Many people think that a Rottweiler is a modern breed of dog. This breed sprang into prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Unfortunately, the breed received a bad reputation, but this was largely due to the fact that irresponsible people were getting the dogs as status symbols. More often than not, dogs which were involved in instances of attacks on people were owned by people who had purposely raised the dogs to be aggressive.
The Rottweiler, though, is thought to be a descendant of an ancient breed of dog which was prevalent at the height of Roman Empire. It is thought that the Romans used these dogs which were bred from Mastiffs to herd cattle and livestock when its legions were on the move. Because there was no such thing as freezers two thousand years ago, the legions needed to bring live supplies with them on incursions into enemy territory.
One such incursion and subsequent occupation was into what is now Southern Germany. Rome set up a town which eventually became known as Rottweil. The armies of Rome were eventually kicked out by Goths towards 300 AD, but the people of the region continued to refine the dog breed which eventually became known as Rottweiler, named of course, after the town.
Much attention is paid to the markings of modern Rottweilers, but the dogs were bred for their herding abilities as well as their ability to guard against thieves, poachers or dangerous wild animals. However, the breed fell out of favor and by the 1800s, it was almost extinct. The breed regained popularity during the first and second world wars as the dog’s hardiness as well as its ability to learn and perform well in important battlefield roles ensured its survival and re-introduction into mainstream utility dog use.
The Rottweiler is hardy, tough and very protective of its charges. This trait is still very much part of the Rottweiler’s DNA, which can be seen in the way they are protective of children as well as their owners.