It’s normal to think that Rottweilers are aggressive guard dogs; that’s their stereotype, but in Germany, they have a completely different reputation. No breeder can sell a pup that isn’t calm, friendly, and good with children.
So, is there really a difference between German, Roman, and American Rottweilers? Does Roman Rottweiler still exist? While there is only one true Rottweiler breed, they differ depending on the country they come from because each country’s standards differ. For example, American Rottweilers look and act differently from the German version. If you want to understand more about this fascinating breed and all its variations, continue reading.
Firstly, the German Rottweiler is the original version of this breed, as they originated in a small town called Rottweil. Germany has a strict law regarding this breed; the parents of potential pups must pass a strict suitability test to breed, which is enforced by the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub.
German Rottweiler History
Rottweilers are descendants of a breed that dates back to the Roman Empire when it was still in power. They initially used them as herding dogs. However, the American Kennel Club didn’t recognize the Rottweiler until 1931, even though the modern Rottweiler’s first appearance in German stud books appeared in 1901.
These dogs had many skills; they were used as police dogs for the railroads, herding dogs, and working dogs that pulled carts. It seems there was no limit to what their strong bodies and willingness allowed them to do.
One of the main differences between the German Rottie and the American Rottweiler is their size. The latter is slightly smaller. For example, German Rottweilers’ size and weight are as follows:
|Males||110-130 pounds||25-27 inches at the shoulder|
|Females||77-110 pounds||22-25 inches at the shoulder|
Temperament standards in Germany are incredibly strict. For example, the ADRK states that Rottweilers must be placid, good-natured, and good with children. So, in Germany, Rottweilers are fantastic family dogs, but they also make great working dogs because they are so calm and intelligent. As a result, German Rotties are the ideal dog to assist the blind and disabled. Furthermore, they are brilliant police and security dogs.
Tail-docking and ear-cropping have been banned in Germany since 1999. Therefore German Rottweilers have long tails and folded ears.
The American Rottweiler is a descendant of the German variation; while they are the same breed, they do have some differences, primarily in weight.
American Rottweiler Characteristics
American Rottweilers are classified as working dogs by the American Kennel Club and are used for search-and-rescue and police work.
Their size and weight are as follows:
|Males||24-27 inches at the shoulder||95-135 pounds|
|Females||22-25 inches at the shoulder||80-100 pounds|
The American Rottweiler is listed as loving, loyal, and protective by the AKC. In addition, they make one of the best guardians. Despite what many people think, this breed is brave but calm and not aggressive. For example, they will protect their family but won’t initiate a fight.
American Rottweilers are playful and friendly with their owners, and surprisingly they are incredibly gentle and loving towards children. However, they are aloof with strangers, which is what makes them such fantastic guard dogs.
The American Rottweiler is a muscular and powerful large-sized breed. They are always black with clearly defined rust-colored markings. Male Rotties are generally bigger than females and have larger bone structures and broader frames. While females are smaller, they are still muscular and strong.
Americans dock Rottweilers’ tails, and their fur is medium in length with coarse, straight hair. They have an undercoat that can only be seen on their neck and thighs. In addition, this breed is a moderate shedder throughout the year.
The Roman Rottweiler is also referred to as the Colossal or Gladiator Rottweiler. However, this is a subtype of Rottie due to bad breeding. And the name Roman is misleading because the modern Rottie originated in Germany. Surprisingly these dogs were actually more mastiff-like and no longer exist. Furthermore, they were used by the Romans as herding dogs.
Breeders wanted to create a larger and heavier dog than the breed standard calls for, which is detrimental to their health as their size makes them susceptible to orthopedic issues like hip dysplasia. Additionally, their large size makes them prone to overheating and snoring. For this reason, the Roman Rottweiler is not recognized by the ADRK or AKC.
Their size and weight are as follows:
|Males||25-30 inches at the shoulder||120 pounds|
|Females||24-29 inches at the shoulder||80 pounds|
Lastly, many Roman Rotties are actually a mix of mastiffs and Rottweilers.
5 Types of Rottweiler Mixes
Mixing a Rottweiler with other breeds is a great way to create a healthier hybrid with better traits. For example, if you want an independent guardog, crossbreeding a Rottie with an Anatolian shepherd would be beneficial. Here are 5 types of Rottweiler mixes that might pique your interest:
1. Rottsky (Rottweiler and Siberian Husky Mix)
The Rottsky is a hybrid that combines the Rottweiler with a husky. This results in an adorable breed that is extremely active, vocal, and loves the outdoors, so they are best suited to a large home with an active family and plenty of outdoor space. Unfortunately, they are not apartment dogs; they need room to play and run. Additionally, your neighbors won’t be big fans of this vocal pup.
- Height – 20 to 26 inches
- Weight – 50 to 95 pounds
- Lifespan – 8 to 14 years
- Colors – Cream, black, tan, red, brown, white, gray
- Suitable for – Owners who are active and spend most of their time outside
- Temperament – Protective, loyal, loving, reserved, energetic, vocal, and aloof
2. Labrottie (Rottweiler and Labrador Retriever Mix)
The Labrottie is an affectionate and intelligent breed whose main concern is their family. This hybrid is exceptionally loyal and family-oriented and makes the most fantastic companions to a variety of dog lovers.
It doesn’t matter if owners live in an apartment or a home, have kids or live on their own; the Labrrottie is one adaptable pet! This is due to their parents’ qualities, who are the Labrador retriever, and the Rottweiler. Both parent breeds are remarkable and known as excellent family pets.
The Labrottie has several names, including:
- Rotten Lab
- Rott’n Lab
These dogs are entertaining but also very protective of their loved ones, and as with their Rottie parents, they make one of the best watch and guard dogs. However, they do need a lot of love and attention, also, training them can be challenging.
- Height – 24 to 27 inches
- Weight – 70 to 115 pounds
- Lifespan – 9 to 12 years
- Colors – Yellow, black, and chocolate
- Suitable for – Experienced dog owners, singles, or families living in a home with a large yard
- Temperament – Eager to please, protective, loyal, affectionate, and intelligent
3. Mastweiler (Rottweiler and Mastiff Mix)
The mastweiler is an intimidating and protective hybrid that will definitely scare any intruder away with its huge size and aggressive behavior. This breed is a mix of mastiff and Rottweiler, which results in the ultimate guard dog. This hybrid is not for novice pet owners, as they need an experienced dog lover with a firm hand for training and handling these massive dogs. Additionally, owners need big homes, as this breed can take up a lot of space.
The mastweiler originated in England as breeders were looking to create the perfect guard and working dog with calm energy and agility of a Rottweiler. However, because they are hybrids, there is no way of knowing which parent breed they will take after, so there is no guarantee that these mixes will be calm or agile. English mastiffs are more laid-back than Rotties, and the masterweiler generally inherits this trait from them, as they are usually calm. But they can also be dominant and intense. Additionally, masterweilers can be loyal, watchful, and protective of their loved ones.
Lastly, because of their enormous size, this breed needs a lot of early socialization and training, especially if the owners have kids because they can easily run past a small child and knock them over. While this hybrid is intelligent, it can also be unmotivated and stubborn, so they are not the best mix for novice pet owners and require a more experienced hand.
- Height – 25 to 32 inches
- Weight – 80 to 160 pounds
- Lifespan – 8 to 12 years
- Colors – Brown, brindle, gold, silver, chocolate, tan, and black
- Suitable for – Singles, families who are experienced and able to handle and train an active and large breed
- Temperament – Intelligent, loyal, protective, and easy-going
4. Golden Rottie (Golden Retriever and Rottweiler Mix)
The golden Rottie is a protective and devoted family dog that brings two amazing breeds together, resulting in a confident, calm and gentle hybrid with the friendly personality of a golden retriever and the protective nature of a Rottweiler. While these dogs will do anything for their families and are very playful and active; they are also protective and bark at strangers or noises that they fear threaten their owners. But, if you want a friendly companion, this breed needs to be socialized from a young age, otherwise they become sensitive to new people entering your life, usually reacting to their presence by barking or becoming aggressive. However, they are fantastic with children and other pets if trained and socialized properly.
- Height – 24 to 28 inches
- Weight – 70 to 90 pounds
- Lifespan – 10 to 12 years
- Colors – Black, Brown, and tan
- Suitable for – Families with children who like being active, people looking for a watchdog, and experienced dog owners.
- Temperament – Protective, playful, loving, intelligent
5. Shepweiler (German Shepherd and Rottweiler Mix)
The shepweiler is a mix between a German shepherd and a Rottweiler. Since both parent breeds are known for being aggressive, the shepweiler is no different and will require proper training to help balance this breed out. While this hybrid is an intimidating guard dog, they are also easy to train, thanks to their German shepherd genes, and will easily follow commands.
Despite what many people may think, they are not naturally vicious attack dogs; they are only trained that way. If you want the shepweiler to get along with other pets, they need to be socialized as soon as possible, and because of their size, they should always be supervised around children. Shepweilers require a strong handler who will dominate this breed and take their place as the pack leader.
- Height – 22 to 27 inches
- Weight – 70 to 110 pounds
- Lifespan – 10 to 15 years
- Colors – Black, brown, and tan
- Suitable for – Owners who are active and spend most of their time outside, people who want a guard dog
- Temperament – Protective, loving, obedient, and intelligent
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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is the difference between a Roman Rottweiler and a German Rottweiler?
Surprisingly Roman Rottweilers were actually more mastiff-like and no longer exist.
What are the 3 types of Rottweiler?
The American, German, and Roman Rottweiler.
Is my Rottweiler German or American?
If your Rottweiler has a cropped tail, it is likely an American Rottweiler.
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.
- Petkeen, Available here: https://petkeen.com/types-of-rottweiler/
- K9 of Mine, Available here: https://www.k9ofmine.com/rottweiler-mixed-breeds/
- Rottweiler HQ, Available here: https://www.rottweilerhq.com/is-my-dog-german-or-american-rottweiler/