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Home > Dogs > German vs American Rottweiler: The Key Differences (With Pictures)

German vs American Rottweiler: The Key Differences (With Pictures)

German vs American Rottweiler

Rottweilers are among the most potent breeds in the world. They were initially drovers who herded and protected cattle but were later used to pull carts and wagons. Today, Rottweilers are kept as pets, guards, police companions, and guide dogs.

Rottweilers are classified as German or American. Both breeds descend from Germany and share a mellow, alert, intelligent, and fearless expression. They are also classified as working dogs because their build emanates endurance, power, and strength.

However, the German and American Rottweiler share some differences that are not as prominent. This guide takes you through their differences.


Visual Differences

German vs American Rottweiler
Image Credit: Left: german rottweiler_Dolores Preciado, Shutterstock | Right: American rottweiler ,Roberto Mares, Pixabay

At a Glance

German Rottweiler
  • Average height (adult): 24 to 27 inches
  • Average weight (adult: 80 to 110 pounds
  • Lifespan: 8 to 10 years
  • Exercise: 2+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Minimal
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Yes, when raised together
  • Trainability: Highly intelligent, needs socialization
American Rottweiler
  • Average height (adult): 24 to 27 inches
  • Average weight (adult: 80 to 110 pounds
  • Lifespan: 8 to 10 years
  • Exercise: 2+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Minimal
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Yes, when raised together
  • Trainability: Highly intelligent, needs proper training

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German Rottweiler Overview

german rottweiler
Image Credit: Dolores Preciado, Shutterstock

A Rottweiler is considered a German Rottweiler if it is born in Germany. So, all Rottweilers originally born in Germany are referred to as German Rottweilers.

Apart from their place of birth, the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub (ADRK) has other strict standards in place. The club expects the Rottweiler to have a temperament suitable for a perfect companion dog, guide dog, security dog, family dog, and working dog. It must be mild, calm, and with a sharp mind without getting into a violent mood and hurting others.

The ADRK is also strict about tail docking and does not register a Rottweiler with a docked tail. Tail docking is when an owner intentionally snips or cuts off a dog’s tail.

The German Rottweiler has almond-shaped eyes, triangular ears, and a well-muscled neck. However, it has a broader nose and body compared to the American Rottweiler. The acceptable coat colors as per the ADRK standards are black and mahogany, black and rust, and black and tan.


The German Rottweiler is a courageous and loyal guard dog to its owner and family. It is a strong fighter that will protect its family fiercely from any perceived threat.

Since the German Rottweiler is bred as a perfect human companion, it has a calm temperament and a sharp mind. The dog is a great playmate for kids and will accept other house pets as long as it is raised and socialized with them at a young age.

german rottweiler resting
Image Credit Dolores Preciado, Shutterstock


This breed is highly intelligent, a reason why it has worked with the police, military, and customs. The dog responds well to training, and because of its size, training should start at an early age.

German Rottweilers need early socialization as well as firm and consistent training to become companions and guardians. If this does not happen, they can become aggressive bullies who discriminate against everyone and everything they encounter.

Health & Care

These hotties look tough and powerful but are susceptible to health problems. They suffer from hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, parvovirus, von Willebrand disease, hypothyroidism, eye disorders, and cancer.

Some of these health concerns are hereditary. Therefore, you should only buy the German Rottweiler from a licensed and reputable breeder. Also, find friendly pet insurance to help you cover any medical bills.

female german rottweiler
Image Credit: Dolores Preciado, Shutterstock


The ADRK is strict about the breeding standards of the German rottweiler. If the parent dogs do not pass a breed suitability test, the club does not register their puppies. The standard ensures that only the best rottweilers reproduce and limits puppies with birth faults.

Suitable For:

The German Rottweilers are perfect for owners who want a dog without congenital diseases since the parents have undergone rigorous selection and testing. It is also suitable for those looking for a powerful, stockier, and excellent working dog.

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American Rottweiler Overview

Rottweiler dog standing
Image Credit: Piqsels

The American Rottweiler is one born in America and has a characteristic docked tail. This breed is slightly smaller and less robust than the German Rotties.

The American Rottweiler has a medium-length head that is broad between the ears. It has triangular ears, almond-shaped eyes, a black, round nose, and a moderately long, slightly arched neck. Its chest is deep, broad, and roomy, while the ribs are oval and well-sprung.

The AKC is not strict about the Rottweiler’s coat color variations. You’ll find black and mahogany, black and tan, black and rust, as well as red and blue coat colors.


American Rottweilers are loyal and affectionate to their owners. They are aloof to strangers and have a wait-and-see attitude to assess whether they are a threat. The dog may approach the stranger quietly, a trait that some owners mistake for shyness.

This breed enjoys a close relationship with children if trained appropriately. However, you should supervise all interactions between the dog and small children.

American Rotties get along with other house pets when they are raised together. But they may be violent with strange animals or dogs of the same sex.

rottweiler lying on the ground
Image Credit: Roberto Mares, Pixabay


American Rotties are highly trainable and intelligent. They have an innate desire to please their owners. Nevertheless, they possess a stubborn nature.

Owners are advised to engage the puppies in basic training classes while young. Since the dog requires intense training and socialization, treats and praise help ease the stubbornness. Being mean or roughhousing the dog only encourages aggression.

Health & Care

The average lifespan of an American Rottie is 8 to 10 years. But that’s not to say it cannot live longer than this. You can extend your pet’s life by taking them to the vet for routine checkups.

American Rottweilers are prone to health issues like their German cousins. They may suffer from hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, eye problems, cancer, and aortic stenosis.

man with his pet rottweiler outside
Image Credit: Srqntrz, Shutterstock


The AKC breeding standards are not as strict as the ADRK. The club allows the registration and sale of puppies bred from faulty Rottweilers.

All the breeder needs to do is report the parents’ names and the number of the litter, pay the registration fee and await registration. This is why there are notable physical differences between German and American Rottweilers.

Suitable for:

The American Rottweiler is ideal for those looking for a family protector and companion. It is also ideal for those in need of a lean, leggier dog with a docked tail. If you are looking for a canine with red, blue, and black color variations, this might be it.

Other Notable Differences Between the German and American Rottweiler


A canine’s gait indeed reflects its overall skills. AKC explains the American Rottweiler’s movement as balanced, sure, powerful, and harmonious. Its forereach and rear drive are strong, and it is a well-known trotter.

German Rotties have a similar gait. They can trot, and their motion is effortless and ground-covering. ADRK describes their movement as full of energy, harmonious, and unrestricted.

Image Credit: Ricantimages, Shutterstock

Working Skills

Rottweilers were originally bred to be working dogs. The ADRK monitors the breeding of Rottweilers so that the produced litter can match their original traits. German Rottweilers are excellent all-around pets and eager workers.

The same cannot be said about the American Rottweiler. Yes, these dogs make great protectors, but they do not have the German Rottweilers’ original agility and power.

Kennel Club Breeding Regulation

American Rottweilers are recognized and registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC), while the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub (ADRK) registers the German Rottweiler.

The appearance of the American Rottweiler is proof that the AKC is falling short of implementing strict breed standards. Instead of having broad bodies and thick bones as rottweilers should, the American breed appears lean, leggier, and taller. In addition, the AKC allows tail docking, which is the removal of the dog’s tail.

On the other hand, ADRK ensures that all breeders follow the breeding standards. First, the rottweilers have to pass the ZTP test. The test checks whether the breeding dog fits the ideal physical appearance and is free of genetic diseases.

The Rottweiler also undergoes IPO trials, BH companion dog tests, and dog shows. The IPO is a physical and mental exercise full of fun, rewards, competition, and new friendships. BH companion test assesses the dog’s obedience and how it behaves in public.

Image By: K L, Pixabay

Price of an American Rottweiler and German Rottweiler

Eager to learn how much these puppies cost? Well, you may need to spend $1,500 on an eight-week-old American Rottweiler. You will have to spend more on insurance, training, vaccinations, and daily upkeep other than the buying price.

The German Rottweilers are more expensive due to the high breeding standards they have to meet. They can cost between $2,700 to $3,000 and an additional $500 shipping fee.


Which Breed Is Right for You?

The German and American Rottweiler comes from the same ancient lineage of great herders, drovers, and protectors. However, they are notable physical differences between the two dog breeds.

If you are a casual pet owner looking for a family companion and protection, the American Rottie is suitable for you. However, if you are in the police service, military, security firm, or a profession and need a working dog, the German Rottweiler fits the profile.

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: Up – Dolores Preciado, Shutterstock; Down – nicolas.fontana, Shutterstock

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