….Said No Rottweiler Show Judge Ever

“I selected this dog as my Best of Breed winner for his zygomatic arches,” said no Rottweiler show judge ever.

We admit that “ever” is a strong word, but still, we’d lay odds that it was probably never uttered. At least, not out loud.

“Zygomatic arch” does, however appear in the Rottweiler’s AKC breed standard under the section on head. Head- Medium length, broad between the ears; forehead line in profile moderately arched; zygomatic arch and stop well developed with strong broad upper and lower jaws. Desired ratio of back skull to muzzle is 3 to 2. Forehead is preferred dry, some wrinkling may occur when dog is alert.

For anyone not sure,  the zygomatic arch is a bony ridge that extends behind and laterally from beneath each eye orbit on a dog (red line in the image). Each is curved and developed, but more importantly, the job of the zygomatic arches is to protect the eyes. Some people describe a poor zygomatic arch as a “lack of fill under the eye,” a description that offers a nice visual of what this might look like: A dog with hollows under the eyes.

If one skims the written critiques of a few Rottie judges from the past, one will get the impression that a lack of enough zygomatic arch was problematic in American dogs during the time the critiques were written (sorry, but the critiques were undated and we are ignorant of when they were written). Rottie heads are unique, and certainly no other working breed has a “noggin” like it. This may be due to a triplicate of features: A strong stop, a broad, shortened muzzle, and that strong zygomatic arches. And guess what? They’re all related.

If a Rottie is shallow in his zygomatic arches, he tends to have a lack of correct muzzle width at the base, and that impacts the dog’s breed type. A correct muzzle in this breed should be wedge shaped, forming a wide based triangle. It follows that a Rottie with the correct zygomatic arch also has the correct muzzle width at the base.

The End.

Ha. You didn’t really think this was all these was to it, did you?  A strong zygomatic arch and correct width of muzzle comes a skull that has good width.  No pinheads, here!

In the end, does it really matter?  Uh, yeah.

It matters only if you want an archetypal Rottweiler with an iconic Rottweiler head. A shallow, narrow based muzzle isn’t a good look even on a feminine female Rottweiler because without a strong orbital bone, the dog looks weak—–and that’s at odds with the first line of the breed standard: The ideal Rottweiler is a medium large, robust and powerful dog.

Image: Rottweiler in green grass beverydoghasastory/Adobe


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