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Genetic Health Testing for Rottweilers


Rottweiler lying down with a white background.

Embark for Breeders offers five breed-specific genetic health tests for the Rottweiler among the 250+ genetic health conditions for which Embark tests. Breeders can easily share breed-specific DNA test results on parents or puppies with the one-page DNA Health Summary report with Embark test results.  

Genetic health testing is an integral part of a responsible dog breeding program. When using genetic health testing, breeders need to educate themselves about concepts such as modes of inheritance, penetrance, prevalence, and phenotype for a specific variant in their breed to apply test results. Breeders also need to know which variants are causing health concerns in their breed, and which health conditions currently have no genetic test available. This handy search function by breed or by health condition can show breeders which DNA tests Embark provides. 

Embark DNA tests for the Rottweiler include the following conditions. The health condition percentages based on clear, carrier, and at-risk status presented on common, rare, and very rare genetic risk factors are based on a subset of dogs within the Embark database and do not necessarily represent all dogs of this breed. While we are not able to provide specific population numbers at this time, we believe the data provided here to be sufficient to inform on current trends within the North American population of Rottweilers. 

Common genetic health risk factors <95% clear rate

These are the most common genetic conditions based on Embark data, ranked from most to least prevalent in the Rottweiler, with less than 95% of dogs testing clear. 

Juvenile Laryngeal Paralysis and Polyneuropathy, Polyneuropathy with Ocular Abnormalities and Neuronal Vacuolation, POANV (RAB3GAP1, Rottweiler Variant)

JLPP is a neurological disease inherited in a recessive manner at the RAB3GAP1 gene. This inherited form of laryngeal paralysis affects puppies. However, multiple other symptoms (or no symptoms at all) may be present. This disease is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner, meaning that affected dogs must have two copies of the variant to show clinical signs.

Citations: Mhlanga-Mutangadura et al 2016, Mhlanga-Mutangadura et al 2016

  • Based on Embark-tested Rottweilers that have opted into research, here’s a snapshot of the breed today: 91.7% of dogs tested clear; 7.9% tested as carriers, heterozygote recessive, and 0.2% at risk, homozygote recessive for Juvenile Laryngeal Paralysis and Polyneuropathy, Polyneuropathy with Ocular Abnormalities and Neuronal Vacuolation, POANV (RAB3GAP1, Rottweiler Variant).

Neuroaxonal Dystrophy, NAD (VPS11, Rottweiler Variant)

Neuroaxonal Dystrophy, NAD is a neurodegenerative disease around the neuronal axon, a specialized cellular structure that helps nervous systems relay information across great distances. Axons are the portion of the nervous system that transmit these messages quickly and reliably. This disease has a recessive inheritance at the VPS11 gene. 

Citations: Lucot et al 2018

  • Based on Embark-tested Rottweilers that have opted into research, here’s a snapshot of the breed today: 93.2% of dogs tested clear; 6.6% tested as carriers, heterozygote recessive, and 0.1% at risk, homozygote recessive, for Neuroaxonal Dystrophy, NAD (VPS11, Rottweiler Variant)

Rare genetic health risk factors 95-99% clear rate

This is a rare genetic condition in the Rottweiler, with 95% to 99% of dogs testing clear. 

Early Bilateral Deafness (LOXHD1 Exon 38, Rottweiler Variant)

Early bilateral deafness is a disease with a recessive inheritance at the LOXHD1 Exon 38 gene. Causes of hearing loss are diverse, with a complex interaction of genetic and environmental components correlated with specific genes. This bilateral hearing loss in the Rottweiler occurs early in a dog’s life. It is supposed that LOXHD1 has an essential role in maintaining normal inner ear (cochlear) hair cell function.

Citations: Hytonen et al 2021, Kawakami et al 2022, Strain 2015

  • Based on Embark-tested Rottweilers that have opted into research, here’s a snapshot of the breed today: 98.1% of dogs tested clear, 1.8% tested carriers, and none tested at risk for Early Bilateral Deafness (LOXHD1 Exon 38, Rottweiler Variant)

Very rare genetic health risk factors >99% clear rate

The following genetic conditions have a greater than 99% clear rate and are considered very rare genetic diseases in the Rottweiler. 

Hereditary Footpad Hyperkeratosis (DSG1, Rottweiler Variant)

Hereditary Footpad Hyperkeratosis is a disorder of skin maturation. This condition can cause especially thick, hardened footpads that are prone to cracking. This skin disease has recessive inheritance at the DSG1 gene. 

Citations: Backel et al 2020

Degenerative Myelopathy, DM (SOD1A)

The dog equivalent of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, DM is a progressive degenerative disorder of the spinal cord. Because the nerves that control the hind limbs are the first to degenerate, the most common clinical signs are back muscle wasting and gait abnormalities. The gene is SOD1A*, and the mode of inheritance is recessive. 

* SOD1A vs SOD1B

Please note: While we test for the SOD1A variant, we do not test for the SOD1B (Bernese Mountain Dog type) variant at this time. Degenerative Myelopathy genotype results apply only to SOD1A.

Citations:  Awano et al 2009, Shelton et al 2012, Capuccio et al 2014 

With five known conditions in the Rottweiler, this is evidence that genetic disorders are of concern within the breed, and other conditions are likely to be identified in the future. By DNA testing your Rottweiler with Embark, you can help accelerate more novel discoveries to help your breed and all dogs. 

Canine Health and Breed Resources 

Rottweiler Club of America

Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)

OFA Canine Health Information Center (CHIC)

OFA-CHIC Health Testing Requirements for the Rottweiler


Hip Dysplasia 

Elbow Dysplasia

ACVO Eye Exam 

Cardiac Evaluation

Optional but recommended 

Juvenile Laryngeal Paralysis & Polyneuropathy (JLPP)

Remember, genetic health testing is not a diagnosis of a disease. Please consult your veterinarian for any health issues with your dog. To start your DNA testing journey, explore Embark for Breeders Dog DNA Kits. 


Lisa Peterson Contributor

Award-winning writer, journalist, and podcast host Lisa Peterson is a canine subject matter expert and Content Strategy Lead at Embark Veterinary. She served as the American Kennel Club director of communications and club communications for 10 years before becoming a Westminster Kennel Club public relations consultant from 2016 to 2021. Lisa began owning, breeding, and handling Norwegian Elkhounds more than 35 years ago, and today is an AKC judge and AKC Breeder of Merit.

Read more about Lisa Peterson

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