by Brian Brogan
Registered Breeder and certified tail docker
Saphire Rottweiler Kennels
unmistakable black and tan tailless dog could not be anything
but a Rottweiler. If you see them on the horizon you know them.
They are known by most as "Rottweil butchers' dogs" or
even the oldest of herding dogs originating way back to the
Roman empire. Because of their willingness to please the
Rottweiler finds it's feet fast in a family situation. Once it
knows who in the pack is the 'Alpha' the Rottweiler settles in
fast and much happier knowing the rules and their limits in a
We do find them
pushing the rules to the limits at times but only happy to be
reassured who is boss. He is much happier knowing. Generally a
very calm and self assured animal the 'Rottie', as he is
affectionately called by his owners, will appear to be (but do
please do not be fooled into believing he is) unaware of what is
happening around him. They seldom miss a thing. The mail
deliveries are usually anticipated in our house and brought to
our notice by all three of our Rotties well before we hear him.
Barking is seldom
heard by most Rottweilers unless they perceive a good reason to.
Wanting diner because you may be running a little late is
definitely one of those good reasons for them. But a stranger
lurking around your home in the dark of the night may be when
your protective Rottweiler decides they are not welcome at this
late hour. It is easy to see how they are favoured by many
police departments around the world as working dogs and general
police and protection work. They love to work.
According to the New
Zealand Kennel Club, the Rottweiler's temperament is described
as "a very territorial, imposing dog breed and is
ideal for protection. Headstrong and stubborn, this dog breed
requires a strong
leader and firm training." These attributes are certainly
observable in my Rottweilers but many more attributes are seen
as well. I personally have never found them imposing but do see
how strangers would. They do have their moments as they grow.
They do go through a 'headstrong' stage around 18 months of age
but they are just acting like teenagers and in general I would
describe them more as 'wanting to please' than headstrong.
Totally agree with the last sentence of the NZKC. description
but more because they are a powerful breed and thrive well under
the guidance of a strong personality.
traditional roles of herding and carrying the butchers money to
the bank have long since past, there are still many Rottweilers
used in the farming communities for herding amongst other tasks.
The Rottweiler is more suitable as a family member, security
worker or police dog today. They do require human contact and
become depressed without it. Spending time with their owners is
probably when they are at their happiest. Although my three love
to play with each other as well as for no other reason than, the
tyre suspended from a tree and need to be shown who is the boss.
It is usually the tire.
HEALTH AND LIFESPAN
Happy Rottweilers live
longer than sad ones I am sure. In general being big dogs they
have a shorter life span than the smaller breeds. Usually 9 to
12 years would be normal in my experience. Although my first
Rottweiler 'Karma' lived until she was thirteen years old.
Generally a very healthy breed. Especially Rottweilers from
discerning breeders who understand the breed and breed them with
the breed's future and longevity in mind, by pairing only
healthy animals from strong backgrounds.
Many common diseases
affect the Rottweiler but not more than any other breed, with
maybe the exception of hip dysplasia (a debilitating disease of
the hip bones). This disease seems to be brought on by some
identifiable genes and a few not so identifiable ones, thus
making it's eradication difficult at best.
Probably obesity could
be the worst thing that a Rottweiler could suffer. This is
probably the most preventable problem Rottweilers suffer. It
leads to many serious problems, including aching joints,
difficulty breathing, diabetes, possible heart problems,
reproductive issues, coat and skin diseases.
Taking into account
what I said in the last section, a Rottweiler loves his food.
Entertaining their owners with a little dance before feeding
every night is not uncommon. If a stranger was watching they may
incorrectly assume the dogs were starving. This is probably why
over feeding can become an issue with this breed. The general
rule of thumb I have used for my Rottweilers is start off with
too much for the dog to probably eat in one sitting and watch
him eat. The instance he lifts his head for a look around he is,
for our purposes, finished and you should remove the food.
Left to his own
devices your Rottweiler would work through a dog food sack as if
he was on a mission. We know weight is a problem for them so
responsibly to control their intake is important, so they can
reward you with their company for many years to come.
After the brood bitch
has weaned her pups they still require four meals a day until
they reach three months of age. Then it can be reduced to three
meals a day until they are six months of age, when one meal a
day is sufficient. I have found my dogs prefer evening meals so
they sleep on a full stomach which is also when they do their
growing, I understand.
Any-time that works in
a family situation would also work for your Rottweiler. As long
as one person in the family sets the feeding schedule and the
rest of the family abide by this for their dog's benefit
With a generally thick
coat made up of a longer top coat and a thick undercoat.
Grooming is just a matter of a light brushing, maybe more often
during summer and winter malting when hair shedding occurs.
Rottweilers do keep themselves generally clean but are subject
to heat spots developing. This can require Veterinarian
intervention if they get out of hand. Most medicated shampoos
clear the condition up quickly though.
Nails have a tendency
to get long if your dog is not exercised on concrete (which does
keep their nails at a good length removing the need to trim
them). Trimming their nails should be done with care, as they
have a "quick" just like people do (pain can occure if
cut too far and like humans they will bleed). There are many
ways to achieve a nice short nail on your Rottweiler with a
little research or advice from your local Vet.
love to play, run, jump, stalk and pull as much as any pup and
all this is fine. However, forcing your Rottweiler to endure
hard exercise before it is at least a year of age may cause
undesirable health conditions (as mentioned earlier).
Over a year of age,
you will find just keeping up with your Rottweiler a mission
indeed. They seem to never tire and have been put through some
vigorous training programs that are designed to show how
exceptional these dogs actually are. The training I am referring
to starts at eighteen months of age and is called Schutzhund
training of which there are several levels for the dogs to
accomplish if they can. This training is more suited to the
security side of dog training and should be done by
The actual requirement
of exercise for these dogs is minimal as they tend to be very
happy with a couple of walks a day all the way up to vigorous