Breed Standard

The following information is from the Australian National Kennel Council LTD (ANKC) breed standard 

Breed History

The Rottweiler is considered to be one of the oldest breeds of dog. Its origin goes back to Roman times. These dogs were kept as herders or driving dogs. They marched over the Alps with the Roman legions, protecting the humans and driving their cattle. In the region of Rottweil, these dogs met and mixed with the native dogs in a natural crossing. The main task of the Rottweiler now became the driving and guarding of the herds of cattle and the defence of their masters and their property. This breed acquired its name from the old federal town of Rottweil and was known as the ‘Rottweil butcher’s dog’. The butchers bred this type of dog purely for performance and usefulness. In due course, a first rate watch and droving dog evolved which could also be used as a draught dog. When at the beginning of the 20th century, various breeds were needed for police service, the Rottweiler was amongst those tested. It soon became evident that the breed was highly suitable for the tasks set by police service and therefore they were officially recognized as police dogs in 1910

In the early 1920’s the ADRK (Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub – the General German Rottweiler Club) was formed which brought in strict rules for breeding including hip X-rays, proof of working ability and correct temperament and conformation. The following extract, written by Barbara Hoard-Dillon, an internationally recognised judge, identifies the profile of the Rottweiler of today: ‘The Rottweiler has become a concept worldwide for faithfulness, dependability and many varied tasks. The dog can be used as a service dog, protection dog, herding dog, cart dog, tracking dog, rescue dog, therapy dog, just to mention a few of the possibilities. The extent of uses is so great that not all of them can even be mentioned. It is a credit to the goodwill of the Rottweiler, as well as the skills of the true breeder, that the area of use for the Rottweiler is so large and varied.’

Breed Standard


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.


The length of the body, measured from the point of the sternum (breast-bone) to the ischiatic tuberosity, should not exceed the height at the withers by, at most, 15 %.


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.


Skull : Of medium length, broad between the ears. Forehead line moderately arched as seen from the side. Occipital bone well developed without being conspicuous.

Stop : Well defined.

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. Straight nasal bridge, broad at base, moderately tapered.

Lips : Black, close fitting, corner of the mouth not visible, gum as dark as possible.
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. With the ears laid forward close to the head, the skull appears o be broadened.

Mouth: Jaws/Teeth : Upper and lower jaw strong and broad. Strong, complete dentition (42 teeth) with scissor bite, the upper incisors closely overlapping the lower incisors.

Neck: Strong, of fair length, well muscled, slightly arched, clean, free from throatiness, without dewlap.


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 and vertical. The slope of the shoulder blade is about 45 degrees to the horizontal.

Shoulders : Well laid back.

Upper arm : Close fitting to the body.

Forearm : Strongly developed and muscular.

Pasterns : Slightly springy, strong, not steep.


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.

Belly : Flanks not tucked up.


Seen from behind, legs straight and not too close together. When standing free, obtuse angles are formed between the dog’s upper thigh and the hip bone, the upper thigh and the lower thigh, and the lower thigh and metatarsal.

Upper thigh : Moderately long, broad and strongly muscled.

Lower thigh : Long, strongly and broadly muscled, sinewy.

Hocks : Sturdy, well angulated hocks; not steep.


Front feet : Round, tight and well arched; pads hard; nails short, black and strong.

Hind feet : Slightly longer than the front feet. Toes strong, arched, as tight as front feet.


Undocked: In natural condition, level in extension of the upper line; at ease may be hanging.

Docked: Docked at the first or second joint. Level in extension of the upper line (topline). At ease may be carried down.


The Rottweiler is a trotting dog. In movement the back remains firm and relatively stable. Movement harmonious, steady, full of energy and unrestricted, with good stride.


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 hindlegs.

Skin : Skin on the head : overall tight fitting. When the dog is alert, the forehead may be slightly wrinkled.


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.


Height at withers : For males is 61 – 68 cm.  

  • 61 – 62 cm is small

  • 63 – 64 cm medium height.  

  • 65 – 66 cm is large – correct height

  • 67 – 68 cm very large.

Weight : 50 kg.

Height at withers: For bitches is 56 – 63 cm.  

  • 56 – 57 cm is small

  • 58 – 59 cm medium height.

  •  60 – 61 cm is large – correct height

  • 62 – 63 cm very large.

Weight : Approximately 42 kg.


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

• General appearance : Light, weedy, leggy appearance. Light in bone and muscle.
• Head : Hound-type head. Narrow, light, too short, long or coarse head. Flat forehead (lack of stop or too little stop).
• Foreface : Long or pointed muzzle; split nose; Roman nose (convex nasal bridge) or dish-faced (concave nasal bridge); acquiline nose; pale or spotted nose (butterfly nose).
• Lips : Pendulous, pink or patchy; corner of lips visible.
• Jaws : Narrow lower jaw.
• Bite : Pincer bite.
• Cheeks : Strongly protruding.
• Eyes : Light, deep set. Also too full and round eyes; loose eyelids.
• Ears : Set on too low, heavy, long, slack or turned backwards. Also flying ears or ears not carried symmetricaly.
• Neck : Too long, thin, lacking muscle. Showing dewlap or throaty.
• Body : Too long, too short or too narrow.
• Back : Too long, weak; sway back or roach back.
• Croup : Too sloping, too short, too flat or too long.
• Chest : Flat-ribbed or barrel-shaped. Too narrow behind.
• Tail : Set on too high or too low.
• Forequarters : Narrow or crooked front legs. Steep shoulder placement. Loose or out at elbow. Too long, too short or too straight in upper arm. Weak or steep pastern. Splayed feet. Too flat or too arched toes. Deformed toes. Light coloured nails.
• Hindquarters : Flat thighs, hocks too close, cow hocks or barrel hocks. Joints with too little or too much angulation. Dewclaws.
• Skin : Wrinkles on head.
• Coat : Soft, too short or long. Wavy coat; lack of undercoat.
• Colour : Markings of incorrect colour, not clearly defined. Markings which are too spread out.


• Behaviour : Anxious, shy, cowardly, gun-shy, vicious, excessively suspicious, nervous animals.
• 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 or 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.

Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioral abnormalities shall be disqualified.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.