Rottweiler: Breed History & Origin

Since there is no reliable data on how the ancestors of modern Rottweilers appeared in Germany, it can only be assumed that large, balanced, and strong dogs could accompany the herds of the armies of the Roman Empire in their steady advance through Europe. In turn, large Molossians came to Rome from Asia, where they have long lived in Zoroastrian families, guarding houses and livestock. The area that gave the name to the breed was called the land of Flavia in ancient times. Around 260 A.D. the Romans left it, driven back by numerous warlike Swabian tribes.

Roman soldiers left the territory of modern Germany, and their dogs remained and transformed into a variety of breeds, depending on the working purpose and personal exterior preferences of their breeders.

On the banks of the Neckar, on the site of one of the ancient Roman military camps, a city emerged over time. It got its name from the color of the red tiles mined during the construction of the temple (Rote Weil). It once adorned the Roman baths and was found during the construction of the first church in the city. Over time, the name of the city also became the name of the breed of dogs bred in it.

Its convenient location at the crossroads of trade routes has made Rottweil a prosperous city. In those days, the cattle were driven to the place of sale, so to speak, on their fours. It was very difficult without the help of the dogs. It was the dogs, many of which already had a characteristic black and tan color, endurance, and balanced temperament, that made it possible to control the movement of the herd to the place of sale or slaughter. The remarkable intelligence and stern disposition for which the dogs were famous were known far beyond Rottweil. Lovers of drink after a successful deal, butchers often hung wallets with money around their dogs’ necks, and they reliably kept their earnings not only from strangers but sometimes even from the most intoxicated owner, bringing them home safe and sound. They dragged carts loaded with meat or milk, helped to drive cattle, which were not always handled by ordinary shepherd dogs.

However, as railways developed, the number of Rottweilers began to decline sharply. It would seem, what is the connection? BUT the fact was that like the branches of the railway lines spread across Germany, the need for cattle dogs disappeared. Butchers no longer needed dogs – there was a ban on driving livestock on foot, and now animals were transported by rail. And in 1882 only one dog took part in the Heilbronn exhibition …

The breed was saved by outstanding service qualities – courage, the ability to actively resist a person. The most famous incident occurred when a police sergeant’s dog helped him to calm down a group of cruel sailors. In fact, the ability of these dogs for a varied police service has saved the breed, giving it a new chance to exist and develop. Already in 1910, dogs earned the right to be called service dogs.

Breeds associated with the Rottweiler include the Doberman Pinscher, Black Russian Terrier, Beauceron, and Swiss Mountain Dog.

The United German Rottweiler Club was founded in 1921 and still exists today. With German thoroughness, the club developed the first breed standard, outlined the ways of its breeding and development. Gradually, the requirements of the standard are becoming more stringent in terms of coat type and color, size, as well as anatomy, and movement. A height restriction has been established, and the optimal size for males is 65-66 cm, and for females – 63 cm.

The Rottweiler is one of the few breeds in which the Körung exists – a comprehensive assessment of the exterior and working qualities. The varieties of growth are described, the main emphasis is placed on strong, agile, and resilient dogs, capable of carrying police and military service if necessary. The fashion for heavily overloaded Rottweilers has passed and the modern dog of this breed is more an athlete than a heavyweight.

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