Rottweiler history

Hmmm, where to begin....
There are many theories about the origin of the Rottweiler that we know today. I will attempt to describe the most popular view by the German, Strebel.

The breed is an ancient one...
whose history stretches back to the Roman Empire. In those times, the eleventh legion traveled with their "meat on the hoof" and required the assistance of working dogs to herd the cattle. During this time they were supposed to be the Roman droving dog, combined of local dogs the army met on its travels, and dogs with molosser appearance coming from England and The Netherlands. The principal ancestors of the first Rottweilers AD74 would not be recognizable as the dogs we know today. One route the army traveled was through Württemberg and onto the small market town of Rottweil.This German region was eventually to become an important cattle area.

There, the descendants of the Roman cattle dogs proved their worth...
in protecting the cattle from robbers and wild animals, driving the livestock and then after slaughter pulling the carcasses back on a cart. Rottweilers were said to have been used by traveling butchers at markets during the Middle Ages to guard money pouches tied to their dogs collars and this was the safest place for them to keep their money from robbers and bandits. The dog then became known as the "Butchers Dog", "Metzgerhund", after it's master. Since there was a large concentration of the dogs in the vicinity of the Old German Empire City of Rottweil, the dog acquired the name: ROTTWEILER. However, by the end of the 19th century as railroads became the main method for moving stock to market, the breed had declined so much that in 1900 there was only one female to be found in the town of Rottweil. The steep decrease in the breed lead to it's near extinction which was not lucky for us today. The breed's temperament and character attracted new faithful friends in all professional and social classes beyond the original cattle dealers. The butchers bred this type of dog solely for their working ability and their personal use.  They were loyal dogs to the butcher and his family. Rottweilers were not used only to drive, herd and protect cattle but also as draught dogs. It was a usual sight to see a Rottweiler pulling carts of butchers, bakers, milkmen and country.

With the passage of time...
an outstanding guarding and drover dog, as well as cart dog, was the result.The Rottweiler's long association and co - co-operation with man has molded the breed in conformation as well as temperament. The Rottweiler was by that time an individual breed of it's own characteristics when the German writer Countess Agar von Hagen, accurately described as she wrote "The rottweiler, this sturdy helper is loyal, full of good humor, it is kind to children, it makes a definite distinction between service and non service. In private life the dangerous defender become a gentle lamb. Its wise eyes which, can gaze with terrorizing effect, can, to a friend, show a sincere and reliable trustworthy expression. The Rottweiler is not elegant. It is confidently happy with a deep mind, strength is it's nobility" 

With the dawn of the 20th Century...
when the police were soliciting service dogs, the Rottweiler was quickly recognized as admirably suited to this type of duty. New functions were found for the Rottweiler to demonstrate it's abilities based on its physical qualities, adaptable nature, and natural intelligence and courage in the face of danger. It was this natural protective instinct and hardness, coupled with the willingness to please and train-ability, that led to his use in the military and police and enabled him to survive two world wars. These characteristics certainly have influenced the enormous population explosion and his present popularity.

A Rottweiler was first shown at a dog show in in Heilbronn in 1882.
The German, Mr. Hell, reported that the dog showing then met modern requirements only to a lesser degree. 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. The Rottweiler was later recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1935. The first revision to the standard was not made until 1979 and the second in 1990. The 1990 revision brought the AKC Standard closer to the ADRK Standard (Algemeiner Deutcher Rottweiler Klub of Germany).

So, the objective in the breeding of Rottweilers...
is to produce a powerful, yet vigorous, dog,black with clearly defined rust (mahogany) markings, which, despite its substance, is stamped with an air of nobility and is capable of fulfilling the role for which it was bred as companion, guardian, and working dog.

Through the stages of development, described here...
the Rottweiler finally became a recognized breed among the modern breeds of pure bred dogs. Today's planned breeding defines what was earlier left to coincidence and nature, its objective is to breed and enhance its sensibility. Let this be the guideline and ultimate objectives of breeders in all countries.

Credit to tcharkuldu.com for much of the information adapted here.

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