Rottweilers: Weight and Nutrition
By Diane Richardson

Rottweiler. The word conjures up the image of a very large, substantial dog. But is this image Real? Yes and No.

There is a certainly no denying that the average Rottweiler is big and solid looking but they are not a giant breed. Rottweilers are supposed to be a large breed. OK, so just what is large? Large is ANY dog over 65 lbs. and under 130 lbs. Surprised? Most people are.

Typical Rottweiler females are 22 to 25 inches at the shoulder and 75-95 lbs. Typical males are 24-27 inches at the shoulder and 85-125 lbs. There are shorter and taller and bigger boned and lighter boned Rottweilers within the breed and these are of course a bit lighter or heavier than average, but these are a small minority.

Most people over estimate a Rottweilers weight because of their build and coloring. Rarely are weight "guesstimants" accurate. Veterinary scales are the only way to get a true and accurate weight of these dogs.

The vast majority of Rottweilers seen range from overweight to grossly obese. Why? Because the general public has a mistaken belief that Rottweilers are supposed to look like that! Even many veterinaries are unaware of what proper weight for many breeds looks like.

To check your dog to see if it is overweight, have your dog stand up and face forward. Look down on your dog's back. Is your dog the same width from shoulders to hips? Rottweilers (and every dog) should have a DISTINCT "waist" when you look down on them. This means the "waist" is decidedly narrower than either the rib cage or the hip area. Next place you hand on your dogs back with your thumb on its backbone and fingers over its ribcage. Can you easily feel both backbone and ribs, or do you need to press down? Ribs and backbone should be easily felt with out any pressure but should NOT be visible when looking at your dog from the side (unless he is biting his tail!)

Fat does not equal substance in dogs anymore than it does in humans. Good weight and muscle tone are achieved through measured portion meals and proper exercise (dictated by the dog's age and health) Measured portion meals are a must with Rottweilers as most of them will happily eat them selves into "blimp-hood" and will not "self-regulate" at a healthy weight.

Being overweight dramatically increases your individual Rottweiler's risk factor for (or worsens the severity of your dogs impairment if already afflicted with) these common Rottweiler health problems: Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, other joint problems, torn knee ligaments (cruciates), diabetes and thyroid malfunctions.

In addition to feeding measured portion meals, providing appropriate exercise and keeping your dog's weight within healthy limits; the quality of the dog's food must be examined. Human's can not be at optimum health if all they eat is candy and fast food and dogs can not be at optimum health if they are fed low quality food and junk filled treats. The doggie candy and fast food equivalents!

Dogs are primarily carnivores (meat eaters). So why is it most dog food & treat brands are composed primarily of grains? Ingredient Costs and profit margin!

Examine your dog's food bag. The #1 ingredient should be a named meat or meat meal such as chicken, turkey meal, Herring meal etc. The food should contain NO by product meal, soy products, corn or wheat. The protein content should be between 22 and 26% for adults and 24-28% for puppies. The fat content should be between 12-16% for adults and 14-18% for puppies. Any fat should be named such as chicken fat, beef fat etc. and should NOT be anonymous such as animal fat. No chemical preservatives (BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin) should be listed, nor should there be any sugars or artificial colors.

In general the better quality dog foods are found at pet supply stores, not at grocery stores. Do not be swayed by expensive advertising and packaging. Use your own eyes and knowledge! If you feed a quality dog food in measured portions meals, keep your dog at its individual optimum weight and provide mental and physical exercise appropriate for your dog's age and health, your dog will be at its optimum health with healthy skin, shiny coat and abundant energy. Your dog will live longer and have less health problems as well. Remember, "Fat Rotts are not healthy Rotts!"

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