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German Rottweiler vs. American Rottweiler: What's the Difference?

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key point

  • German Rottweilers tend to be stronger and more muscular, while American Rottweilers tend to be rounder.
  • Both breeds have a standard black and tan coat and markings unique to the Rottweiler.
  • There is a strong disapproval of tail docking, which is considered to be the reason why German breeds cannot be certified by the ADRK.

There's a reason the Rottweiler is one of the most popular dog breeds, but did you know there are different types? There are two main classifications of Rottweilers, German or American. But what are the main differences between a German Rottweiler and an American Rottweiler? Their parentage! German Rottweilers were bred in Germany and American Rottweilers were bred in the United States. German Rottweilers are sometimes bigger than American Rottweilers, but each of these Rottweilers is a lot more than it appears!

Key Differences Between German Rottweiler and American Rottweiler

What is the difference between German Rottweiler and American Rottweiler-1
The main difference between American and German Rottweilers is where they were bred!

© AZ-Animals.com

As mentioned above, the main difference between German Rottweilers and American Rottweilers is where they were bred. However, there are some notable differences between the two. German Rottweilers tend to be stronger and more muscular, while American Rottweilers tend to be rounder. Also, their temperaments may vary slightly. Let’s dive into more details on the differences between American Rottweiler and German Rottweiler!

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German vs. American Rottweiler: Physical Characteristics

Most Expensive Dog Breed: Rottweiler
While German Rottweilers are generally a bit larger than American Rottweilers, the main difference between the two is their origins! German Rottweilers are bred in Germany and American Rottweilers are bred in the United States. But the physical differences, like Germans have shorter noses and thicker necks!

©Miroslav Cik/Shutterstock.com

Although the German Rottweiler is larger in size, the overall average size of the two breeds is comparable. The average Rottweiler weighs between 80-110 pounds and stands between 24-27 inches. Both breeds have a standard black and tan coat and markings unique to the Rottweiler. Rottweilers are also one of the strongest dog breeds and require early training to help harness all those strengths! However, there are other key physical differences between the two that set them apart!

Identifying the Physical Characteristics of a German Rottweiler

Many German Rottweilers are often the same average height and weight as American Rottweilers, but tend to be carried differently. German Roots dogs appear to be stronger, more muscular, and have a wider build. German Rotties must be short-haired and require minimal grooming.

These Rottweilers have wider snouts, almond-shaped eyes, triangular ears, and thicker necks. The Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub (ADRK) has very strict standards for German Rottweilers. Acceptable coat colors are black and mahogany, black and tan or black and brown. Tail docking is highly discouraged and considered a reason for the breed not to be ADRK certified.

Identifying the Physical Characteristics of an American Rottweiler

rottweiler puppy
Rottweiler puppies should be walked 2-3 times a day, 20 minutes each time.

© otsphoto/Shutterstock.com

The American Rottweiler is sleeker, muscular, and broader than the German Rottweiler. They have sportier forms and smaller noses. American docking is common and considered the breed standard by the American Kennel Club (AKC), but docking is no longer required. However, the AKC is less strict about coat color and has added red and blue variations to the breed standard. American Rottweilers can also have long hair, although this is not the breed standard.

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The head of the American Rottweiler is of medium length, set broad between the ears. The American also has the standard triangular ears and almond eyes common to the Rottweiler breed. The American Rottweiler has an arched neck of medium length, broad chest, and an oval ribcage that is noticeably narrower than that of the German Rottweiler.

German vs. American Rottweiler: Temperament and Behavior

Rottweiler dog on the grass
Physical differences aside, German Rottweilers have far stricter rules about behavior. While both are loyal, calm and intelligent, the German Rottweiler has been bred specifically to be the gold standard of the perfect companion.

© Caronna/Creative Commons

Both German and American Rottweilers are known for their calm, easy-going demeanor and loyalty to working dogs. They are very intelligent, in fact, the Rottweiler is one of the top 10 smartest dog breeds! Rottweilers can learn a new command in five repetitions or less and are one of the most popular dog breeds.

However, there are some differences in the temperament of German and American Rottweilers. It is important to understand the breed standards for both types before deciding which Rottie is right for you. Also, the temperaments and standards of behavior of dogs that compete can vary widely!

German Rottweiler Temperament and Behavior

Rottweiler dog with big tree branch in mouth
Rottweilers are strongly protective.

©Mariya Kuzema/Shutterstock.com

The German Rottweiler has been bred specifically and carefully to be the perfect companion dog. So the standard temperament and behavior required for a dog to be ADRK certified is a high standard indeed! German Rottweiler breeders are held to extremely high standards and breeding pairs must be approved by the ADRK.

The German Rottweiler is the gold standard of its breed. They are calm, steady, and dependable dogs, the pinnacle of loyalty and protection. In addition, the German Rottie has a calm, easy-going, playful personality and loves children. When kept with other pets, they develop deep bonds with other animals. They respond well to training, possess an amazing level of intelligence, and are able to learn various commands quickly. However, like all large dogs, training should start early!

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American Rottweiler Temperament and Behavior

The smartest dog breed - Rottweiler
Rottweilers like to lean their body against their human.

© Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com

The American Rottweiler is no slouch when it comes to personality! The American Rottweiler has the characteristics of the German dog's high loyalty, high intelligence and easy training. They can absolutely make an excellent family dog and get along well with children just like their German relatives.

However, the American Rottie can be reserved around strange people and animals, and can often display aggression towards dogs of the same sex. Interactions with any strangers or animals should be monitored. American Rottweilers respond well to training and are eager to please their owners, but tend to be more stubborn than German Rottweilers!

German or American: Which Rottie Is Right For You?

Rottweiler (Canis familiaris) - puppy walking across the grass
Rottweilers can be very gentle and loving.

© Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com

Both the German and American Rottweilers embody the best qualities of the ideal family dog. Deciding which is right for you can be difficult! However, there are a few things to be aware of when making your choice.

The German Rottweiler and ADRK's strict guidelines for the breed are a good choice for someone who wants a steady, dependable dog. The German Rottie has been specially bred to reduce the health problems common to large dogs, such as hip or elbow dysplasia. ADRK does not allow the sale of puppies with genetic health problems at all. However, this will mean that the German Rottie is much more expensive.

American Rottweilers are much less restricted by the AKC. While this means a higher chance of genetic health problems, it is more cost-effective to buy an American Rottie. For families looking for a leaner, more energetic companion, the American Rottweiler may be right for you!


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Rottweiler dog with big tree branch in mouth
Rottweilers are strongly protective.

© Mariya Kuzema/Shutterstock.com

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