history of the Rottweiler is not a documented record. There is the
likelihood that the Rottweiler is descended from drover dogs
indigenous to ancient Rome. These drover dogs were described as
being of the Mastiff type, with great intelligence, rugged,
dependable, willing to work and with a strong guarding instinct. The
transition from Roman herding dog to the dog we know today can be
attributed to the ambitious Roman Emperors wanting to conquer
Europe. As very large armies were required for these expeditions,
the logistics of feeding such a large number became a major factor.
As there was no form of refrigeration, it meant that the meat
accompanied the armies "on the hoof". This meant a dog
capable of keeping the herd together during the long marches was
needed. The "Mastiff type" was well suited to this task as
well as shouldering the extra responsibility of guarding the supply
dumps at night.
of civilization arose along the legions' roads, so did various types
of dogs. One such road led to an army encampment on the Meckar River
in what became the state of Swabia in Southern Germany. It
flourished as a trading center and was eventually called Rottweil
(Rote Wil-"red tiled roofs"). Here, the breed became known
as the Rottweiler. "Lore" has it that the butcher's of
Rottweil depended on their dogs to herd cattle to market; then once
the cattle were slaughtered, the dogs pulled the butcher's carts.
When the meat was sold, the money purses were tied ar
dogs' necks to keep the money safe from bandits.
Rottweiler was kept busy until the mid-19th century when railroads
replaced droving for getting livestock to market and using dogs as
draft animals was outlawed (due partially to abuses). As the
Rottweiler's customary jobs were eliminated due to industrial
progress, he fell on hard times. Thanks to the breeds' traits of
endurance, strength, loyalty and intelligence, he found a new niche
as a guard dog and the Rottweiler's talents were put to new uses
with the police and military. It was toward suitability for those
tasks that the modern Rottweiler was developed. In 1910 the
Rottweiler was officially recognized by the German Police Dog
Association as the fourth police dog breed. The period from 1882 to
1910 saw the breed go from obscurity to national acclaim.
leap for Rottweilers is assumably due to some very hard work and
skillful breeding by their owners and breeders. The Rottweiler was
fortunate that the "dog fancier", a person who loved the
breed for its own sake, had arrived on the scene. Dog breeding was
no longer done solely for the purpose of producing a working animal.
Breeders set out to preserve their chosen breed in the form in which
it had been handed down to them, while at the same time they also
set out to refine and improve it when they felt this was necessary.
One of the milestones was being accepted as a working police dog. To
have achieved this success, the comparatively nondescript and
unknown dog of the late 1800's must have changed considerably. In
1905 the Rottweiler was selected as a "fine dog of unusual
breed and irreproachable character" to be presented to the
President of a dog show, organized by the Association of the Friends
of Dogs in Heidelberg, Germany. We assume from this that the breed
was recognized and settled, more or less, in its present form,
though not well known. It is also reasonably safe to assume that the
Rottweiler was already showing the exemplary character that we have
grown to admire today.