Known as one of the oldest dog breeds, the Rottweiler is a lovable, friendly, and playful giant perfect for big families and single owners alike. But did you know that there are different types of Rottweilers?
All Rottweiler breeds we know today have descended from Rottweil, Germany. The Rottweiler breed has been used as working dogs, police dogs, guard dogs, and even herding dogs.
There are three different types of Rottweilers: American, German, and Roman Rottweilers. While all three kinds come from the same breed, they have several distinct characteristics in terms of overall appearance, temperament, and size.
Curious to know the difference between these three types? Keep reading to find out more!
The 3 Types of Rottweilers
Although the American Kennel Club (AKC) only recognizes one Rottweiler dog breed, the breed is usually differentiated by what country it comes from.
Because different countries have specific breeding standards, the resulting dogs will have certain distinctive features that make them stand out, including the Rottweiler puppies’ coat, color, size, and overall health.
Aside from the country of origin, the three types of Rottweiler dogs mentioned here all come from the same breed. A Rottweiler born in the USA may differ from one born in Germany, but both are still considered the same breed.
In this article, I’ll explain the similarities and differences between the different types of Rottweilers.
Before the 20th century, people started to prefer smaller and more agile working dogs. This meant that large, working purebred dogs like the Rottweiler were starting to get unpopular. This almost led to the breed’s extinction.
Luckily, dedicated breeders and pet lovers were able to save the Rottweiler breed. It is said that the first Rottweiler came to America, accompanying a German emigrant in the late 1920s.
In 1931, the breed became officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.
However, the arrival of the Rottweiler in America did come with some compromises. Some of which most people are still unhappy about.
Although most ethical breeders tried their best to keep the breed standard, unethical breeders started making cosmetic changes to the American Rottweiler, which include ear cropping and tail docking.
Despite that, the American Rottie is still a real Rottweiler.
An American Rottweiler usually comes in three breed colors, namely black & rust, black & tan, and black & mahogany. An American Rottweiler dog will have a short to medium-length outer coat with coarse fur.
The AKC breed standard has specific rules and guidelines that must be followed in order for a dog to be considered an American Rottweiler. This includes tail docking, a practice that is now frowned upon by most people.
American Rottweilers also have a longer and narrower head shape, as opposed to the blocky, wedge-shaped head of the German and Roman Rotties.
In general, American Rottweilers are leaner as opposed to the bulkier and more muscular frames of the other breeds. They also have long legs and slender waists.
Black is the most common coat color for American Rottweilers, and they often have clearly defined rust markings.
Size and Weight
Compared to the German and Roman Rottweilers, American Rottweilers tend to be leaner and more slender, as opposed to the former’s more bulky frame.
A typical American Rottweiler averages 23 to 25 inches in height and weighs 90 to 130 pounds.
Like most large breeds, Rottweiler dog breeds tend to have slow body growth and maturation. An American Rottweiler will only be fully grown by the time it reaches 2 to 3 years of age.
Despite its scary reputation, the American Rottweiler is loyal, affectionate, and playful. Its natural herding instincts make it a good guard or watchdog.
The common misconception about Rottweilers being aggressive and combative mainly stemmed from breeders forcing these dogs to engage in dog fights.
In truth, a well-bred Rottweiler will be extremely intelligent and friendly. Although their main focus is to protect their family, a well-trained Rottie will not pick fights out of nowhere.
American Rottweilers are incredibly affectionate and will often resort to being lapdogs. In fact, these dogs are often tasked to guard children because they tend to be gentle and tender with kids.
Compared to German and Roman Rottweilers, American Rottweilers are more laid back and affectionate. When paired with a capable Rottweiler owner, these versatile working dogs can prove to be powerful and obedient.
If we’re being technical, all Rottweiler dogs are German Rottweilers since this is where the breed originated. The first Rottweilers are said to have been present as early as Roman times, from 27 BCE to the year 476.
When Roman legions brought their companion dogs to Rottweil, Germany, the dogs then naturally mated with the native Mastiff-type dogs in the area. Thus, the modern Rottweiler was born.
When the Roman legions left Rottweil, the dogs bred during that time stayed and were subsequently known as the “Rottweil butcher’s dog.”
Nowadays, German Rottweilers are any Rottweilers born in Germany that adhere to the strict rules and regulations of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub (ADRK) breed standards.
Compared to American Rottweilers, the German Rottweiler tends to be larger and broader, with a muscular body and a wedge-shaped head than the American and Roman Rottweiler.
In terms of appearance, German Rottweilers have broad chests, muscular arms and shoulders, and a dignified stance.
Every German Rottweiler is bred following the incredibly strict standards of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub.
Due to their rules, ear cropping and tail docking were banned in German Rottweilers. This results in a more natural look for the breed.
It should be noted that even though a Rottweiler was whelped in Germany, a docked tail will disqualify it from being ADRK registered, as the club will only accept tailed Rottweilers as it is the breed standard.
The practice of docking tails has been banned by the ADRK since 1999, which means that every German Rottweiler is a tailed Rottie.
Size and Weight
Despite being slightly shorter, the German Rottweiler is generally thicker and more muscular than its American counterpart.
A male Rottweiler for this particular breed averages 25 inches in height, with a 110-pound weight average. Well-bred ones may even grow up to 120 pounds.
Female German Rottweilers come in at a more modest 22-inch height average and weigh about 80 pounds.
Much like the American Rottweiler, a German Rottweiler dog won’t be fully mature until 2 to 3 years of age. They often reach peak height at around one year old and continue to fill out for another year or so.
According to the ADRK standards, a German Rottweiler must be good-natured, fond of children, and even-tempered. In addition to this, they must be good family dogs but also capable of handling work as herding dogs.
The breed standard also states that German Rottweilers must not be aggressive, disobedient, or lazy. The ADRK aims for every German Rottweiler to be an ideal service dog, police dog, or farm dog.
Compared to the American Rottie, the German Rottweiler dog has a more disciplined upbringing. They are usually more trainable, work-driven, and eager to please. They take their jobs seriously.
Being a protective dog, a well-socialized German Rottweiler will make the best partner for you or your kids.
However, not socializing a Rottweiler dog can expose their high prey drive and will result in them chasing smaller animals.
The Roman Rottweiler breed is the result of breeders attempting to recreate the original Rottweiler dog. The result is a much larger, Mastiff-like dog with a calm and confident demeanor.
These big dogs come with multiple nicknames, some of which include King Rottweilers, Giant Rottweilers, or Gladiator Rottweilers.
The original Roman Rottweilers descended from either a Mastiff-type dog called Molossus or the Italian Mastiff. They accompanied ancient Romans everywhere, from delivering mail, protecting cattle, and going to war.
At first glance, the Roman Rottweiler may look like other Rottweiler dog breeds. However, if you look more closely, you will see how the Roman Rottweiler stands out amongst other different types of Rottweilers.
Among other types of Rottweilers, the Roman Rottweiler breed is said to bear the closest resemblance to the ancient breed with its massive body, broad and somewhat wrinkly head, and bold, powerful stance.
A blocky, wedge-shaped wrinkly face frames the otherwise intimidating muscular body of the Roman Rottweiler dog breed.
Similar to the American and German Rottweiler, the Roman Rottweiler also has dark brown almond-shaped eyes. Depending on the breeder, its ears and tail may come cropped or natural, although it is more common for them to be natural.
Since the Roman Rottweiler was bred to look like its ancestors, its coat color also resembles the original Rottweiler.
Brindle, yellow and black, rust and black, tan and black, red and tan, and even gray are possible colors for this Rottweiler breed.
It is also possible for this particular type to produce long-haired Rottweilers. Because they have more lenient breeding standards, a long-haired Rottweiler may show up in a litter more often than its German and American counterparts.
However, as the long hair gene is usually not attributed to Rottweilers, there aren’t many ethical breeders that have selectively bred this gene.
Amongst other rare Rottweiler traits, it is also possible for albino Rottweilers to show up in a litter.
Dogs with rare traits like these don’t necessarily mean they were poorly bred, but it does make them highly prized Rottweilers.
Size and Weight
Compared to other Rottweiler breeds, the so-called Roman Rottweiler comes in much larger sizes. A male Roman Rottweiler can reach up to 30 inches in height and weigh in at 120 to 130 pounds.
On the other hand, female Roman Rottweilers will be at least 25 to 27 inches tall, with an average weight of around 90 to 100 pounds.
The Roman Rottweiler’s massive stature does come with a price, though, as they can often be prone to hip dysplasia, as most large breeds are. However, this doesn’t mean that these dogs are badly bred.
Like most other Rottweiler breeds, the Roman Rottweiler possesses a calm and friendly temperament. They are often playful, highly intelligent, and protective.
Because they are bred to be similar to the original Rottweilers, Roman Rotties have a tendency to be independent. This can often lead to training difficulties, as this particular type of Rottie isn’t used to being bossed around.
Their large stature calls for an owner that can provide lots of enrichment, care, and training. Otherwise, you may end up with an overly aggressive and powerful dog.
Much like the other two types of Rotties, the Roman Rottweiler dog is a good companion when trained and socialized well. Its innate herding instincts also make it a good watchdog for children and smaller animals.
German Rottweiler vs. American Rottweiler: What’s the Difference?
Although the German Rottweiler and American Rottweiler look almost identical, each Rottweiler breed has some distinct factors that make them distinguishable from each other.
For example, a purebred German Rottweiler is typically broader and stockier than the average American Rottweiler. They also have a wider, wedge-shaped head in contrast to American Rotties with more slender skull shapes.
However, despite having a bigger frame, many German Rottweilers are shorter in height than their American counterparts. A Rottweiler bred under American standards will be taller and have longer legs.
In terms of temperament, the breed standard for a German Rottweiler requires it to be more serious and disciplined than other dogs.
Although the American Rottie is gentle and loving, a Rottweiler bred according to German standards tends to be more obedient and disciplined.
Alternatively, here’s a video that talks about German and American Rottweilers:
Different Types of Rottweiler Mixes
As you can expect, many breeders have experimented with mixing the Rottweiler with other breeds. This is often done to combine the best features of the two dog breeds involved and reduce possible health risks.
The following Rottweiler mixes stem from any of the three different types of Rottweiler dogs paired up with another pure dog breed. Keep an eye out for these hybrids at your local Rottweiler club or local shelters and rescues.
Rottador (Labrador & Rottweiler Mix)
A Rottador is a mix between a Rottweiler and a Labrador Retriever. Bred from two companion dogs, the Rottador makes the perfect friend for a big family. Often, these dogs will look like Labrador Retrievers wearing a Rottie costume.
The Rottweiler Labrador mix is an energetic, playful, and friendly companion that will be just as happy to accompany you to a day of work as it is snoozing next to you on the couch.
Pitweiler (Pitbull & Rottweiler Mix)
The Pitweiler is a unique designer mix that is the product of crossing a Rottweiler with a Pitbull. Known for being an excellent guard dog, the Pitweiler combines the best of two protective breeds.
Despite the certain negative connotations people have given its parent breeds, the Pitweiler is a loving and gentle pooch. Their vigilance and protectiveness also make them great police dogs.
Aussie Rottie (Australian Shepherd & Rottweiler Mix)
Although rare, Rottweilers can breed with Australian Shepherds. The Aussie Rottie is one of the rare Rottweiler mixes as breeders don’t typically mix breeds of different size classes.
Depending on which parent breed is dominant, an Aussie Rottie may either have the face of an Aussie with a Rottie’s pattern or a Rottie’s face with a brindle or sable coat from an Aussie Shepherd.
The Aussie Shepherd Rottweiler’s fur will either be short and hard or long and double-coated. This designer breed is highly intelligent and incredibly work-driven.
Since the Aussie Shepherd is a smaller breed than the Rottweiler, there is a possible reduced risk of hip dysplasia in this mix.
Watch this video to learn more about the Aussie Rottie mix:
German Rottie (German Shepherd & Rottweiler Mix)
Not to be confused with a standard Rottweiler from Germany, the German Rottie (or Rottie Shepherd) is a mix between a German Shepherd and a Rottweiler.
Coming from two German breeds, this incredibly obedient and intelligent pooch makes a perfect guard or herding dog.
These high-energy dogs would do well in a house with a big yard or open spaces. They can be pretty stubborn at times, but they would never turn down an opportunity to get treats.
Rottsky (Siberian Husky & Rottweiler Mix)
The Rottsky is a product of two ancient breeds, the Rottweiler and the Siberian Husky. This particular mix is extremely athletic, energetic, and high-spirited, so they will not do well in apartment-type settings.
Proper training, socialization, and ample exercise are needed in order to get this breed under control. This particular dog mix makes perfect herding dogs and would benefit from doing jobs such as guarding cattle and pulling sleds.
If you’re not too keen on getting yourself a Rottweiler, these mixes add a little bit more personality to the standard Rottweiler dog.
While these designer dog mixes may not be up to the American Kennel Club standards, having that little extra dash of uniqueness definitely makes your dog-owning experience worthwhile.
Thanks to hybrid vigor, mixed-breed dogs like the ones listed above are generally thought to be healthier than purebred Rottweiler dogs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Best Breed of Rottweilers?
While all of these Rottweiler dog breeds are considered “real Rottweilers,” the best one is undoubtedly the German Rottweiler.
Since the Rottweiler Club of Germany selectively breeds their Rotties, this type represents the purest form of the Rottweilers — untouched by cosmetic changes and with the perfect temperament.
Such dogs are perfect for working, guarding, exercising, and playing with. This protective dog will not only protect your house, but it will also look after your family and even round up your smaller animals.
Their intelligence and willingness to learn put them a step above the slightly stubborn Roman Rottweilers, while their stocky, bulkier bodies make them more ideal than American Rottweilers.
What Is the Biggest Breed of Rottweilers?
Amongst all types of Rottweiler, the biggest Rottweiler breed is the Roman variant. Although resembling a Mastiff in size, the Roman Rottweiler is a true Rottweiler.
A full-grown Roman Rottweiler can grow as large as 30 inches in shoulder height and weigh up to a whopping 130 pounds. This is said to be close in size to the original Rottweilers.
What Is a Serbian Rottweiler?
Serbian Rottweilers are an entirely different breed and lineage than German and American Rottweilers. The Serbian Rotties trace their ancestry to a dog that was born and bred in Serbia.
The Serbian Rottweiler features an even blockier head with a flatter muzzle, and they carry a little bit more heft in their bodies. Some breeders characterize their faces as ferocious.
Physically speaking, there really isn’t that much difference between a Serbian Rottie and other different types of Rottweilers. It all comes down to which country they originate from.
Despite minor differences, all types of Rottweilers are tough, loving, and extremely protective. They are just as ready to play tug-of-war as they are taking a nap in the middle of the day.
Differences in temperament and cosmetics may influence your decision. If you prefer the classic American look of the Rottweiler with cropped ears and docked tail, the American Rottweiler may be the Rottie for you.
However, if you’re against these practices, a German or Roman Rottweiler may be for you. German Rottweilers boast an excellent temperament, while Roman Rottweilers take the upper hand in the size department.
Either way, you’re sure to have a good time when you have these fluffy goofballs around.
Which among these types of Rottweiler is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!