AKC Breed Standard for the Rottweiler
The ideal Rottweiler is a medium large, robust and powerful dog, black with clearly defined rust markings. His compact and substantial build denotes great strength, agility and endurance. Dogs are characteristically more massive throughout with larger frame and heavier bone than bitches. Bitches are distinctly feminine, but without weakness of substance or structure.
Size, Proportion, Substance
Dogs--24 inches to 27 inches. Bitches--22 inches to 25 inches, with preferred size being mid-range of each sex. Correct proportion is of primary importance, as long as size is within the standard's range.
The length of body, from prosternum to the rearmost projection of the rump, is slightly longer than the height of the dog at the withers, the most desirable proportion of the height to length being 9 to 10. The Rottweiler is neither coarse nor shelly. Depth of chest is approximately fifty percent (50%) of the height of the dog. His bone and muscle mass must be sufficient to balance his frame, giving a compact and very powerful appearance.
Serious Faults--Lack of proportion, undersized, oversized, reversal of sex characteristics (bitchy dogs, doggy bitches).
Of medium length, broad between the ears; forehead line seen in profile is moderately arched; zygomatic arch and stop well developed with strong broad upper and lower jaws. The desired ratio of backskull to muzzle is 3 to 2. Forehead is preferred dry, however some wrinkling may occur when dog is alert. Expression is noble, alert, and self-assured. Eyes of medium size, almond shaped with well fitting lids, moderately deep-set, neither protruding nor receding. The desired color is a uniform dark brown. Serious Faults--Yellow (bird of prey) eyes, eyes of different color or size, hairless eye rim. Disqualification--Entropion. Ectropion. Ears of medium size, pendant, triangular in shape; when carried alertly the ears are level with the top of the skull and appear to broaden it. Ears are to be set well apart, hanging forward with the inner edge lying tightly against the head and terminating at approximately mid-cheek. Serious Faults--Improper carriage (creased, folded or held away from cheek/head). Muzzle--Bridge is straight, broad at base with slight tapering towards tip. The end of the muzzle is broad with well developed chin. Nose is broad rather than round and always black. Lips-Always black; corners closed; inner mouth pigment is preferred dark. Serious Faults--Total lack of mouth pigment (pink mouth). Bite and Dentition--Teeth 42 in number (20 upper, 22 lower), strong, correctly placed, meeting in a scissors bite--lower incisors touching inside of upper incisors. Serious Faults--Level bite; any missing tooth. Disqualifications--Overshot, undershot (when incisors do not touch or mesh); wry mouth; two or more missing teeth.
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck--Powerful, well muscled, moderately long, slightly arched and without loose skin. Topline--The back is firm and level, extending in a straight line from behind the withers to the croup. The back remains horizontal to the ground while the dog is moving or standing. Body--The chest is roomy, broad and deep, reaching to elbow, with well pronounced forechest and well sprung, oval ribs. Back is straight and strong. Loin is short, deep and well muscled. Croup is broad, of medium length and only slightly sloping. Underline of a mature Rottweiler has a slight tuck-up. Males must have two normal testicles properly descended into the scrotum. Disqualification--Unilateral cryptorchid or cryptorchid males. Tail--Tail docked short, close to body, leaving one or two tail vertebrae. The set of the tail is more important than length. Properly set, it gives an impression of elongation of topline; carried slightly above horizontal when the dog is excited or moving.
Shoulder blade is long and well laid back. Upper arm equal in length to shoulder blade, set so elbows are well under body. Distance from withers to elbow and elbow to ground is equal. Legs are strongly developed with straight, heavy bone, not set close together. Pasterns are strong, springy and almost perpendicular to the ground. Feet are round, compact with well arched toes, turning neither in nor out. Pads are thick and hard. Nails short, strong and black. Dewclaws may be removed.
Angulation of hindquarters balances that of forequarters. Upper thigh is fairly long, very broad and well muscled. Stifle joint is well turned. Lower thigh is long, broad and powerful, with extensive muscling leading into a strong hock joint. Rear pasterns are nearly perpendicular to the ground. Viewed from the rear, hind legs are straight, strong and wide enough apart to fit with a properly built body. Feet are somewhat longer than the front feet, turning neither in nor out, equally compact with well arched toes. Pads are thick and hard. Nails short, strong, and black. Dewclaws must be removed.
Outer coat is straight, coarse, dense, of medium length and lying flat. Undercoat should be present on neck and thighs, but the amount is influenced by climatic conditions. Undercoat should not show through outer coat. The coat is shortest on head, ears and legs, longest on breeching. The Rottweiler is to be exhibited in the natural condition with no trimming. Fault--Wavy coat. Serious Faults--Open, excessively short, or curly coat; total lack of undercoat; any trimming that alters the length of the natural coat. Disqualification--Long coat.
Always black with rust to mahogany markings. The demarcation between black and rust is to be clearly defined. The markings should be located as follows: a spot over each eye; on cheeks; as a strip around each side of muzzle, but not on the bridge of the nose; on throat; triangular mark on both sides of prosternum;on forelegs from carpus downward to the toes; on inside of rear legs showing down the front of the stifle and broadening out to front of rear legs from hock to toes, but not completely eliminating black from rear of pasterns; un-der tail; black penciling on toes. The undercoat is gray, tan, or black. Quantity and location of rust markings is important and should not exceed ten percent of body color. Serious Faults--Straw-colored, excessive, insufficient or sooty markings; rust marking other than described above; white marking any place on dog (a few rust or white hairs do not constitute a marking). Disqualifications--Any base color other than black; absence of all markings.
The Rottweiler is a trotter. His movement should be balanced, harmonious, sure, powerful and unhindered, with strong forereach and a powerful rear drive. The motion is effortless, efficient, and ground-covering. Front and rear legs are thrown neither in nor out, as the imprint of hind feet should touch that of forefeet. In a trot the forequarters and hindquarters are mutually coordinated while the back remains level, firm and relatively motionless. As speed increases the legs will converge under body towards a center line.
The Rottweiler is basically a calm, confident and courageous dog with a self-assured aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. A Rottweiler is self-confident and responds quietly and with a wait-and-see attitude to influences in his environment. He has an inherent desire to protect home and family, and is an intelligent dog of extreme hardness and adaptability with a strong willingness to work, making him especially suited as a companion, guardian and general all-purpose dog.
The behavior of the Rottweiler in the show ring should be controlled, willing and adaptable, trained to submit to examination of mouth, testicles, etc. An aloof or reserved dog should not be penalized, as this reflects the accepted character of the breed. An aggressive or belligerent attitude towards other dogs should not be faulted.
A judge shall excuse from the ring any shy Rottweiler. A dog shall be judged fundamentally shy if, refusing to stand for examination, it shrinks away from the judge. A dog that in the opinion of the judge menaces or threatens him/her, or exhibits any sign that it may not be safely approached or examined by the judge in the normal manner, shall be excused from the ring. A dog that in the opinion of the judge attacks any person in the ring shall be disqualified.
Faults - The foregoing is a description of the ideal Rottweiler. Any structural fault that detracts from the above described working dog must be penalized to the extent of the deviation.
Entropion, ectropion. Overshot, undershot (when incisors do not touch or mesh); wry mouth; two or more missing teeth. Unilateral cryptorchid or cryptorchid males. Long coat. Any base color other than black; absence of all markings. A dog that in the opinion of the judge attacks any person in the ring.
Approved May 8, 1990
Effective June 28, 1990
The Rottweiler is a truly unique animal. Centuries of selective breeding have produced a dog with a spirited curiosity about life, a dog fiercely loyal to trusted friends and family members, a dog with intelligence, strength and great beauty.
If you are considering owning one of these magnificent animals, let me prepare you for a challenging experience. Owning a Rottweiler will change your life; watching him grow and fit into the role you have chosen for him while he maintains his own independence and playful nature will give you years of pleasure and enjoyment.
The Rottweiler is one of the oldest breeds known to man. They can be traced back to the first century when they accompanied the Roman Legions across the Alps, guarding prisoners of war and herding cattle. Emperor Nero is said to have kept a number of them around his palace to discourage intruders. Later, Rottweilers served as drovers and cart dogs and their owners discovered that their money was always safe on long journeys to and from market when tied around the necks of these great animals.
The fame of this powerful and courageous breed spread throughout Europe and the New World. Fortunately, care was taken by responsible and dedicated breeders to retain the dominant characteristics of strength, intelligence, bravery and devotion to duty - all these qualities so valued by the ancient Romans and throughout the world today.
The Rottweiler is a family dog; friendly, good natured and loyal. He is willing and able to take a responsible position in the home - often on his back in your favorite easy chair, if you'll let him. Properly socialized he is good with children, big enough to withstand the most enthusiastic roughhousing, but gentle enough to watch over a sleeping baby.
The Rottweiler is a useful dog. He is an excellent guard and watchdog as well as a valued member of many security forces and canine corps. Countless men owe their lives to these valiant animals. His exceptional sense of smell has make him excel in tracking and drug work.
The Rottweiler's quiet dignity and commanding size demands attention, but it is his intelligence and extreme loyalty that people respect and love. He is a careful, ever alert guardian of his family and home.
The Rottweiler is an obedient dog. He is extremely intelligent and has an overwhelming desire to please so he learns quickly and responds eagerly and cheerfully to approval. The Rottweiler is an excellent performer in the field and show ring, as well as the home.
The Rottweiler is a companion. He is faithful and totally devoted to those who love him. A Rottweiler would much rather be outside with his master, while he is shoveling snow, than laying inside by the fire alone.
A Rottweiler is a large, powerfully built animal with an impressive head and blocky conformation. His black coat has distinct rust markings on the face, legs and chest. While out and about with your Rottweiler, you come to expect questions about your dog from admiring strangers, but his intimidating presence could cause some to ask questions from a distance.
If, after learning a bit more about Rottweilers, you still doubt that all of these wonderful qualities can be condensed in one breed, let me urge you to talk to Rottweiler owners. Ask them about their dogs disposition, intelligence, loyalty and zest for life. Ask them about strength, independence, commanding physical presence and willingness to learn. And lastly, ask them if they ever want to own another breed of dog....
But, please, before purchasing a Rottweiler, make sure this is the breed for YOU by reading, getting to know the breed, talking to Code of Ethics breeders and owners, and above all never impulsively buy a Rottweiler.