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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.
HEALTH AND LIFESPAN
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.
GENERAL MAINTENANCE AND EXERCISE
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.