Articles of Interest & News



Breed Priorities - Rottweilers
by Nikki Riggsbee

Breed Priorities - RottweilersThe Rottweiler is often one of the bigger entries at dog shows and frequently a contender in the working group. It is the second most popular working breed according to AKC registration statistics, after the Boxer, and ranks tenth among all breeds.

We found twenty-five Rottweiler breeder-judges to invite to take this survey. Nineteen agreed to participate, and sixteen completed surveys were returned. All of the judges had at least twenty years in the breed, the group averaging over thirty-two years. They have judged the breed over eleven years on average. Most have judged their national specialty. Two of the largest regional Rottweiler specialties are the Colonial and the Medallion, and most of the judges have judged one or both of these as well. Some of the group are multi-group judges, others judge only Rottweilers, and others are approved for several to all of the working breeds. more.....



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by George J. Eigenhauser Jr.

(Mr. Eigenhauser is an attorney at law licensed in the State of California since
1979 and practices in the areas of civil litigation and estate planning)

ANTI-DOG ENFORCEMENT - What Every Dog Owner Needs to more.....



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The Rottweiler
by Brian Brogan
Registered Breeder and certified tail docker
Saphire Rottweiler Kennels

That 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 household.

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.


Although their 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.


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 ultimately.


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.

Puppies 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 professionals only.

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 daily work.



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        WOOFipedia Dog Library

  As you might have noticed, dogs just love to lick humans! Why all this licking? Well, the behavior is deeply ingrained in a dog. It’s visible early on, when puppies will lick each other as a way of interacting and of grooming each other. They sometimes lick their moms as a way of asking for some milk. When dogs are in packs, they will lick a dominant dog to ask for permission to eat communal food. So sometimes your dog wants something when he licks you. But there are other reasons for this slobbery behavior. Sometimes your dog just wants your attention. At other times, he might lick you as a way of playing with you (instead of biting you, which is how he plays with other dogs). Some researchers say that licking is just another way that dogs explore their environments. One thing’s for sure: The more you respond positively to your dog’s licks, the more likely he is to lick you. It sure is one way of getting your attention!

Click here for more WOOFipedia stories.


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Attention to the Details
By Steve Wolfson

Breed type is generally thought of as the manifestation of physical attributes, which a specimen possesses such as; head type, bone mass, length of back, eye color, etc. This assumption is correct but not complete. Euclid axiom, �The whole is equal to the sum of its parts� is applicable to our breed. One of those not to be overlooked parts is dentition. It is an element that many do not normally associate with Rottweiler breed type, but it is an essential detail to a complete understanding of breed type. Dentition has a unique and fundamental role; it is integral to the structure and function of the Rottweiler as a working dog. The AKC standard states: 42 (20 upper, 22 lower) strong, correctly placed, meeting in a scissors bite. The FCI standard states: Upper and lower jaw strong and broad. Strong complete dentition (42 teeth) with scissor bite, the upper incisors closely overlapping the lower incisors. (Almost identical)

The positive aspects of a breeding partner�s skeletal structure such as: an impressive head type, correct placement of the front assembly, strong bones and tight well knuckled feet are highly desirable traits. They may be the compelling reason why we breed to a particular Sire or Dam. Conversely, undesirable traits i.e. splay feet, soft pasterns, shallow zygomatic arch, etc, are avoided. In essence, we seek partners with positive traits and avoid those with negative. Dentition is as much a part of the skeletal structure of the Rottweiler as is the femur, radius/ulna, or croup. Many breeders place little or no emphasis on this area and even often omit inspection of their breeding partner�s dentition! Why is this?
Two main reasons are:
1. Most do not consider this aspect as important as obvious breed type traits.
2. Many are unknowledgeable to the long lasting effect incorrect dentition has on a breeding program and its degradation to general breed type.

Tools of the Trade

The American Rottweiler Club standard is exacting on dentition and emphasizes a substantial four disqualifications: overshot, undershot, wry bite, two missing teeth. It contains two serious faults: level bite, one missing tooth. The FCI standard is stricter still with four disqualifications: overshot, undershot, wry bite, any missing tooth. There are three serious faults: misalignment, malformation of teeth, level bite. Few breed standards are as meticulous regarding dentition as the Rottweiler�s. Why is this so?

Correct dentition for a working dog is one of its �tools of the trade�. Correct dentition is vital. Deviations within the specified number, placement and morphology of the teeth accordingly diminish their function as a tool. A good analogy of this is a pipe wrench. The gripping edge of a pipe wrench has small teeth, which enhance its gripping power. If teeth are broken or worn, it diminishes the gripping power of the tool rendering it less than fully functional. Rottweiler teeth are no exception. Deviations, misalignments, missing, broken, unusually small teeth accordingly affect their unified function as working tool.

For example, when the bite is overshot, the power of the incisors to slice and grip is gone. Likewise, for the undershot bite. With the level bite the teeth can no longer slice but nip. The teeth are structured to function as a unit for slicing, gripping and to puncture. When there are misalignments or missing teeth etc, the unified function of the teeth is compromised. How do we insure that this important aspect of the Rottweiler is maintained and not dismissed?


To maintain and protect the Rottweiler against wide variations in type we cannot breed for singular aspects such as the head, bones, fronts or temperaments. We must build the Rottweiler in its entirety. Attention to the details is critical for the attainment and maintenance of Rottweiler breed type. Dentition is as much a part of the details as a hip certification when breeding or a working temperament in our breeding partners. If we do not pay attention to the details of our breed a cumulative erosion of type occurs. What once was is no longer and perhaps impossible to regain. Who is accountable for this?

Accountability rests upon the shoulders of many: the breeders, the clubs and judges. In the breeders� hands rests the most responsibility. Through the choices they make for the Sires and Dams of their puppies, breeders are responsible for either a positive effect or an erosion of the breed. They need to inspect the dentition of their breeding partners along with the other important aspects of breed type.

The clubs are the conscience and stewards of the breed. Rules, seminars and the hosting of events insure that the uniformity of the breed according to the standard is maintained. Through breed seminars clubs must instruct and accent the importance of correct dentition along with gait, health certifications and breed type characteristics.

Breed judges are responsible too. Because their choices for Sieger, Best of Breed etc, are the dogs we will breed to, their judgments are a powerful influence and steer the breed in a positive or negative direction. They should have a vested interest in the long term progress of the Rottweiler and must thoroughly inspect dentition before making a decision. 



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