Posted in Working Group

A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential.  Breeders and judges should at all times be mindful of features which could be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.


Companion, service and working dog.


The Rottweiler is considered to be one of the oldest dog breeds. Its origin goes back to Roman times. These dogs were kept as herder or driving dogs. They marched over the Alps with the Roman legions, protecting the humans and driving their cattle. In the region of Rottweil, these dogs met and mixed with the native dogs in a natural crossing. The main task of the Rottweiler now became the driving and guarding of herds of cattle and the defence of their masters and their property. This breed acquired its name from the old Free City of Rottweil and was known as the ‘Rottweil butcher’s dog’. The butchers bred this type of dog purely for performance and usefulness. In due course, a first rate watch and driving dog evolved which could also be used as a draught dog. When at the beginning of the twentieth century, various breeds were needed for police service, the Rottweiler was amongst those tested. It soon became evident that the breed was highly suitable for the tasks set by police service and, therefore, they were officially recognised as police dogs in 1910. Rottweiler breeders aim at a dog of abundant strength, black coated with clearly defined rich tan markings, whose powerful appearance does not lack nobility and which is exceptionally well suited to being a companion, service, rescue and working dog.


The Rottweiler is a medium to large size, stalwart dog, neither heavy nor light and neither leggy nor weedy. His correctly proportioned, compact and powerful build leads to the conclusion of great strength, agility and endurance.


The length of the body, measured from the point of the sternum (breast bone) to the ischiatic tuberosity, should not exceed the height at the withers by, at most, 15%.


Good natured, placid in basic disposition, very devoted, obedient, biddable and eager to work. His appearance is natural and rustic, his behaviour self-assured, steady and fearless. He reacts to his surroundings with great alertness and at the same time even-tempered.

Skull - Of medium length, relatively broad between the ears. Forehead line moderately arched as seen from the side. Occipital bone well developed without being conspicuous.
Stop - Stop relatively strong. Frontal groove not too deep.

Nose - Well developed, more broad than round with relatively large nostrils, always black.
Muzzle - The foreface should appear neither elongated nor shortened in relation to the cranial region. The ration between the length of the muzzle and the length of the skull is about 1 to 1,5. Straight nasal bridge, broad at base, moderately tapered.
Lips - Black, close fitting, corner of the mouth not visible, gum as dark as possible.
Jaw/Teeth - Upper and lower jaw strong and broad. Strong, complete dentition (42 teeth) with scissor bite, the upper incisors closely overlapping the lower incisors.
Cheeks - Zygomatic arches pronounced.
Eyes - Of medium size, almond-shaped, dark brown in colour. Eyelids close fitting.
Ears - Medium sized, pendant, triangular, wide apart, set on high. With ears laid forward close to the head, the skull appears to be broadened.


Strong of fair length, well muscled, slightly arched, clean, free from throatiness, without excessive dewlap.

Back - Straight, strong, firm.
Loins - Short, strong and deep.
Croup - Broad, of medium length, slightly rounded. Neither flat nor falling away.
Chest - Roomy, broad and deep (approximately 50% of the shoulder height) with well developed forechest and well sprung ribs.
Belly - Flanks not tucked up.

In natural condition, strong, level in extension of the upper line; while paying attention, when excited or while moving it can be carried upward in a light curve: at ease may be hanging. While positioned along the leg, the tail reaches approximately to the hocks or is a bit longer.

[*refer note below]


FOREQUARTERS: Seen from the front, the front legs are straight and not placed too closely to each other. The forearm, seen from the side, stands straight and vertical. The slope of the shoulder blade is about 45 degrees to the horizontal.
Shoulders - Well laid back.
Upperarm - Close fitting to the body.
Forearm - Strongly developed and muscular.
Pasterns - Slightly springy, strong, not steep.
Feet - Round, tight and well arched; pads hard; nails short, black and strong.

HINDQUARTERS:Seen from behind, legs straight and not too close together. When standing free, obtuse angles are formed between the dog’s upper thigh and the hip bone, the upper thigh and the lower thigh and metatarsal.
Upper thigh - Moderately long, broad and strongly muscled.
Lower thigh - Long, strongly and broadly muscled, sinewy.
Hocks – Sturdy, well angulated hocks; not steep.
Hind Feet - Slightly longer than the front feet. Toes strong, arched, as tight as front feet.


The Rottweiler is a trotting dog. In movement the back remains firm and relatively stable. Movement harmonious, steady, full of energy and unrestricted, with good stride.


Skin on the head: overall tight fitting. When the dog is alert, the forehead may be slightly wrinkled.

Hair - The coat consists of a top coat and an undercoat. The top coat is of medium length, coarse, dense and flat. The undercoat must not show through the top coat. The hair is a little longer on the hindlegs.


Black with clearly defined markings of a rich tan on the cheeks, muzzle, throat, chest and legs, as well as over both eyes and under the base of the tail. 

Height at withers: Males: 61-68 cm. 
61-62cm is small 63-64cm medium height
65-66cm is large – correct height   67-68cm very large.
Weight: 50kg.

Height at withers: Bitches: 56-63cm
56-57cm is small                              58-59cm medium height
60-61cm is large - correct height 62-63cm very large.
Weight Approximately 42kg.


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
General Appearance: Light, weedy, leggy appearance. Light in bone and muscle.
Head: Hound-type head. Narrow, light, too short, long, coarse or excessively molossoid head. Flat forehead. (Lack of stop, too little stop or too strong stop).
Foreface : Long, pointed or too short muzzle (any muzzle shorter than 40 percent of the length of the head is too short); split nose; Roman nose (convex nasal bridge) or dish-faced (concave nasal bridge); aquiline nose; pale or spotted nose (butterfly nose).
Lips: Pendulous, pink or patchy; corner of lips visible.
Jaws: Narrow lower jaw.
Bite – Pincer bite. Molars of the underjaw not standing in one line.
Cheeks: Strongly protruding.
Eyes – Light, deep set. Also too full and round eyes; loose eyelids.
Ears – Set on too low or too high, heavy, long, slack or turned backwards. Also flying ears or ears not carried symmetrically.
Neck – Too long, thin, lacking muscle. Showing dewlap or throaty.
Body: Too long, too short or too narrow.
Back: Too long, weak; sway back or roach back.
Croup: Too sloping, too short, too flat or too long.
Chest: Flat ribbed or barrel shaped. Too narrow behind.
Tail: Set on too high or too low.
Forequarters: Narrow or crooked or not parallel standing front legs. Steep shoulder placement. Loose or out at elbow. Too long, too short or too straight in upper arm. Weak or steep pastern. Splayed feet. Too flat or too arched toes. Deformed toes. Light coloured nails.
Hindquarters: Flat thighs, hocks too close, cow hocks or barrel hocks. Joints with too little or too much angulation. Dewclaws.
Skin: Wrinkles on head.
Coat: Soft, too short or too long. Wavy coat, lack of undercoat.
Colour: markings of incorrect colour, not clearly defined. Markings which are too spread out.


General appearance: Too Molossoid type and heavy general appearance.

Skin: Skin at the head strongly wrinkled, strong wrinkles in the area of the forehead, the muzzle and the cheeks, strong dewlap.

Gait: Sluggish action while trotting.


Aggressive or overly she dogs.

Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.

Behaviour – Anxious, shy, cowardly, gun-shy, vicious, excessively suspicious, nervous animals.
General appearance: Distinct reversal of sexual type i.e. feminine dogs or masculine bitches.
Teeth – Overshot or undershot bite, wry mouth; lack of one incisive tooth, one canine, one premolar or one molar.
Eyes: Entropion, ectropion, yellow eyes, different coloured eyes.
Tail – Kink tail, ring tail, with strong lateral deviation, natural bobtail.
Hair – Definitely long or wavy coat.
Colour – Dogs which do not show the typical Rottweiler colouring of black with tan markings. White markings.

Males must have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation, should be used for breeding.

*Regardless of the provisions of the current KUSA-adopted standard, docked and formerly docked breeds may be shown at all FCI- and KUSA-licensed shows in South Africa, whether their tails are docked, or natural. Under no circumstances are judges permitted to discriminate against exhibits on the grounds of docked, or natural tails and equal consideration for awards must be given to either. (Fedco 12/2017 Amended 02/2018)