Rottweilers are one of the oldest domestic dog breeds with a history dating back to the Roman era. Originally bred to herd, pull carts and protect their human families, their loyalty and versatility make them well suited for a variety of activities including service dogs, competitive dog sport and search dogs to name a few. They are highly trainable and eager to please
THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR ROTTWEILER
Barn Hunt is a growing dog sport where dogs and handlers work as a team to locate rats which are hidden in a maze of straw or hay bales, to simulate the very useful skill needed to rid farms of the destructive pests. Rats are safely held in aerated tubes and dogs must locate and indicate to the handler the location and be able to discern between live rat and empty nesting. We don't normally think of Rottweilers as vermin hunting but their extraordinary sense of smell makes them very capable and efficient at this sport.
Carting is a significant part of the Rottweiler history and long before cars and trains, Rottweilers were used to pull carts loaded with things like milk, wool, meat and other goods to sell at the market. Their size, strength and protective nature made them perfectly suited for the narrow roads or crowded streets that would not otherwise accommodate large horses or oxen. Carting tests simulate these conditions by requiring dog and handler to navigate certain obstacles like a bridge, turns, gates, loading the cart and moving backward.
The official term for dog shows is conformation, which is an event where dogs are judged on how well they conform to the written definition (or standard) of the breed. The judge looks at appearance, gait, and overall structure and compares to their interpretation of the written standard. The closer a dog’s appearance is to the breed’s standard, the more likely that dog will be able to produce puppies that meet the standard.
Many people don't think of Rottweilers when they think of herding dogs but Rottweilers have a long history of being the herding dog as well as the guard dog for the farmers of Germany. Their herding lineage traces back 2000+ years ago to the Roman era when their ancestors were used as drover dogs to herd and guard livestock that feed the soldiers across what we now call Europe.
They are seldom seen on ranches today but the Southwestern Rottweiler Club of San Diego promotes the herding instinct by sponsoring AKC and AHBA herding trials. Watch our events page to see when our next trial is and come watch!
Obedience trials test a dog's ability to perform a specific set of exercises where dog and handler are scored on their accuracy and precision while executing them. The three levels of AKC obedience are Novice, Open and Utility - all require mastering a specific skill set with increasing difficulty at each level. A similar, yet less rigid form of AKC obedience is Rally where the addition of obstacles and maneuvering is required.
Training for competitive obedience is an excellent opportunity for dog and handler to demonstrate their ability to work as a team and for Rottweilers, it provides much needed mental and physical stimulation.
Rally is a great team sport that combines elements of traditional obedience and agility performed on and off leash (advanced). Handlers can talk to their dogs and give verbal encouragement throughout the course. The Rally course has numbered stations with signs that provide instruction for a given skill to be performed. Rottweilers love a job frequently excel in this activity.
The new sport of Scent Work uses the Rottweiler’s strong sense of smell to detect a specific scent that’s been hidden in a given environment (interior, exterior, vehicles). The sport simulates the work of professional detection dogs (like drug or explosive detection dogs). Dogs already have an extraordinary sense of smell and Scent Work encourages them to hone these skills and alert to the handler when the scent has been detected.
Dogs have a sense of smell 100,000 times stronger than humans and Tracking dogs are trained to use this ability to locate certain people and objects by following their scent. This skill is the foundation for search and rescue dogs to find lost people and animals, avalanche and disaster victims. Tracking with your Rottweiler is an excellent sport that exercises your dog's natural ability to recognize and follow a scent and his willingness to work. It’s a fun and intensive outdoor team sport for both handler and dog.
Canine agility is a competitive sport that is physically and mentally challenging for both dog and handler! Rottweilers may not be the fastest dogs through the timed obstacle course but their movement and determination is impressive. Agility trials are off leash and dogs are directed through the course with only hand and voice commands by the handler. This is a team sport where the course is complicated such that a dog could not complete it correctly without handler direction. It's a wonderful demonstration of dog and handler teamwork.