If you want to know exactly how a Rottweiler should look, the German
Rottweiler Breed Standard, produced by the ADRK (Allegmeiner Deutscher
Rottweiler Klub), is the 'blueprint' for the breed.
Today, Rottweilers are popular in many countries, each having its' own
breed standard, and although these are not identical to the ADRK
document, or to each other, they all describe a dog that is clearly a
The photo above shows an adult male Rottie with the correct size, structure and color - a good looking specimen of the breed.
Of course, you can't see his temperament or movement, but these are
described in detail in each Rottweiler breed standard, so that you can
get an accurate picture of the whole dog.
Both the German and US breed standards for the Rottweiler are given
below, and to help you compare the two and (hopefully) avoid too much
Excerpts from the ADRK (German) are printed first, on a pale green background.
The AKC (US) standard excerpts follow, and are printed on a pale cream/yellow background.
This video features some stunning Rottweilers
going through their 'show paces', it will give you a good idea of how a
Rottweiler should look and move. Enjoy.....
General Appearance & Character
The Rottweiler is a medium to large size, stalwart dog, neither heavy nor light and neither leggy nor weedy.
His correctly proportioned, compact and powerful build leads to the conclusion of great strength, agility and endurance. (ADRK)
The ideal Rottweiler is a medium large, robust and powerful dog, black
with clearly defined rust markings. His compact and substantial build
denotes great strength, agility and endurance.
characteristically more massive throughout with larger frame and heavier
bone than bitches.
Bitches are distinctly feminine, but without
weakness of substance or structure (AKC)
Size - Proportion - Substance
The length of the body, measured from sternum (breast-bone) to the ischiatic tuberosity, should not exceed the height at the withers by, at most, 15%.
Height at withers:
For males is 61 - 68 cm. 61 - 62 cm is small / 63 - 64 cm is medium height / 65 - 66 cm is large - correct height / 67 - 68 cm is very large. Weight: approximately 50 kg
For bitches is 56 - 63 cm. 56 - 57 cm is small / 58 - 59 cm is medium height / 60 - 61 cm is large - correct height / 62 - 63 cm is very large. Weight: approximately 42 kg (ADRK)
Dogs: 24 inches to 27 inches.
Bitches: 22 inches to 25 inches, with preferred size being mid-range of each sex.
Correct proportion is of primary importance, as long as size is within the standard's range.
The length of body, from sternum to the rearmost projection of the rump, is slightly longer than the height of the dog at the withers, the most desirable proportion of the height to length being 9 to 10.
The Rottweiler is neither coarse nor shelly. Depth of chest is approximately fifty percent (50%) of the height of the dog. His bone and muscle mass must be sufficient to balance his frame, giving a compact and very powerful appearance (AKC)
Head - Neck - Topline
Skull: Of medium length, broad between the ears. Forehead line moderately arched as seen from the side.
Stop: Well defined.
Nose: Nose well developed, more broad than round with relatively large nostrils, always black.
Muzzle: The foreface should appear neither elongated nor shortened in relation to the cranial region.
Black, close fitting, corner of the mouth not visible, gum as dark as
Jaws / Teeth: Upper and lower jaw strong and broad. Strong
complete dentition (42 teeth) with scissor bite (upper incisors closely
overlapping the lower incisors).
Cheeks: Zygomatic arches pronounced.
Eyes: Of medium size, almond shaped, dark brown in colour. Eyelids close fitting.
Ears: Medium-sized, pendant, triangular, wide apart, set on high.
Neck: Strong, of fair length, well muscled, slightly arched, free from throatiness, without dewlap. (ADRK)
Head: Of medium length, broad between the ears; forehead line
seen in profile is moderately arched; zygomatic arch and stop well
developed. The desired ratio of backskull to muzzle is 3 to 2. Forehead
is preferred dry, however some wrinkling may occur when dog is alert.
Expression: is noble, alert, and self-assured.
Eyes: of medium size, almond shaped with well fitting lids, moderately deep-set. The desired color is a uniform dark brown.
Ears: Of medium size, pendant, triangular in shape; when carried
alertly the ears are level with the top of the skull and appear to
Muzzle: Bridge is straight, broad at base with slight tapering towards tip. The end of the muzzle is broad with well developed chin.
Nose: is broad rather than round and always black.
Bite and Dentition: Teeth 42 in number (20 upper, 22 lower), strong, correctly placed, meeting in a scissors bite.
Neck: Powerful, well muscled, moderately long, slightly arched
and without loose skin.
Topline: The back is firm and level, extending
in a straight line from behind the withers to the croup. The back
remains horizontal to the ground while the dog is moving or standing (AKC).
Forequarters - Trunk - Hindquarters
Forequarters: Seen from the front, the
front legs are straight and not placed too closely to each other. The
forearm, seen from the side, stands straight. The slope of the shoulder
blade is about 45 degrees to the horizontal. Shoulders: Well laid back. Pasterns: Slightly springy, strong, not steep. Front feet: Round, tight
and well arched; pads hard; nails short, black and strong.
Hindquarters: Seen from behind, legs straight and not too close
together. Upper thigh: Moderately long, broad and strongly muscled.
Lower thigh: Long, strongly and broadly muscled at top, sinewy. Hocks:
Sturdy well angulated hocks; not steep. Hindfeet: Slightly longer than
the front feet. Toes strong, arched, as tight as front feet.
Body: Back: Straight, strong, firm. Loins: Short, strong and deep. Croup: Broad, of medium length, slightly rounded. Neither flat nor falling away. Chest: Roomy, broad and deep (approximately 50 % of the shoulder height) with well developed forechest and well sprung ribs.
Tail: In natural condition, level in extension of the upper line; at ease may be hanging (ADRK).
Body: The chest is roomy, broad and deep, reaching to elbow, with
well pronounced forechest and well sprung, oval ribs. Back is straight
and strong. Loin is short, deep and well muscled. Croup is broad, of
medium length and only slightly sloping
Forequarters: Shoulder blade is long and well laid back. Upper
arm equal in length to shoulder blade, set so elbows are well under
body. Distance from withers to elbow and elbow to ground is equal. Pasterns: are strong, springy and almost perpendicular to the ground. Feet:
are round, compact with well arched toes, turning neither in nor out.
Pads are thick and hard. Nails short, strong and black. Dewclaws may be
Hindquarters: Angulation of hindquarters balances that of forequarters. Rear pasterns:
are nearly perpendicular to the ground. Viewed from the rear, hind legs
are straight, strong and wide enough apart to fit with a properly built
body. Feet: are somewhat longer than the front feet, turning
neither in nor out, equally compact with well arched toes. Pads are
thick and hard. Nails short, strong, and black. Dewclaws must be removed
Tail: Tail docked short, close to body, leaving one or two tail
vertebrae. The set of the tail is more important than length. Properly
set, it gives an impression of elongation of topline; carried slightly
above horizontal when the dog is excited or moving (AKC).
Gait - Movement
The Rottweiler is a trotting dog. In movement
the back remains firm and relatively stable.
steady, full of energy and unrestricted, with good stride (ADRK).
The Rottweiler is a trotter. His movement should be balanced,
harmonious, sure, powerful and unhindered, with strong fore-reach and a
powerful rear drive. The motion is effortless, efficient, and
In a trot the forequarters and hindquarters are mutually coordinated
while the back remains level, firm and relatively motionless. As speed
increases the legs will converge under body towards a center line (AKC).
Coat - Color
Hair: The coat consists of a top coat
and an undercoat. The top coat is of medium length, coarse, dense and
flat. The undercoat must not show through the top coat. The hair is a
little longer on the hind legs.
Colour: Black with clearly defined markings of a rich tan on the
cheeks, muzzle, throat, chest and legs, as well as over both eyes and
under the base of the tail. (ADRK)
Coat: Outer coat is straight, coarse, dense, of medium length and
lying flat. Undercoat should be present on neck and thighs, but the
amount is influenced by climatic conditions. Undercoat should not show
through outer coat. The coat is shortest on head, ears and legs, longest
The Rottweiler is to be exhibited in the natural
condition with no trimming
Color: Always black with rust to mahogany markings. The
demarcation between black and rust is to be clearly defined.
markings should be located as follows: a spot over each eye; on cheeks;
as a strip around each side of muzzle, but not on the bridge of the
nose; on throat; triangular mark on both sides of prosternum; on forelegs
from carpus downward to the toes; on inside of rear legs showing down
the front of the stifle and broadening out to front of rear legs from
hock to toes, but not completely eliminating black from rear of
pasterns; un-der tail; black penciling on toes.
The undercoat is gray,
tan, or black (AKC)
Behaviour/Temperament: Good natured,
placid in basic disposition and fond of children, very devoted,
obedient, biddable and eager to work.
His appearance is natural and
rustic, his behaviour self assured, steady and fearless. He reacts to
his surroundings with great alertness (ADRK)
Temperament: The Rottweiler 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 his environment. He 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 him especially
suited as a companion, guardian and general all-purpose dog.
The behavior of the Rottweiler in the show ring should be controlled, willing and adaptable, trained to submit to examination (AKC)
Disqualifying Faults (Show)
General: Distinct reversal of sexual type, i.e. feminine dogs or masculine bitches. Teeth: Overshot or undershot bite, wry mouth; lack of one incisive tooth, one canine, one premolar and one molar. Eyes: Entropion, ectropion, yellow eyes, different coloured eyes. Tail: Kink tail, ring tail, with strong lateral deviation.Hair: Definitely long or wavy coat. Colour: Dogs which do not show the typical Rottweiler colouring of black with tan markings. White markings. Behaviour: Anxious, shy, cowardly, gun-shy, vicious, excessively suspicious, nervous animals. N.B.: Male animals must have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum. (ADRK)
Disqualifications: Entropion, ectropion. Overshot, undershot
(when incisors do not touch or mesh); wry mouth; two or more missing
teeth. Unilateral cryptorchid or cryptorchid males. Long coat. Any base
color other than black; absence of all markings. A dog that in the
opinion of the judge attacks any person in the ring (AKC)
Breed Standard For Rottweilers - More Info
The Rottweiler breed standard information above isn't complete. These
are excerpts from the AKC and ADRK Rottweiler Breed Standard documents.
On this page I've included what I think are the most important points
from each category and ythey should give you a pretty good idea of what a well bred Rottweiler should look like.
Unfortunately today there are many poorly-bred Rottweilers who are far
from the 'ideal picture' painted by the Rottweiler Breed Standard
documents. This is true of both looks and temperament.
If you are going to be adding one of these truly amazing dogs to your
home and family, please take the time to learn how to recognize a good
representative of the breed. That way you're sure not to be disappointed
in your new best friend.
You can see the entire ADRK and US Rottweiler Breed Standard information by clicking on the links below.....