The Rottweiler is a fierce and protective dog famous for its unwavering loyalty. Rottweilers will be calm, but they have high confidence. There are few things that scare the Rottweiler, which explains why they’re one of the top guard dogs.
And given the immense popularity of these dogs in North America, it’s not hard spotting a Rottweiler on a walk around the neighborhood. With their slick black coat with tan markings, every dog lover knows what a Rottie looks like.
But did you know there are three official Rottweiler colors? Even so, there are other rarer colors such as red Rottweilers. So, if you’re wondering what kind of colors are possible with these dogs (yes, you have options!), read on to learn more.
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According to the American Kennel Club breed standard for Rottweilers, there are just three official colors on the Rottie. The organization mentions that the base color should always be black with markings ranging from rust to mahogany.
|Black & Mahogany||Standard||013|
|Black & Tan||Standard||015|
|Black & Rust||Standard||018|
Separation of the coat’s black base and markings are clearly defined on the coat. Plus, all colored markings should be found on the dog in the following areas:
- Eyebrows – there should be a spot-marking that appears over each eye.
- Cheeks – each side of the muzzle should have a strip of color, though it never intrudes onto the bridge of the nose.
- Throat & Chest – A triangular patch of marking should appear on both sides of the Rottie’s pro-sternum.
- Legs – Markings should be apparent on the forelegs from carpus to toes. Additional markings located on the inside of the rear legs, from the stifle and out to the front of rear legs.
- Tail – Rottweilers should have docked tails, but color should be present under the tail.
The location of the marking isn’t the only important aspect when adhering to the AKC breed standard. In fact, the quantity of the marking is important as well. For a standard Rottie, the markings can’t exceed ten percent of dog’s body color.
Any base color other than black results in immediate disqualification. So, diluted dark colors don’t qualify. Even so, the correct-colored markings need to be present on the black coat. In other words, white markings aren’t official.
1. Black and Mahogany Rottweiler
It’s difficult to tell apart the Rotties based on markings – even for the enthusiasts. However, the black and mahogany Rottweiler will have the darkest-colored markings in all the correct areas. It should be a deep red-brownish mahogany.
Black and mahogany Rottweilers are some of the most common and popular color combos. In fact, the neighbor’s Rottie is probably this color. You’ll see them everywhere. Given how handsome they look, it’s easy to see why owners love this color variation.
2. Black and Rust Rottweiler
The black and rust Rottweiler is also another common and popular color variation. The rust is by far the most distinctive. Though there are few breeds with rust in their coats, there’s just two dog breeds with specifically black and rust.
The rust marking is not as dark and deep as the mahogany. However, it’s also not as bright and light as the tan. These dogs are just as stunning as any other official breed color and even then, few people can tell them apart.
3. Black and Tan Rottweiler
Black and tan Rottweilers may just be the least common color of Rottweilers. But because Rotties are all around us, it’s still possible you run into some. Tan is not a rare color among dogs. Plus, a few dog breeds are known for both black and tan.
With the same coloring, Beaucerons are often confused with the black and tan Rottweiler. In addition, the Black and Tan Coonhound only has this color combination. So while they may be somewhat rare with the Rottie, this color combo isn’t in the canine kingdom.
4. Red Rottweiler
Though not a standard color, the Red Rottweiler may be the most exotic and interesting among all the unique Rottweiler colors. And while it may be normal for owners to want a “special” colored dog, these red Rottweilers typically aren’t ethically bred.
Breeders that specifically breed for “rare” colors often ignore breeding for temperament or good health, which are factors that actually matter. Since they can charge a higher price for rarity, the breeder’s goal is simply to produce more red dogs.
Still, it’s possible to naturally get a red Rottweiler in a litter, naturally. However, Rottweilers have been bred with black coats for several generations, making it highly unlikely. If you still want one, make sure to investigate the breeder thoroughly.
Breeding Red Rottweilers
According to experts, rare-colored Rottweilers are likely the result of crossbreeding. More than likely, a red Rottie won’t be a completely purebred dog. Whether it’s by crossbreeding with other dog breeds or Rotties with rare markings, this may produce unique colors.
But an interesting coat isn’t the only thing that may result from breeding for rare colors. In addition, these red-colored dogs may be susceptible to health problems or other hereditary issues. With that said, red Rottweilers aren’t recognized by kennel clubs.
Some of these health issues can range anywhere from eye conditions to heart issues and sometimes hip or joint problems. Standard colored Rottweilers are already susceptible to a few health issues, so if you breed for these colors, things can only get worse.
5. Blue Rottweiler
Blue is my favorite color. However, it’s not the best color in the canine kingdom. A dog can become blue when he has the dilution gene. On a black coat, which most standard Rottweilers are, a diluted coat will look like a gray-ish blue.
This color has several names depending on the dog breed. It can be called blue, charcoal, slate or even gray. For instance, French Bulldogs with this same dilute mutation on a black coat are also called Blue French Bulldogs.
For this to happen, the gene codes responsible for the melanin (black pigment) on the Rottweiler’s coat goes through a mutation. As a result, improper distribution of the “color cells” causes a dilution in the color of the coat.
However, the mutation gene is recessive, thus requiring two copies in order to produce the blue color on the coat. In other words, dogs that carry one of the two genes (the D allele or the D locus) will still have a “normal” coat color. It’s not too common.
The Problem With Blue Rottweilers
The reason why blue isn’t a great color in dogs is because of the many documented health issues that may come with it. For example, Follicular Dysplasia is a somewhat common problem seen in blue dogs, especially with Rottweilers.
Though relatively rare, this condition refers to a genetic cause of alopecia and poor hair quality on the coat. This is not just a Rottweiler problem, but commonly found with dog breeds such as Dobermans, Huskies and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.
Blue Rottweiler puppies aren’t immediately born with poor hair-coat quality. Through the first three years, you’ll begin to notice it gradually. The coat with be “patchy” and their skin may be extra dry with other colors on the affected parts of the coat.
The primary hairs of the Rottweiler may eventually shed, creating a puppy-like coat with a woolly feel. In fact, most of the patching will be on the body of the dog, with both the head and feet being the least affected. It’s not a pleasant sight and will require a list to the vet.
Do Rottweilers Change Colors?
It’s not really uncommon for a puppy’s coat color to change as they grow older. And, Rottweilers are no exception. They will change colors too. But just how much can a Rottweiler’s coat color actually change in just a few short years?
According to Dr. Winnie, there are many possibilities. For example, a change of coat colors could depend on the seasonal timing. If it’s fall time, the Rottweiler’s short double coat may be shedding the top coat in preparation for colder weather.
Most black Rottweilers have a gray undercoat. However, it’s possible that some may sport a tan or red undercoat, which may be showing through with a thinner top coat. So while it can seem like the colors are changing, the actual undercoat color is just more obvious now.
Another reason for a change in coat color may be because of genetics. It’s possible that the Rottweiler may actually carry the genes for a red or blue coat. As such, this true color may not be more obvious until the pup becomes a little older.
So if your Rottweiler puppy is changing colors as the dog enters adulthood, don’t worry too much. It’s likely not a huge issue. It’s not just with Rottweilers, but so many puppies change their coat colors in the later years.
Which Rottweiler Color is Best?
Does it matter which Rottweiler color you decide to get? The short answer is no. In terms of personality and temperament, they’re all the same. You’ll get the loyal and affectionate dog that we all know and love in Rottweilers.
However, if you do plan to show and compete with your Rottweiler, then it does matter. In order to show your dog at AKC competitions, you must have a Rottweiler that fits the official breed standard. This means a black and tan/rust/mahogany Rottie is a must.
Rottweilers disqualified for failing the breed standard can still compete in some events, just not all. But if you don’t have plans for this and just want a great companion and guardian, it doesn’t matter which Rottweiler color you get.
If you can get your hands on a Rottweiler, I highly recommend it! They’re such amazing dogs that deserve an equally loving and affectionate family. With the right owners, it’ll be easy for these dogs to thrive.
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Friday 1st of July 2022
TAILS! Save the Rottie’s tails. My baby loves her tail and I do too. STOP CUTTING TAILS!
Saturday 9th of July 2022
@Jeff, respectfully no ☺️
Wednesday 17th of November 2021
My Max was one of the most Beautiful 135 lbs German Red Golden Rottweiler. He was 1 out of only 2 in the litter that was born Red. People didn't believe me when i told them he was a Rottweiler until i showed them pictures of his Dad,Mom and the litter of 12 puppies with 2 little red golden pups in the middle of 10 black and tan puppies. My Max was and still is my heart. It was my pleasure to love him for 14 years. I'm so glad to have found this site so Breeder's and so many people that don't believe can see that their is Beautiful Red and Blue Rottweiler's. The Rottweiler is the best Breed in the world, in any color.
Sunday 10th of October 2021
My Rottweiler Gabriel was the most amazingly loyal, loving and intelligent friend I've ever known. He was a deep black /mahogany but around 6 months of age his coat changed to an almost solid black. He had the worst health problems but never complained. The reason I'm commenting is for anyone interested in this article or canine genetics etc because there is quite a bit of information on this specific breed if you dig a bit. I found where the alleles were marked in the genome with the recessive "smutty" markings that my dog displayed. Cheers to all the big dog lovers! Becky Elizabeth
P. S. Punish the Deed, Not the Breed!