no such thing as an untrainable dog, but there are instances of untrainable owners! Ultimately, though, it’s wrong to assume that all Rottweilers are well-trained and can be approached without any concern or caution. Always ask an owner before approaching their pet. Consent is a big deal for canines; a dog that’s startled or doesn’t approve of your approach might bite or attack as a sign of disapproval.


5. They’re Known for High Intelligence

You probably think of German Shepherds or Collies when you think of smart dogs, but Rottweilers are secret brainiacs. It’s easy to look at them and assume they’re meatheads, but they are super trainable and catch on to training fast if you’re speaking their language. Treats are their language, by the way, so have plenty of those on hand when you’re training your Rottie. 

Stanley Coren, a professor of canine psychology and author of the popular book, “The Intelligence of Dogs,” ranked the Rottweiler at #9 in the 2006 version. This places them in the class of “Brightest Dogs.”

The criteria to be ranked as such require two traits in a breed:
  • The ability to understand new commands in fewer than five repetitions
  • The tendency to obey the first given command 95% of the time (or better)
rottweiler-groom
Image Credit: PhotoDOGraphy, Shutterstock

6. The Breed Almost Disappeared

The Industrial Revolution was extremely detrimental for many working dog breeds, as their services were suddenly not required. Rottweilers previously needed to pull carts weren’t as in demand after the mid-1800s, and their popularity dwindled around this time. By sheer serendipity, a group of devoted breeders came together to save the breed—right around the time WWI was kicking off and creating demand for strong, trainable police dogs!


7. They’re the Ninth Most Popular Dog Breed in the U.S.

Despite being unfairly feared by some, the Rottweiler is a wildly popular pet in many U.S. homes today. The AKC ranks them as the ninth most popular purebred dog in the country today. Rotties were a tiny bit more popular about 20 years ago, but their popularity has remained fairly stable over time. They have such a unique combination of strength, chill, and loyalty that almost nobody can go wrong with a Rottweiler for a pet.

Rottweiler
Image Credit: Kevin Seibel, Unsplash

8. Rottweilers Are Unwaveringly Loyal

Rottweilers are legendary for their loyalty, one of their strongest traits. The Roman Legions of all people wouldn’t have used them if they weren’t!

Rotties have a tenacious loyalty to their family and a staunch guarding instinct. They have no love at all for strangers and will let you know if there’s an intruder—if they don’t go after them first, that is!


9. The Police & Law Enforcement Use Rottweilers

After their near extinction, police and law enforcement suddenly became very interested in the Rottweiler, and who can blame them? Rotties are exceptionally loyal, fearless, trainable, and amicable enough off the job too.

Versatile as ever, they excelled at jobs like search and rescue, carrying messages on battlefields, and more. Today, they’re still used in search and rescue, in police K9 units, and as bomb-sniffing dogs for SWAT teams. They’re also used in the military as top-notch guard dogs.

Rottweiler
Image Credit: 825545, Pixabay

10. They Need Lots of Training and Socialization

It might be a given, but Rottweilers need firm handling and stern training to curb their guarding and dominant tendencies. In fact, the AKC says socialization and obedience are downright essential for Rotties because of their prodigious strength. Socialization is key because it helps familiarize them with the world and desensitize them from potentially scary experiences. A poorly socialized Rottie might instinctively snap at strangers or strange dogs, for example, while a well-socialized Rottie will be more tolerant while maintaining a guarded distance.

They’re not really a dog for families with small kids in most cases either. They’re very large and can play a little rough, not realizing how big they really are. Likewise, they can easily injure other pets (even if they’re playing) and might not be the best option for someone with smaller dogs or a cat. 

Ideally, this is a dog for families with older kids or even teenagers, but they’re fantastic watchdog companions for active singles too.

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Conclusion

Rottweilers are one of the most unfairly maligned dogs, but they actually have a long, storied history and deceptively deep personalities. Born to work and guard, Rotties are almost too perfectly suited as a modern guard dog—if you’re up to the tall task of training and socializing them, that is!

See also:


Featured Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

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