The purpose of the rottweiler breed has changed over time, but to truly understand who rottweilers are and why they are the way they are, it is important to go back to their roots.
Rottweilers were originally bred to drive cattle, pull carts for butchers, as well as police and military dogs. In the present day, rottweilers are bred more and more often to be household family dogs.
This article will go over everything about why we have the breed rottweilers including what they were originally bred for, and what they are bred for now. Knowing and understanding where this breed comes from can help to know what personality traits to expect. It also helps when learning if a rottweiler is the right breed for you and your family.
What Were Rottweilers Originally Bred For?
Rottweilers are one of the oldest dog breeds around if you can believe it. This breed reportedly originated in the year AD 74 in Rome. At this time, they were called Roman drover dogs.
During their time in Rome, rottweilers were used to herd cattle for the Romans. When the Romans tried to take over Europe, they did not spend much time at home and therefore, the Romans had to take their food with them.
They brought cattle, and the cattle were herded by these drover dogs. As time went on, drover dogs (rottweilers) were not only used for herding cattle, but butchers used them to pull carts that were full of meat. These dogs would pull these carts from place to place for the Romans who were on their conquering quest.
Rottweilers role as herders went far beyond just working for shepherds in ancient Rome.
Eventually, these dogs made their way over to Germany, where they are more commonly known to originate from. Most people think this because of the fact that in 1901 rottweilers almost went completely extinct.
Germans decided that rottweilers would make great police and military dogs. They were used in WWI and were referred to as “rottweiler metzgerhunds,” which means Rottweil Butcher’s dog.
These dogs served very honorably during the war and were very loyal and protective of those whose team they were on. They had a few different roles in the war; they served beside those in battle as well as serving as messenger dogs, guards, and rescue dogs.
The original rottweiler club was formed in Germany in 1914. A year later, there was an international club that was established.
In the early 1900s, rottweilers made it to the United States and slowly transformed into household pets, as well as police dogs. The rottweiler breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in the year 1931.
Where Do We See this Original Rottweiler in Today’s Breed?
Today, rottweilers are not used for the same purposes as when they were originally bred for. They don’t herd cattle or pull meat in a cart, but you can still see their past in the way they are built.
Rottweilers are very large dogs who were built strong in order to fulfill the tasks set in front of them. They have a lot of strength and stamina to be able to carry out the tasks that were required of them.
Not only do we see how they were used in Rome and Germany in their muscular build, but also in many of their personality traits.
The Germans knew they could use them as guard dogs because they were protective and very loyal. This is still very obvious today. Rottweilers are extremely loyal and they guard and protect their families and those who are important to them.
Often times, they struggle because of their protectiveness. This protectiveness can very quickly turn to aggression. If this is not handled properly through training, it causes a lot of problems. Rotties don’t do well with other animals. New people make them a little nervous.
What Are or Can Rottweilers Be Bred for Today?
Rottweilers may not have made huge physical changes over time, but their purpose has changed a lot.
Rotties can now be bred for different purposes. Many of them are still bred to be police dogs and to be protective/defensive. Some rottweilers are bred to be calm household dogs, which isn’t at all what the Germans thought would come of there military dogs.
There are some people in America who breed truly purebred rotties from Europe, but many don’t breed full purebreds.
For this reason, it is important to know the intention of your breeder. Due to rottweilers innate traits, knowing how and for what purpose they are bred is very important and can change how they will act around you and your family as they grow older.
Many rottweilers are still used as police dogs because of their build and ability to work hard for long periods of time. A lot of breeders breed these dogs specifically to for police. They still do a great job at carrying out this purpose.
You’ll see that rottweilers are often the breed that is selected to be guard dogs and police dogs.
Rottweilers are also bred to be family dogs in these days. They can be bred to be a part of a household and not have as many of the traits used by police or military dogs.
Depending on the breeder, you can find pretty much anything you are looking for.
However, it is very important to understand that even if you buy a rott that is bred to be calm and content, he or she will still have some of the breeds original personality traits. If not carefully watched, trained, and raised, your rottweiler could potentially be an aggressive dog or develop naughty behaviors.
A rottweilers drive to be protective is not always bad. Rotts really help people to feel safe, they are great guard dogs for families they live with.
As rottweilers became more common in American homes, people began to see how much protection they really can provide to homes and families.
“My cousin has two Rottweilers and leaves her doors unlocked,” Harold said. “I say she’s crazy, but she says no one dares bother her.” And this, no doubt, is one reason why Rotties are being snapped up by everyone from newspaper carriers to Wall Street brokers. The dogs, which wear price tags from $900 to $2,000 or more, are replacing the pit bull as the macho armor of urban teen-agers [sic] and edging out Doberman pinschers, a first cousin, and German shepherds as guard dogs.New York Times, May 5, 1991
How to Help Your Rott Be a Part of Today’s Dog Society
With any rottweiler, training and socialization need to be a major part of raising them. It is important to do these things when they are puppies in order to eliminate problems that arise as habits develop. You can really start as early as 8-weeks old.
Rottweilers respect authority, they will heed to their leader and follow him or her. If there is not a leader, then they will take that role and try to be the leader over their owner.
It is important to show your dog who is boss if you want an obedient rottweiler.
Whether you are just training your rottweiler to channel their protectiveness to be used in police situations or if you are trying to make that trait almost dormant all together, starting young is the key.
Rottweilers are very obedient dogs and will listen and obey, but the effort put in to train them is required.
The most important part of training them is socialization. What this means is helping your dog become comfortable around other animals, new people, or things they are not familiar with.
A great way to accomplish this is by having your puppy be around new people. If you are just sitting at your house and you have guest over, try to have your rottie meet this person so they can see they aren’t a threat.
Rottweilers struggle most with aggression towards other dogs of their own sex. Overcoming this can be done by taking your rott to a dog park often. If you go out with your rottweiler a couple of times a week, he or she can see that these dogs aren’t going to hurt them, and they can all be friends.
Rottweilers have a very rich history. They were bred to be amazing dogs and they accomplished many amazing things in their time in Rome and Germany.
They continue to be very favorable in their roles now. Embracing who they were can help your Rott to be great and use their personality for good.