This week’s breed in focus is the Rottweiler, bred in Germany and named after the German town of “Rottweil”.
During the Middle Ages they were used as herders, guards, messenger dogs and cart pullers, but almost became extinct due to industrialisation in the 1800’s since they were no longer needed for these jobs.
Fortunately, despite almost becoming extinct, Rottweiler lovers found them a new purpose, and they were among the earliest police and military dogs.
Rotties are very loyal and affectionate to their owners but also have a self assured and fearless temperament.
Unfortunately media reports of dog attacks, coupled with some owners purchasing the breed for their size and protectiveness and providing less than savoury or poor leadership, has given the Rottweiler breed a bad wrap.
There’s no doubt that they are strong, protective of their family and very wary of strangers but, with the right owner and responsible breeding, the Rottie’s reputation is thankfully improving.
Rottweilers are a highly intelligent and hardworking breed, that is very devoted to their family. If well-bred, trained and socialised, they are calm and confident, if not somewhat aloof to new people or situations.
It’s when they lack that firm but fair leadership, that they can become territorial, aggressive and hard to handle, so are definitely not for the novice or lazy owner.
With their guarding instincts, coupled with strength and power, puppies MUST be socialised and start daily obedience training as early as possible as a puppy.
With their broad chest and heavily muscled body, Rottweilers are the epitome of strength and stamina.
Usually Rotties have a short smooth double coat, but a genetic fault can cause some to have longer wavy hair.
They have a double coat and shed heavily in the Spring and Autumn and moderately throughout the rest of the year.
Rottweilers are natural guarders and should be supervised around visitors and visiting children. Whilst they are extremely devoted to their families, they need consideration for families with young children, as even an innocent little nudge could accidentally knock over toddlers.
If you have older kids, their protective nature may also see them defend young members from visiting friends if they perceive innocent play as a threat.
Given they are a working breed and thrive on having a job to do, they must have a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.
Daily walks, socialisation, training and interactive toys will keep their brains and bodies active, while protection or therapy work, and sports like agility or herding can all help. They are not a dog to be left alone in the backyard with nothing to do, or you will have problems.
Other problems include progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts and eyelid deformities. They can also suffer from life threatening heart disease.
They are also prone to bloat, so do not exercise them vigorously an hour before or after eating, and don’t let them drink too much or too quickly while exercising. Take them straight to the vet if you notice drooling, retching or heaving, a distended abdomen, restless behaviour or the praying position, as the condition is fatal if left untreated.
To get a quote from HIF Pet insurance to cover your new puppy or older dog for illness or injury visit their website.
Terms and conditions, waiting periods and exclusions apply. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) available at hif.com.au/pet before deciding if this product is appropriate for you. HIF Pet is issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd AFSL No: 241436 and promoted by HIF Insurance Australia Pty Ltd as an Authorised Representative No.250504 of Petsure (Australia) Pty Ltd AFSL 420183.
About the Author: Lara Shannon is a NDTF certified dog behaviourist and trainer, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara also runs her own dog training and boarding business in Melbourne’s Bayside area and is the Author of Eat, Play, Love Your Dog.