Classifying the Rottweiler

One of the most interesting things about trying to classify different dogs in terms of their ancestry and relationship to other extant breeds is how much cultural prejudices come into play.

Rottweiler is one of the best examples...

In North America, Rottweilers are “tough guy dogs.” In the 1990′s, they were the second most popular breed in terms of AKC registrations.  And there were plenty of nasty Rottweilers running about attacking people– even though uncontrollable aggression is actually a major fault in this breed.

If you were to ask they average North American what the Rottweiler’s closest relatives are, I’m sure you’d get someone saying that they are definitely related to “pit bulls.”   Others might say boxers.

Still others– who are bit more informed– would say Dobermanns. Of course, this is kind of right. Dobermanns are thought to have a tiny bit of Rottweiler ancestry.

So Let’s leave the Dobermann out of our analysis, and look at what the genetic literature says about the ancestry of Rottweilers.

According to some studies, the closest relative of the Rottweiler is the Great Dane.

It is also closely related to two Swiss “mountain dogs”:  the Bernese mountain dog and the St. Bernard. / more at /