Know about Breed: Rottweiler
- Life expectancy: 8 - 10 years
- Origin: Germany
- Temperament: Good-natured, Self-assured, Devoted, Obedient, Fearless, Steady, Alert, Confident, Courageous, Calm
- Height: Female: 56-63 cm, Male: 61-69 cm
- Colors: Black, Tan, Mahogany
- Weight: Female: 35-48 kg, Male: 50-60 kg
- The Rottweiler is one of the more recognizable breeds with his large head, solidly muscled body, and distinctively handsome black-and-tan markings. He is intelligent, strong, and loyal. His fans seem to fall into two camps: Those who consider their dogs to be large but gentle love bugs, and those who wish their dogs to be anything but. News stories of killer Rotties in the hands of inexperienced or less-than-savory owners have turned many people off the bad-to-the-bone dogs, but reputable breeders are picking up the pieces and restoring the reputation of the breed. A word to the wise: Don't underestimate this dog's power and protectiveness.
- The Rottweiler is a big dog and can weigh up to a hefty 135 pounds, most of it muscle. Bred for generations to use his protective instincts and independent judgment when his family or territory is threatened, this is one tough customer. It's no surprise that these dogs are used in police work. They're often the target of laws aimed at controlling or banning dangerous dogs, and some insurance companies won't sell homeowners policies to anyone who owns a Rottweiler.
- Even so, it is entirely possible to find a gentle, family-friendly Rottweiler. Rotties from many different backgrounds can be quiet, calm, and easy-going. But all Rottweilers need to be structured, consistent training from an early age as well as focused socialization around children, strangers, and other pets if they are to be well-adjusted members of the family and well-mannered when taken out in public. Be fair and firm but never mean with the Rottweiler and he will repay you with love and respect.
- Even the gentlest, best-behaved Rottweiler can put children, the elderly, smaller adults, and anyone who is unsteady on his feet at risk. A vestige of the dog's heritage as a cattle herder is bumping and the nicest Rottie's idea of a playful nudge might have a much greater impact.
- Rottweilers are individuals, and their personalities range from serious and reserved to silly and fun-loving. Some are one-person dogs, while others are affectionate even toward nonfamily members. Out of the same litter, one Rottie may have a high amount of drive, leading him to dismantle your living room for lack of anything better to do, while his mellow brother is happy to sit on the sofa with you eating popcorn. Whatever his personality, a proper Rottweiler is more likely to be calm and alert instead of nervous, shy, excitable, or hyperactive.
- The Rottweiler is aloof, not in your face, but he will follow you around to ensure your safety. He doesn't mind being by himself, which under certain circumstances can make him a good choice for people who work during the day. When he is with his family, he is inclined to be loving and sometimes even clownish.
- It may surprise you to learn that the Rottie is not innately a guard dog. He is a thinking dog whose first reaction is to step back and look at a situation before taking action. It takes a high level of training for a Rottweiler to learn to step forward in situations.
- It's important to learn to read Rottweiler's behavior. For instance, he is not typically a barker. If a Rottweiler is barking, you should pay attention and go see what has caught his interest.
- Do not assume that just because your Rottweiler loves your children that he will love other children as well. That is not usually the case. Play between children and Rotties should always be supervised, especially when neighbor kids are around. If Rottweiler thinks his children are being hurt, even if they're not, he will step in to protect them.
- Rottweilers are territorial and will not permit strangers onto their property or in their home unless their owner welcomes the person. Some Rottweilers will not even let people they know into the house if the owner isn't there, which can be a problem if you need to have a pet sitter or some other person come in while you are gone.
- Start training your Rottweiler puppy the day you bring him home. That little black-and-tan ball of fluff is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him. Do not wait until he is 6 months old to begin training, or you will have a much bigger, more headstrong dog to deal with. If possible, get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old, and socialize, socialize, socialize. However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (like kennel cough) to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines (including rabies, distemper, and parvovirus) have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until puppy vaccines are completed.
- All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don't walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines. The Rottweiler is prone to a host of health problems. Here's a brief rundown on a few conditions you should know about.
- Rottweilers are one of the breeds most affected by hip dysplasia, a genetic deformity in which the head of the femur doesn't fit properly into the hip socket. This condition can range from mild to severe. Severe cases are extremely painful and often require surgery to correct. Even with the surgery, the dog is likely to develop arthritis as he ages. Elbow dysplasia and osteochondrosis of the knee and shoulder also occur in this breed.
- Rottweilers can develop progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts, eyelid deformities, and other vision and eye problems.
- Rottweilers can develop heart problems, including cardiomyopathy and subaortic stenosis (SAS), a narrowing of the aorta that carries blood away from the heart. This usually shows up first as a slight heart murmur, but murmurs can often occur in puppies who have no heart problems as adults. SAS can lead to sudden death, even at a young age, so have your dog's heart checked regularly.
- Rottweilers are prone to other conditions including von Willebrand's disease (an inherited disease that affects blood clotting ability), hypothyroidism, Addison's disease (a disease of the adrenal gland), gastroenteritis, folliculitis, and a fairly high rate of cancer.
- The Rottweiler has what's called a double coat. The medium-length outer coat is straight, coarse, and dense, lying flat on the body. The soft, downy undercoat is present on the neck and thighs, and its thickness depends on whether you live in a cool or warm climate. A Rottie's coat is shortest on the head, ears, and legs, longest on breeching (the hair on the hind thighs).
- The Rottweiler's coat sheds moderately in other words, more than you might think but requires little grooming. Brush him weekly with a rubber hound mitt or soft bristle brush to keep the hair and skin healthy. In spring and fall, he will have a heavy shed, known as blowing out the coat, and will need to be brushed more frequently to get rid of all the loose hair.
- Bathe the Rottie as you desire or only when he gets dirty. With the gentle dog shampoos available now, you can bathe a Rottie weekly if you want without harming his coat.
- Clean the ears as needed with a solution recommended by your veterinarian. Don't use cotton swabs inside the ear; they can push the gunk further down into it. Wipe out the ear with a cotton ball, never going deeper than the first knuckle of your finger.
- Trim the nails regularly, usually every couple of weeks. They should never be so long that they click on the floor. And don't forget to brush your teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste.
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