Originally bred by Roman cattle drovers to herd cattle to market, the Rottweiler is protective, powerful and courageous. When properly trained and socialized, Rottweilers are confident, loyal, loving and calm. Proper training and socialization are extremely important to make sure that they will be a good citizen and a wonderful pet.

Breed-related concerns

Every dog breed carries a distinct set of genetic advantages and health risk factors. The following are the most common diseases found in the Rottweiler breed. Hopefully, your Rottweiler will not face these problems. However, early detection and preventive healthcare can make all the difference in helping your dog live a longer, happier life (see breed-related disease descriptions below).

Puppy (birth to 1 year)*

  • Developmental bone/joint disease (hip dysplasia cannot be definitively diagnosed until 2 years of age)
  • Subaortic stenosis
  • Dominance aggression

Adult (1 to 6 years)*

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Gastric-dilation volvulus (bloat)
  • Lymphoma

Senior (7 years and older)*

  • Osteosarcoma

Breed-related disease descriptions

Listed in alphabetical order. *Please note that these common diseases can occur earlier or later in the dog’s life.

Developmental bone/joint disease. Affects predominantly young, large-breed dogs (It starts in young dogs, but a lot of the time it is not evident until the dog is older). Dogs may show no signs or may show pain, lameness, and reluctance to exercise. With hip dysplasia, there may be muscle wasting in the hind legs.

Dominance aggression. This is a very complex behavior condition. When a dog has dominance aggression they may react to situations where they feel threatened through aggressive behavior. This behavior condition can be found in every breed, but some breeds were previously bread for this trait and so the incidence of dominance aggression higher. They may respond to threatening situations with growling, posturing, or even snapping. Once this condition has been noticed it is very important that you seek veterinary advice immediately. The sooner it is identified the better the chances of managing the dominance aggression.

Ear infections (Otitis externa). Infection or inflammation of the ear canal. May be due to bacterial, yeast or ear mite infection, foreign bodies, allergies or hormonal disorders. Signs may include head shaking, smelly ears, scratching and rubbing of ears, reddening of the ear flap, discharge from ears, and pain on touching around the ears.

Gastric dilation-volvulus (bloat). A sudden, life-threatening condition due to abnormal twisting of the stomach. Signs include dramatic abdominal distention (bloating), attempts to vomit (with nothing brought up), pain in the abdomen, weakness and collapse (shock).

Hypothyroidism. Insufficient thyroid hormone production caused by disease of the thyroid glands. Symptoms include hair loss, obesity, lethargy, cold intolerance and skin infections.

Lymphoma. A cancer of the immune system cells. Signs may include enlarged lymph nodes, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy and increased thirst and urination.

Osteosarcoma. A form of bone cancer usually seen in the leg bones of many large-breed dogs. Signs may include leg pain, leg swelling and lameness. Sometimes the first sign of an osteosarcoma may be when the dog breaks its leg.

Subaortic stenosis. Birth defect resulting in narrowing of the aorta (main vessel leaving the heart) where it exits the heart. Signs may include sudden death at early age and a murmur may be heard during a physical exam.

Help your dog live a longer, healthier life. Ask your veterinarian about a breed-related preventive health plan.

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