The breed's history dates to the Roman Empire. In those times, the Roman legion travelled with their meat on the hoof and required the assistance of working dogs to herd the cattle. One route the army travelled was through Württemberg and on to the small market town of Rottweil. The principal ancestors of the first Rottweilers during this time are believed to be the Roman droving dog, local dogs the army met on its travels, and dogs with molosser appearance coming from England and the Netherlands.
This region was eventually to become an important cattle area, and the descendants of the Roman cattle dogs proved their worth in both driving and protecting the cattle from robbers and wild animals. Rottweilers were said to have been used by travelling butchers at markets during the Middle Ages to guard money pouches tied around their necks. However, as railroads became the primary method for moving stock to market, the breed had declined so much that by 1900 there was only one female to be found in the town of Rottweil.
The build up to World War I saw a great demand for police dogs, and that led to a revival of interest in the Rottweiler. During the First and Second World Wars, Rottweilers were put into service in various roles, including as messenger, ambulance, draught, and guard dogs.
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.The American Kennel Club says it is basically a calm, confident and courageous dog with a self-assured aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. A Rottweiler is self-confident and responds quietly and with a wait-and-see attitude to influences in its environment. It has an inherent desire to protect home and family, and is an intelligent dog of extreme hardness and adaptability with a strong willingness to work, making them especially suited as a companion, guardian and general all-purpose dog.
Rottweilers are a powerful breed with well-developed genetic herding and guarding instincts. As with any breed, potentially dangerous behavior in Rottweilers usually results from irresponsible ownership, abuse, neglect, or lack of socialization 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 recommend that formal training and extensive socialization are essential for all Rottweilers. According to the AKC, Rottweilers love their owners and may behave in a clownish manner toward family and friends, but they are also protective of their territory and do not welcome strangers until properly introduced. Obedience training and socialization are musts
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.
Technically a "medium / large" breed, according to the FCI standard the Rottweiler stands 61 to 69 cm (24"-27") at the withers for males, 56 to 63 cm (22"-25") for females, and the weight must be between 50 to 58 kg (110-130 lbs) for males and between 40–48 kg (90-105 lbs) for females. Weight must be relative to height.