Rottweiler vs Pit Bull: What Are 8 Key Differences?

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Published: March 18, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/Jana Richter
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The Rottweiler and the Pit Bull (also known as the American Pit Bull Terrier) are two popular dog breeds in the United States. Both are adorable and intelligent. For those who are interested in either breed, the text that follows will go over each of the eight key variations between these two domestic canines, including their look, traits, and overall health.

Rottweiler vs Pit Bull: A Comparison 

Pitbull vs Rottwiler
The Rottweiler and the Pit Bull are two very popular types of dogs that are vastly different when compared.

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Key DifferencesRottweilerPit Bull
Height22 – 27 inches14 – 24 inches
Weight85 to 130 lbs.22 to 78 lbs.
Coat typeShort, DenseShort, Fine
ColorsMahogany, Tan, Rust, BlackBlue, Gray, Tan, Brown, Red, Yellow, White, Black
TemperamentIndependent, Courageous, ProtectiveAffectionate, Silly, Stubborn
Pet FriendlyYesNot Really
Life Expectancy8 – 11 years10 – 14 years
Health ProblemsBloat, Hip Dysplasia, HypothyroidismMange, Hip Dysplasia, Skin Allergies
Rottweiler vs Doberman: A Comparison

Key Differences between Rottweiler and Pit Bull

Rottweiler standing in field with tongue out
The Rottweiler was originally bred to herd livestock and pull carts.

iStock.com/Ideas_Studio

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The primary difference between a Rottweiler and Pit Bull is their size and apperance. While Rottweilers can top out at 130 pounds, Pit Bulls generally don’t reach more than 60 pounds. The breeds are often connected because people believe they can be scary or dangerous, so we’ll also dive deeper into the temperament of both breeds and what might have a basis in reality versus being a misconception.

Appearance

Deadliest Animals in America
American Pit Bull Terrier running a field. Fear aggression is a major reason why dogs attack their owners. If your dog has a bad history or has been beaten and mistreated before, then they feel threatened and become defensive.

alekta/Shutterstock.com

Rottweiler vs Pit Bull: Height

As a breed, the Rottweiler is one of the largest dogs in existence. Male Rottweilers are 24 to 27 inches tall from paw to shoulder, whereas male Pit Bulls are 18 to 21 inches tall. While female Rottweilers are typically between 22 and 25 inches tall, they are typically between 17 and 20 inches tall for female Pit Bulls.

Rottweiler vs Pit Bull: Weight

The American Pit Bull Terrier is a canine of medium height and stature. Compared to the Pit Bull, the Rottweiler can weigh twice as much. Weights of male Pit Bulls generally range from 35 to 60 pounds, whereas male Rottweilers weigh up to 135 pounds.

Rottweiler vs Pit Bull: Coat Type

American pit bull terrier on white background
Pit Bulls are quite playful and affectionate in nature.

dezy/Shutterstock.com

Pit bulls have shorter coats than other canines. They lack a stratified undercoat, making them single-coated. Double-coated dogs, like Rottweilers, shed heavily to lose their undercoat. The undercoat thickness of a Rottweiler is determined by the climate. The neck and thighs show the most undercoat. Rottweilers have a short, straight, coarse double coat.

Rottweiler vs Pit Bull: Colors

These two dogs have distinct coat colors. A purebred Rottweiler has a uniform color pattern, black with rust to mahogany markings. The marks appear across the eyes, cheeks, nose, chest, legs, and tail. Pit Bulls come in far too many colors to list; some sources list up to 30 or 35. Colors include black, white, brindle, fawn, tan, grey, blue, brown, and red.

Characteristics

smartest dog breeds - Rottweiler
Rottweilers are easy to train and need playtime and exercise at least twice per day.

Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com

Rottweiler vs Pit Bull: Temperament

Rottweilers are calm and composed until their lives or those of their family members are threatened. In addition to being a guard dog, Rottweilers are affectionate and devoted companions. Rottweilers are popular working and service dogs due to their intelligence and trainability. If their owners are stern and consistent, Rottweilers are easy to train. They need an average of two daily walks or playtimes to satisfy their activity needs.

Breeds like Pit Bulls are playful, affectionate, and typically thrive in a family setting. Emphasis should be placed on teaching and supervising children’s interactions with animals always, regardless of the breed. Because of their energy and perseverance, Pit Bulls can be a little stubborn. However, Pit bulls are easy to train due to their human loyalty. This breed needs frequent exercise to stay fit.

Rottweiler vs Pit Bull: Child / Pet Friendly

While pit bulls are more tolerant of strangers and children, rottweilers are more tolerant of cats. Neither is well-known for being dog-friendly. Pit bulls, on average, appear to be more receptive to people and other pets than rottweilers. Both breeds have the potential to be excellent family dogs with the proper training and socialization.

Health Factors

American Pit Bull Terrier with two different colored eyes
American Pit bull terriers have a bad reputation, but they make great family dogs.

OlesyaNickolaeva/Shutterstock.com

Rottweiler Vs Pit Bull: Life Expectancy

A Rottweiler’s average lifespan is 8-10 years, whereas Pit Bulls can live for 13-15 years. Both dogs have their own set of health issues that owners should be made aware of.

Rottweiler Vs Pit Bull: Health Problems

Hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, and dislocation of the kneecap are all frequent bone problems in Pit Bulls. Due to the Pit Bull’s short coat, it is prone to skin diseases such as mange and allergies. Thyroid and congenital heart defects are two more health problems associated with Pit Bulls.

Rottweilers are prone to epilepsy, allergies, chronic diarrhea, and high cancer risk. While many dogs undergo early neutering, research has indicated that bone cancer is more prevalent in Rottweilers that have this procedure done.

Wrapping up Rottweiler vs Pit Bull

Strongest Dog Breed Bite - Rottweiler
Rottweilers are well known to be powerful, protective, and loyal, famous for their instinct for guarding.

iStock.com/Jana Richter

Both dogs are endearing in their own ways: the Rottweiler is intelligent and dedicated. While the Pit Bull is endearing, loving, and gregarious. Although both breeds are clever, loyal, and driven by their owner’s direction, they each have their own distinct qualities that were worth noting throughout this article.

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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.

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