VanSach Rottweilers

The History of the Rottweiler
Written by:  Thomas G. VanSach

    It seems likely that the Rottweiler originated in ancient Rome as a drover dog. The ancient Roman Empire used this breed around the turn of the century to drive the cattle necessary to feed their massive armies as they crossed such traitorous terrain as the Alps in order to conquer a great part of Europe.  As the Roman Legions stopped along the way, the Rottweiler took on another task, that of guarding the camps.  The great ability of these dogs to accomplish such drover and guard dog tasks seems obvious due to the success of the Roman Legions they served. 

    Following the fall of the Roman Empire around 260 AD, and in turn the Roman Legions, the Rottweiler was in need of a new home.  The breed found its home in a cattle-trading center along the Neckar River in what is today southern Germany, in a town now known as Rottweil.  The dogs were used to drive cattle to market and as draft dogs to pull the butchers carts.  Following the sale of the meat the butcher placed the monies in a purse around the dogs' neck for safekeeping. 

    As Europe became industrialized in the mid-eighteen hundreds, the Rottweiler once again found itself displaced but this time by railroads and industrialization.  Of course, this ancient working dog with unmatched drive and character found a way to survive.  In 1910, it was these attributes that allowed the Rottweiler to be the fourth dog breed officially recognized by the German Police Dog Association.  The first two Rottweiler recruits were Max von der Strahlenberg and Flock von Hamburg.  The breed once again flourished bringing about many German clubs in the early 1900's.  In 1921, these rogue clubs were combined to create the General German Rottweiler Club or Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub (ADRK) that we know of today.  Ten years later, in the United States, the American Kennel Club admitted its first Rottweiler to the AKC Studbook.  In the 1990's, the Rottweiler became one of the most popular breeds in the AKC, claiming the #2 spot in 1992 and keeping it for many years.  In 1993 and 1994 the number of registered Rottweilers exceeded 100,000.  Finally, the Rottweiler fell from the AKC top ten to number eleven with only 37,355 and 29,269 registered in 2000 and 2001 respectively. The Rottweiler's total AKC registration stats for 2002 was 22196, ranking them #13 overall.



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