Rottweiler Grooming

The Rottweiler is a large dog that will likely weigh somewhere between 80-135 lbs. Although they are generally trainable and obedient, this is still a lot of dog to handle so we recommend starting your grooming regimen from the time your Rottie is a puppy. They are not a high maintenance breed in this aspect and need little more than weekly brushing and a bath when necessary (this can be as frequent as every two weeks to as seldom as every other month). They do shed quite a quite a bit-- all year round. Weekly dental care is very important as is trimming the nails every couple weeks (to once per month). This page goes into details about what what to expect from coat care on down to paw care, as well as recommends products to keep your Rottweiler healthy and poweful.

Rottweiler Coat Care

Rottweiler grooming is not difficult to perform from the comfort of your own home, if you have the time. At first glance, the short-medium length coat looks like it doesn't require any maintenance. While they are much easier to care for than many other breeds, they do shed-- a lot. Brushing will be a weekly task you do not want to skip as it will keep your home cleaner and your Rottie better looking. No need to stress about how often to bathe these dogs; it can be done every two to 8 weeks and really depends on the activity level and lifestyle of the particular Rottie. The following sections will offer tips on how to groom your Rottweiler and the important reasons behind doing so.

Brushing

You can brush your Rottie as often as you want, but since they shed a lot we recommend doing so at least once a week. Brushing is a great time for you to feel for lumps, bumps, rashes and wounds on your dog's skin. The best brush for a rottweiler is a pin brush or a slicker brush; you can also use a bristle brush for shine if you choose. Many owners also opt for a deshedding tool to reach down and grab the dead undercoat. Remember to brush from the neck down and to always brush in the direction of the hair.

Getting Out Tangles

Although the breed possesses a pretty low maintenance coat, they shed quite a bit. Most grooming pros recommend having a dual sided bristle/pin brush, a slicker brush and a deshedding tool. The bristle side is good for puppies or dogs that are not used to being brushed while the pin side will help remove dead hairs and stimulate healthy oil production in adults. Slicker brushes will remove a lot more of the dead hairs but if your pet isn't used to being brushed he/she may not like the wiry bristles. Although optional, a deshedding tool is great for a Rottweiler; FURminators are popular for this breed and will help remove dead undercoat. A consistent weekly (or more frequent) brushing routine will lessen the amount of hair that ends up on your clothes, floors and furniture.

Bathing

Many owners wonder "How often should I bathe my Rottweiler?". There's really no certain time requirement for this active breed; you can bathe him/her every other week or as infrequently as every other month. It will mostly depend on the activity of the dog, how much time he/she spends outside, and if they have gotten messy-- obviously if your dog smells rotten, bathe him! Starting a bathing ritual when your Rottie is young will make them much less afraid of water.

Use a rubber mitt or slicker brush to remove loose hairs before the bath. Next, we recommend running 3-4 inches of lukewarm water in a tub and then introducing your pup when in a quiet environment. The best shampoo for a Rottweiler is a normal, hypoallergenic dog shampoo; during shedding season a shedding shampoo is recommended. Make sure to rinse her thoroughly and rerinse to keep the skin from becoming itchy due to left behind soap. Finally, if your pet allows it, dry the coat (at least with a towel).

Many owners clean the ears around bath time as well. Some ear cleaning solution or vinegar on a cotton ball can be applied to the part of the inside ear that is visible. Be sure not to go too deep, this isn't necessary.

Note, if your Rottweiler does smell in between baths you can wipe him down with a deodorizing wipe purchased at any pet supply store.

Paw Care

Clipping your Rottweiler's nails can be done on a monthly basis by you or your vet, local pet spa, or almost every large pet supply store. Athletic, active breeds like the Rottie often spend more time outside playing than other dogs and will wear their nails down some naturally. It's still important to at least check them once a month and if you hear them click-clacking on the floor then it's definitely time for a trim. Many owners think they don't know how to cut their Rottweiler's nails at home but it's truly doable; it's best to start when they are young so they can get accustomed to the sensation, however, associating nail clipping with treats goes a long way! A scissor or guillotine clipper for large dogs can be purchased at any pet supply store. Just make sure not to cut too close to the quick, the area of the nail with nerves, and if you aren't quite able to see where that is it's best to just clip small increments until you see pink (in white nails) or blackish pink (in dark nails); having a styptic powder nearby can help stop a little bleeding if you accidentally nip this area.

Other Care

Another necessary aspect of Rottweiler care is dental hygiene.

A dog with rotten teeth is a dog with gum disease. Gum disease can actually lead to problems with vital organs, including the heart! One simple search on Google for images of rotten dog teeth should be sufficient to convince you that dental hygiene is extremely important. On a practical level, treating dental disease or even removal of the dogs rotten teeth can cost THOUSANDS of dollars. Start brushing your Rottweiler's teeth as early as possible to get them used to the sensation as a puppy. You may have adopted your Rottie as an adult-- dental gels, cleaning chews and treats may be the better option for you. Your vet can also perform dental cleaning if you think your pet already may have dental issues (bad breath is often caused by rotten teeth).

Sometimes, owners complain that the breath smells like rotten eggs or rotten meat; teeth and gum tissue that are decaying can often smell this way. Bacteria that live in the wounds are mostly responsible for the smell of dying tissue. If your dog's teeth are already rotting or falling out it is imperative to take them to the veterinarian. Also, evaluate your pup's diet and consider changing his food to a formula scientifically designed for Rottweilers.

Rottweiler Styling & Haircuts

The coat of this breed doesn't require any cutting or styling because it is already relatively short, straight and lying flat on the body-- it's unlikely you will ever see a shaved Rottweiler unless he/she has had some sort of medical procedure. The styling practices that are debatable, however, are docking the tails and clipping the ears of Rottie puppies. Although it is becoming more common to keep the natural tail and ears of the breed, some owners still opt for the "classic" Rottweiler look. Many wonder "Why cut a Rottweiler's tail off?" or "Why cut a Rottweiler's ears?". There are several answers to these questions that we will discuss.

Cutting the tail, or docking, is done within a few days after the puppy is born. The nervous system hasn't fully formed and many experts claim this is the most humane time to cut the tail. While not painless, it results in very little pain and a much less traumatic experience than docking after the first 5 days post birth. Today, breeders and owners do this for two main reasons-- primarily, they intend to use the dog for protection and guarding with the though process being a docked tail is unlikely to get bitten, pulled or snagged. Otherwise, there are still a large portion of people that like the aesthetic of the docked tail. Unfortunately, some Rotties are still abused and forced to fight and cutting a Rottweiler's tail (and ears) is almost always part of the process.

The Rottweilers ears are cut, sometimes, but this is not as common as tail docking. The reason for this is quite similar to the reason for cutting the tail. A Rottweiler with clipped ears is less likely to get their ears injured (torn, snagged, etc) while performing their duties. The erect style ears are thought to allow the dog to hear better and, therefore, guard better. Once again, there are some that just prefer the look of clipped ears.