Origin of the Rottweiler
The Rottweiler is said to be a descendant of the drovers dogs of ancient Rome. These mastiff-type dogs accompanied the Roman Legions as they marched across Europe and were originally used to herd and guard their cattle. One such camp was situated to the east of the Black Forest in Southern Germany. This was the origin of the town of Rottweil which derived its name from the word "Rot" for the colour of its red roof tiles and bricks and "Wil" from the Roman villas, hence "Rottweil"
Throughout the mid - 1880's the cattle trade flourished in Rottweil, as did the Rottweiler - Metzgerhund (butchers dog) who drove the cattle to market and guarded the filled purses of their masters around their necks on the journey home. However by the mid 19th century with the introduction of railroads, these dogs were used less and less frequenlty and so their numbers dwindled. It is said that by the end of the 19th century the breed had declined so much so that in 1900 there was only one female to be found in the town of Rottweil. Fortunately around the same time the breed was recogonised by the German Police Dog Association for its working ability and this firmly secured the breeds future in Germany. Although the first Rottweiler was exhibited in Germany in 1882, it wasnt until 1907 that clubs dedicated solely to the breed in Germany were established. On the 14th August 1921 the two main Rottweiler clubs in Germany merged to become the ADRK (Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub) which is now know as the official German Rottweiler Club.
The Rottweiler first appeared in the UK in 1936 and was exhibited at Crufts the following year. The breed at this time was listed by the Kennel Club as "Any Other Breed or Variety of British, Colonial or Foreign Dog not Classified" The first records of a Rottweiler being imported into the UK was of a bitch called Rozavel Diana von der Amalianburg Sch H1 imported by Mrs Thelma Gray of the Rozavel Kennels. Mrs Gray imported other Rottweilers however with the outbreak of World War 2 in 1939 these lines were lost. The first post war Rottweilers imported into the UK were brought in by Caption Roy-Smith of the Royal Veterinary Corps in 1953. They were Ajax von Fuhrenhamp and Berry von Weyher, sadly they never produced a litter. He did import a second bitch who subsequently produced a litter. Over time many more Rottweilers were imported from Europe and with careful selective breeding by a small dedicated group of breeders the breed was firmly established in the UK by 1965. In 1965 the Rottweiler was officially recognised by the Kennel Club as a breed in its own right.