Common Health and Genetic Disorders in Rottweilers

Updated on July 17, 2019
alexadry profile image

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, former veterinary assistant, and the author of "Brain Training for Dogs."

Petra and Kaiser: 8-weeks-old
Petra and Kaiser: 8-weeks-old

Rottweilers may look tough, stocky, and powerful on the outside, but when it comes to health problems, they tend to encounter many issues. For this reason, I cannot repeat enough how important it is to purchase Rottweilers from reputable breeders that test their breeding specimens for hereditary disorders. Breeding specimens that test positive to any hereditary disorders are, therefore, eliminated from the breeding pool. This significantly lowers the chances of encountering any genetic disorders.

Common Health Problems in Rottweiler Dogs

Orthopedic Disorders

  1. Hip Dysplasia: This genetic disorder is a common occurrence in large and giant dog breeds. It tends to occur when the hip bone and socket bones do not adhere as they are supposed to causing severe pain and debilitation. Responsible dog breeders will only breed their breeding dog specimens after they have received clearance for OFA, the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. Diagnosis is obtained after reviewing hip x-rays and classifying the hips under the following categories: Excellent, Good, Fair, Borderline, Mild Dysplasia, Moderate Dysplasia, or Severe Dysplasia.
  2. Elbow Dysplasia: Elbow dysplasia is a malformation of the elbow. Just as hip dysplasia, OFA can certify dogs for elbow dysplasia on a pass or fail basis. Responsible breeders will test their breeding specimens for this disorder as well.
  3. Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD): This is a disease that affects the bone cartilage of growing dogs, causing symptoms similar to arthritis. Multiple joints are affected the most common ones being the shoulder and elbow followed by elbow, hock, and knee. The causes may be various, ranging from genetics, rapid growth as seen in large breeds, hormone imbalances, and nutrition.
  4. Panosteitis: Also known as growing pains, pano is a disorder affecting large breed dogs for even 18 months. The causes are unknown; however, there may be chances it can be due to genetics, nutrition, or even bacteria. Affected dogs develop lameness that typically shifts from one leg to the other.occasionally dogs may also develop a fever.

Non-Orthopedic Conditions

  1. Bloat: As any other deep-chested dogs, Rottweilers may be prone to developing bloat, a life-threatening condition where the stomach swells due to the presence of gas and/or fluids. Dogs may develop bloat from overeating, drinking water after strenuous exercise or after eating or eating after vigorous exercise. Affected dogs will pace, retch without being able to vomit, drool and appear restless. This is a medical emergency where time is of the essence.
  2. Von Willebrand Disease: This disease is hereditary and is somehow similar to hemophilia experienced in humans. However, unlike hemophilia, it is not sex-linked and may affect both sexes. Because this disease affects the blood's ability to clot properly, affected dogs will experience prolonged and significant bleeding even after minimal trauma such as a broken toenail.
  3. Sub Aortic Stenosis: This is a cardiac problem which has a genetic link. Responsible breeders are also working on preventing such disorder from happening. The disorder is due to a structural defect where there is additional tissue that prevents the heart from pumping the blood as it is supposed to, therefore working harder than necessary.
  4. Hypothyroidism: In other words, affected dogs have low thyroid levels causing a variety of symptoms such as being lethargic, loss of energy, a dull coat with thinning hair and irregular heat cycles in females. The condition is corrected with thyroid medication.
  5. Eye Disorders: Entropian and Ectropion are both defects of the eyelids, either rolling inward or rolling outward. Other conditions are Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Cataracts. Board-certified ophthalmologists can screen for genetic eye disorders, and the dogs free of hereditary eye disorders can be registered with the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF).
  6. Cancer: Unfortunately, bone cancers (osteosarcomas) are becoming common in this breed. There are studies suggesting a link between spaying and neutering at an early age and the incidence of bone cancer.

As seen Rottweilers may be prone to a variety of disorders. However, the chances of such disorders may be reduced greatly by staying away from a back yard breeder newspaper ads and resorting to responsible, qualified breeders only that offer health certificates. The Rottweiler's life expectancy ranges between 10–12 years of age.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Petra and Kaiser 15 months oldMy Pack
Petra and Kaiser 15 months old
Petra and Kaiser 15 months old | Source
My Pack
My Pack

© 2009 Adrienne Farricelli


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      4 months ago

      Jackie, any history of ingesting something toxic? Injuries? What happened before your dog became paralyzed? Is she a purebred Rottweiler? In what country are you? So sad that vets seem so incompetent there.

    • profile image


      4 months ago

      Hi my dog is Maggie she's 9month old just recently she got paralysised on all four legs and she hasnt gotten up since. Shes quite active even lying down on her tummy but when ever i massage her legs shes in total pain how do i help her the vets in my coumtry dont run test on dogs they just guess whats going own whether wrong or right and based on their judgement they diagnose them and give them drugs and injection. Please help me out.

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      10 months ago

      Beverly Walker, so sorry to hear about your daughter's Rottweiler. I have lost my two best friends one year apart from cancer and it's devastating when they get older and start acting ill. Has a neurologist been seen? There are board-certified vets specialized in nerve function. A CT scan or MRI perhaps can help screen for cancers. Differentials that come to mind include facial nerve paralysis, mini stroke, nerve sheath tumor, lymphosarcoma, cancer of the trigeminal nerve, some type of nerve inflammation, Cushing's disease, hypothyroid neuropathy to just so name a few. Unfortunately, I hate to say this, but in dogs over the age of 10 cancer is quite rampant, affecting 1 in 2 dogs. Both my Rotties got cancer, my female at almost 11 and my male at almost 12.

    • profile image

      Beverly Walker 

      10 months ago

      I am writing this in hopes of maybe saving my daughter's rottweiler.

      She had just lost her other rotty about 2/3 months ago from blood disease.

      Now this one was so much healthier and he has fallen sick.

      His face is paralysed and cannot eat or drink well. His eye won't close and he cannot blink. She has been trying her best to help keep him alive.

      She raised him from a 2 month old baby.

      Now he is over 10 years old. He had been so healthy and all of a sudden she noticed that his eye was drooping and that's when she knew there was something wrong.

      The vet has been checking him over but he is fast deteriorating.

      Please we do not want to lose him if there can be some cure or help we may be missing. But even the vet has no idea what it is.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hey, My name is Mike, somone please contact me, i want to share pictures of my dog, she has an issue with her coat that i need help adressing. I have a female Rottweiler she is 4 years old, she’s beautiful and healthy, although she does have an issue with her coat, she lives outside all year, she has a big heated dog house, during the winter she grows a thick coat with a white undercoat,

      When spring comes she looses her thick coat slowly but a weird patchy pattern appears on her back on both sides, it’s not hair loss because the patch is thinner shorter hair and its dark brown in color and the rest of her coat is black… I know it’s a problem because when I take her for walks people always ask me what’s wrong with her, while she sheds, the white undercoat becomes visible near her bum and on the back of her neck, this never happened before, she use to have a butiful thick dark black coat and its depressing for me to see her coat so ugly, shes still gorgeos... she was born with a white patch on her chest aswell, the white patch never went away and she still has it, i plan on breeding her this year but i want to figure out what the problem is before, any help would be greatly apriciated

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      AHh that's so sad millionstars when i moved to indianapolis from gary we had to take our rott to the vet to hold her for 1 day exactly when we came back the next day they had put her down the said she was being vicious when everyone in my family no she wasint and friends knew she wasint either she accepted strangers very easily

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      have to put our rott down today due to hip Dysplasia she has been a great dog. protective and loving to all our family. great with the kids. it is a sad day for us. we are going to miss her. her pain is just to much now.

    • Bukarella profile image

      Lyudmyla Hoffman 

      9 years ago from United States

      A proud owner of a rottie over here. Enjoying browsing through your topics. We have much in common. (:

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      it is important to train them at a young age or they will control you rottweilers are a intellegent breed and will be a great dog with proper socilizing and training

    • brad4l profile image


      11 years ago from USA

      My friend has a rotty and he is a great dog, although still very young and in need of a little bit more discipline then he is getting. This is an excellent Hub!!

    • ocbill profile image


      11 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      nice dog pictures. makes me rememebe passing by one place on the way to walking my kid to school.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 

      11 years ago from Wisconsin

      The pictures are great. I never owned one, but the ones I've met have been great.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)