Rottweiler vs German Shepherd: What Are Their Differences?

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Published: March 18, 2022
Image Credit Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com
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Rottweilers and German Shepherds are two of the most popular purebred domestic dogs- but what are the differences between a Rottweiler vs German Shepherd? They are devoted and protective breeds renowned for their bravery and ferocity. However, there are numerous characteristics that distinguish them. For instance, while both breeds originated in Germany, the Rottweiler is a working dog, whereas the German Shepherd is a herding dog. The distinctions do not end there. This post will contrast eight significant characteristics of these two great canines.

Rottweiler vs German Shepherd: A Comparison 

rottweiler vs german shepherd
The Rottweiler is a huge to giant breed of dog that can weigh up to double that of a German Shepherd.

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ComparisonRottweilerGerman Shepherd
Height22 – 27 inches22 – 26 inches
Weight85 to 130 lbs.60 to 77 lbs.
Coat typeShort, DenseFuzzy, Heavy Shed
ColorsMahogany, Tan, Rust, BlackSilver, Tan, Red, Black
TemperamentIndependent, Courageous, ProtectiveAlert, Obedient, Intelligent, Loyal
Social NeedsVery HighAverage
Life Expectancy8 – 11 years10 to 13 Years
Health ProblemsBloat, Hip Dysplasia, HypothyroidismBlindness, Bloat, Paralysis, Lupus
Rottweiler vs German Shepherd: A Comparison

Key Differences Between Rottweiler and German Shepherd

Rottweiler vs German Shepherd
Rottweilers have short, coarse fur, while German Shepherds have dense and thick coats.

Even though they are both huge dogs, there are some key differences between Rottweilers and German Shepherds. The Rottweiler is a huge to giant breed of dog that can weigh up to double that of a German Shepherd. Their physical appearances are likewise highly distinct, as are their social requirements. Let’s explore…

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Appearance

rottweiler vs german shepherd
Adult German Shepherds range in height from paw to shoulder between 22 and 26 inches, whereas male Rottweilers average 25.5 inches in height.

Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com

Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Height

Adult German Shepherds range in height from paw to shoulder between 22 and 26 inches, whereas male Rottweilers average 25.5 inches in height.

Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Weight

A fully grown male Rottweiler weighs an average of 112 pounds, but German Shepherds are a smaller breed, weighing an average of 68 pounds.

rottweiler vs german shepherd
Rottweilers are typically black with tan to rust-colored markings, while the markings and coloring of the German Shepherd are more varied.

dezy/Shutterstock.com

Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Coat Type

The Rottweiler has a dense double coat, whereas the German Shepherd has a fuller, fluffier coat and sheds more.

Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Colors

Rottweilers are typically black with tan to rust-colored markings. The markings and coloring of the German Shepherd are more varied, ranging from silver, tan, red, and black. However, the most common colors for their coats are black and tan.

Characteristics

rottweiler vs german shepherd
A fully grown male Rottweiler weighs an average of 112 pounds, but German Shepherds are a smaller breed, weighing an average of 68 pounds.

Olexandr Andreiko/Shutterstock.com

Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Temperament

Rottweilers are a vigilant and fearless breed that is devoted to its family. The Rottweiler is bolder and more independent, whereas the German Shepherd is more obedient. Both kinds are extremely clever and trainable. If you’re searching for a dog who thrives on social connection, the Rottweiler may be an excellent choice.

German Shepherds are exceptionally intelligent dogs who are easy to train and are extremely loyal to their owners. As a result, they are frequently called upon to help law enforcement. They are highly friendly and wonderful with children but are wary of other dogs.

Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Social Needs

Rottweiler vs german shepherd
German Shepherds generally get along better with children and strangers than Rottweilers do.

Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com

Rottweilers are an extremely social breed that requires a great deal of attention. If left alone, they frequently exhibit severe separation anxiety. While they require social interaction, they are not particularly tolerant of strangers, children, or other pets. They thrive when surrounded by individuals they trust who can provide appropriate direction and exercise.

German Shepherds generally get along better with children and strangers than Rottweilers do. Additionally, they are more tolerant of being left alone, although not for an extended period of time. German Shepherds are quite adaptive and have typical social requirements. They are incredibly devoted and attentive to their owners.

Both kinds are extremely clever and trainable. As a result, it is critical to provide appropriate stimulation, guidance, and socializing.

Health Factors

rottweiler vs German Shepherd
German Shepherds can live up to 13 years, while Rottweilers live between 8-11 years.

Osetrik/Shutterstock.com

Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Life Expectancy

When it comes to lifespans, Rottweilers may enjoy living between 8 and 11 years, whilst German Shepherds can live between 10 and 13. Sadly, Rottweilers are susceptible to a wide range of health problems, which can drastically reduce their lifespan if they are not properly cared for.

Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Health Problems

Rottweilers are prone to a variety of health issues including but not limited to:

  • Allergies
  • Aortic Stenosis
  • Bloat
  • Elbow and Hip Dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Pan osteitis
  • Sub valvular Aortic Stenosis        

The German Shepherd is prone to certain health issues as well, which include but are not limited to:

  • Cancer
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Paralysis
  • Lupus
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Having your Shepherd’s eyes and hips checked on a regular basis is generally recommended.

Wrapping Up Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd

Rottweiler vs german shepherd
Rottweilers are vigilant watchdogs, whereas German Shepherds are ideally trained for a variety of workforces.

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Clearly, there are significant distinctions when comparing the Rottweiler vs German Shepherd, specifically in terms of their social requirements as well as their size and physical appearance. However, there are several characteristics shared by both types, most notably their vigilance, fearlessness, and incredible loyalty. When provided with the proper environment and training, both breeds can make excellent family dogs. If you’re searching for a dog who is loyal, clever, and intellectual, one of these breeds might be a good fit for your family.

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About the Author

A substantial part of my life has been spent as a writer and artist, with great respect to observing nature with an analytical and metaphysical eye. Upon close investigation, the natural world exposes truths far beyond the obvious. For me, the source of all that we are is embodied in our planet; and the process of writing and creating art around this topic is an attempt to communicate its wonders.