Who I Am - Rottweiler History
My name is Rottweiler, you may already know this, but it's wort mentioning that I am called this way because I was frequently found working in "Rottweil" a charming town located in southwest Germany, somewhere between the Black Forest and the Swabian Alps. The name of this town derives from the German words "Rote Wil," meaning red tile. Indeed, if you are lucky to visit this town you'll see many homes adorned with red tiles, but best of all, you'll see a beautiful Rottweiler statue erected in my honor. I think all Rottweiler lovers should visit this town one day and take a picture besides this statue!
What kind of work was I doing in the red-roofed town of Rottweil ? I was herding cattle to the market and was also a butcher dog; indeed, I was often known as "Rottweil’s butcher dog." I was pulling carts loaded with goods and slaughtered meat at the market and the butcher used to tie pouches filled with his hard-earned money around my neck. The money was sure safe this way! But being a butcher dog wasn't really my original occupation. Long before that, I was actually working with cattle.
My history likely dates back to the Roman Empire. As a descendant of the ancient Roman drover dogs, I was selectively bred to be a tough cookie, a rugged dog capable of working different kinds of livestock in a variety of conditions. I was known for my versatility, intelligence and guarding instincts. And guess what? I even played a role in history marching with the Romans in their quest to conquer Europe. I accompanied troops who depended on herds of cattle for food since back then there was no means for refrigeration. My job was to keep the herd the cattle together and guard them at night. We traveled across the the Alps, all the way into southern Germany where I continued herding for the next two centuries even after the Romans were gone as they were driven out by the Swabians.
I was born to be a working dog, that's why I am always looking for something to do. Unfortunately, as the years went by, Europe became quite industrialized and the railroads became the main way livestock were moved to the market. To make things worse, a law was passed banning cattle from being driven over roads, so the need for my herding abilities declined. Sadly, I remained unemployed for some time and our numbers declined dramatically. Just think that by 1882, only one Rottweiler showed up at a dog show in Heilbronn, and not only, that Rottweiler was a poor representative of my breed!
Luckily for me, during World War I there was a great demand for police dogs in Germany, so our numbers were on the rise and people were interested in me again. This time though, I was employed for multiple tasks. I am a very versatile dog, you know? I was utilized as a messenger, guardian, draught and ambulance dog. In 1907, the first Rottweiler club was founded in Germany, and in 1924, 2,400 Rottweilers were registered! But our biggest rise in popularity occurred in the mid 1990's, when over 100,000 of us were registered with the American Kennel Club. Yet, being popular isn't always good. Irresponsible breeders and puppy mills started breeding with money as their best interest and our over all quality went considerably down. Luckily, reputable and dedicated breeders intervened to turn things around and transform us in the wonderful dogs you see today.