Rottweiler – Characteristics Temperament and Health



A close up of a dog lying on a sandy beach

The Rottweiler is a breed of domestic dog, regarded as medium-to-large or large. Classed as a Working dog breed, they are known for their intelligence and versatility. Rottweilers are powerful, confident, observant, and obedient.

The Rottweiler is powerful and sturdy. Its body is longer than it is tall but well-proportioned. The head is rectangular with a defined stop; the forehead is flat between the ears with slight wrinkles; the muzzle has strong truncated crescent moon-shaped lines folding at the bottom lip forming slightly pronounced flews; medium to large-sized eyes are almond-shaped ending just above the middle of the eye socket; earlobes are strongly developed ending in an arrow shape that points towards the nose; teeth meet in an evenly-spaced scissors bite; the nose is black and wide with well-opened nostrils.

The Rottweiler has a strong, muscular, compact body. Their bones are clean and solid. Their paws are round with toes close together and turn neither in nor out while walking or standing. Dewclaws must be removed from both front and back legs.

Rottweilers have double coats that protect them from the elements throughout most of the year. They shed their undercoat twice a year, but constant re-shedding will make their coats thin. The undercoat is dense compared to the topcoat which can be up to 2 inches long. Rottweilers come in either tan with mahogany markings around the eyes, temples, ears, and eyebrows.

Rottweiler Temperament

A dog looking at the camera

Rottweilers are known for their level-headedness. They are confident and fearless but not hostile or excessively shy. Rottweilers make good watchdogs because of their aloof attitude toward strangers but alertness around strange dogs. Alert yet obedient, they respond well to firm training making them a pleasure to train; however, they need to be trained early because once they reach sexual maturity (usually by 18 months) they can become more difficult to handle. Rottweilers should only be walked on a leash in public areas; off-the-leash play is discouraged because of their predatory nature. Other causes for concern with this breed include hip dysplasia, CCL rupture, entropion/ ectropion, OCD, heart problems, cancer, allergies, bloat, cataracts, and retinal dysplasia.

Rottweiler Health

The Rottweiler is not considered a healthy breed for the average Joe. The following are some health concerns to be aware of:

Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is seen in both sexes but mainly dogs with the heavier bone structure are affected more severely than lighter boned dogs. It can cause mild to severe lameness which affects the movement and activity of the dog. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred since this condition is hereditary.

Von Willebrand’s Disease: This disorder causes blood clotting problems due to the lack or abnormal function of the von Willebrand factor. Dogs with this disorder should not be used for breeding since it is hereditary.

Pancreatic Insufficiency: Rottweilers are more likely to develop pancreatic insufficiency than other breeds. It can cause sudden death in these dogs if left untreated. Treatment consists of a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet; life expectancy may be shortened but the quality of life is usually preserved for several years.

Cataracts: Rottweilers have been seen to form cataracts at an early age which can lead to blindness if left untreated. Cataracts can worsen as the dog ages, leading to complete blindness by middle age even when treated successfully.

Entropion/Ectropion: These conditions cause the eyelashes to turn inwards or outwards respectively. If severe, it can lead to corneal ulcers and affect the dogs’ vision.

Osteochondritis Dissecans: This condition causes a separation of a section of bone from the joint surface due to a lack of blood supply. It is common in dogs with heavy bodies and fast-growing bones. Treatment includes anti-inflammatory medication and surgery which should be done yearly for best results.

Liver Shunts: Rottweilers are more likely than other breeds to develop liver shunt due to improper anatomical connections between veins and arteries which carry deoxygenated (used) blood back to the heart. Symptoms include stunted growth, seizures, vomiting, and erratic behavior. Treatment includes a special diet and medication to control seizures.

There are several other problems Rottweilers are more likely to develop than other breeds, but the above are among the common ones that may be observed.

The Rottweiler is not considered a healthy breed for the average Joe. The following are some health concerns to be aware of: – Hip dysplasia, CCL rupture, entropion/ectropion, OCD, heart problems, cancer, allergies (the most common), bloat (most commonly seen in deep-chested breeds), cataracts (common by middle age) and retinal dysplasia. If you’re considering adopting or purchasing one of these dogs as your companion animal then please consider all factors before making that decision. We hope this article has helped inform you about the characteristics and temperament of this dog breed!

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter