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The Rottweiler originated from the Molossus, a now extinct breed of dog, and from early shepherding dogs of Europe. The Molossus was a Mastiff-type dog of extreme power and large size. Rottweilers began as the Roman’s war dogs. The Molossus was the stem of many other breeds as well. These breeds include the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and the Bernese Mountain Dog, who are the Rottweilers closest relatives. All three bred down from the Molossus themselves.

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The Rottweilers Early Years

The Rottweiler was first used as a cattle dog, a cart-puller, and to protect the merchants money; as it was tied around the dogs neck. The Rottweiler was first known by the names "Butcher’s Dog" and Metzgerhund. The Rottweiler was named after the German town Rottweil, which means red roofs, where the breed was perfected and the last purebred Rottweilers were found prior to World War I.

The first Rottweilers came in two sizes: medium and large. The medium-sized dogs were the herding dogs, and the large-sized dogs were used as the carting dogs. The Rottweiler was once the most rare breed of dog, as it was almost completely extinct before World War II. There were less than two hundred left when a group of fanciers decided to save the breed. It was then decided to use the breed for guard dogs, or war dogs. During World War I and II, the breed became very popular for the job of protection, and thus they were more commonly bred. Today, the breed has reached its peak as the second most popular breed in the USA, as well as a top breed in the World.

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Breed Coloring, Markings and Standards

The first Rottweilers came in a variety of colors, including brindle, red/tan, gray, and yellow/black. In the early years of the Rottweiler, it was acceptable for them to have white on the chest, feet, and facial markings. The Black and tan Rottweiler was actually the most rare color, while the yellow and tan dogs were the most common. Today, the only acceptable colors for a Rottweiler are Black & Tan, Black & Rust, and Black & Mahogany. These days, it is not uncommon for the Rottweiler to whelp a pup with white on the chest and feet. These markings do not deem the dog as any less of the breed, however these markings are a disqualification for a show quality dog.


The Rottweiler has a double coat around the neck, and on the thighs. Because of this, Rottweilers shed year round. In addition, the Rottweilers double coat on the neck and thighs will show a yellowish undercoat in these places during the main shed, which is usually during the summer months. This is most visible when the hair is parted on the back of the neck. Along with the well-known color placement on the Rottweiler, the dog should also have brown on the lower side of the docked tail, and inside of the ears. The Rottweiler should never have brown marking on the stomach, although brown on the inside of the legs is acceptable.

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Today’s Rottweiler

Today, the Rottweiler has been used in the development of many other breeds. The most common breed today that originated from the Rottweiler is the Doberman Pinscher. The Doberman Pinscher, although exhibiting a more slender body type, has carried over the similar colors and markings of the Rottweiler. The Rottweiler possesses a "wait- and- see" attitude. Many times a trained Rottweiler will allow an intruder onto the property, but will keep him from leaving. The dog will position himself in front of the person and back them into a corner or against a wall. The dog possesses a dominant attitude and shows the intruder that he has no intention of moving.

The Rottweilers herding instincts still remain strong in the breed, despite generations of dormancy. Because of this, they tend to "bump" or lean against people-usually as a pup. This is a dominant herding instinct; the Rottweiler wants to "move" the person. The Rottweiler will usually test for dominance at the ages of 6 months, one year, and again at two years. However, Rottweilers will try for dominance every day. It is imperative that the dog be corrected each time this occurs. Rottweilers respect a cool, calm, self-assured, dominate owner- someone who is kind-hearted, loving and fair, but also firm and constant.
 


  

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