Red Rotties?

Some years ago we ran across a greeting card that showed the strangest looking litter of what could be (bad looking) Rottie pups: the ones you see above. The second from the left is, what we suspected at the time, possibly referred to as a "Red Rottie", a mutation that affects the black pigmentation of the coat and skin. It's indeed a fair question as to whether these are pure Rotties, they could very well be Rottie crosses, or as some have suggested, Min Pins or Manchester Terriers. Having said that, they look rather undersized for a litter of Rotties, they look a little skinny, lacking in body, stature, etc.

We do NOT have any Red Rotties, nor do we know anyone that does, nor do we intend to seek or breed any, nor have we seen any pictures other than the one above; and we agree, again, it's questionable whether or not these are indeed Rotties.

If you find a Red Rottie and wish to use it in a breeding program, keep in mind that there presently are no Rottie clubs that recognize Red as an acceptable colour in their standards and it is unlikely you will be able to register the litter except through deceptive practices. A thorough knowledge of the dog's background is an absolute necessity, as is a good base of sound breeding techniques, genetics and intimate knowledge of the breed's standards.

We'll reiterate what we just said above: if you choose to pursue the breeding of Red Rotties you're going down a road that will make you a target for all those involved in maintaining and adhering to the current standard for the breed. In the years leading up to the development of present day standards a number of other colours were present, including wolf-coloured ones going back to around the turn of the last century, as well as different coat types. In other domesticated animal species that have NOT gone through breed development like dogs and cats have, the discovery and subsequent breeding and development of new colour mutations is eagerly pursued and prized. Where breeds have been established for many years, such as with dogs, cats and pigeons, the modification of these standards becomes almost impossible unless there is an overwhelming desire to do so. Although Red Rotties have been around for a number of years, the mention of it alone stirs up strong emotional responses in some people, as witnessed by some of the mail we get from the mere existence of this page and it is unlikely that we'll see anyone brave or foolish enough any time soon who will pick up the torch for the acceptance of red as an acceptable breed colour in the Rottweiler standard in any country. I suppose one could start on the journey of developing a new breed with it's own standard, but before such breeds become officially recognized, decades will pass and there is no guarantee it ever will become an official breed. Now that requires stamina! The way things stand, and will undoubtedly continue for many years, Red Rotties are NOT a recognized colour form of the breed and as far as the various dog and kennel clubs are concerned, THEY ARE MUTTS! When all's said and done, mutts can make some wonderful pets though.

Having now had extensive correspondence now with someone who sent us pictures of a young litter of 11 Rotties that contained 5 red ones (3 bitches and 2 dogs), it is rather clear to us now that the pups above indeed are NOT rotties. Having said that, we'll leave this page essentially as it was and simply add a link to a new page that shows pictures of the above mentioned litter. It is quite likely that if you encounter a Red Rottie, it will be the offspring of a very inbred relationship without much thought or concern about other aspects of the dogs involved other than the fact they'll produce red and consequently probably be of questionable health, stature, conformation, mental make-up, etc.

red rottie pup

A thread on the now defunct Rottie-L maillist had the following information posted on it:

This is my understanding on the Red Rottweiler issue, and why so many people are against it. Several years ago, a "breeder" up in Washington, who had bred backyard quality dogs for several years (not OFA'd, not to standard, you know the type I'm talking about), bred father to daughter, and got a red Rottweiler. Now, black and tan are the dominant color, but there is red in the genetics of Rottweilers. This breeder, thinking to capitalize on his "rare" red Rottweilers, then bred the red puppy (at less than 1 year of age, I might add), back to her father (who was also her grandfather) and got several more red Rottweilers. He continued this process. Of course, since the founding stock was not good quality to begin with, in addition to getting the red color, he also got all the other conformation/temperament problems that were in the line compounded again and again.

By the time our club received the petition to disallow red Rottweilers, a litter of reds had been rescued. Several of these had to be put down for kidney failure, crippling hip dysplasia, temperament problems, pasterns so weak the dog was crippled, and a host of other ills. From that litter only 1 survived, I believe. It's been awhile, so it's difficult for me to remember precisely.

But the reason for the petition was not because of the color, per se, but because of all the other problems that came with the color. And the fact that they were selling to unknowing folks "rare" and "valuable" dogs that in reality, were most likely going to die at a very early age.



As you can see from the simple representation to the left, this is how from the above description it would appear the red factor is passed along. The first breeding talked about (father to daughter) produces a red offspring (female) and it's fairly safe to assume the first daughter would have received the red gene originally from her father. Neither she nor her father was visual for the red, but one of their offspring was, which means that both these parents were carriers for the factor, represented in the chart by "nr". It is meant to indicate that both are carriers for "r", but the absence of a second "r" gene keeps this recessive gene from expressing itself visually. As you see, in this pairing there will be 25% of the offspring that will be visually RED, 50% will be "red carriers" (sometimes also referred to as splits), and 25% will be NON-carriers. The same pattern of inheritance holds true for ANY simple (autosomal) recessive factor, partially dominant and fully dominant factors. Judging from the picture my initial inclination is to call the red factor a simple autosomal recessive factor. The determination of which it truly is, can only be made from a larger sampling where the factor can be traced for at least 3 generations through detailed family trees and highly detailed descriptions of ALL specimens, or photographs of all.

XY nr

XX nr

male offspring

female offspring

XY nn

XX nn

XY nr

XX nr

XY nr

XX nr

XY rr

XX rr

For more info:

rottie buttonRed Rottweilers