Rottweiler vs Boxer: Key Differences Explained

Written by Katelynn Sobus
Published: June 30, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/AprilCarlsonPhotography
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There are ample differences between the Rottweiler and Boxer breeds. Most notably, they were bred for different jobs: Rotties are guard dogs, and Boxers are hunting dogs.

Rottweilers are territorial, wary of strangers, and affectionate with family. Boxers are better with children, though they might jump on them if not trained to know better, and they’re also friendly toward strangers.

Want to learn more? Let’s discover the differences between these breeds below.

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Comparing Rottweiler vs Boxer

Rottweilers are larger than Boxers.

A-Z-Animals.com

RottweilerBoxer
Size22-27 inches, 77-132 pounds21.5-25 inches, 50-80 pounds
AppearanceBlack coat with tan, rust, or mahogany markings; floppy earsBrindle or fawn coat with black mask, white markings, or both; often have pointed ears
Lifespan8-10 years10-12 years
TemperamentIncredibly affectionate, may be wary around strangers, very protective, adaptableExcellent with children, friendly
TrainabilityVery easyEasy
Shedding LevelModerateLow
Energy LevelModerateHigh
Barking LevelLowModerate

Key Differences Between a Rottweiler and Boxer

The key difference between a Rottweiler and a Boxer is temperament. Other differences include size, appearance, lifespan, trainability, shedding level, energy level, and barking level.

We’ll discuss all of these in more detail below—so let’s get to it!

Rottweiler vs Boxer: Size

American boxer standing in grass with tongue out
Boxers are much smaller than Rottweilers, standing up to 25 inches in height.

iStock.com/Betty4240

Boxers are smaller than Rottweilers, especially in weight. While Rotties can weigh 77-132 pounds, Boxers weigh only 50-80 pounds. Rottweilers stand between 22-27 inches in height. Boxers measure 21.5-25 inches.

There are a few considerations to make when choosing the size of your next dog. These include expenses and guarding abilities. Of course, smaller dogs are typically less able to intimidate or take down potential threats. When it comes to guarding, larger dogs tend to be better at their job for this reason.

Expenses are another huge consideration. Large dogs cost more to feed, and their vet bills tend to be higher due to them needing higher doses of medications. Their everyday items such as food bowls, collars, and leashes must be larger and sturdier, so these also tend to cost more than they do for smaller breeds.

Rottweiler vs Boxer: Appearance

Rottweilers are always black, though their markings vary and can be mahogany, tan, or rust-colored.

Boxers can have brindle or fawn coats with a black mask or white markings. They can also have both a black mask and white markings! Some Boxers have pointed ears because they’ve been cropped. This is a cosmetic surgery that’s done for aesthetic purposes only and is entirely unethical.

Alongside the pain of recovery, Boxers with cropped ears might also have trouble interacting with dogs as their alert-looking ears can cause conflict. Other dogs might see the ears as aggressive body language when really the Boxer cannot lower them.

Both breeds also typically have docked tails in America due to unethical breed standards from the American Kennel Club (AKC). In other countries, the practice is banned. Like ear cropping, tail docking is an unnecessary cosmetic surgery that causes pain and trouble communicating with other dogs.

Rottweiler vs Boxer: Lifespan

long-haired rottweiler isolated
Rottweilers live between 8 to 10 years.

Boxers live 10-12 years, which is longer than the average lifespan of a Rottweiler at 8-10 years. Of course, every dog is an individual with different genetics, medical problems, and care.

The best way to ensure a long, healthy life for your pup is to bring it to the veterinarian regularly, especially if you notice changes in behavior or symptoms of illness. Feed them high-quality dog food and exercise them daily.

With proper care and good health, some dogs are lucky enough to live longer than the average lifespan of their breed.

Rottweiler vs Boxer: Temperament

Rottweilers have stronger guarding instincts than Boxers. For this reason, they’re also warier around strangers. Rotties might take time to warm up to new people and pets. If you want the best guard dog of the two, though, it’s going to be a Rottweiler!

Boxers, on the other hand, are generally friendly toward strangers. They also tend to be excellent with children—though it’s still important to supervise children and dogs when they’re together. One fault, especially in young Boxers, is jumping. They can easily knock a young child off their feet, even without meaning to.

Even the best-behaved dogs and kids can have accidents, such as hurting one another during rough play. An adult is needed to teach them how to interact with one another and to intervene when necessary.

Rottweilers also tend to be very affectionate toward their families and might begin to think they’re lap dogs despite their size! Boxers can also be relatively clingy.

It’s a good idea to get both breeds used to being alone so that they don’t develop separation anxiety. However, they also love being with their people and shouldn’t be left alone for long periods. Both breeds do best in a household where someone is home most of the day.

Lastly, Rotties will likely adapt to new situations easier than Boxers—who have only an average ability to adapt.

Rottweiler vs Boxer: Trainability

boxer laying on a table outside
Boxers can be more difficult to train and dislike repetitive tasks. Try switching things up frequently during training!

iStock.com/Annet Oldenkamp

Rottweilers are smart, working dogs. They tend to be eager to please and incredibly easy to train. However, you might end up with a Rottie who has a stubborn streak! For these dogs, extra patience is required—but the same training methods can be used successfully. Focus on rewarding good behavior and ignoring the behavior you don’t like.

Bring high-value rewards to each training session to keep your pup interested. Keep training sessions short and fun!

The same goes for training a Boxer, who may be more difficult than a Rottie. While they’re eager to please, they also dislike repetitive tasks. Try adding variety to your Boxer’s training sessions or keeping them extra short. You can train more times throughout the day to make up for them being brief.

Also, be sure to provide these intelligent breeds with an outlet for both their physical and mental energy. Puzzle toys, fetch, and other enrichment activities will prevent boredom, which can lead to behavioral problems.

Rottweiler vs Boxer: Shedding Level

Boxers shed very little, while Rottweilers shed moderately. You won’t notice much shed fur from your Rottweiler until shedding season, which occurs twice a year.

Each breed should be brushed once a week, with Rotties requiring more grooming during shedding season.

Rottweiler vs Boxer: Energy Level

Boxers are higher energy but may struggle with heat or intense exercise due to their brachycephalic snouts.

Eudyptula/Shutterstock.com

Both dogs require an enclosed space for exercise. Boxers love to run, jump, and hunt—meaning they might try to hop a fence if they see interesting “prey” passing by. This could be a can rolling down the street or a stray cat.

As a guarding breed, Rotties can be territorial. It’s important to keep them enclosed in their own yard. Watch interactions over or through the fence carefully and avoid them if possible, as your pup likely won’t enjoy people invading their territory.

Although Rottweilers are lower-energy than Boxers, they still enjoy a plethora of activities and can tolerate high exercise levels. Both dogs are great for active families.

However, you’ll have to keep an eye on a Boxer during intense exercise or in the heat. They’re poorly bred with brachycephalic, or short, snouts. This makes them susceptible to heat stroke and exercise intolerance, amongst other health problems.

Rottweiler vs Boxer: Barking Level

Rottweilers bark to alert. Because they’re guard dogs, this might mean barking often—but likely not for prolonged periods. Boxers bark moderately and are more likely to bark excessively.

The best way to prevent this behavior in any dog is to ensure they get plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation. Once you’ve done so, you can move on to training your pup to be “quiet” on command.

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About the Author

I'm an animal writer of four years with a primary focus on educational pet content. I want our furry, feathery, and scaley friends to receive the best care possible! In my free time, I'm usually outdoors gardening or spending time with my nine rescue pets.