The Rottweiler ranks in the top ten of most popular dog breeds via the American Kennel Club (AKC). Affectionately known as Rotties, when properly raised these dogs often have a playful personality as well as a distinct level of confidence, intelligence, and loyalty to their humans.
Considered a medium-large breed, the male Rottweiler stands about 24” to 27”, while the female stands 22” to 25”. They weigh about 80 to 135 pounds, but don’t be surprised if your Rottie thinks he’s a lap pup. Rottweilers are “leaners”—known for leaning into their humans as a way of showing affection.
Rottweiler popularity continues to grow as more dog lovers discover how lovable and amazing this breed is. Check out these fun facts about Rottweilers.
1. Once a Roman Drover Dog
When the Roman legions made their way across Europe they utilized herding dogs to move and guard cattle. Today’s modern Rottweiler is thought to be a descendent of the Asian mastiffs that were once used to breed herders.
2. Named After Town of Rottweil
Around 73 or 74 AD, according to The Rottweiler Club of the U.K., the ancient Roman armies along with their herder dogs camped near the Neckar River in Germany. Throughout the middle ages the large and sturdy dogs remained, used as herders and even for bear hunting. This area eventually became a small town known as ‘das Rote Wil’ a name that evolved into Rottweil. The Rottweilers we known today descended from these dogs and take their name from the town of Rottweil.
3. Butchers’ Dogs
In Germany, the dogs were known as the Rottweiler Metzgerhund. This means: the Rottweil butchers’ dogs, stemming from the dog’s job as cattle herder and even as cart puller for the butchered livestock when it went to market.
4. Germany is Home to One of Oldest Rottweiler Clubs
The Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub (ADRK) was founded in 1917. It’s one of the oldest clubs that’s still in existence for this breed. The ADRK is headquartered in Minden, Germany and is the only nationwide association for the breed in Germany.
Fun Fact Extra: The American Rottweiler Club formed in 1973 and is the only Rottweiler club that’s a member of the AKC.
5. Rottweilers Almost Became Extinct
Industrialization may have played a part in the almost-extinction of the Rottweiler breed. Rotties were herding dogs and if cattle doesn’t need to be herded, the dogs are not needed. This happened around the middle of the 1800s as railroads were built and roads paved, making it easier to transport herds. Fortunately, lovers of the breed worked to keep the Rottweilers around and by the 1900s a new job for these now “working” dogs was established. Rottweilers began serving as police and military dogs.
6. Rottweilers Served as Rescue Dogs in New York after 9/11
Immediately following the terror attacks of 9/11, rescue dogs were deployed with handlers to the Twin Towers site. Rottweilers bravely searched along with other breeds like the German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers.
7. Celebrities Love Their Rottweilers
Many celebrities love dogs of all breeds, but some only have eyes for the loving and loyal Rottweiler. Celebrities who love their Rottweilers include Bruno Mars, Hayden Panettiere, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Will Smith. Will Smith and his family actually own several.
8. Rottweiler named Wynd Won 2015 AKC Human Fund ACE Award
Wynd is a therapy dog owned by Renice Zimmerman of Virginia. In 2015, Wynd won the AKC Human Fund ACE Award for the Therapy Dog category. This amazing Rottweiler has served as a therapy dog for military family members at TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) and is a regular at the Hampton Veterans Hospital working with veterans suffering PTSD and substance abuse. Wynd also helps out at the Suffolk Humane Society’s BARKS reading program.
9. Immortalized in Fiction
The Good Dog Carl book series for children written by Alexandra Day has immortalized the Rottweiler in fiction. The first book was released in 1985 and today there are more than 20 delightful books featuring Carl the Rottweiler.