Rottweilers are excellent rescue and police dogs, as well as great life long companions. Learn the health needs of this hard-working breed here.
The Rottweiler’s origin is the town of Rottweil, Germany, where it was bred to herd livestock and to pull butcher’s carts to market. Currently, the breed is widely employed in police and rescue work, as guide dogs for the blind, and as a companion species. Like many larger dogs, the Rottweiler can be subject to hip and elbow dysplasia as well as gastric torsion. The breed may also be prone to von Willebrand’s disease and bone cancer. The Rottweiler will typically live to an age of 8 to 11 years.
Primary Health Conditions of the Rottweiler
This large breed can be especially susceptible to hip and elbow displasias, in which genetic deformities of the bone and joint cause inflammation and pain in the dog. These conditions can be treated medically or with surgery. Keeping the dog’s weight in check will help manage the condition. Proper breeding of dogs without dysplasia is the best preventative. Also common to large dogs like the Rottweiler is gastric torsion, or twisting of the stomach. This problem can be painful to the dog and quite serious without immediate veterinary treatment. Rottweiler owners should provide high quality food without grain fillers to help prevent torsion.
Secondary Health Conditions of the Rottweiler
Recent over-breeding in the Rottweiler has been thought to increase the dog’s susceptibility to cancers, in particular bone cancer. While its cancer can be treated with surgery, radio- and chemotherapy, in many cases the prognosis is not favorable. The Rottweiler can also be susceptible to the genetically inherited condition known as von Willebrand’s disease. In this disease, the dog’s blood does not properly clot. The condition is not curable, and the owner of a dog with von Willenbrand’s should be alert to injuries the animal receives and to profusely bleeding wounds.
Rottweiler Exercise and Walking Needs
The Rottweiler is a stout working dog that needs and enjoys a great deal of physical activity. This breed will therefore thrive with long daily walks, room to run and play, and the opportunity to retrieve toys and balls. A Rottweiler that does not receive enough exercise is particularly prone to weight issues and may display destructive behaviors and excessive barking. Daily exercise will also help to stave off the joint and bone troubles that can afflict this breed of dog.
Rottweiler Nutritional Needs
The Rottweiler has a healthy appetite and requires a high quality food rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and nutrients to stay active and fit. A good quality food that does not contain corn or soy will also help to prevent gastric torsion in this breed. Food portions should be closely regulated to the Rottweiler’s age and level of activity since obesity can be of special concern in this dog.