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Rottweiler Insights

THE ROTTWEILER HEADPIECE

 

Rottweiler breeders and judges comment on important features of breed type

 

The Rottweiler's Head Typifies The Breed

 

It's the first thing judges examine.  How would you evaluate this dog's head?

 

Head type (size and shape) indicates the Rottweiler's purpose whereas expression conveys attitude and personality.  The eyes, ears, and mouth (closed, indicating serious or fearful or open, relaxed, smiling) signal the dog's mood and how he should be approached by a stranger.  Even non-dog owners can read canine expression and body language.

 

Your comments on the virtues and faults you see in this example are invited.

Send Rottweiler Insight To Your Friends

 

The photo has been editorially removed.

 

Test your knowledge of breed type.  What is this dog thinking?  Would you like to pet him?

(contact Breed Editor to request this feature for your breed)

 

Barrott Rottweilers - This head is a very good example of breed type, There is good proportion between Skull and Muzzle, Cheek is correct, Flew and mouth color is correct, Eye color is excellent, Ear set is correct and skull shape appears to be correct. Overall an Excellent specimen. I would be happy to breed that head every day. Thoughts, This dog is thinking I LOVE YOU, whether it be bait, toy or person.  
Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 4:20:32 PM

Betty Dukee - Looking over the head on this Rottweiler I can't find any faults! He has a broad skull, dark eyes, dark gums, his expression is fearless, and his color is very good! I loved and bred, showed Rottweilers for 15 years. My last Rottweiler died after 15 years of a great life. His name was Wolfie.  I am now 61 and really miss the breed.  We always OFA certified our Rotties.

Saturday, May 05, 2012, 11:49:10 AM

Bernie McDowell - He is being baited by someone he knows and trusts...seems relaxed and anticipating the treat. As long as a person approaches this dog with respect, I think a new friendship will ensue...gorgeous head. No loose flews that I notice. Since all of our dogs are descendants of imports, not sure why that matters. There is only the Rottweiler...not American or German, Polish, Hungarian and so on... What's he thinking......"gimme that little toy!"
Thursday, May 03, 2012, 5:12:41 PM

Barbara at Asgard Rottweilers - I am learning a lot! I just came back to check this page and I am glad that I did. I can't really say much as I am a beginner compared to you people but I have to say that this is the photo and all the speculation in the world won't change that. I think they meant for us to comment on what we see, not so much what we would want to see in the breed. In other words, I think this dog is terrific!

Thursday, May 03, 2012, 6:04:03 PM

Jeff Shaver - Glad you came back Barbara ....
Thursday, May 03, 2012, 7:06:00 PM

Steven at Darkstarr - [Lynn's Quote ] Also would hazard a guess that when the dog is not smiling it has loose flew. We definitely need a photo with the side view of the head and with the mouth closed.
[My Reply ]The flews on this dog are correct and tight. Maybe what is causing your confusion is the thickness of his cheek muscles? As seen in the photo, you can see more separation between the teeth and the flew at the corner of the mouth than typically seen on dogs here. The thick well formed cheek muscles are an essential part of a correctly constructed Rottweiler head and is typical on a dog having pronounced zygomatic arches. The more pronounced the zygomatic arch the greater the area for muscle attach & development which naturally results in thicker cheek muscles. There is nothing in this photo to suggest loose flews
[Quote] So I would warrant a guess that this dog is an import or directly descendant.
[My Reply ]I would agree, and being an import is a good thing! Historically our breeding programs in this country have relied on the continued influx of import dogs to help maintain correct breed type. While, here, we emphasizing balance side gait and clean down & back movement, Europeans place their emphasis more on breed type issues like correct constructed heads, eye and mouth color, ear sets, bone, markings (definition, color, size), correct temperament, powerful far reaching side gait, etc. Our Rottweiler breeding programs, in this country, have greatly benefited from the blending of our movement emphasized American Rottweilers with the breed type emphasized European Rottweilers. You don't have to take my word for it. A quick study of our Gold Sires list will show over 50% are either imports or sons of imports!  Interestingly, at one time, an import coming to this country was looked forward to with great anticipation. Now, since the tail issue, they are looked upon by a certain crowd with resentment.  Despite this resentment, it does not eliminate our dependency on imports to help maintain correct breed type of the Rottweiler in this country.
[Quote] How'd I do?
[My Reply] Not very well I'm afraid! Maybe you need to to take another look at the standard and try again later.
Thursday, May 03, 2012, 2:28:33 PM

Lynn Lopez - SR: I was right on all points. However, you make some assumptions without any basis. This dog is not awful. However, what I see *and what I was asked to comment on* is what the pictures shows. Furrowing, incorrect ear-set, lack of clear definition (according to the AKC standard) between the base color and the markings, and a possibility of wetness.  Please look again at the correct Rottweiler head- 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.  The dog in question does not exhibit properly set ears, in my opinion. If the owner has a written critique of the head, perhaps it can be shared here. I think the critique will agree with my notes.  Having been involved in the latest judge's education handbook, I take the standard very seriously.

Thursday, June 07, 2012, 6:54:48 AM

Steven at Darkstarr - Lynn, how exactly were you involved in the latest judges handbook? Did you staple the pages together? Just about anyone looking at this photo can tell he has a very nice head for a Rottweiler. The more you try to diminish the quality of his head, only serves to show how inapt your own expertise of Rottweiler conformation is and reflects poorly on your creditability. I'm curious. How many champion Rottweilers have you bred?
Friday, June 08, 2012, 2:42:16 PM

Steven at Darkstarr - [Lynn's Quote ] Because it is difficult for a breeder to tell the owner of a dog what its problems are, it is unfair, I think to present a head as no one will be wont to say what is wrong. I thought about it and held back criticism of the dog's head. Two things that would disturb me are the ears, their set, and the dome. It appears to be furrowed.
[My Reply] There isn't anything wrong with his ears as far as can be determined from this photo. The length is mid-cheek as specified by the standard and lies close to the head as specified by the standard. From this angle and with the head cocked, it is hard to say anything definitive about the ear set. You can only determine if the back skull is dome shaped from a side profile photo which this is not, but there is no indication of dome shape from the angle of this photo. All Rottweilers will display wrinkling while panting. This is a non-issue!
[Lynn's quote] Another difficulty is the muddy color (lack of good definition between the mahogany and the black). However, this is typical of the import, and not as typical of the Ambred dog.
[My Reply] Actually, this Rottweiler in the photo has rich mahogany markings like what is specified in the standard and not the lighter tan markings typically seen here. (TO BE CONTINUED)
Thursday, May 03, 2012, 2:27:55 PM

CJ - This dog looks to me to be focused, intent on a toy or treat. I would probably pet him, unless his demeanor changed considerably. BUT, I know nothing about Rottweiler type, as I have Shiba Inu, different ball game entirely!
Thursday, May 03, 2012, 8:42:44 AMM

Lynn Lopez - Because it is difficult for a breeder to tell the owner of a dog what its problems are, it is unfair, I think to present a head as no one will be wont to say what is wrong. I thought about it and held back criticism of the dog's head. Two things that would disturb me are the ears, their set, and the dome. It appears to be furrowed.  Another difficulty is the muddy color (lack of good definition between the mahogany and the black). However, this is typical of the import, and not as typical of the Ambred dog.  Also would hazard a guess that when the dog is not smiling it has loose flew. We definitely need a photo with the side view of the head and with the mouth closed.  So I would warrant a guess that this dog is an import or directly descendant.  How'd I do?
Thursday, May 03, 2012, 8:13:33 AMM

Jeff Shaver - All Rottweilers in this country are descended from imports!

Thursday, May 03, 2012, 8:47:58 AM

Steven at Darkstarr - He seems to be displaying the "Good Humor" affection characteristic of the breed. If he was looking at you while display this, he would be approachable as long you properly introduce yourself by confidently offer your hand cupped downward, low and in front of his his face so he can smell you. In this photo, he is looking to the side possibly to his owner and so the affection he is displaying isn't necessarily intend for you.  While this is , obviously, a photo of a very nice head, it isn't from an angle to fully appreciate the head's proportions. What we can say is he/she has a correct almond shaped eye (dark), correct length & close fitting ear, Dark mouth pigment and lips & nice full muzzle (Not snipey or lacking in substance). A full head, specifically a pronounced zygomatic, (cheek bone under the eye) and well developed cheeks. Nice coat with nice markings.  It is impossible to determine the number of teeth, bite, stop, backskull/muzzle length ratios, etc from this photo.  Sidenote: I have always considered the Rottweiler's muzzle to be the foundation of a correct Rottweiler head and the zygomatic arch the corner stone of that foundation.  Without correctness in these two fundamental characteristics, the head is fundamentally flawed no matter how expressive the rest of the head may be.
Thursday, May 03, 2012, 7:10:33 AM

Pam at Pamton Rottweilers - Correct male head with dark almond eyes, dark mouth and lovely ear set. Would love to see the rest of the dog, his head is very impressive. Dog looks attentive. Would have no problem approaching the dog, would love to pet him.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 8:45:59 PM

corblack@embarqmail.com - He looks inquisitive but wary. I would approach him, and let his body language tell me how safe I am.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 7:28:57 PMM

Guest 2 - Head - breed standard taken from AKC:: 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.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 7:21:34 PM

Woodenbridge Labradors and Rotti lover - Beautiful dog!!!
Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 6:58:14 PM

Guest - This is a great specimen.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 6:56:05 PM

Peggy Garner, Tarheel Rottweilers - Gorgeous Male! Great color and markings---head is great, color of mouth exceptional, nice clean teeth, know it looks like he is missing teeth on the lower right side, but these teeth are the smallest. From this angle, topline looks to be less than straight and croup looks a little high. BUT---would need to see him stacked and---from the side! Nice thick neck, short muzzle, dark eyes! Would ask owner if he is approachable first, nothing about this dog would alarm me! By looking at him, would think he is wagging his tail or nub! Appears to be looking, lovingly at his owner! Wouldn't be surprised if he is titled---conformation and possibly Sch. titled!
Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 6:08:31 PM

Terry Williams - Blaxwil's Rottweilers - In my opinion, this dog is thinking "Hello how are you, and what's your name"? The expression appears to be very inviting and approachable. I would pet this dog based on the exact moment the photo was taken. However, would I say the same if his mouth was closed? Hmmmm.. Also, closing the mouth would change what I think the dog is thinking at this moment in my opinion. Without all the hypothetical what if's, I would say this dog is saying hello and I would pet him.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 4:28:52 PM

Barbara at Asgard Rottweilers - I think you are right. Cool, about the mouth. It really does say what the dog is thinking.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 6:35:24 PM

Elsa Laplante Elswick Rottwielers Canada - Looks like a strong male head . Love the dark mouth, would like to see the rest of him as to see if he had a tail , The total dog would be nice to view. Head is on high alert, making this dog look confident, and watching something, from what I see.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 4:26:02 PMM
Roxanne - Nice Strong masculine head, dark eyes, almond eye, dark nose, dark pigmentation, doesn't look throaty, ear set looks correct, the one on the right is hard to say though. Nice strong looking neck from this picture. Also muzzle looks good from this picture. Non-threatening. Can I have my treat now? Yes I would pet him after asking owner.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 4:07:32 PMM
Lynn Lopez - The head is strong, the mouth color great, eye color very correct. I would love to see the profile for the full picture.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 3:26:13 PM
Fred Lanting - Background: 1. I am a practical dog psychologist. 2. As an all-breed judge, I have judged Rottweilers all over the world. 3. The only four times I have been bitten in the show ring have been by Rottweilers. Analysis: This dog is neutral. He is not looking at me (the cameraman), so we can't tell what he is "thinking" but we can see that he is moderately alert. "Aware" might be a better word. He presents no threat, and if he were to not change his expression notably as he approaches or is approached by a person, he would be a pretty safe bet to have normal interactive behavior with humans.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 1:58:14 PM

Lynn Lopez - Sorry 'bout that Fred! I know that hurt. I have never been bitten by a Rottie, but have been bitten by my collies and cockers. At least they are smaller and have smaller teeth.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 3:29:20 PM

David - Okay, I must admit I know this dog. He has all the 'extras' I am now looking for. I have petted him on several occasions and am so impressed with his humor and demeanor. The first time I met him he was definitely at alert when I walked up to him in a DARK parking lot. When he recognized I was NOT a threat to his owner who was walking with him at the time, he relaxed and greeted me with no reservations. He has a wonderful temperament, very sure of himself, a great body and nice / appropriate proportions. His movement is also quite nice. I would be very happy to have him in my home, show him in obedience/tracking AND if the opportunity arose special him (even though those days appear to be over for me and my wife).
Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 12:40:30 PM

Lynn Lopez - A Rottweiler is supposed to be aloof and from the standard your protector. I would want a dog to be protective of me and warn anyone approaching in a dark parking lot that he's there and he knows what he's doing. The scenario you relay seems off.
Thursday, May 03, 2012, 8:16:27 AM

Jeff - Seems like what Dave wrote describes perfectly what is expected ..."Definitely AT ALERT" with a stranger in a dark area , until the owner approaches and signifies by actions the situation is OK .
Thursday, May 03, 2012, 11:45:01 AM

janc - I like this dog's head. He has correct ear size and set, dark eye, dark mouth pigment, broad skull, not too wrinkled by today's standard. I particularly like his correct eye. Too many Rottweilers today have a round eye and that is incorrect. His markings could be a little more distinct.. Overall he a pleasant head to look at that sets on a strong neck.
I also like his calm, relaxed expression. He has what I refer to as a kind expression and soft eye.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 12:09:46 PM
Rose Adler, Kuhnheit Rottweilers - Confident demeanor. He looks relaxed but alert. Ears sit well to head, eye color and shape correct. Fabulous dark mouth. Large clean, white teeth. Tan markings well defined and good color. Well pronounced stop. Muzzle/head proportions look very good. Slight wrinkle but that is permissible when alert. Being really picky would like a little more zygomatic arch. If the owners don't want him my address is… He is interested in what is in front of him but not on high alert, is relaxed. Yes I would pet him - he has a kind, calm expression, but would ask the owner's permission first. Speaking to the owner also gives the dog the opportunity to acknowledge my presence and indicate acceptance (or not) of an approach.
Tuesday, May 01, 2012, 9:23:55 PM

Jeff Shaver - For sure a relaxed and approachable look , and thanks for reminding everyone Rose, always need to ask!
Tuesday, May 01, 2012, 11:43:24 PM

Louise Russell, Ubersein Rottweilers, Breeder/Judge - This dog is looking calm and willing to be approached. Head of good strength, typeful. Ears well set, correct dark almond shaped eye, excellent mouth and nose pigmentation. Strong large teeth. Would prefer skin to be tighter to the skull and cheek and just a fraction more rise of skull. Markings are of a good hue, should be better defined. It is quite possibly just the angle of the shot, but the muzzle appears tilted a little backwards. This fault is creeping in with some of the extreme heads that are becoming commonplace - generally these will have large very domed heads with very short and often shallow muzzles that don’t match the skull.
Tuesday, May 01, 2012, 5:34:50 PM

Henry, Dog Owner - I just heard about this on my breed chatlist this morning, what a great way to learn about the dos and don'ts. A friend of mine just got her first Rottie puppy and his head is almost roundish from the front with a wide nose that fits his face (even for a puppy, very masculine). This picture almost makes the dog look like he hasn't much of a nose. I thought domed was a description for a Chihuahua head? Like the comment above, I would never go up to any dog and try to pet it. He may be relaxed now but putting your fingers in his face without being introduced, you could draw back a knub.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 10:44:38 AM

Jeff - Henry, from the front view here, you just can't see the muzzle length!
Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 11:46:33 AM

Barbara at Asgard Rottweilers - I think this is a wonderful "old style" dog, relaxed, ready to be examined. Exceptional strength of muzzle and jaw, very desirable dark eye, good open nostrils, and I would guess he has full dentition. I would like to see the rest of him. Do the rich rust eye and cheek markings continue on legs or is he muddy?
Tuesday, May 01, 2012, 1:59:35 PMM

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