Rottweiler rŏt´wīlər [key], breed of sturdy working dog developed from a Roman cattle dog introduced into S Germany more than 1,900 years ago. It stands from 21 3⁄4 to 27 in. (55.3–68.6 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 75 to 90 lb (34.0–40.8 kg). Its short, flat-lying, coarse coat is black with markings ranging in shade from tan to mahogany on the cheeks, muzzle, chest, and legs and over both eyes. The tail is docked close to the body. Named for the German township of Rottweil, a livestock center in the Middle Ages, the Rottweiler was used both as a cattle drover and as a guardian of traveling merchants. When the driving of cattle by dogs was outlawed in Germany at the turn of the 20th cent., the Rottweiler was used as a draft animal and, increasingly, as a police dog. Its police-dog ability saved the breed from extinction. Today the breed is still much used in police work and is also raised as a pet. See dog.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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