Rottweiler Breeds: German, American, or Roman?
If you are a Rottweiler owner, you may be a bit frustrated when somebody with a know-it-all attitude stops you on the road to ask you if your Rottweiler is German or American. After being asked this so many times, and with a five-minute chat ending up lasting “hours,” I now cut it short and simply tell them my Rottweilers are “Tucsonians” since they were both born in Tucson, Arizona. This often leaves them surprised enough to have them thinking for a split second; just enough time for me to graciously leave and continue my walk.
So what is the whole story about German, American, and Roman Rottweilers? You can perhaps get a hint by listening to your Rottweiler’s accent and personal taste. If your Rottie has a German accent and loves bratwurst and beer, you have no doubt he is German. If he has picked up a bit of an American accent with a touch of slang like “whatzz up?!” when he sees you and loves to eat pancakes in the morning, you know he is definitely American. And what about those Rotties who love spaghetti and lasagna? You can bet they are Roman Rottweilers.
Jokes aside, what is it about Rotties being given all these different nationalities? Let’s shed some light on this topic once and for all, shall we?
Different Types of Rottweilers
Let’s take a look at all these types of Rottweilers so you can shed some light on the type you own. Don’t get too excited, though, as you will be deluded as it’s not like real Rottweilers come in all these different sizes, shapes and colors.
So your Rottweiler has developed a liking for ice cream and apple pie, huh? Is he also a big fan of Bruce Springsteen? If so, the song “Born in the USA” is the perfect tune for him. You may have heard some people say that American Rottweilers are leggy, tall creatures lacking the large, blocky head that is the hallmark of the Rottweiler breed. The truth is an American Rottweiler is simply a Rottweiler born in the United States.
So, what’s the story about these American specimens being so tall, leggy and small-headed? There is an explanation for this. Unfortunately, as with many other breeds, the Rottweiler breed has suffered from indiscriminate breeding by breeders who care less about adhering to the breed standard and more about making quick money.
They just breed anything that is large, black and tan and looks slightly like a Rottweiler. These specimens may look like a far cry from that beautiful Rottweiler you in your dog breed book or on the AKC website. However, it is also true that many American code-of-ethics breeders still produce wonderful specimens that compete in the show ring and are proud ambassadors of the breed.
There is no doubt hearing those German commands: “Platz!” “Sitz!” “Komm!” is music to your German Rottweiler’s ears. If sauerkraut is your Rott’s favorite condiment on his bratwurst, and he craves kartoffelsalat and a slice of Schwarzwälder kirschtorte every now and then, then yes, with no shadow of doubt, you have a German Rottie. The truth is that your German Rottweiler is simply a Rottweiler born in Germany, just as an American Rottweiler is a Rottweiler born on U.S. soil.
So why do many German Rottweilers look much better than the average American Rottweiler? Why are so many Rottweilers imported from Germany? Why do German Rottweilers have thick bones, an impressive body and blocky heads? The answer is simple: they are bred better.
In Germany, the ADRK, which is the Rottweiler club of Germany, has very strict rules and guidelines when it comes to breeding Rotties. Only the best are allowed to breed, and these are those that adhere to the standard, are healthy, obtain good hips scores, are equipped with good nerves and pass several breed-qualification tests. Pretty impressive, huh? It’s no wonder these Rotts are so stunning and so often blessed with impressive temperaments!
Note: The ADRK standard puts an emphasis on the fact this breed must be good-natured, placid and fond of children; a far cry from the vicious Rottweiler portrayed by the media that eats children for lunch!
So, your Rottweiler loves pizza, lasagna and spaghetti, plays soccer and listens to Pavarotti music when he has a chance? Is he proud of having accompanied Roman soldiers along with their herds of cows in his past? If your ears prick up upon hearing “Roman Rottweiler,” don’t get too excited. Unless your Rottweiler was born in Rome, you have most likely been a victim of a scam.
There are no such things as Roman Rottweilers, King Rottweilers, and my favorite, “Colossal Rottweilers.” Indiscriminate breeders have been breeding such specimens in hopes of making some extra money by scamming those with little knowledge of the breed. Such breeders will tell you that their Rottweilers are much larger and heavier than the average Rottweiler and thus superior.
While such specimens may be bigger, in reality, they do not adhere to the breed standard, and most of all, their size makes them much more susceptible to orthopedic disorders—the same disorders that ethical breeders try their best to wean out.
What About Other Types of Rottweilers?
There are also several other types of Rottweilers. Let’s take a critical look at these Rottweilers so we can determine what the real Rottweiler is and how to stay away from unethical breeders trying to make a quick buck.
It’s common for people to ask “what breed is your dog?” when they see a Rottweiler with a tail. Some people are so accustomed to the docked look that when they see a Rottweiler with a tail, they quickly assume it must be a different breed of dog. Many do not even know that Rottweilers are actually born with a tail (which is—sadly—usually docked when the pup is three days old).
You see more and more Rottweilers with tails lately, as people start realizing how beautiful and stunning this breed looks when they are left as nature intended. A tail is often a sign that a Rottweiler may have come from Germany since there, the practice of tail docking has been banned since 1999. Indeed, the ADRK standard calls for a tail in natural condition—not docked.
If you hear about a breeder selling “rare Rottweilers,” run away! “Rare” often means a far cry from the standard and can often be a sign that the Rottweiler may have even be mixed with other breeds to obtain color and size variances. In this case, you would be spending your money on a mutt! Let’s take a looks at some “rare Rottweilers.”
- Red Rottweilers: There is no such thing as a “red Rottweiler.” According to the breed standard, a Rottweiler must be “black with clearly defined markings of a rich tan.” Any other colors are not admitted; it’s as simple as that!
- Blue or Albino Rottweilers: The same applies here as above, and this goes for other colors as well.
- Long-Haired Rottweilers: As stunning as these specimens may look, they are not acceptable by standard. Indeed, according to the American Kennel Club, long hair in a Rottie is considered a disqualification. If you come by a breeder selling a long-haired Rottie, they should not be asking a higher price for them. While a long-haired pup may occasionally pop up in a litter of standard Rotts, an ethical breeder should actually ask considerably less for it since it is not “showable” and doesn’t adhere to the breed standard.
So, who are the real Rottweilers and how can you avoid “imitations” and rarities? The real Rottweiler is a specimen that adheres to the standard for perfection created by ADRK. It is upon this standard that all other standards, including the American and British standards, are based, explains Richard G. Beauchamp in the book Rottweilers for Dummies. Some slight differences may be the fact that ADRK calls for slightly higher specimens and natural tails.
Code-of-ethics breeders breed so that the Rottweiler adheres to this standard. If you put a Rottweiler obtained by a serious code-of-ethics breeder adhering to the AKC standard in the United States next to a Rottweiler obtained by a German breeder adhering to the ADRK standard, you should hardly be able to tell them apart. Indeed, no matter the country of origin, the best representatives of the Rottweiler breed come from ethical breeders who adhere to the standard.
So, how many types of Rottweiler are ultimately there? The answer is two: the well-bred ones and the badly bred ones. The type you choose is ultimately up to you.
German vs. American Rottweilers