The Rottweiler is another misunderstood breed. Along with pitbulls and dobermans, they are thought to be vicious, but are actually well-tempered if trained properly.
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." This breed is all about balance, endurance, proportionality, intelligence and strength. The various standards in place for the Rottweiler's physical appearance specify these characteristics.
The color and markings of a Rottweiler are very distinctive. A Rottweiler is always, by any breed club standards, black with well-defined mahogany or rust-coloured markings that do not take up more than ten percent of the dog's body color. All Rottweilers standard to AKC specifications have one mahogany dot above each eye on the inner brow ridge, on the cheeks, one strip on each side of the snout; cheek markings do not cross over the bridge of the nose, the top of the nose should remain black. The markings on the face should move down onto the dog's throat. On the chest, a Rottweiler will have two downward-facing triangular marks. On each front leg the marks will stretch from the forearm to the toes. On the hind legs, the markings will begin on the inside and move outward onto the stifle, then out onto the hock stretching to the toes as well. AKC standards recognize that the black base colour is not completely voided on the rear pasterns. There is a patch of rust or mahogany underneath the tail that resembles a triangle as well. A thin strip of black should be present on each of the Rottweiler's toes.
Technically a "medium to large" breed, according to the FCI standard the Rottweiler stands 61 to 69 cm (24 to 27 in) at the withers for males, 56 to 63 cm (22 to 25 in) for females, and the weight must be between 50 to 60 kg (110–132 lbs) for males and 35–48 kg (77–105 lbs) for females. Weight must be relative to height.
According to the FCI Standard, the Rottweiler is good-natured, placid in basic disposition, very devoted, obedient, biddable and eager to work. Their appearance is natural and rustic, their behaviour self-assured, steady and fearless. They react to their surroundings with great alertness. If they are mean though, it is a result of irresponsible ownership, abuse, neglect, or lack of socialisation and training. However, the exceptional strength of the Rottweiler is an additional risk factor not to be neglected. It is for this reason that breed experts declare that formal training and extensive socialisation are essential for all Rottweilers.
Rottweilers are a relatively healthy, disease-free breed. As with most large breeds, hip dysplasia can be a problem. For this reason the various Rottweiler breed clubs have had x-ray testing regimes in place for many years. Osteochondritis dissecans, a condition affecting the shoulder joints, can also be a problem due to the breed's rapid growth rate. A reputable breeder will have the hips and elbows of all breeding stock x-rayed and read by a recognised specialist, and will have paperwork to prove it. As with any breed, hereditary conditions occur in some lines. The Rottweiler is very prone to cancer which is among the most common causes of early death in Rottweilers. For unknown reasons, Rottweilers are more susceptible than other breeds to become infected with parvovirus, a highly contagious and deadly disease of puppies and young dogs. Parvovirus can be easily prevented by following a veterinarian's recommended vaccine protocol.