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Rottweiler Breed Standard


United Kennel Club Rottweiler Breed Standard


United Kennel Club (UKC) - Guardian Group

© 1991, United Kennel Club - Revised September 1, 2008


The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.


Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.


Any departure from the following should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.



The Rottweiler was known as the "butcher dog of Rottweil," a title earned by driving cattle to market over the Alps in the Roman times. The breed was developed from the mastiff type of dog used for herding and guarding. In recent years, the breed's popularity has increased in America as the dogs are being used for police work, tracking, and obedience competition and as a brave family pet.  The Rottweiler was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1950.


General Appearance:  The Rottweiler is an above average sized dog. It is black, with clearly defined tan markings; with small pendant ears, and a natural length or short, cropped tail. It is a powerfully built dog, giving the impression of strength, endurance and agility.


Characteristics:  Brave, powerful, faithful and a good guard dog. Devoted and obedient and fond of children.


Head:  The head is of medium length.


Skull:  Between the ears, the skull is broad. Viewed from the side, the forehead line is moderately arched. The stop is well defined, and the occipital bone is well developed, though not protruding. The zygomatic arches are pronounced.


Muzzle: The muzzle is fairly deep, with a straight nasal bone. It is broad at the base, gradually narrowing towards the tip. The desired ratio of back skull to muzzle is 3 to 2. The flews are black and firm. They fall gradually away and towards the corners of the mouth, which do not protrude excessively.  Serious Fault: Total lack of mouth pigment.


Eyes:  The almond-shaped eyes are medium-sized and moderately deep set. They are dark brown in color. The eyelids are well fitting.  Serious Faults: Yellow eyes. Eyes of different color or size. Hairless eyerim.  Disqualifications: Entropion, ectropion.


Ears:  The medium-sized ears are triangular pendants, set high and wide apart on the head, lying flat with the inner edge against the head, ending at about mid-cheek.


Teeth:  A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in a scissors bite. The incisors of the lower jaw must touch the inner surface of the upper incisors.  Serious Faults: Even bite. One missing tooth.  Disqualifications: Two or more missing teeth. Overshot, undershot, or wry mouth.


Nose:  The nose is broad and black in color.


Neck:  The powerful, well-muscled, moderately long neck is slightly arched and free from throatiness.


Forequarters:  The long shoulder blades are well laid back. The upper arm is equal in length to that of the shoulder blade.


Forelegs:  The forearms are straight, strong and muscular and set well apart. The pasterns are slightly springy but not sloping.


Body:  The chest should be roomy, broad and deep, with ribs well sprung. The depth of the brisket will be about 50% of the shoulder height. The back should be straight and strong and not too long. Ratio of shoulder height to length of body is 9 to 10. The loins are short, deep and strong; the flanks should not be tucked up. Croup is broad, of medium length, slightly rounded. Neither flat nor falling away. The distance from the withers to the elbow is the same as the distance from the elbow to the ground.


Hindquarters: The angulation of the hindquarters is balanced with that of the forequarters.


Hind Legs:  When viewed from the rear, the hind legs are straight and wide enough to accommodate the body width. The well-muscled, fairly long upper thigh is very broad. The lower thigh is also well muscled and is long, broad and powerful. The stifles are well bent. The hocks are sturdy and well angulated. The rear pasterns are nearly perpendicular to the ground.


Feet:  The feet are strong, round and compact, with well-arched toes. The hind feet are somewhat longer than the front. The pads are hard and thick. The toenails are short, strong and black. Dewclaws may be removed.


Tail:  Natural or docked, without preference. When docked, it is done at the first or second vertebrae, and only within the first five days of life. It is carried horizontally, giving the impressions that it is an extension of the topline. It may be carried slightly above the topline when the dog is excited. In natural condition, level in extension of the top line; may be carried slightly above the top line when the dog is excited; at ease may be hanging.  Disqualification: Kink tail, ring-tail, with strong lateral deviation.


Height: Measured at the withers, adult males are 24 to 27 inches; adult females are 22 to 25 inches. The preferred size is mid-range.


Coat:  Consists of a topcoat and undercoat. The outer coat should be of medium length, coarse and flat. The undercoat, which is essential on the neck and thighs, should not show through the outer coat. The hair may be a little longer on breechings. It is shortest on the head, ears and legs. The Rottweiler is always shown naturally, without trimming.  Serious Faults: Open coat. Excessively short or curly. Lack of undercoat. Fault: Wavy coat. Disqualification: Long coat.


Color:  The Rottweiler is black with clearly-defined rich tan markings on the cheeks, muzzle, chest, and legs as well as over both eyes and the area beneath the tail. The undercoat may be gray, tan or black.  Serious faults: Straw-colored markings.  Disqualification: Albinism. Any color other than black and tan. White markings anywhere on the dog.


Gait: The Rottweiler's natural gait is a trot. Movement conveys an impression of suppleness, endurance and purpose. The back remains firm and stable. There is a powerful hind thrust and good stride. Movement should be unrestricted, harmonious and positive. As speed increases, the dog single tracks.


Disqualifications: Viciousness or extreme shyness. Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Entropion. Ectropion. Two or more missing teeth. Overshot. Undershot. Wry mouth. Any color other than black and tan. Albinism. Long coat. Kink tail, ring-tail, with strong lateral deviation. White markings anywhere on the dog.


The docking of tails and cropping of ears in America is legal and remains a personal choice. However, as an international registry, the United Kennel Club is aware that the practices of cropping and docking have been forbidden in some countries. In light of these developments, the United Kennel Club feels that no dog in any UKC event, including conformation, shall be penalized for a full tail or natural ears. EST 1998 ©



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