Rottweiler - breed information and advice

Big, muscular and strong, the Rottweiler is loyal and has a natural guarding instinct. It needs human contact, good training and firm, consistent handling from birth – it must always know who’s boss. Rottweilers also need a large amount of space and exercise – they are playful and enjoy chasing games.

Breed information

Essentials

Size: Large

Coat: Short and shedding; it needs to be groomed once a week

Exercise: 2+ hours a day for adult dogs, with plenty of opportunity to run free

Life span: 8-10+ years

Breed group: Working breeds were developed to perform tasks such as guarding and rescuing. They are physically and mentally tough, but require careful training to respect their owner as ‘pack leader’.

Hip dysplasia

Rottweilers are one of the breeds that are prone to hip dysplasia. This occurs when the bones that form the hip joint don’t fit together perfectly, causing wear and tear to the joints. Like other dogs, Rottweilers can develop arthritis (which means ‘inflammation of the joints’) as a result of this wear and tear. They may show signs of stiffness (especially after lying down), and be reluctant to exercise or go up or down stairs and steps. Long-term treatment or surgery will be required to keep them active.

Fact

In our experience, Rottweilers are most likely to need treatment for a joint problem

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Spleen tumours

Haemangiosarcoma is a rapidly growing cancer that develops in the lining of blood vessels in organs such as the spleen, liver and kidney. Unfortunately, the tumour often spreads quickly, making the chances of survival very low by the time it is diagnosed. This cancer can affect all breeds, but Rottweilers are particularly at risk. Early diagnosis and treatment offer the best chance of survival.

Fact

We paid £2,935 to treat Ella the dog for splenic tumours in 2016

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Cruciate disease

Rottweilers can suffer from cruciate disease, wherein the cruciate ligament, which crosses inside the knee joint, slowly frays and gets weaker. Like all dogs, they can develop arthritis from this condition, and long-term treatment is often required to keep them active.

Fact

We paid £3,373 to treat Billie the Rottweiler for cruciate ligament damage in 2016

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Elbow dysplasia

Larger breeds like the Rottweiler can be prone to elbow dysplasia. This develops when the bones that form the elbow joint develop abnormalities in the cartilage that lines the surface of the joint or structures around it. This leads to the development of arthritis, which shows as stiffness (especially after lying down), and a reluctance to exercise or go up and down stairs. Long-term treatment is often required to manage the pain and help keep dogs active.

Fact

We paid £2,851 to treat Charlie the Rottweiler for elbow dysplasia in 2016

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Lumps and bumps

Like all dogs, Rottweiler's can develop masses (lumps and bumps) in the layers of fat, skin and muscle that cover their bodies. These might be warts, cysts, lipomas (soft fatty lumps), abscesses or tumours. In particular, Rottweilers can develop osteosarcoma, a bone tumour that mostly occurs in the leg bones. While most lumps can be easily treated, some tumours are more difficult to treat. Unfortunately, although surgery and chemotherapy may extend the life of a dog with osteosarcoma, they won’t actually cure the condition.

Fact

Lumps and bumps are the third most common illnesses we see in Rottweilers

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