The actual origin of the Rottweiler is a little bit murky but is incredibly interesting. Many people state that the breed was around when the Romans brought their dogs with them during their invasion of Europe. These dogs were said to have then been crossed with native breeds like the Entelbucher and the Great Swiss Mountain Dog. Rotties were most often found in Southern Germany and in Switzerland and were given their name because of the fact that so many of them were left in the town of Rottweil in Germany’s southern region of the Black Forest. Their main role in this area was to herd and guard livestock. They were seen as extremely loyal and courageous dogs, and this gradually spread across to other parts of the country. They became popular with butchers who would use the impressively strong dogs to pull carts and they actually became known as the Butcher’s Dog. By the 19th Century, Germany had outlawed cattle driving which meant that the Rottie population declined and it was not until 1914 when they began to be valued for their work as war dogs. In 1882, the first Rottie was shown in Germany and Rottweiler clubs were established in 1907. By 1910, the Rottweiler due to its incredible strength, determination, guarding nature and high prey drive became Germany’s official police dog. They were brought to the UK in 1936 and were bred by a handful of enthusiasts of the breed. Rottweilers today are very popular for their guarding abilities, but also for their loyal and kind natures which has increased their popularity as family pets in many countries across the world.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier shares a common ancestor with that of the Pit Bull Terrier and Bull Terrier – the Bulldog. It was created in the 19th century to be a smaller and quicker fighting dog, but one who was gentle and kind towards people. It was most likely bred by crossing the Bulldog with an ancestor of the Manchester Terrier which eventually developed into the Staffy we know and love today. The very first Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club was formed in England in 1835.
Now the size of the two breeds is very different. Staffies tend to stand between 14 and 16 inches at the shoulder with males being taller compared to females. Male Staffies will weigh between 28 and 38 pounds whilst females weigh from 24 to 34 pounds. Staffies have a short and smooth coat which lies close to their skin and can be a variety of colours including red, fawn, white, black, blue, brindle or any of those colours with white. Male Rottweilers tend to be between 24 and 27 inches at the shoulder weighing between 95 and 130 pounds, whilst female Rotties tend to stand between 22 and 25 inches and weigh around 85 to 115 pounds. Rotties are large, well-proportioned and very muscular dogs. They have broad heads with slight wrinkling on their heads and when they are alert their skin tightens. They are quite different to the Boerboel when it comes to coat colour as the Rottweiler is a black and tan coloured dog.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, like the vast majority of dogs, can be more prone to particular health conditions. These include hip and elbow dysplasia, bone conditions, cataracts, enzyme defects, skin allergies or mange. Staffies have an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years which is more than the Rottie. The average lifespan of a Rottweiler is between 8 and 10 years when they are properly cared for and fed an appropriate amount. It's essential that breeders only use "temperament-tested" dogs in their breeding programmes which helps ensure their offspring inherit their kind natures. It's worth noting that, like other breeds, the Rottweiler is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues with the conditions that seem to affect them the most being cancer, eye problems, Ectropion, bone and muscular problems, bloat, hip and elbow dysplasia and skin issues.
Staffies over the years have been misunderstood and given a reputation which does not represent them accurately. They are an energetic dog with a people-loving personality and is known to long to take care of its family. Being a very attentive and alert dog, you can be sure that they’ll let you know of any visitors you may have. Early socialisation is really important with Staffies in order for them to grow into a well-rounded dog who is less wary of dogs that it has not yet met. They are strong-willed and need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation and it is best to begin their training early as puppies. This is similar to that of the Rottie. Rotties are one of the most intelligent dog breeds and learn new things very quickly. This does mean that they can pick up bad habits easily and need a firm and consistent hand in training.
Rottweilers need to be well socialised from puppyhood and it cannot be stressed strongly enough that their training must start as early as possible too. Failing to socialise a puppy or train a young dog correctly is not fair on either the Rottie or their owners. They are extremely intelligent, but they also have a very dominant side to their characters meaning they need to be corrected by a calm and consistent leader in a household in order for them to be well-rounded dogs.