Description & History

The Rottweiler comes from Rottweil, near Wuerttemberg, in southern Germany.

The breed was created from local shepherd's dogs and from a Mastiff-like strain introduced years before by the Roman Legions.

As hundreds of years ago travel was extremely dangerous, prosperous butchers and cattle dealers took Rottweilers with them when they rode around the country to purchase cattle.

The Rottweilers had a dual purpose: firstly to carry money pouches attached to their collars and, secondly, to drive and guard the cattle on the return journey.

With the advancement of rail transport, the Rottweiler was no longer needed for these purposes and by the end of the century the breed was on the decline. German enthusiasts decided to rescue it because they considered its many attributes were worth saving.

The German police were the first organisation to use the breed as guard dogs and the German military used them successfully in the First World War. Since then they have been used by other countries for patrolling and guard duties.

The Rottweiler first came to Great Britain in 1936, but was not properly established until after the Second World War. It was recognised by the British Kennel Club in 1966.

Rottweilers in Great Britain are guard and companion dogs. However, in a number of other countries the breed is still used as a working dog, mostly by police forces and the military. In Scandinavian countries the Rottweiler is used for pulling sleds and is engaged in mountain rescue.

Rosamund Walters.

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