Tough, devoted and protective, the Rottweiler also has a touch of clown. He'll have your back, but steal your heart.
The Rottweiler's ancestors guarded and herded cattle that traveled with the Roman troops across Europe. Some settled in southern Germany in the first century where they worked as butcher's dogs, controlling cattle, pulling carts and guarding money pouches they carried around their necks. They became known as the butcher dog of Rottweil (after the town on Rottweil, which means red tile). In the late 1800s the railways took over much of their work, and the breed's numbers plummeted. But then they found new jobs as German police dogs and later, military dogs. They patrolled, carried messages, hauled supplies and pulled ambulances during World War I.
The Rottie's reputation as a protective companion eventually propelled the breed to become the second most popular breed in America. This was followed by misleading media portrayals of the breed as vicious. The false perception helped lessen their popularity, but they are now bouncing back.
Rottweilers are tough, not mean. Treat them with respect and love and you'll be rewarded with love and loyalty---and fun! Rotties love to play, but be sure to give them toys as tough as they are!
The Rottweiler's bulk brings some concerns, including joint problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Feeding a diet formulated for large breed puppies during the first year of life will help decrease the possibility of hip dysplasia, and probably elbow dysplasia. These diets allow the puppy to grow more slowly, while still achieving the same adult size---just a little later. Joint supplements, such as glucosamine chondroitin, are also vital for protecting joint health throughout life.
It's important to prevent your adult Rottie from getting overweight, which can add stress to the joints. When dieting a dog, you must make sure he gets enough vitamins. We suggest supplementing with a good multi-vitamin, probiotics and, if the coat is dry, a fatty-acid supplement.
One of the Rottie's biggest potential problems is bloat or gastric torsion, a condition in which the gases accumulate in the stomach and can't escape. The stomach may then twist, totally cutting off any ability for anything to leave the stomach. The dog's stomach enlarges as gases continue to accumulate, and the dog is restless and tries unsuccessfully to vomit. This is an extreme emergency that need immediate veterinary attention to save the dog. Nobody knows exactly how to prevent it, but many veterinarians advocate feeding an anti-gas pill with every meal.
Rottweiler coat care is simple. Brush weekly to remove dead hair. Bathe as needed. A deodorizing or a blackening shampoo is perfect for Rotties with healthy skin, whereas those with itchy skin will profit from an avocado oil or oatmeal based shampoo. Check your Rottie's ears weekly. Apply an ear cleanser any time the ears start to accumulate dark secretions. Some ear wax is healthy; a lot is not. If you must apply ear medication, use the ear cleanser first to remove thick secretions that would block the medication from reaching the surface of the canal.
Brush the teeth daily.
Clip the nails every two weeks or so using a heavy-duty dog nail clipper.
Rottweilers can start to show age-related changes, such as arthritis, as early as 5 years of age. Besides any intervention recommended by your veterinarian, a soft cushion to lie on and glucosamine chondroitin supplements added to the diet can help soothe aching joints, and keep him as young in body as he is in spirit.