Rottweiler

Rottweiler picture

Some questions you may have about Rottweilers

How much do Rottweilers eat ?

A Rottweiler will not eat you out of house and home. Depending on the size, age, sex and activity level of your dog, it will eat between 3kg and 4kg of high quality kibble a week. This would generally be between 400g and 600g of kibble divided into two meals a day. High quality kibble costs between 20.00 and 30.00 for a 15kg bag. Most breeders and vets do not recommend adding supplements to high quality dog food.

How big are they ?

Dogs range from 63-69cms (25-27 ins) at the shoulder and weigh between 40kg and 50kg. Bitches range between 58-63.5cms (23-25 ins) at the shoulder and weight between 32kg and 40kg. Rottweilers can be larger or smaller that the sizes given, however that are not considered typical by the breed standard. The Rottweiler is very strong for its size. They were used in Europe to herd cattle and pull carts. A fully-grown Rottweiler can easily knock a person down. For this reason, the breed is not recommended for the elderly or physically infirm.

What colour are they ?

Rottweilers must always be black with clearly defined markings. Colour of markings from rich tan to mahogany. Are they good with children ?

How Rottweilers adapt to children varies from individual to individual. Many are very tolerant and loving towards children. Others resent the occasional rough treatment an unknowing child can inflict.

The dog's size can be a serious problem. Rottweilers have accidentally caused injuries to small children in the family by bumping into them and knocking them down or into furniture. Some breeders recommend waiting until children are at least school age or older before bringing a Rottweiler into your home. The amount of space in your home, the age of your children and the amount of time the dog will be in contact with your children should all be taken into consideration before making a decision.

What is their temperament like ?

Rottweilers vary from natural clowns, affectionate to almost everyone, to the very reserved one-man dog. Rottweilers are calm and alert companions. Rottweilers often follow their masters around the house keeping constant and sometimes obtrusive watch over their loved ones.

AVOID ROTTWEILERS WHO ARE NERVOUS, SHY, VERY EXCITABLE, OR HYPERACTIVE. They are exhibiting traits that are undesirable.

Are they easy to train ?

Because of the size and strength of the animal, the Rottweiler must be trained early in his life. Fortunately, Rottweilers are intelligent working dogs and begin responding to commands as soon as they understand what you want of them. Occasionally there are exceptions. It is very important to establish control over your dog. Obedience training is the easiest and best way to do this.

Your breeder should be able to help you find a training class. Avoid very rough trainers. Rottweilers can often be controlled using verbal reprimands. Some trainers tend to be much rougher than necessary. Sensitive and positive training methods, time and patience are more effective.

Children and small adults have been very successful with Rottweiler in all aspects of dog training.

How do you discipline a Rottweiler ?

The Rottweiler is an intelligent and loyal animal and usually want to please its owner. Occasionally, a Rottweiler can be very stubborn and may require stronger measures. It is very important that discipline be consistent, fair and firm, without being rough. Owning a Rottweiler is not you if you are timid or do not have the time or interest to carefully supervise him.

Do they moult ?

Rottweilers moult twice a year. Usually in Spring and Autumn they lose much of their coats to help them adjust the changing seasons. For the remainder of the year there is seldom any annoyance from moulting. Are they good watchdogs ?

The Rottweilers' size and bark will discourage most intruders, yet he will learn to recognize your friends and receive them cordially. The Rottweilers instinct to protect those he loves becomes very apparent as he matures.

However, problems can arise quickly. Strangers must never come into your home or garden unannounced. Roughhousing with your Rottweiler should be avoided. Rough play encourages aggressive behaviour.

People expected to be in contact with the dog while you are absent should be well known to the dog. Although Rottweilers are unlikely to bite without provocation, being cornered and held by one of these dogs is very unnerving.

How much room do they need ?

A large garden with a six foot fence is ideal, but Rottweilers have been successfully kept in large flats. A garden is essential if you are getting a puppy or young dog. A garden will help keep the dog exercised and reduces boredom, possibly preventing some destructive behaviour. If you do not have enough space for a Rottweiler consider another breed.

Personal commitment on your part is most important. Walking your dog on a regular basis develops a better bond and more personal relationship with your dog than just letting him run in the garden.

Should I get a male or a female ?

This is strictly a matter of personal preference. Both are equal in pet qualities. The male is larger, stronger and more impressive when first seen. The female, however, should be considered as equal in all other respects. Modern veterinary practice recommends neutering of non-breeding animals of both sexes as a means to a healthier, better pet.

How do they handle heat and cold ?

Rottweilers can tolerate cool temperature better than warm temperatures. Rottweilers should never be left outside in direct sun during the summer. Heat stroke comes on very quickly because of the dog's black colour. Dogs must have shelter regardless of where you live. Rottweilers were bred to be companions and are not physically or emotionally equipped to be left outdoors away from people. In warm weather leaving your dog in a car with the windows closed or barely open can be extremely dangerous. Rottweilers, with their black coats and short muzzles are more susceptible to heat stroke than many other breeds.

Will my Rottweiler get along with others pets in my home ?

Rottweiler puppies frequently adapt well to older dogs or cats in your home. However, older Rottweilers can be more difficult to integrate into a new home with other pets. Bringing in a new dog after your Rottweiler has been 'ruler of the roost' for awhile can also be a problem.

Dog-to-dog aggression is affected by your dog's socialisation experience as a puppy, bloodlines and sex. Males tend to be less tolerant of other males than they are of females. Bitches may be intolerant of either sex. Rottweilers who are aggressive toward other dogs must be carefully watched when around other dogs. Neutering can lessen aggressive behavour toward other dogs without diminishing territorial protectiveness.

What is Hip Dysplasia ?

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary, development disease in Rottweilers and most other large dog breeds. It is a malformation of the hip joint(s). It often causes pain as the dog ages. Parents and grandparents of the puppy you purchase should have had they hips x-rayed under the British Veterinary Association/Kennel Club Hip Dysplasia Scheme - the Breed Mean Scores at 30/01/1998 is 14. Ask to see the parents' results. Buying a puppy from a litter whose parents have average scores does not guarantee that your puppy won't develop dysplasia later on. However research has shown that normal adults produce litters with one-third or more of the pups less dysplastic as adults. Dysplastic adults, however, tend to produce more severely dysplastic offspring that normal adults.

Genetics may contribute to hip dysplasia, but over-weight, too much exercise and injuries may also contribute to this disease.

Thinking of buying a Rottweiler ?

Perhaps by now you are thinking a purchasing a Rottweiler. Good! Rottweilers are a perfect family dog, gentle, yet powerful enough to pull a sleigh or give a prowler second thoughts. They are good with children; a combination of protector and playmate. Those of us who own them find they are wonderful pets and dearly love them.

BUT... although we believe the Rottweiler approaches being the perfect dog, THEY ARE NOT FOR EVERYONE. Owning any dog involves certain responsibilities and this is particularly true of a large, protective breed.

YOU AS A ROTTWEILER OWNER, HAVE THE OBLIGATION OF CARING FOR AND CONTROLLING A DOG WHO IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE STRONGER THAN YOU ARE.

Unless you take this responsibility very seriously and are willing to put the time, energy and thought needed into raising your dog properly, your Rottweiler will be a burden instead of a joy.

Some questions you should ask yourself

So, before you go any further, here is a list of things to consider. This is not meant to frighten you, but rather to make certain that you understand what is required of you as a Rottweiler owner.

Am I willing to give my dog regular discipline and basic obedience training ?

We believe that any dog, and especially a large protective dog, needs regular day-to-day discipline. Every dog must grow up knowing that he has limits of behaviour, that he must respect people and property, and this he is, after all, a dog.

Will I see to it that both the children and the dog treat each other properly ?

Although a Rottweiler makes an excellent pet for families with children and while they are sturdier that most other dogs they are not punching bags and are NOT meant to be tormented or harassed any more than is any other living thing. By the same token, the playful pup should not be allowed to jump on the kids, pull their trousers or steal their toys. Too often, when puppy still looks like a little bear, these antics are cute, but they aren't so funny with a fully grown dog.

Am I willing to invest the time necessary to raise my Rottweiler ?

Rottweilers need human companionship and attention. If your idea of raising a dog is to tie him to a stake in the garden and feed him once in a while, do yourself a favour and don't buy a dog. He will be miserable, you won't have any fun and the dog will turn into a problem instead of a joy.

Rottweilers need regular grooming. This should be part of their routine from the time they get home. Regular brushing will reduce the dog hair problem, help eliminate doggy odours and reduce the chances of skin problems.

Am I willing to provide a good home for my Rottweiler ?

While a Rottweiler is happy to live in the house with the rest of the family, there are times when you will want to keep him outside. A fenced garden is ideal when you are not outdoors with him.

A ROTTWEILER SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED TO RUN LOOSE ! His size and demeanour may frighten someone. His big feet and inquisitive nose can be disastrous to a neighbour's flowerbed. He has no fear of cars and could easily become a casualty. Also a loose dog is an open invitation to 'dognappers'. Your Rottweiler represents a substantial investment - one which you should protect.

Although it is not an ideal situation, if your Rottweiler is to live outdoors, be sure that he has a well-insulated kennel that is clean, draft-free and provides a cool shady retreat. He must always have fresh drinking water.

Will I provide proper veterinary care for my dog ?

Your Rottweiler will require certain routine health care. Dogs are subject to many of the same diseases as man, plus some of their own. Annual booster injections and general check ups are advisable for your dog. Your Vet should also be contacted whenever you see any signs of illness or abnormal behaviour.

Am I sure that all of my family will share in this venture ?

It is a big mistake to 'buy the dog for the kids' when it requires the management of responsible adults. It is also unfortunate for a pup to go into a home where it is resented by one family member who might have preferred another breed.

UNLESS YOU ANSWERS TO ALL OF THESE QUESTIONS ARE AN UNQUALIFIED 'YES', WE URGE YOU TO CONSIDER SOME OTHER BREED OF DOG.

You may think it strange that we seem to be discouraging you. In a way, we are, but only because we want to be sure Rottweilers only go to people who will care enough to be suitable owners for a Rottweiler. A fine dog, like a child, does not bring up itself. Please take the time to consider carefully if you have the time, the interest and the resources to devote to your Rottweiler.

If you decide to buy a Rottweiler

Observe the behaviour of the sire (if he is on the premises) and the dam. Ideally the dam will be calm and steady, possibly even curious and friendly. It is quite correct for her to be reserved. An openly hostile bitch who does not respond to her master's reassurances is undesirable. Cowardice and shyness are also undesirable traits. The sire's temperament is as important as the dam's.

Puppies should be playful, inquisitive and trusting of people. They should submit to gentle handling and respond to their environment.

A Word about breeding

All too often the owner of a dog will want to breed it 'just to have puppies' or 'to teach the kids about the facts of life' or 'that it is good for a bitch to have one litter'. NEITHER OF THESE ARE REASONS TO BREED A DOG! In fact, your dog will be as happy and will probably be healthier if it is not bred.

If you bought your dog as a pet, or if you dog isn't suitable for breeding, you should consider spaying or neutering. Don't believe most of the old tales about the bad effects of neutering animals. If you are not sure discuss the matter with your Vet.

If you love your Rottweiler, it is because all the breeders of your dog's parents, grandparents, etc. cared enough about Rottweiler to breed only the best dogs they possibly could. The responsibility for continuing this tradition is in your hands.

Rottweiler breed guide written by : Derek Hopgood (Saintlythans Rottweilers)
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