The Rottweiler is one of the most versatile dogs on the planet, with his ability to work for the police, the military, personal guard- and protecting dogs, search-and-rescue-dogs, guide dogs for the blind, and oh, so much more. It should come as no surprise that their original task was that of herding, which they have done since the Roman Empire spread across the world. Many of the world’s best working dog breeds were once herding dogs who later channeled their intelligence, trainability, drive and so on, into other areas where they can do good.
But it wasn’t until the 18th century that the Rottweiler as we know it today, began to develop. Once the Roman Empire fell, the Roman drover dogs as they were referred to, found work in and around the town of Rottweil (Germany); they brought herds from pasture to markets, protecting them from bandits and other ill-willing people on the way. However; once the railroad cattle cars rose, the Rottweiler dogs work was done as herding and protecting dogs. And that’s when they began finding work elsewhere.
The Bullterrier has a completely different background. They are one of the breeds that were created in the need of entertaining blood sports in the UK, in the 19th century. In the 1830s, bullbaiting was forbidden, thus giving way for dog-fighting. Instead of using Bulldogs who were considered too slow, the journey of crossbreeding Bulldogs with various terriers to create a strong, muscular, ferocious, strong-willed and stubborn breed. There were numerous variants coming up, and the Bullterrier is one of them.
Like many other of these mixed breeds, the Bullterrier found other work than to fight. The Bullterrier found himself popular among young gentlemen, and soon breeders began refining looks and temperament within the breed to better suit his new environment. The white gentleman was born.
The Rottweiler is the larger of the two. He stands up to 27 inches tall (male), weighing about 95 – 135 pounds. That’s quite impressive, given his strong, muscular body and black/rust coat. His body is square, with a slightly sloping back. He has a long muzzle and a well-defined domed head that carries his adorable floppy ears well. He has a double coat, where the outer layer is straight and coarse, laying flat over his muscled body. The undercoat is present on the neck and thighs, which only adds to the profuse shedding he’ll present you with twice a year. Colour-wise, it can be difficult for the untrained eye to see the difference between black/mahogany, black/rust and black/tan – but that’s the colour options, right there.
He’s not even remotely close to the same unique appearance as the Bullterrier, however. While smaller in stature (a fully grown Bullterrier reaches about 21 – 22 inches above the ground, weighing in around 50 – 70 pounds), the most remarkable feature of the Bullterrier is his head. The breed is sometimes referred to as “eggheads”, with their oval outlined headshape and giving the impression of complete fullness with no hollows or indentations. The rest of the dog is strong, muscular, well balanced with straight lines. The ears are large and erect, and the neck long and strong.
The Bullterrier’s coat is easy to maintain. It’s short, flat, harsh yet glossy and needs little aside from the occasional brushing. Unlike the Rottie, the Bullterrier doesn’t really shed, at least not in a way that’s as generous (hehum, intrusive) as the Rottie.
We already established that the Rottweiler has herding traits, which makes him a dog that’s easy to train. Any Rottie is a “people dog” and loves being with his humans. However: considering their history with not only herding, but also guarding and protecting, they really need you to start training and socializing them from the very first day. This is crucial, so your dog doesn’t become aggressive due to lacking social skills. This is a strong, powerful breed with a strong, tough and sometimes stubborn mind. He needs to be honed into that amazing dog he can be, and you’re the one who has to do it.
The Bullterrier is a different story. While he too loves and adores his family and would do anything for you, he does have terrier genes. That makes him strong-minded and stubborn, and along the way he also found the idea that if it’s not fun, he won’t do it. This creates a very special situation for anyone who wants to share his life with a Bullterrier. Creativity, imagination and patience are crucial if you want your Bullterrier to become that fantastic clown for a dog that everyone are so amused by.
Ok, so let’s begin with the clown in the class – the Bullterrier. Like I just mentioned, the Bullterrier loves to have fun. He is also a free-thinker, so it may be a good idea to even before you start, realize and accept the idea that you have to work WITH your Bullterrier, not that he works for you. If you also accept that he’ll do everything that’s fun and if it’s not fun, he’ll just walk away. Combine that with tenacity, courage, comical, playful, endearing, stubborn, but also deeply devoted to his family.. well, then you pretty much have a Bullterrier.
The Rottweiler, with his background as a herding/guarding/protecting dog, has a different temperament. It should come as no surprise that he’s quite aloof to strangers, both human and animals, and this is why it’s so extremely important to socialize and train him from an early age, to prevent that aloofness to become fear and/or aggression. This is the kind of dog who needs to know his way and place in the world. He’ll love you to pieces, and he’ll guard and protect you until the end. Compared to many other breeds, the Rottweiler is a rather tough, self-confident, strong-willed and serious breed.