Rottweiler vs German Shepherd: Differences, & Comparison


Although Rottweilers and German Shepherds look different, the two breeds actually have a few similarities when you dig a bit deeper.

For example, both dog breeds were bred from a working and herding origin, and have similarities in the types of temperaments they were bred to have.

But, there are also the differences – from their appearance, to common health concerns specific to each breed. 

This is a quick and simple guide to outline for you some of the main similarities and differences of each breed, and also what you might expect from them.


(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)


Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Breed Comparison


Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Breed History

Both breeds originate from Germany, and were bred for working – in particular, herding. 

The Rottweiler was originally responsible for guarding and driving herds for the Romans (they became well known for this around the town Rottweil – where they got their name), and later pulled carts of meat to the butchers around Germany before it was made illegal (according to

Read more about the history of German Shepherds in this guide.


Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: What Areas Of Work Each Breed Is Used In

In modern times, like the German Shepherd, the Rottweiler is used in police work, search and rescue, as guard dogs and even guide dogs. 

Read more about the types of work the GSD is used in.


Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Popularity

Both breeds are very popular, with the German Shepherd being the second, and the Rottweiler the ninth most popular dog breed respectively in 2016.


Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Life Expectancy

Rottweilers have a life span or expectancy of 8 to 11 years, and German Shepherds 10 to 12.


Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Puppies and Cost

Rottweilers tend to be more expensive than GSDs for a purebred puppy.

You are looking at around $1,150 to purchase a German Shepherd puppy, in comparison to Rottweilers which average $1,600.

This does depend on a whole range of factors from geographic location, to the quality of the breeding program.

Purebreeds of each breed can be similarly expensive, and the same goes for puppies with high pedigree breeding lines.


Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Appearance

The German Shepherd and Rottweiler are both large breeds, maxing out at around the same height, with the Rottweiler being much heavier.

The German Shepherd grows to about 67 cms (26 in) whilst the Rottweiler get to 69cms (27 in).

Weight wise, the German Shepherd tops out at 88 lb (40 kg), and the Rottweiler 130 lb (60 kg). 

The Rottweiler has a much more powerful, stocky looking body compared to the German Shepherd’s long, and athletic look.

These things depend on breeding though.

The Rottweiler differs in its more compact snout, folded instead of erect ears and straighter back.

The German Shepherd’s traditional colours are the Black and tan with 11 officially recognized colours in the US.

The Rottweiler’s traditional colours are the black and rust/mahogany with 3 officially recognized colours in the US.


Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Temperament

While both breeds can be aloof or wary around strangers and people they don’t trust (which makes them excellent guard dogs), with proper training they also make excellent people companions and loving family dogs.

The Rottweiler perhaps has a tendency to be a little more stubborn and independent than the German Shepherd, which can seem as unfriendly to some people.

Early socialization (with animals and people) and training can prevent unwanted aggressive or destructive behavior in both breeds.

The German Shepherd is generally more vocal and barks more than the Rottweiler, but this can be subjective depending on the particular dog.

Temperament can depend on the individual dog though.


Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Shedding

With their short coats, Rottweilers do not shed much.

German Shepherds will shed all year round with their medium to long coats.


Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Exercise Requirements

Both breeds need to be exercised daily.


Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Health

Both breeds are susceptible to Hip and Elbow Dysplasia.

This disease can’t be prevented, but might be best managed by a well balanced diet.

Supplements can help aid in the onset and slowing the progression of these diseases – seek a vet’s advice about supplements to a balanced diet.

Rottweilers might be more prone to obesity, so their diet might need to be monitored closely for calorie intake.

Rottweilers might be prone to more major diseases over their lifetime such as Gastric Torsion and Osteosarcoma. 

They might also need to eat more to sustain their weight and bulky physiques.


Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Bite Pressure

The Rottweiler has one of the more powerful bite forces among dog breeds in terms of pounds of pressure at 328 pounds of bite pressure.

The German Shepherd measures in at second with 238 pounds of bite pressure.

As a benchmark, the average human has 120 pounds of bite force.

Read more about dog breed bite force rankings in this guide.


Rottweiler vs. German Shepherd: Pictures and Images

German Shepherd Dog Pictures and Images

German Shepherd Puppies Pictures and Images

Rottweiler Dog Pictures and Images

Rottweiler Puppies Pictures and Images


More Information & Facts About The German Shepherd Dog Breed

We’ve put together this guide with over 100 interesting pieces of information and facts about the German Shepherd Dog Breed.



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