The Rottweiler probably originated from Roman dogs who drove and guarded the cattle that accompanied Roman soldiers on marches. Some of the dogs settled in Germany, where the herding and guarding instincts were further developed. Dog fanciers reestablished the breed after a brush with extinction; in the 1990s the Rottweiler was the second-most-popular breed in the U.S. A current concern is that the powerful, highly territorial dogs are not always placed in suitable homes.


Large; females 22 to 25 inches, 80 to 100 pounds; males 24 to 27 inches, 95 to 135 pounds.


Black, with rust to mahogany markings.


Alert, confident, and imposing. Self-assured, aloof, and protective of home and family; not likely to form immediate friendships.

Energy level:


Best owner:

Strong, confident owner with a fenced yard; someone able to administer fair and consistent discipline.


Daily exercise, obedience training, and socialization. Happiest as protector, herder, service dog, obedience competitor, therapy dog.

Life expectancy:

8 to 10 years.