Rottweiler Dog Breed Origin and History
The lineage and ancestors of the Rottweiler is not document on official record anywhere. Bearing this in mind, it is suspected and theorized that the Rottweiler is from the line of drover dogs that were native to the ancient Rome region. The drover dog has been depicted as have Mastiff-type traits such as dependability, ruggedness, hard working, extremely intelligent and profoundly strong guarding instincts.
The Rottweiler breed that we know today is not the same as the original Rottweilers. Roman Emperors had many, many conquests and invasions throughout Europe using extremely massive armies full of thousands of men. The ability to feed these men and protect the army supplies was of utmost importance for the success of the Roman armies.
During the time of the invasions, there was no method for refrigeration of meat to feed the soldiers. Armies had to rely on their food sources, such as cattle, staying alive and ‘on the hoof’. As a result, the Rottweiler became a very popular and liked dog because with it’s Mastiff-type traits it could herd and lead the ‘on the hoof’ food supplies as well as guard and protect the herds and supply divisions of the armies during the evening hours.
There were numerous conquests and invasions from the Roman army but one of particular interest is the invasions during A.D.74 where the route was focused on the Alps located in today’s Southern Germany regions. This territory was called Are Flaviae and provided excellent climate, rich and fertile soil along with a central localized location. It is interesting that history points to the very significant role that the awesome fearless Roman drover dog played during this journey from Rome to the wilderness banks of the Neckar River .
Historical accounts of the time period indicate that the ancestors of the initial Roman drover dogs were used to guard herds and assist the Romans for the following two centuries. Also, Circa A.D. 260 history reports that the Swabians defeated the Romans from Are Flaviae and took over the city. With the resulting agriculture and cattle trading as a primary occupation there was even further need for this dog breed.
Approximately A.D. 700 the building of a Christian church ordered by a local duke on the former Roman baths unearthed Roman villa red tiles. In order to differentiate the town from others in the area, the church named it das Rote Wil (meaning the red tile), a origin of the present day word Rottweil.
Rottweil’s control as both a cultural and exchange center increased significantly and without challenge throughout the twelfth century. The success of the Rottweil’s new booming business led to a virtually all-new town built with intricate fortifications above the Neckar River . This increased security from the fortifications lead to an increase in the cattle trade as well as a larger population of butchers in the vicinity. A natural result was that more of the Rottweiler breed was necessary for herding the cattle back and forth between the markets.
The ancestors of the common Roman drover dog continued their successful cattle trade until the mid-nineteenth century, ending when cattle driving were banned. Additionally, dog carts would be replaced with the use of the donkey and the building of railroads.
The Rottweiler Metzgerhund, also known as butcher dog, encountered a struggle to maintain its mere existence. Being replaced by donkeys and railroads caused a tremendous decline in the numbers of Rottweiler breed. In fact during the year of 1882, there was only one of the Rottweiler breed present at a dog show that was held in Heilbronn , Germany .
The recordings of cynology do not even mention the Rottweiler breed again until the year 1901 during which time a Rottweiler and Leonberger Club was created. Even though the life of the club was short-lived it formed the first standards for the breed. Important to know is that the basic type of the breed has not through the years changed substantially and the general character called for by the club has not changed at all.
Later the Rottweiler would emerge in its usefulness and numbers increase. Between the years 1901 to 1907, Rottweiler dogs became the mot popular choice for a police dog. A few organizations were put together as discord became the norm until the year 1921 when there was an agreement to create th e Allegmeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub (ADRK).
Up until this time approximately 3,400 Rottweiler dogs had been registered with different guideline specifications and even duplications by three or four varying Rottweiler clubs. All of this confusion and misunderstanding would be laid to rest in the year of 1924 when the ADRK organization would publish its original stud book.
Since its beginning and despite the huge problems that arose as a result of WWII, the ADRK continued to sustain its leadership and to encourage selective breeding programs that have been upheld in Germany and overseas.