A Rottweiler is a large dog breed originating in Germany as herding dogs. The early Rottweilers also worked as beasts of burden, carrying wood and other products to market. In addition, they were used as draft animals to pull carts filled with various products for their owners. During the first and second World Wars, Rottweilers were put into service as war time guard dogs. Currently they are frequently used as guard and police dogs.
The breed is almost always black with clearly defined tan or mahogany markings on the cheeks, muzzle, chest, legs, and eyebrows. The coat is medium length and consists of a waterproof undercoat and a coarse top coat. Rottweiler coats tend to be low maintenance, although they experience shedding during certain periods of the year. The skull is typically massive, but without excessive jowls.
The Rottweiler is a steady dog with a self-assured nature, but early socialization and exposure to as many new people, animals, and situations as possible are very important in developing these qualities. The Rottweiler also has a natural tendency to assert dominance if not properly trained. Rottweilers’ large size and strength make this an important point to consider: an untrained, poorly trained, or abused Rottweiler can learn to be extremely aggressive and destructive and, if allowed to run at large, may pose a significant physical threat to humans or other animals. They can be strong-willed (bull-headed) and should be trained in a firm, fair, and consistent manner – the owner must be perceived as the leader. If the owner fails to achieve this status the Rottweiler will readily take on the role. However, Rottweilers respond readily to a clear and benevolent leader. Aggression in Rottweilers is associated with poor breeding, poor handling, lack of socialization, natural guarding tendencies, and abuse.
The Rottweiler is not usually a barker. Male dogs are silent watchers who notice everything and are often quite stoic. Females may become problem barkers in order to protect their den. An attentive owner is usually able to recognize when a Rottweiler perceives a threat. Barking is usually a sign of annoyance with external factors (car alarms or other disturbances) rather than a response to actual threats.
This region eventually became an important cattle area, and the descendants of the Roman cattle dogs proved their worth in both driving and protecting the cattle from robbers and wild animals. However, by the end of the 19th Century, the breed had declined so much that in 1900 there was only one female to be found in the town of Rottweil. But the build up to World War I saw a great demand for police dogs, and that led to a revival of interest in the Rottweiler.
From that time the breed has become popular with dog owners, and in 1935 was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club. In 1936, Rottweilers were exhibited in Britain at Crufts. In 1966, a separate register was opened for the breed.
The first Rottweiler club in Germany, named DRK (“Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub” German Rottweiler Club) was created the 13 January 1907, and followed by the creation of the SDRK “Süddeutscher Rottweiler-Klub” (South German Rottweiler Club) on the 27 April 1907 and became the IRK (International Rottweiler Club). The DRK counted around 500 Rottweiler, the SDRK 3000 Rottweilers. The goals of the two clubs were different. The DRK wanted to produce working dogs and did not emphasize the morphology of the Rottweiler. The main stud dog of this club was Lord von der Teck. The IRK tried to produce a homogeneous morphology according to their standard. One of the main stud dogs of this club was Ralph von Neckar.
A popular misconception about the Rottweiler is that the breed was bred for dog fighting.
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DENTAL ANATOMY OF DOGS
As of June 1, 1998, a federal law was passed in Germany prohibiting the docking of Rottweiler tails.The basis for this law was
the fact that the practice of docking and cropping was deemed to be inhumane.
In order to comply with the new federal law requiring tails to be left in their natural state, the ADRK (national breed club in
Gemany) revised their breed standard for the Rottweiler to reflect the required natural tail.
TAIL: In natural condition, level in extension of the upper line; at ease may be hanging. Faults: Set on too high or too low.
Disqualifying faults: Kink tail, ring-tail, with strong lateral deviation.
The FCI translated and adopted the new breed standard and gave all FCI member countries several years to comply with the
As more and more countries are adopting the anti-docking platform for Rottweilers in order to comply with the revised
ADRK/FCI Standard, and tails are becoming more commonplace, it is very important to become familiar with both the good
and bad tailsets out there. Below are illustrations of those tailsets
FCI STANDARD FOR ROTTWEILER
BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY:
This breed acquired its name from the old free city of Rottweil and was known as the Rottweil butcher’s dog’. The butchers
Rottweiler breeders aim at a dog of abundant strength, black coated with clearly defined rich tan markings, whose powerful
GENERAL APPEARANCE: The Rottweiler is a medium to large size, stalwart dog, neither heavy nor light and neither leggy nor
IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS: The length of the body, measured from the point of the sternum (breast-bone) to the ischiatic
BEHAVIOUR/TEMPERAMENT: Good-natured, placid in basic disposition and fond of children, very devoted, obedient,
Skull: Of medium length, broad between the ears. Forehead line moderately arched as seen from the
Nose: Well developed, more broad than round with relatively large nostrils, always black.
NECK: Strong, of fair length, well muscled, slightly arched, clean, free from throatiness, without dewlap.
Back: Straight, strong, firm.
TAIL: In natural condition, level in extension of the upper line; at ease may be hanging.
Shoulders: Well laid back.
HINDQUARTERS: Seen from behind, legs straight and not too close together. When standing free, obtuse angles are formed
Upper thigh: Moderately long, broad and strongly muscled.
GAIT: The Rottweiler is a trotting dog. In movement the back remains firm and relatively stable. Movement
SKIN: Skin on the head should be overall tight fitting. When the dog is alert, the forehead may be slightly wrinkled.
Hair: The coat consists of a top coat and an undercoat. The top coat is of medium length, coarse, dense
SIZE AND WEIGHT :
Height: at withers is 61 – 68 cm
Height: at withers is 56 – 63 cm
General appearance: Light, weedy, leggy appearance. Light in bone and muscle.
Behaviour: Anxious, shy, cowardly, gun-shy, vicious, excessively suspicious, nervous animals.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
NB : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
More on Rottweiler Tails
by Erika Butler – Dreibergen Rottweilers
|What is a Breed Standard?
For each breed of dog, there is a breed standard which is a word description of the perfect dog of that breed. Standards describe the mental and physical characteristics that allow each breed to perform the function for which they were originated. The standard describes the dog’s looks, movement and temperament. Breeders involved with each breed are attempting to produce a dog that most closely conforms to the breed standard. In this respect, dog shows are not unlike cat shows, bird shows, cattle shows, horse shows, etc. In fact, for almost every species bred by man there are competitions among breeders. Licensed judges examine the dogs and place them in accordance to how close each dog compares with their mental image of the “perfect” dog as described in the breed’s official standard.
|The FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) is the World Canine Organization. It has 80 members, almost every country in the world has a Kennel Club that is a member. One National Kennel Club is recognized from each country (the AKC in the US) and that National Kennel Club issues their own pedigrees and trains and licenses their own judges. The FCI also mandates breeding rules and a Code of Ethics to be followed by breeders of each member country.
The FCI recognizes 337 breeds, each of them is the ‘property’ of a specific country (normally the country of origin). The ‘owner’ countries of the breeds write the breed standard for their breed and the adoption, translation and updating of the standards is carried out by the FCI. The Rottweiler originated in Germany and the ADRK (Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub has the right and responsibility to set, maintain and revise the breed standard for the Rottweiler for the rest of the world.
Why do Rottweilers now have natural tails?
In 1999 the country of Germany passed a law that made it illegal to dock a dog’s tail or crop a dog’s ears. The basis for this law was the fact that the practice of docking and cropping was deemed to be inhumane treatment of animals.
In order to comply with the new law, the ADRK revised the Breed Standard for the Rottweiler and this new breed standard required a natural tail. The FCI translated and adopted the new breed standard and gave all FCI member countries several years to comply with the new breed standard.
A docked Rottweiler does not conform to the current FCI breed standard. As each FCI member country finalizes their adoption of the new breed standard Rottweiler breeders in those countries will no longer be allowed to dock and docked Rottweilers will be disqualified at shows and prohibited from breeding.
The AKC (American Kennel Club) is not a member of the FCI. AKC does not follow any of the rules and regulations set by the FCI for the rest of the world and they do not always follow the breed standards set by the countries of origin. The AKC Breed Standard for the Rottweiler has always deviated from the FCI standard and they are currently struggling to deal with the breed standard regarding the tail.
There are a number of Rottweiler breeders in the United States that follow the FCI Code of Ethics for breeding and strictly follow the FCI/ADRK Breed Standard for the Rottweiler and those breeders will all leave natural tails on their dogs.
American Veterinary Medical Association Position Statement on Tail Docking
(Current as of June 2005)
Ear cropping and tail docking in dogs for cosmetic reasons are not medically indicated nor of benefit to the patient. These procedures cause pain and distress, and, as with all surgical procedures, are accompanied by inherent risks of anesthesia, blood loss, and infection. Therefore, veterinarians should counsel dog owners about these matters before agreeing to perform these surgeries
|The World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s position on tail docking
The WSAVA considers amputation of dogs’ tails to be an unnecessary surgical procedure and contrary to the welfare of the dog. The WSAVA recommends that all canine organizations phase out any recommendations for tail amputation (docking) from their breed standards. The WSAVA recommends that the docking of dogs’ tails be made illegal except for professionally diagnosed therapeutic reasons, and only then by suitably qualified persons, such as registered veterinarians, under conditions of anesthesia that minimize pain and stress.
|What is tail docking?
Tail docking today is the amputation of a dog’s tail at varying lengths to suit the recommendations of a breed Standard. Docking involves the amputation of the puppy’s tail either with scissors, a knife or with a rubber band. The cut goes through many highly sensitive nerves in the tissues including skin, cartilage, and bone. This procedure is usually performed without any anesthetic at between three to five days of age. The procedure can be performed by either a registered veterinary surgeon or by an experienced dog breeder. In many countries veterinarians are declining to perform this unnecessary procedure, meaning that breeders are now docking more dogs.
|Is tail docking painful for the puppy?
Yes, there is strong evidence that this is the case. The puppy has a fully developed nervous system and a well-developed sense of pain. Puppies scream during the procedure and they whimper, whine and cry for 2-3 days following docking. During the recovery stage they do not eat well and gain less weight than undocked puppies. Many veterinarians condemn the practice and refuse to perform the procedure because it is totally unnecessary and can lead to serious complications. Some veterinarians continue perform tail amputation reluctantly in order to keep the procedure under professional supervision, please their clients and to minimize the risk to the pups.
Does tail docking prevent tail injuries?
The vast majority of dog breeds have natural tails. There is no movement in natural tailed breeds to remove the tail in order to prevent injuries. When tails remain intact, there are no more tail injuries in breeds that were customarily docked than in other breeds of dog.
Can docking cause problems in later life?
There is considerable scientific evidence that docking can lead to complications, including hemorrhage, infection and occasionally death of the puppy. In later life the stump of the tail may be painful due to the formation of neuroma (nerve tissue scar) in the stump. This also occurs following amputation of limbs in people and causes considerable discomfort. Dogs have evolved into their current shape over many thousands of years. If a tail were not useful to a dog, natural selection would have eliminated it long ago. Indeed, tails have many useful functions and are important for balance and body language among other things.
|Are tailed Rottweilers different?
Certainly not! In fact once people get used to seeing dogs with their natural tails, the docked dogs look strange, like something is missing. Once you own a tailed Rottweiler it is hard to understand why the tails of this breed were ever amputated in the first place. They use their tails for balance and agility and most importantly, expression and communication. Try to imagine if the reverse happened and you saw a breed such as Labrador retriever with a docked tail. The dog would look quite strange without a tail and you would wonder why the procedure was done.