Is a Rottweiler the breed for you?
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Rottweilers - Highly Trainable
The Rottweiler is not a breed suitable for all families. We hope that you will do extensive research about the breed and find a reputable breeder when selecting your new family member. Please use the information provided in making an informed decision about whether a Rottweiler is the right dog for you.
The ideal Rottweiler is a medium large, robust and powerful dog, black with clearly defined rust markings. His compact and substantial build denotes great strength, agility and endurance. Dogs are characteristically more massive throughout with larger frame and heavier bone than bitches. Bitches are distinctly feminine, but without weakness of substance or structure.
Size, Proportion, Substance
Dogs--24 inches to 27 inches. Bitches--22 inches to 25 inches, with preferred size being mid-range of each sex. Correct proportion is of primary importance, as long as size is within the standard's range.
The length of body, from prosternum to the rearmost projection of the rump, is slightly longer than the height of the dog at the withers, the most desirable proportion of the height to length being 9 to 10. The Rottweiler is neither coarse nor shelly. Depth of chest is approximately fifty percent (50%) of the height of the dog. His bone and muscle mass must be sufficient to balance his frame, giving a compact and very powerful appearance.
Serious Faults--Lack of proportion, undersized, oversized, reversal of sex characteristics (bitchy dogs, doggy bitches).
Of medium length, broad between the ears; forehead line seen in profile is moderately arched; zygomatic arch and stop well developed with strong broad upper and lower jaws. The desired ratio of backskull to muzzle is 3 to 2. Forehead is preferred dry, however some wrinkling may occur when dog is alert. Expression is noble, alert, and self-assured. Eyes of medium size, almond shaped with well fitting lids, moderately deep-set, neither protruding nor receding. The desired color is a uniform dark brown. Serious Faults--Yellow (bird of prey) eyes, eyes of different color or size, hairless eye rim. Disqualification--Entropion. Ectropion. Ears of medium size, pendant, triangular in shape; when carried alertly the ears are level with the top of the skull and appear to broaden it. Ears are to be set well apart, hanging forward with the inner edge lying tightly against the head and terminating at approximately mid-cheek. Serious Faults--Improper carriage (creased, folded or held away from cheek/head). Muzzle--Bridge is straight, broad at base with slight tapering towards tip. The end of the muzzle is broad with well developed chin. Nose is broad rather than round and always black. Lips-Always black; corners closed; inner mouth pigment is preferred dark. Serious Faults--Total lack of mouth pigment (pink mouth). Bite and Dentition--Teeth 42 in number (20 upper, 22 lower), strong, correctly placed, meeting in a scissors bite--lower incisors touching inside of upper incisors. Serious Faults--Level bite; any missing tooth. Disqualifications--Overshot, undershot (when incisors do not touch or mesh); wry mouth; two or more missing teeth.
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck--Powerful, well muscled, moderately long, slightly arched and without loose skin. Topline--The back is firm and level, extending in a straight line from behind the withers to the croup. The back remains horizontal to the ground while the dog is moving or standing. Body--The chest is roomy, broad and deep, reaching to elbow, with well pronounced forechest and well sprung, oval ribs. Back is straight and strong. Loin is short, deep and well muscled. Croup is broad, of medium length and only slightly sloping. Underline of a mature Rottweiler has a slight tuck-up. Males must have two normal testicles properly descended into the scrotum. Disqualification--Unilateral cryptorchid or cryptorchid males. Tail--Tail docked short, close to body, leaving one or two tail vertebrae. The set of the tail is more important than length. Properly set, it gives an impression of elongation of topline; carried slightly above horizontal when the dog is excited or moving.
Shoulder blade is long and well laid back. Upper arm equal in length to shoulder blade, set so elbows are well under body. Distance from withers to elbow and elbow to ground is equal. Legs are strongly developed with straight, heavy bone, not set close together. Pasterns are strong, springy and almost perpendicular to the ground. Feet are round, compact with well arched toes, turning neither in nor out. Pads are thick and hard. Nails short, strong and black. Dewclaws may be removed.
Angulation of hindquarters balances that of forequarters. Upper thigh is fairly long, very broad and well muscled. Stifle joint is well turned. Lower thigh is long, broad and powerful, with extensive muscling leading into a strong hock joint. Rear pasterns are nearly perpendicular to the ground. Viewed from the rear, hind legs are straight, strong and wide enough apart to fit with a properly built body. Feet are somewhat longer than the front feet, turning neither in nor out, equally compact with well arched toes. Pads are thick and hard. Nails short, strong, and black. Dewclaws must be removed.
Outer coat is straight, coarse, dense, of medium length and lying flat. Undercoat should be present on neck and thighs, but the amount is influenced by climatic conditions. Undercoat should not show through outer coat. The coat is shortest on head, ears and legs, longest on breeching. The Rottweiler is to be exhibited in the natural condition with no trimming. Fault--Wavy coat. Serious Faults--Open, excessively short, or curly coat; total lack of undercoat; any trimming that alters the length of the natural coat. Disqualification--Long coat.
Always black with rust to mahogany markings. The demarcation between black and rust is to be clearly defined. The markings should be located as follows: a spot over each eye; on cheeks; as a strip around each side of muzzle, but not on the bridge of the nose; on throat; triangular mark on both sides of prosternum;on forelegs from carpus downward to the toes; on inside of rear legs showing down the front of the stifle and broadening out to front of rear legs from hock to toes, but not completely eliminating black from rear of pasterns; un-der tail; black penciling on toes. The undercoat is gray, tan, or black. Quantity and location of rust markings is important and should not exceed ten percent of body color. Serious Faults--Straw-colored, excessive, insufficient or sooty markings; rust marking other than described above; white marking any place on dog (a few rust or white hairs do not constitute a marking). Disqualifications--Any base color other than black; absence of all markings.
The Rottweiler is a trotter. His movement should be balanced, harmonious, sure, powerful and unhindered, with strong forereach and a powerful rear drive. The motion is effortless, efficient, and ground-covering. Front and rear legs are thrown neither in nor out, as the imprint of hind feet should touch that of forefeet. In a trot the forequarters and hindquarters are mutually coordinated while the back remains level, firm and relatively motionless. As speed increases the legs will converge under body towards a center line.
The Rottweiler is basically a calm, confident and courageous dog with a self-assured aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. A Rottweiler is self-confident and responds quietly and with a wait-and-see attitude to influences in his environment. He has an inherent desire to protect home and family, and is an intelligent dog of extreme hardness and adaptability with a strong willingness to work, making him especially suited as a companion, guardian and general all-purpose dog.
The behavior of the Rottweiler in the show ring should be controlled, willing and adaptable, trained to submit to examination of mouth, testicles, etc. An aloof or reserved dog should not be penalized, as this reflects the accepted character of the breed. An aggressive or belligerent attitude towards other dogs should not be faulted.
A judge shall excuse from the ring any shy Rottweiler. A dog shall be judged fundamentally shy if, refusing to stand for examination, it shrinks away from the judge. A dog that in the opinion of the judge menaces or threatens him/her, or exhibits any sign that it may not be safely approached or examined by the judge in the normal manner, shall be excused from the ring. A dog that in the opinion of the judge attacks any person in the ring shall be disqualified.
Faults - The foregoing is a description of the ideal Rottweiler. Any structural fault that detracts from the above described working dog must be penalized to the extent of the deviation.
Entropion, ectropion. Overshot, undershot (when incisors do not touch or mesh); wry mouth; two or more missing teeth. Unilateral cryptorchid or cryptorchid males. Long coat. Any base color other than black; absence of all markings. A dog that in the opinion of the judge attacks any person in the ring.
Approved May 8, 1990
Effective June 28, 1990
It is always best to start with the written AKC Standard for the breed when addressing the structure and temperament of a purebred breed. The Standard for the breed is approved and published by the American Kennel Club and authored by the recognized Parent Club, the American Rottweiler Club. The AKC 1990 Rottweiler Standard describes the breed as: “…a basically calm, confident and courageous dog with a self-assured aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminant friendships. A Rottweiler is self-confident and responds quietly and with a wait-and-see attitude to influences in his environment. He has an inherent desire to protect home and family, and is an intelligent dog of extreme hardness and adaptability with a strong willingness to work, making him especially suited as a companion, guardian, and general all-purpose dog.”
The international FCI Standard goes further to say, “He is descended from friendly and peaceful stock and by nature loves children, is affectionate, obedient and trainable and enjoys working. His rough appearance belies his ancestry. His demeanor is self-reliant, with strong nerves and fearless character. He is keenly alert to, and aware of, his surroundings.”
MRC member authors Joan R. Klem and Susan C. Rademacher, in their book “The Proper Care of Rottweilers”, describe the character of the breed:
“The Rottweiler’s character saved the breed at the beginning of the century, but is causing the breed problems at the end. Rottweilers are extremely intelligent, easily trained, basically even-tempered, and fiercely loyal. Foremost, they are a guard dog with a great attachment to their master and family and with a corresponding willingness to defend their home. Those temperament traits suited to a protector include self-confidence, the ability to forget unpleasant experiences, and courage. While these traits in a well-bred and well socialized Rottweiler make for an excellent companion, they can also lead to serious repercussions if not channeled in the right direction. The Rottweiler is simply too smart, too strong, and too self-assured not to be disciplined and trained from the beginning.”
It has often been said by experienced Rottweiler enthusiasts that if the owner and family members do not assume a leadership role with their Rottweiler, the Rottweiler will soon rule the family. Rottweilers can be single minded, stubborn and pushy. Without consistent and fair training that sets the boundaries of acceptable behavior within the family and home, a young Rottweiler will begin to take over his environment. It is not unusual for first-time owners to realize when their Rottweiler is 15-18 months old that they no longer have control of the dog and frequently the dog has them intimidated and is controlling them.
This situation can be easily avoided by following your experienced breeder’s and obedience training instructor’s direction for age-appropriate training throughout the first two years of your dog’s life. With this breed, obedience training in a class environment with exposure to other people and breeds of dogs is essential and must be repeated at strategic intervals throughout the dog’s formative years. He is a working breed and has a genetic propensity to desire to work with his trainer as a member of a team. This breed has a natural desire to please and will give everything they have as long as they feel the trainer is fair; they will not tolerate being bullied or abused. When trained with respect, consistency and fairness, the Rottweiler learns very quickly. Together you can accomplish anything from obedience, tracking, herding, and carting to performing therapy visits to seniors, children and hospitals.
When properly trained and socialized with other animals and different ages and sexes of people, the Rottweiler is a delight to live with. A Rottweiler wants to be with his people and go where they go. He will follow you from room to room and place himself in a position to watch all of the entrances and exits. He will happily accompany you on walks and short runs (1-3 miles at a moderate trot). He will be thrilled to be included in any outings involving the automobile as long as you expose him to frequent rides from the beginning. As youngsters Rottweilers demonstrate high energy and activity levels when not resting. When adult (at about 3 years!) they are quiet when relaxing in the home, but are still interested in play and activities with their people and companion animals.
This is not a breed that does well unattended or left alone for long periods of time. They do not do well as strictly outdoor dogs. When out of doors they need shade and access to fresh water; this breed is susceptible to heat exhaustion when left too long in direct sun on hot or muggy days. A securely walled or fenced yard is essential to keep your dog safe and out of harm’s way. The Rottweiler has high prey drives that engage when he sees small animals running, bicycles passing, people jogging or other dogs running loose. To avoid injury to your dog, possible injury to other animals, and to avoid allowing your dog to become a nuisance to your neighbors, you will need to be able to provide a consistently safe and secure area on your property were your Rottweiler can be allowed freedom to exercise. Although they do not usually dig out of their yards, they do tend to go over enclosures when provoked, so 5 to 6 foot fences are in order with this breed.
Once your Rottweiler has received his obedience training it is a good idea to walk him regularly in your neighborhood and to introduce him to your neighbors. Demonstrating that he is under control, friendly and sociable will help your neighbors feel comfortable with him. Unfortunately with the rapid rise in popularity of this breed in the early 1990’s, many were put in the hands of people who used them strictly to guard property and even to intimidate people. Thousands of Rottweilers were bred and placed each year in the early 1990’s by people who knew very little about the breed. Consequently the temperament of the breed as a whole declined to include overly aggressive dogs as well as shy, fearful dogs. The reputation of the breed has suffered severely in the past decade due to this burgeoning popularity. Be certain to purchase your Rottweiler from a breeder with the knowledge, skill and experience to produce dogs of sound minds and bodies, correct to the standard of the breed.
It is up to each of us to promote a positive image of this wonderful breed. Be loving, fair and diligent with your training and you will be rewarded with a loving, loyal dog. Give your Rottweiler enough exercise and a job to do and he will be the best dog you have ever owned. If you are a couch potato or live in an apartment, this may not be the breed for you.
For more information about selecting a breeder and a puppy, care and training of your dog, and activities that you can enjoy with your Rottweiler consider adding the following books to your home library:
The Ultimate Rottweiler; Edited by Andrew H. Brace, Howell Book House
The Rottweiler Centuries of Service; Linda Michaels & Catherine Thompson
The Proper Care of Rottweilers; Joan R. Klem & Susan C. Rademacher, T.F.H Publications
The Rottweiler Experience, From the Golden Age to Predictions for the 21st Century; Joan R. Klem & Susan C. Rademacher, Howell Book House
The Complete Rottweiler, Muriel Freeman, Howell Book House
The Rottweiler; Tracy Libby & Wayne Hunthausen, D.V.M., T.F.H. Publications, Inc.
Also, as recognized by the American Kennel Club:
Five Canine Heroes Honored with AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence The AKC® Humane Fund announced the winners of the 13th annual AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE), which commemorates five loyal, hard-working dogs that have made significant contributions to their communities. All the ACE recipients will receive $1,000 and an engraved Sterling silver medallion presented at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in Orlando, Florida on December 15, 2012. In addition, each winner will be honored at local events. The honorees are: Examplary Companion Dog — Joy, an Akita owned by Priscilla and Terry Sharpe; Law Enforcement — Kirby, a German Shepherd Dog handled by Detective Christine Kelliher; Search & Rescue — Keahi, a Belgian Tervuren owned by Kristi;Service —
Pilot, a Kuvasz owned by Ann Scott Arnold; and Therapy — Benny, a Rottweiler owned by Kelly Skiptunas.
Good boy, Benny!
Interesting and rousing reminder of the
Rottweiler's roots and capabilities:
Another example of Rotties as valued members of
by Mrs. Karen Riddle
We had a pleasant surprise in our local
newspaper (Kingsport Times News) yesterday with
our girl TYRA (Ch. Von Riddle's Roborott Hatari,
RN, THD) on the front page with a child. Tyra is
active in the Kingsport Public Library's Paws to
Read Program. This program has been a blessing
in my life with the precious children, their
parents, grandparents and awesome staff at the
"The Art of Eternal Moon"
From the Purina Resource Library, an excellent
article about Rottweiler breeder and artist Linda Draper
HERE to Read Article
A heartwarming story about Rotties and children
Medallion Rottweiler Club Annual Membership
May 16, 2010
Members of the
Joan Klem, MRC
MRC Public Education Service Award
The MRC Public Education Service Award is given at the annual Specialty
to an individual who has promoted the breed through public education and activities.
This is the list of the recipients since its inception:
2016 Allison & Les Lukaszewski
2015 Dr. Tommy Caisango
2014 Arthru Twiss
2013 Joan Mazat
2012 Eleanor Jackson and Lew Olson
2011 Susan Rademacher and Pamela Grant
2010 Cindy Mann
2009 Joan Klem
2008 No Award Given
2007 Cindy Childers
2006 Karen Perry
2005 Grace Acosta
2004 Becky Kucharski
2003 Karyn Janulis
2002 Nanette Kirby
2001 Information not available
2000 Steve Monyko and Mary Anne
Eleanor Jackson receiving the
2012 MRC Public Education Award
Cindy Mann receiving the
2010 MRC Public Education Award