The Rottweiler

A Complete Breed Guide


This article is written by Pet Circle's qualified veterinarian, Dr Elise Barry, BVSc (Hons), BSc.

The Rottweiler is renowned for its courage and protection. With their stocky, muscular build and surprising agility, they are well known for their guarding abilities. The breed's origins can be traced back to the region of Southern Germany during the 1st century, when mastiff-style droving dogs were discarded by retreating Roman armies. With their large head and trademark black and tan markings, this breed is recognisable the world over. Rottweilers can make wonderfully loyal companions with proper handling and training.

At a glance
Top toy recommendations
Health Concerns
Further reading

At a glance


Breed size:

Place of origin:

Other names:




Breed group:

Energy level:

Weight range:

Working Dogs

Medium - High

Female 41-54kg, Male 45-61kg

Life expectancy:

Tendency to bark:

Height range:

8-10 years


Female: 58-63cm, Male: 63-69cm at shoulder

Drool factor:

Social needs:

Coat length:

High (males>females)



Shedding factor:

Overall grooming needs:



Weekly brushing

Black & tan/mahogany



The Roman armies used droving dogs to herd cattle great distances as they extended their empire. In Southern Germany, in the area surrounding the town of Rottweil, these dogs were abandoned following withdrawal of the Romans in the 1st century. During the Middle Ages these mastiff-type dogs were crossed with sheepdogs to produce 'butchers' dogs which were used to herd and guard livestock. The breed had started to diminish following industrialisation however their popularity as service dogs surged in the lead up to World War I. The Rottweiler has been considered an official breed since 1931. They are still renowned for their guarding and protection. They also make loyal companions due to their obedience and trainability.



Rottweilers are known for being good-natured and calm despite their intimidating appearance. They are courageous, intelligent and highly alert which all contribute to making them a reliable working dog. They require regular and vigorous exercise. They do not tend to bark unless triggered. Training and socialising are recommended to start as early as possible, to avoid dominance and aggression. Their large, strong, muscular frames mean they're very powerful and energetic. They have a great work ethic, so these dogs need to be well stimulated. They are only moderate shedders but weekly brushing with a firm bristle brush will help reduce shedding and promote a glossy coat. A Rottweiler can adapt to any lifestyle, when given plenty of attention, training and exercise.

Top toy recommendations for your Rottie

Yours Droolly Entertaineze Treat Ball

Fill the this bouncy ball with some of your Rottie's kibble to slow their eating or to keep them occupied and out of mischief.

KONG Wet Wubba

Made with highly visible, fast drying neoprene, this special Wet Wubba is ideal for games of fetch in and out of water.

Chuck It Classic Long

An extra long ball thrower to help you launch your Rottie's ball further than ever before to satisfy those intense fetch cravings!

Kong Cozie Elephant

Luxuriously cuddly, this soft toy is ideal for snuggling and provides comfort to dogs of all ages.

Health concerns

Although Rottweilers can be robust, they do have a high probability of acquiring a health problem during their lifespan. Common health issues are eye problems like cataracts, cancer or joint problems.

Cataracts occur when eyes have a cloudy appearance due to changes to the lens. Cataracts can lead to vision loss however they can be removed surgically.

Parvovirus is a viral infection that can be fatal. Rottweilers are prone to this disease and prevention with vaccination is recommended.

Cancer can be commonly seen in Rottweilers. An aggressive tumour derived from bone (osteosarcoma) is the most common cause of early death.

Osteochondrosis dissecans is a condition involving abnormal development of the cartilage on the end of a bone in the joint. This leads to inflammation, causing pain and lameness. Depending on the severity of the disease, surgery may be necessary.

Hip dysplasia is a condition where the femur and hip joint do not fit together properly, causing pain and lameness. Less severe cases can be treated with anti-inflammatory medication, however surgery may be required for serious cases.

Elbow dysplasia is common amongst large breed dogs. This heritable condition occurs due to differing rates of bone development in the elbow. It leads to joint mobility, pain and lameness. Less severe cases can be treated with anti-inflammatory medication, however surgery may be required for serious cases.


Although there are no specific feeding requirements for a Rottweiler, it is very important that you feed your Rottie a suitable premium diet. This food needs to be age appropriate and meet all of their daily nutritional and energy demands. Also, it is very important that you do not overfeed or immediately exercise your Rottie after a meal. Most Large Breed Adult or Puppy Food from premium brands including Hills Science Diet, Royal Canin, or Advance are suitable for Rotties. These scientifically-formulated diets also contain balanced levels of protein, fat and carbohydrate plus vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for health and wellbeing.

As some conditions are prone in Rotties, there are breed specific diets that can help reduce the likelihood of disease. Royal Canin Rottweiler Adult Dry Dog Food has an adapted protein content and l-carnitine to support healthy muscle mass, plus targeted nutrients to promote healthy joints and bones. Plus, this diet has a tailored kibble size specific to the Rottie. For puppies there is Royal Canin Rottweiler Puppy Dry Dog Food which supports healthy growth and development specific to this breed.

Top food recommendations for Rottweilers

Hills Science Diet Adult Large Breed Light

This premium adult dog food is specifically designed for large breed adults and has an adapted calorie content to aid weight control.

Royal Canin Rottweiler Adult

With kibble specially designed to slow your Rottie's mouth shape, this premium quality food contains nutrition tailored the the specific requirements of adult Rottweilers.

Royal Canin Rottweiler Puppy

This premium dry food is specifically formulated to support the health and wellbeing of Rottweiler puppies.

Ivory Coat Large Breed Puppy

A wholesome, Australian made natural food designed specifically for large breed puppies like the Rottweiler.

Further Reading

Complete Beginner's Guide To Puppy Care

How To Spot A Good Pet Food

5 Facts To Know About Parvovirus

Which Flea and Worming Product Does YOUR Dog Need?