did we get a Rottweiler?
There are lots of
theories as to how the Rottweiler evolved into being - some true, some not
true. Lets look at how the Rottweiler became the stalwart dog we know
Why did different
dogs breeds come about?
All dog breeds
were evolved with a specific task in mind e.g. gundog, herding dog etc. In
the past there were no breed ethics as to appearance - the dog had a job
to do and that is what he was bred for.
Members of the
upper class would own several dogs, each specialising in his own
particular task. Members of the lower classes also needed working dogs but
could not afford the luxury of several different breeds - so they bred an
belongs to the Mastiff type of dog - the description being "large,
powerful, short in muzzle and a pronounced stop". Many breeds belong
to this sweeping description. The only link the Rottweiler has to the
Romans is the breed name. The Rottweiler originates from a German town
called Rottweil, so called because of the many houses with red tiles and
What was the
Rottweiler bred for?
There are some
people who will insist that the Rottweiler marched with the Roman legions,
accompanying them across rough terrain, guarding their masters - a very
There is no doubt
that the Romans were accompanied by some Mastiff type dogs - sadly this
was not the Rottweiler, there is no evidence to support this. The
Rottweiler appeared much later than this time - who do we have to thank
for the Rottweiler? The peasant farmer! If we look back at our earlier
comment that the lower classes needed an "all-rounder" of a dog.
This is exactly the reasons why the farmer bred the Rottweiler. Although
he may not have come from noble dog beginnings - he is the finest example
of a multi-purpose dog to be found.
Rottweil was a
commercial centre and well known for cattle dealing. Dealers would travel
for many miles to buy and sell stock at the market - this created the need
for a dog that could drive and control cattle, protect the herd from
predators and act as a guard for the farmer returning with his profits.
These functions were of paramount importance to the peasant farmer but the
need for this type of dog was not confined solely to the Rottweil area.
All over Europe, dogs were produced to serve similar purposes (e.g. the
The Rottweiler was
commonly known as the "Butchers Dog". Butchers did not have the
luxury of meat being delivered prepared so they had to buy cattle "on
the hoof" and drive them home to their own abattoir (there is also a
gory second element to this - bull baiting was still very popular).
Colour was very
unimportant to the butcher/farmer and the Rottweiler had a very different
coat to the one we see today. His coat would include a good amount of
white in spots and patches - many puppies (and some adults) are still seen
with a spot of white on the chest. Other colours could be brown or grey -
there is evidence that tan markings were always present in the same
positions they are today.
The dog you see
today roughly emerged about 100 years ago. Their working use went into
decline - cattle was no longer moved on the road so the use for the
Rottweiler slowly disappeared.
Two clubs have the
credit for preserving and developing the Rottweiler - the German
Rottweiler Club and the South German Rottweiler Club. There is much to be
learned from the evolvement of the Rottweiler and we will go into this in
much more detail shortly.