top of page


The tale of the Rottweiler in the United Kingdom is closely intertwined with the town of Rottweil, from which the breed takes its name. The town's origins trace back to 73/74 A.D., when it served as a Roman military base. Situated in the region to the east of the Black Forest in Southern Germany, Rottweil. By the thirteenth century, it had been designated a free city and became a vital hub for trading grain and livestock. This trade played a crucial role in shaping the Rottweiler breed as we understand it today.

From the medieval period onwards, the term "Rottweiler" or "Rottweil Butcher's dog" started to be associated with a dog quite akin to the breed we see today. The breed's development was closely linked to its role in managing cattle, even the most perilous of bulls. This role necessitated a robust jaw structure, which might have been influenced by the introduction of bulldog or boxer-like traits into the breed's lineage.

Historically, the colour of the Rottweiler's coat wasn't as stylised as it is today. Coats frequently featured a white collar, white feet, and white spots, a trait that sometimes appears in modern Rottweilers. Throughout much of its history, the breed existed in two distinct sizes: one characterised by massive size suitable for draft work, and the other a smaller, lighter version used for herding. These two strains remained largely separate, a trait that occasionally surfaces even in contemporary Rottweilers.

The United Kingdom witnessed a small number of Rottweilers introduced before 1939, but the breed's establishment in the country primarily occurred after World War II. In 1953, Captain Roy-Smith, an army veterinary surgeon, imported a breeding pair from Germany, sparking the breed's presence in the UK. This was followed by further imports from Germany, contributing to the breed's growth. In 1960, with an increasing number of supporters, the Rottweiler Club was founded in the UK, solidifying the breed's presence.

Interestingly, the Rottweiler found earlier recognition in the United States, with the American Kennel Club recognising the breed as early as 1931. By 1974, the breed's popularity in Britain had risen substantially, with annual registrations reaching around 250. This surge in interest prompted the establishment us as a second breed club, the British Rottweiler Association, further underscoring the breed's significance and widespread appeal.

The Rottweiler is a breed of dog with a rich history, and its presence in the United Kingdom is no exception. Here's an overview of the history of Rottweilers in the UK:

Ancient Origins: The Rottweiler's origins can be traced back to ancient Rome, where they were used as herding and guarding dogs. They were brought to the region that is now Germany, and over the centuries, they were used for various purposes, including cattle herding and protection.


Rottweilers first arrived in the United Kingdom in the late 19th century. They were primarily used as working dogs, especially in roles such as guard dogs for livestock and as police or military dogs due to their protective and loyal nature.

During and after World War I and World War II, Rottweilers played roles as service dogs in the UK. They were used as guard dogs, search and rescue dogs, and even messenger dogs on the battlefield.

Recognition and Popularity: The Rottweiler gained recognition from The Kennel Club in the UK, and the breed was officially registered in the 1930s. The breed's popularity increased steadily, and they became known for their loyalty, intelligence, and versatility in various working roles. As the UK moved into the 20th century, Rottweilers continued to serve in various working capacities. They were utilized in police and military work, as well as in search and rescue missions. Their protective instincts and obedience made them well-suited for these roles.

However, the breed's reputation also faced challenges due to media portrayals of aggressive behaviour. Some incidents involving poorly trained Rottweilers led to negative perceptions of the breed. This prompted efforts by responsible breeders and dog enthusiasts to emphasise proper training, socialisation, and responsible ownership.

The Kennel Club in the UK established breed standards to guide responsible breeding practices. These standards encompassed the physical appearance, temperament, and health of Rottweilers, helping to ensure that the breed maintained its working abilities and positive traits.

Over time, Rottweilers transitioned from being primarily working dogs to beloved pets and companions. Their loyal and protective nature made them popular choices for families seeking a devoted and trainable canine companion. That said - they are not a breed for everyone by any means. 

It's important to note that, as with any powerful guarding breed, responsible ownership and proper training are crucial to ensure that Rottweilers remain well-adjusted and well-behaved companions. .

bottom of page