Rottweiler vs German Shepherd

Rottweiler vs German Shepherd – Battle of the Breeds

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Welcome to our Rottweiler vs German Shepherd Battle of the Breeds! Both of these breeds are amazing! Rottweilers are known for their guard dog chops. German Shepherds are one of the most popular breeds in the world. So which one do you choose? There are many similarities and many differences that may affect your ultimate decision. This article will help you make an informed decision with facts and stats about each of these incredible canines.

Rottweiler vs German Shepherd Stats

RottweilerGerman Shepherd
Height: 22″-27″Height: 22″-26″
Weight: 80-135 lbsWeight: 50-90 lbs
Life Expectancy: 9-10 yrsLife Expectancy: 9-13 yrs
Temperament: Alert, Confident, FearlessTemperament: Intelligent, Loyal, Obedient
Health: Average for large dogsHealth: Average for large dogs
Energy Level: AverageEnergy Level: High
Required Exercise: 2 hoursRequired Exercise: 2 hours
Trainability: ExcellentTrainability: Excellent
Good with Children: Very goodGood with Children: Excellent
Good with Dogs: Very goodGood with Dogs: Very Good
Bark Level: LowBark Level: Medium
Shed Level: MediumShed Level: High
Bite Force: 328 psiBite Force: 238 psi
Price: $1,500 – $2,500Price: $1,500 – $3,000

Rottweiler Quick History:

Rottweiler Quick History

Rottweilers are great dogs with an affectionate yet protective personality. This makes them wonderful family pets but excellent guard dogs.

The history of the Rottweiler goes back to the Roman Empire. Their story begins with them working in the cattle town of Rottweil.

Back then they were referred to as Roman drover dogs. They helped defend the Romans from bandits and rustlers while they transported herds from the pastures to the markets.

It was here that they earned their name “Rottweiler Metzgerhund.” They were also called “Butcher’s Dog of Rottweil.”

During the 1800’s railroad cattle cars came along and Rottweilers were no longer needed for livestock. Instead, they began working as guard dogs and police dogs because of their versatility.

They were the first dogs to guide the blind and helped with search and rescue operations during some significant events in history.

German Shepherd Quick History:

German Shepherd Quick History

The German Shepherd is an extremely loving, loyal and faithful companion. They are great family pets and amazing protectors.

This herding dog’s history began in the 1800’s. A man by the name of Max von Stephanitz created and perfected the breed over the span of thirty five years.

The German cavalry officer co-founded the very first GSD club. He instilled the working dog qualities that we see in the breed today.

The popularity of GSD’s rose in the 1900’s partially due to famous German Shepherds like Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart.

For a period, the German Shepherd was referred to as the Alsatian due to anti-German sentiment during the era of World War I. Some British dog enthusiasts still prefer the name to this day.

What started out as a herding dog breed, is now one of the top working dog breeds. It is a preferred choice by the military and police worldwide.

Rottweiler vs German Shepherd Size

The Rottweiler is an imposing animal and outranks the German Shepherd in size by a pretty good bit. Although similar in height, the Rottie can weigh up to 45 lbs heavier. That is a lot of dog and something you should consider if you decide to own one.

Male Rottweilers stand between 24 and 27 inches tall while the females are a bit shorter standing between 22 and 25 inches tall. The males weigh a whopping 95 to 135 pounds compared to the females who weigh 80 to 100 pounds.

German Shepherds are close to the same height with males standing between 24 and 26 inches tall and females standing between 22 and 24 inches tall. The males can weigh anywhere from 65 pounds all the way up to 90 pounds. The females are slightly less heavy weighing anywhere between 50 and 70 pounds.

Rottweiler vs German Shepherd Appearance

Rottweiler vs German Shepherd Appearance

These two breeds are very distinguishable and easy to recognize. The Rottie is definitely an imposing dog that commands your attention. Its massive, muscular frame makes it a menacing opponent for any possible threats that it may face. However don’t let their appearance fool you. They can be big cuddly teddy bears when they want to be.

The German Shepherd on the other hand looks a bit more friendly and inviting. They are considered a medium to large size breed. They have athletic bodies and short to medium length hair. Their big triangular ears are a recognizable feature. Like the Rottie, they can look aggressive when threatened.


This is probably the most noticeable difference to most people. The Rottweiler has a signature black coat with tan accents on the face, chest, arms and legs. They normally have two brown dots right above the eyes. They can also come in black with mahogany and black with rust.

The German Shepherd on the other hand has several more color combinations. Though we are use to seeing the traditional black and tan saddle, they can also come in solid black or white, blue, gray, sable, bi-color and other black combos.


The Rottie’s head is another distinctive difference between the two breeds. It has a big square head with a shorter muzzle. In contrast the GSD has a smaller chiseled head with a longer snout.


While both dog breeds have triangular shaped ears, the Rottweiler’s flop forward. The German Shepherds are pointy and erect giving them that signature look that we are so used to.


The Rottie’s body is a little bigger and more stocky and square than the GSD. They have a bit more muscle and pack some extra pounds on their frame. The GSD on the other hand is longer and more lean. They are more athletic and better suited for apprehending criminals on the run.


A lot of times Rottweilers will have their tails docked at birth for practical purposes but their natural tail is long. It will curl over their back when they are excited. The German Shepherd’s tail is bushy, long and hangs down with a curve.

Rottweiler vs German Shepherd Temperament

Both of these breeds share a lot of similar qualities when it comes to personality and temperament. They are both confident and courageous dogs. Both are hard working and great guard dogs. They will protect your family at all costs and aren’t afraid to put their life on the line for you.

The Rottie and the GSD also share the same aloofness to strangers. They will need to get to know someone for a little while before they become comfortable around them.

The main difference between the two dogs is that Rottweilers are a little more calm while German Shepherds are a bit more active. Rotties can also be a little more goofy and silly during playtime.

Rottweiler vs German Shepherd Health

Rottweiler vs German Shepherd Health

Both dog breeds are somewhat healthy but are more prone to certain conditions due to their larger size. Lifespans are very similar both averaging around 10 years.

The main concern with both of these breeds elbow and hip dysplasia. This occurs when there is friction between the bone and the socket. It progressively gets worse over time and can cause a lot of discomfort and pain. It can also lead to mobility issues with some dogs even needing a wheelchair with wheels to move around.

Common health conditions for both breeds:

RottweilerGerman Shepherd
Aortic StenosisDegenerative Myelopathy
CancerElbow and Hip Dysplasia
Elbow and Hip DysplasiaHemophilia
Osteochondritis DessicansOsteoarthritis
Progressive Retinal AtrophyPanosteitis
Perianal Fistula
Progressive Retinal Atrophy

A healthy diet, good exercise and regular trips to the vet will help to prevent some of these conditions. Supplements such as Glucosamine are good for their joints.


The Rottie and the GSD both require a minimum of 2 hours of exercise daily to stay fit and lean. They are both high energy dogs that need to stay busy.

Daily walks and playtime outside are recommended. Brain games are a great way to stimulate their mind and keep them sharp. Boredom can lead to destructive behaviors especially in German Shepherds.


BARF Dog Diet

Feeding your dog a high quality dog food that has low carbs and the right amount of protein is recommended. The B.A.R.F. Diet is popular and combines raw bones, fresh meat, fruits, vegetables and occasionally herbs. Studies have proven that a lean diet can increase the lifespan of your dog.

The Rottweiler is the bigger of the two breeds and therefore eats more than the German Shepherd. The amount of food that you give them will depend on several factors including age, energy level and weight. Avoid over feeding and fatty snacks to keep them lean and healthy.

Here is a caloric and protein chart for both breeds:

Adult RottweilerAdult German Shepherd
2,100-2,500 calories daily1,740-2,100 calories daily
22-26% protein18-22% protein

Puppies will require less calories. Make sure to develop a healthy diet plan with your vet.


Both breeds have similar grooming practices. They both have double coats although Rotties will shed a little less than GSD’s.

Rottweilers have a medium-length coarse straight outer coat that lies flat on top of the undercoat which is visible on the neck and thighs. German Shepherds have a medium-length dense and harsh outer coat that lies close to the soft undercoat.

The Rottie will do well with weekly brushing. The GSD requires a bit more frequency with a good brushing every few days. This is especially true with long-haired GSD’s. During their seasonal shedding twice a year, they will both need daily brushing to remove the unneeded hair.

Both breeds should be bathed once every two to three months. Teeth should be brushed daily and nails trimmed weekly.

Rottweiler vs German Shepherd Training

Rottweiler vs German Shepherd Training

Both breeds excel with training and are excellent at obeying commands. Training should start when they are young beginning with socialization with other dogs and people.

Positive reinforcement training is recommended. Develop a consistent and structured training regimen so that they know what to expect from you.

Rotties are big dogs so you will definitely want to train them properly from early on. A Rottweiler that hasn’t been trained correctly could accidentally hurt a smaller animal or child because of their size. Rottie’s are very food motivated and respond well to treats as rewards.

GSD’s are highly trainable and extremely intelligent. In fact their mind is on par with that of a three year old child. They can remember a whopping 250 commands. You can reward them with one of their favorite chew toys or a nice game of fetch in the backyard.

For positive results, never punish or yell at your dog. It will have the opposite effect. Rewarding them with positivity will motivate them to continue to learn.

Rottweiler vs German Shepherd Price

Both breeds start at around $1,500 for a new puppy. But prices can vary from breeder to breeder. Other factors can also contribute to the overall price. While prices are fairly reasonable for a pet dog, a show dog with Championship bloodlines can cost a lot more.

German Shepherds can get very expensive costing up to $50,000 for a well trained guard dog. One GSD, who spoke three languages, sold for an astounding $230,000 back in 2015.

In addition to the initial price of a new puppy, you will need to consider the overall costs throughout their lifetime. This includes food, supplies and visits to the vet for annual checkups or any health issues.

Because they are both large dog breeds, the cost will be more. The Rottie will require more food due to their size.

In Closing:

Both of these dogs would make a great family pet. They are both big and cuddly with plenty of love to go around. They are both natural protectors who will guard your family with everything they have.

If you are looking for a bigger guardian dog with a silly spirit then the Rottie is a good choice for you! If you are looking for a medium to large size dog with an extreme intelligence and loyal nature then the GSD is a great choice for you!

Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

Which dog breed do you think you might pick? Do you already own one of these amazing breeds? Let us know! We would love to hear about your experience!

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