Rottweiler Breed Standards
AKC & Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub e.V.
American Kennel Club (AKC) – Working Group
Rottweiler Breed Standard
Approved May 8, 1990 - Effective June 28, 1990
A Look Back
The Rottweiler's ancestors were the drover's dogs accompanying the herds the Romans brought with them when invading Europe. The controllable herding and guarding instincts were recognized by the Germans, and dogs were selectively bred for these traits. As need for its services diminished, the Rottweiler almost fell into extinction. In the early 1900s, a newly formed club established a breed standard. The breed has not appreciably changed since that time.
The ideal Rottweiler is a medium large, robust and powerful dog, black with clearly defined rust markings. His compact and substantial build denotes great strength, agility and endurance. Dogs are characteristically more massive throughout with larger frame and heavier bone than bitches. Bitches are distinctly feminine, but without weakness of substance or structure.
Size, Proportion, Substance - Dogs--24 inches to 27 inches. Bitches--22 inches to 25 inches, with preferred size being mid-range of each sex. Correct proportion is of primary importance, as long as size is within the standard's range. The length of body, from prosternum to the rearmost projection of the rump, is slightly longer than the height of the dog at the withers, the most desirable proportion of the height to length being 9 to 10. The Rottweiler is neither coarse nor shelly. Depth of chest is approximately fifty percent (50%) of the height of the dog. His bone and muscle mass must be sufficient to balance his frame, giving a compact and very powerful appearance. Serious Faults--Lack of proportion, undersized, oversized, reversal of sex characteristics (bitchy dogs, doggy bitches).
Head - 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.
Neck, Topline, Body - Neck--Powerful, well muscled, moderately long, slightly arched and without loose skin. Topline--The back is firm and level, extending in a straight line from behind the withers to the croup. The back remains horizontal to the ground while the dog is moving or standing. Body--The chest is roomy, broad and deep, reaching to elbow, with well pronounced forechest and well sprung, oval ribs. Back is straight and strong. Loin is short, deep and well muscled. Croup is broad, of medium length and only slightly sloping. Underline of a mature Rottweiler has a slight tuck-up. Males must have two normal testicles properly descended into the scrotum. Disqualification--Unilateral cryptorchid or cryptorchid males. Tail--Tail docked short, close to body, leaving one or two tail vertebrae. The set of the tail is more important than length. Properly set, it gives an impression of elongation of topline; carried slightly above horizontal when the dog is excited or moving.
Forequarters - Shoulder blade is long and well laid back. Upper arm equal in length to shoulder blade, set so elbows are well under body. Distance from withers to elbow and elbow to ground is equal. Legs are strongly developed with straight, heavy bone, not set close together. Pasterns are strong, springy and almost perpendicular to the ground. Feet are round, compact with well arched toes, turning neither in nor out. Pads are thick and hard. Nails short, strong and black. Dewclaws may be removed.
Hindquarters - Angulation of hindquarters balances that of forequarters. Upper thigh is fairly long, very broad and well muscled. Stifle joint is well turned. Lower thigh is long, broad and powerful, with extensive muscling leading into a strong hock joint. Rear pasterns are nearly perpendicular to the ground. Viewed from the rear, hind legs are straight, strong and wide enough apart to fit with a properly built body. Feet are somewhat longer than the front feet, turning neither in nor out, equally compact with well arched toes. Pads are thick and hard. Nails short, strong, and black. Dewclaws must be removed.
Coat - Outer coat is straight, coarse, dense, of medium length and lying flat. Undercoat should be present on neck and thighs, but the amount is influenced by climatic conditions. Undercoat should not show through outer coat. The coat is shortest on head, ears and legs, longest on breeching. The Rottweiler is to be exhibited in the natural condition with no trimming. Fault--Wavy coat. Serious Faults--Open, excessively short, or curly coat; total lack of undercoat; any trimming that alters the length of the natural coat. Disqualification--Long coat.
Color - Always black with rust to mahogany markings. The demarcation between black and rust is to be clearly defined. The markings should be located as follows: a spot over each eye; on cheeks; as a strip around each side of muzzle, but not on the bridge of the nose; on throat; triangular mark on both sides of prosternum; on forelegs from carpus downward to the toes; on inside of rear legs showing down the front of the stifle and broadening out to front of rear legs from hock to toes, but not completely eliminating black from rear of pasterns; under tail; black penciling on toes. The undercoat is gray, tan, or black. Quantity and location of rust markings is important and should not exceed ten percent of body color. Serious Faults--Straw-colored, excessive, insufficient or sooty markings; rust marking other than described above; white marking any place on dog (a few rust or white hairs do not constitute a marking). Disqualifications--Any base color other than black; absence of all markings.
Gait - The Rottweiler is a trotter. His movement should be balanced, harmonious, sure, powerful and unhindered, with strong forereach and a powerful rear drive. The motion is effortless, efficient, and ground-covering. Front and rear legs are thrown neither in nor out, as the imprint of hind feet should touch that of forefeet. In a trot the forequarters and hindquarters are mutually coordinated while the back remains level, firm and relatively motionless. As speed increases the legs will converge under body towards a center line.
Temperament - The Rottweiler is basically a calm, confident and courageous dog with a self-assured aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. A Rottweiler is self-confident and responds quietly and with a wait-and-see attitude to influences in his environment. He has an inherent desire to protect home and family, and is an intelligent dog of extreme hardness and adaptability with a strong willingness to work, making him especially suited as a companion, guardian and general all-purpose dog.
The behavior of the Rottweiler in the show ring should be controlled, willing and adaptable, trained to submit to examination of mouth, testicles, etc. An aloof or reserved dog should not be penalized, as this reflects the accepted character of the breed. An aggressive or belligerent attitude towards other dogs should not be faulted.
A judge shall excuse from the ring any shy Rottweiler. A dog shall be judged fundamentally shy if, refusing to stand for examination, it shrinks away from the judge. A dog that in the opinion of the judge menaces or threatens him/her, or exhibits any sign that it may not be safely approached or examined by the judge in the normal manner, shall be excused from the ring. A dog that in the opinion of the judge attacks any person in the ring shall be disqualified.
Faults - The foregoing is a description of the ideal Rottweiler. Any structural fault that detracts from the above described working dog must be penalized to the extent of the deviation.
Disqualifications - Entropion, ectropion. Overshot, undershot (when incisors do not touch or mesh); wry mouth; two or more missing teeth. Unilateral cryptorchid or cryptorchid males. Long coat. Any base color other than black; absence of all markings. A dog that in the opinion of the judge attacks any person in the ring.
F.C.I. Standard Nr. 147 / 19.06.2000 / D
Rottweiler Breed Standard
Date of publication: 06/04/2000
Utilization: Companion, service/working dog
Klassifikation FCI: Group 2 (Pinscher/Schnauzer type, Molossian type/Swiss Mountain/Cattle Dogs/other breeds) Section 2.1 Molossian type, Mastiff type with working trial.
Brief Historical Summary
The Rottweiler is considered to be one of the oldest dog breeds. Its origin goes back to Roman times. These dogs were kept as herder or driving dogs. They marched over the Alps with the Roman legions, protecting the humans and driving their cattle. In the region of Rottweil, these dogs met and mixed with the native dogs in a natural crossing. The main task of the Rottweiler now became the driving and guarding of the herds of cattle and the defence of their masters and their property. This breed acquired its name from the old free city of Rottweil and was known as the "Rottweil butcher`s dog".
The butchers bred this type of dog purely for performance and usefulness. In due course, a first rate watch and driving dog evolved which could also be used as a draught dog. When, at the beginning of the twentieth century, various breeds were needed for police service, the Rottweiler was amongst those tested. It soon became evident that the breed was highly suitable for the tasks set by police service and therefore they were officially recognized as police dogs in 1910.
Rottweiler breeders aim at a dog of abundant strength, black coated with clearly defined rich tan markings, whose powerful appearance does not lack nobility and which is exceptionally well suited to being a companion, service and working dog.
The Rottweiler is a medium to large size, stalwart dog, neither heavy nor light and neither leggy nor weedy. His correctly proportioned, compact and powerful build leads to the conclusion of great strength, agility and endurance.
Behaviour / Temperament
Good natured, placid in basic disposition and fond of children, very devoted, obedient, biddable and eager to work. His appearance is natural and rustic, his behaviour self assured, steady and fearless. He reacts to his surroundings with great alertness.
Cranial Region: Skull: Of medium length, broad between the ears. Forehead line moderately arched as seen from the side. Occipital bone well developed without being conspicious. Stop: Well defined.
Nose: Nose well developed, more broad than round with relatively large nostrils, always black.
Muzzle: The foreface should appear neither elongated nor shortened in relation to the cranial region. Straight nasal bridge, broad at base, moderately tapered.
Lips: Black, close fitting, corner of the mouth not visible, gum as dark as possible.
Jaws / Teeth: Upper and lower jaw strong and broad. Strong complete dentition (42 teeth) with scissor bite, the upper incisors closely overlapping the lower incisors.
Cheeks: Zygomatic arches pronounced.
Eyes: Of medium size, almond shaped, dark brown in colour. Eyelids close fitting.
Ears: Medium-sized, pendant, triangular, wide apart, set on high. With the ears laid forward close to the head the skull appears to be broadened.
Neck: Strong, of fair length, well muscled, slightly arched, free from throatiness, without dewlap.
Back: Straight, strong, firm.
Loins: Short, strong and deep.
Croup: Broad, of medium length, slightly rounded. Neither flat nor falling away.
Chest: Roomy, broad and deep (approximately 50% of the shoulder height) with well developed forechest and well sprung ribs.
Belly: Flanks not tucked up.
Tail: In natural condition, level in extension of the upper line; at ease may be hanging
Forequarters: Seen from the front, the front legs are straight and not placed too closely to each other. The forearm, seen from the side, stands straight. The slope of the shoulder blade is about 45 degrees to the horizontal. Shoulders: Well laid back. Upper arm: Close fitting to the body. Forearm: Strongly developed and muscular. Pasterns: Slightly springy, strong, not steep. Front feet: Round, tight and well arched; pads hard; nails short, black and strong. Hindquarters: Seen from behind, legs straight and not too close together. When standing free, obtuse angles are formed between the dog`s upper thigh and the hip bone, the upper thigh and the lower thigh and the metatarsal. Upper thigh: Moderately long, broad and strongly muscled. Lower thigh: Long, strongly and broadly muscled at top, sinewy. Hocks: Sturdy well angulated hocks; not steep. Hindfeet: Slightly longer than the front feet. Toes strong, arched, as tight as front feet.
The Rottweiler is a trotting dog. In movement the back remains firm and relatively stable. Movement harmonious, steady, full of energy and unrestricted, with good stride.
Skin on the head: Overall tight fitting. When the dog is alert, the forehead may be slightly wrinkled.
Hair: The coat consists of a top coat and an undercoat. The top coat is of medium length, coarse, dense and flat. The undercoat must not show through the top coat. The hair is a little longer on the hindlegs.
Colour: Black with clearly defined markings of a rich tan on the cheeks, muzzle, throat, chest and legs, as well as over both eyes and under the base of the tail.
Size and weight
Heigtht at withers: For males is 61 - 68 cm. 61 - 62 cm is small / 63 - 64 cm is medium height / 65 - 66 cm is large - correct height / 67 - 68 cm is very large
Weight: approximately 50 kg
Heigtht at withers: For bitches is 56 - 63 cm. 56 - 57 cm is small / 58 - 59 cm is medium height / 60 - 61 cm is large - correct height / 62 - 63 cm is very large
Weight: approximately 42 kg
Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree. General appearance: Light, weedy, leggy appearance. Light in bone and muscle. Head: Hound-type head. Narrow, light, too short, long or coarse head. Flat forehead (lack of stop or too little stop). Foreface: Long or pointed muzzle; split nose; Roman nose (convex nasal bridge) or dish-faced (concave nasal bridge); aquiline nose; pale or spotted nose (butterfly nose). Lips: Pendulous, pink or patchy; corner of lips visible. Jaws: Narrow lower jaw. Bite: Pincer bite. Cheeks: Strongly protruding. Eyes: Light, deep set. Also too full and round eyes; loose eye-lids. Ears: Set on too low, heavy, long, slack or turned backwards. Also flying ears or ears not carried symmetrically. Neck: Too long, thin, lacking muscle. Showing dewlap or throaty. Body: Too long, too short or too narrow. Back: Too long, weak; sway-back or roach back. Croup: Too sloping, too short, too flat or too long. Chest: Flat ribbed or barrel shaped. Too narrow behind. Tail: Set on too high or too low. Forequarters: Narrow or crooked front legs. Steep shoulder placement. Loose or out at elbow. Too long, too short or too straight in upper arm. Weak or steep pastern. Splayed feet. Too flat or too arched toes. Deformed toes. Light coloured nails. Hindquarters: Flat thighs, hocks too close, cow hocks or barrel hocks. Joints with too little or too much angulation. Dewclaws. Skin: Wrinkles on head. Coat: Soft, too short or too long. Wavy coat; lack of undercoat. Colour: Markings of incorrect colour, not clearly defined.. Markings which are too spread out.
Disqulaifications: General: Distinct reversal of sexual type, i.e. feminine dogs or masculine bitches. Teeth: Overshot or undershot bite, wry mouth; lack of one incisive tooth, one canine, one premolar and one molar. Eyes: Entropion, ectropion, yellow eyes, different coloured eyes. Tail: Kink tail, ring tail, with strong lateral deviation. Hair: Definitely long or wavy coat. Colour: Dogs which do not show the typical Rottweiler colouring of black with tan markings. White markings. Behaviour: Anxious, shy, cowardly, gun-shy, vicious, excessively suspicious, nervous animals. N.B.: Male animals must have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
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