Where Did Rottweilers Originate From?

Last Updated on October 30, 2021 by Marco C.

Are you a dog lover and would like to know where Rottweilers originate from, here we will trace their paw prints from the beginning?

Are Rottweilers a breed you love or keep?  Their journey through history has been long and rocky, from fierce beginnings that date way back to Roman times to the respected police dogs of the 20th Century. Let’s uncover the Rottweiler history together.

The Rottweiler is one of the most respected dogs today due to its many accomplishments.  Moreover, the American Kennel Club ranks the Rottie as America’s 8th most popular breed.

Where Did Rottweilers Originate From? – Origin and History

Rottweilers originate from the Roman Empire.  Here, these dogs were bred for herding large herds of cattle.  However, they were not the first in this task.

Drover dogs are known to be one of the oldest dog breeds believed to be of an Asian Mastiff type.  Their job was to guard the large herds of cattle against predators, ensure they didn’t stray, and keep them moving for long distances during the day.

The Drover dogs possessed a robust guarding instinct – they were intelligent, tough, and displayed impressive endurance.

It is believed that these drover dogs were used to develop the ancestors of the Rottweilers we know today, even though it is not documented proof.

So when someone asks what breeds make a Rottweiler, you can confidently tell them the drover dogs even if you don’t have any scientific evidence.

Do You Know Where The Rottweilers Name Originate From?

In Southern Germany, there is a town, Rottweil, located east of the Black Forest, and it dates back to Roman times.  Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, the drover dogs were herding cattle and protecting them from rustlers as they made their way to the market in Rottweil.

The town’s central location made it an excellent marketplace and trade center for grain and livestock. Merchants and other farmers traveled from far and wide to do business there.

The name Rottweil appears to have derived from the word “rot,” meaning the red tile roofs on many buildings, and “will,” the Roman word for the villa.

The Rottweiler breed takes its name from the town of Rottweil.

The Rottweiler Breed History In Germany

Besides herding the cattle, the drover dogs were used to haul the butcher’s carts full of meat from town to town for sale.  After the sale of meat, the money purses were tied around the dogs’ necks to protect them from thieves.

During this exciting season, these working dogs received the Butcher’s Dog of Rottweil or the Rottweiler Metzgerhund.

The many local dog breeds around Rottweil during that time were also bred with the drover dogs.

The breeds likely to be a part of the Rottweiler’s ancestry include the Mountain dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Entlebucher, Greater Swiss, and Appenzeller.

Modern breeders believe that most of the dogs introduced by the Romans here were the ancestors of many German breeds.

The Rottweiler In The 19th Century

The Rottweiler was a dynamic, well-utilized breed until the rise of the industrial revolution in the mid-19th Century.  The new Railroads replaced the need to use dogs to get the meat to the market.  Cattle herding became outlawed, and the Rottweiler was out of work!

Following the elimination of the customary jobs, the Rottweiler’s population declined dramatically, almost to the point of extinction.

The Reemergence Of The Rottweiler

Thank goodness the Rottweiler breed did not become extinct.  Can you imagine if we had no Rotties today?  Due to their intelligence, endurance, and strength, the breed survived, and its history continued.

The Rottweiler’s talents were again discovered and put into a whole range of new jobs at the start of the 20th Century.  One of the many breeds that excelled in working in the police service after testing numerous breeds.

In 1910 the Rottweiler received recognition as the 4th official police dog by the German Police Dog Association.  They also worked as guard dogs, military dogs, and other working dog roles.

police dog

Learn more about: How Big Will A German Shepherd Rottweiler Mix Get?

Rotties were among the first breeds to become guide dogs for the blind.  The modern Rottweiler has been developed for these jobs serving the world better than it ever did.

The Modern Rottweiler History

Dog lovers and breeders have much to do with reviving the Rottweiler breed revival.  They have done their best to encourage the Rottweiler’s surge in popularity.

At the beginning of the 20th Century, dog breeding was no longer merely for producing a working canine. Breeders in this Century appreciated dogs genuinely and started to cultivate and advance their favorite breed out of love for them and improve the bred standard.

Despite the many functions Rottie has performed over his long history, it has not changed much in appearance and temperament since the first German breed was produced in 1901.

Recognition For The Rottweiler Breed

With the new breed coming up, a cub was formed in 1907 in Germany to safeguard the purity and welfare of the Rottie breed.

Planned breeding assisted in producing a better brand and focusing on the breed’s appearance.  The breeding records were properly organized starting in Germany to preserve this breed’s qualities.

Numerous German Rottweiler Clubs joined to create the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub (ADRK) in 1921.  This is the only national association for the breed in Germany.  The ADRK is famous for its strict rules.

German Rottweilers also tend to be slightly larger than American ones. In America, The American Kennel Club also registered the Rottweiler as the 8th breed.


So, where do Rottweilers come from?  We can say they came from Germany.  Rotties like to take their time while adopting a wait-and-see attitude with strangers. This breed needs to mingle with other puppies and family members to eliminate aggression towards kids and other pets.

Rottweilers are the 8th most popular breed in America for many years now.   These dogs have bravely served as search and rescue dogs after disasters like the Oklahoma City bombing and the September 11 World Trade Center. When appropriately trained, socialized early and exercised consistently from a young age, Rottweilers become confident, calm, and courageous.

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