German Shepherd vs Rottweiler – Similarities and Differences!

Greetings to my fellow pet parents! My name is Shelby and I have a loveable Springer Spaniel Beagle mix named Sage.

When I decided to adopt a dog of my very own, I knew I wanted to rescue a dog that needed my help! Sage was dropped into my lap and I immediately fell in love. I knew that I needed to be her forever family.

I have had many dogs and a variety of breeds. These breeds include Beagles, Labradors, German Shorthairs, and a few other mixes.

One thing I have learned over the years is the breed of your dog can make a big difference so you want to make sure you get the breed that is right for you!

Picking the Right Breed for You!

There are a few things to consider when picking your dog breed.

These things include size, energy level, temperament, hair type, and ideal environment.

In this article we are going to delve into how to pick the right breed for you while comparing German Shepherds with Rottweilers.

German Shepherds

Black puppyGerman Shepherds are used for roles including in the police force and private protection, search and rescue, shows, and as the name would suggest, shepherding.

German Shepherds are one of the most versatile breeds of today and are very popular as either working animals or family pets.

German Shepherds are large dogs that can be considered to have a hightly protective temperament.

They are very loyal to and connect very strongly with their family and can be wary of strangers that are both human and animal.

German Shepherds can sometimes be labeled as aggressive due to their protective and assertive nature as well as the fact that they are commonly trained as guard dogs and can be used as attack dogs.


Believed to be descended from military dogs in ancient Rome, the Rottweiler is a Mastiff-type dog and is dependable, intelligent, and strong.

The Rottweiler can hold many roles including in the police force or private protection, the military, or family pets.

Rottweilers are very large dogs that are often bold and protective. They have a keen ability to sense danger and will become protective if they believe their family is in danger.

Rottweilers are often labeled as vicious and might not be welcome everywhere. With proper breeding and training a Rottweiler can be a loving family pet.

German Shepherd vs Rottweiler Size: Which One is Bigger?

German Shepherds are a large dog with the male averaging 24-26 inches (66-88lbs) and the female averaging 22-24 inches (49-71lbs).

Rottweilers are even bigger than German Shepherds when it comes to average weight.

Their lengths are pretty comparable with the male averaging 24-27 inches and the female averaging 22-25 inches, but a Rottweiler’s weight can be between 110-130lbs as a male and 77-110lbs as a female.

Size is a good thing to keep in mind with these dogs. Even though they are similar in inches, they vary greatly in weight.

This will mean they require more food and larger dogs are often more likely to develop health problems in their joints.

German Shepherd vs Rottweiler Temperament: How do They Behave?

Large dog sittingA German Shepherd is known for being very protective of their family. They can sometimes be dominating over other dogs both familiar and stranger.

While they behave well towards other pets in the home, they will most likely identify as the alpha.

A Rottweiler is confident and can sometimes be imposing. They are always on alert and will make sure there is no danger around them or their families.

Because of their over protective nature they will need to be trained well to make sure they do not exhibit aggressive behavior.

Both German Shepherds and Rottweilers are highly intelligent dogs with protective natures as well as herding tendencies.

Either of these dogs would make a good family pet with enough attention and training.

German Shepherds, however, are less likely to be viewed as dangerous and will be more accepted in certain living conditions as well as spaces like dog parks, the dog beach, etc.

German Shepherd vs Rottweiler Life Span/Health: What’s Their Life Expectancy?

German Shepherds have a life expectancy of 10-12 years. German Shepherds can be prone to health issues though, and should be taken to the vet routinely.

These health issues can include elbow or hip dysplasia, cardiomyopathy, hemangiosarcoma, panosteitis, von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD) and degenerative myelopathy

More health issues they have are cauda equina, malignant neoplasms, pannus, hot spots, skin allergies, gastric torsion, cataract, and perianal fistulas.

German Shepherds are also known to have fatal fungal infections due to the Aspergillus mold.

Rottweilers have a slightly shorter life expectancy of about 8-11 years. Like the German Shepherd they can be prone to health issues that are more common in larger dog breeds.

These can include elbow or hip dysplasia, osteosarcoma, sub-aortic stenosis (SAS), gastric torsion, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), ectropion, cataract, seizures, von Willebrand’s disease (vWD), entropion, and panosteitis.

They can also suffer from allergies or hypothyroidism.

Like all pets, both German Shepherds and Rottweilers should get yearly vet check-ups to make sure they are up to date on all vaccinations and that they are healthy.

German Shepherd vs Rottweiler Appearance: What do They Look Like?

Large dog The German Shepherd is a large dog that is usually tan and black in color. They can also be red and black or less commonly all black, all white, or a more blue color.

The German Shepherd’s coat is a double coat which causes them to have very dense hair that can be either straight or wavy.

This is a breed that will shed all year long which is something to consider if you want to have one in your home.

The Rottweiler is a very large dog that is usually black with rust colored markings above their eyes as well as on their face, muzzle, and legs.

The Rottweiler has a robust and broad build. They have a dense coat that is straight and course.

German Shepherd vs Rottweiler Grooming: How Much do They Require?

Both the German Shepherd and Rottweiler require brushing at least once per week.

A German Shepherd may require more grooming because they shed all year, while a Rottweiler only sheds two times a year. During those times Rottweilers will also require additional brushing.

Like all dog breeds both German Shepherds and Rottweilers will need to have regular dental care. Make sure to check their teeth for plaque and brush their teeth and gums weekly.

As well as their teeth, both of these dogs need regular ear care. This can be accomplished using Q-Tips and eardrops. All dogs should get ear cleanings once a week or they could get infected.

German Shepherd vs Rottweiler Training: Can They be Trained Easily?

German Shepherds training can be moderately difficult. They are highly intelligent, but they are very headstrong and independent.

To combat this you will want to foster a good leadership role with your German Shepherd.

This is essential to a successful training experience with your pet. With a good leadership standard set between you and your pet, training should be easy to moderate.

Rottweilers are similar to German Shepherds when it comes to training. They are also highly intelligent but they are strong willed and like to be seen as a leader.

For this reason you will need to foster a leading role while training your Rottweiler similar to if you needed to train a German Shepherd.

With a strong leadership role, time, consistency, and patience you should be able to train your Rottweiler to be an obedient and loyal pet.

German Shepherd vs Rottweiler Diet: What do They Eat?

A rottweilerBoth German Shepherds and Rottweilers eat similarly to other dog breeds. They should have something that is healthy and natural. Make sure that their food is not high in grain or fillers.

With their high energy levels, they need food that is high in protein and healthy fats. This will allow them to build more lean muscle and will improve their speed and strength.

Natural and lean ingredients are ideal for both of these breeds and their food should be composed of mostly meat products.

German Shepherd vs Rottweiler Family Dog: Are They Good With Children?

A German Shepherd will love their family fiercely and can become very protective over them.

They are a more dominant and headstrong animal and may become more protective around strangers and other animals, especially strange imposing dogs.

They will not be a problem around children or other family pets.

A Rottweiler is also protective of their family. With proper socialization a Rottweiler should not be an issue around children.

With their increased size they are less sensitive to children laying on them or hanging off them than a smaller dog might be.

They can be competitive with other dogs of the same gender and some are known to have an issue with cats. This is something to keep in mind if you are a multi-animal household.

German Shepherd vs Rottweiler Environment: Where are They Best Suited?

German Shepherds are best suited in colder to moderate temperatures and due to their thick double coat of fur will not be as comfortable in extreme heat.They are able to be both an inside or outside dog.

German Shepherds will require an environment that allows them plenty of exercise and if you have them in a smaller space you might need to take them for walks more often.

German Shepherds that become restless may act out and possibly be destructive.

Large dogRottweilers prefer the cold and are not suited for overly hot temperatures. They should only be left outside in colder temperatures with the appropriate amount of shelter.

They are social animals and will appreciate living in the house with their family. Rottweilers need plenty of exercise as well as mental stimulation.

Rottweilers have a high amount of endurance and will require long walks or outdoors time in a place that will allow for exercise.

They will often be restless if they do not get enough stimulation and this can cause destructive behaviors.

German Shepherd vs Rottweiler Running Costs: Are They Expensive to Look After?

They both will require regular vet check-ups like every other dog. With their increased size they may need extra care when it comes to their health.

This can be costly, and you will need to make sure you can afford vet care if you get any type of dog breed.

A Rottweiler will eat more than a German Shepherd and that can add up over time when it comes to food costs.

Both the German Shepherd and Rottweiler will eat more food than a smaller dog making them more expensive over their lifetime.

Final Thoughts: German Shepherd vs Rottweiler

German Shepherds can be an amazing family pet with as long as you put in the required time and effort. Due to their headstrong nature they will require more time with training.

One thing to keep in mind when looking at getting a German Shepherd is that they can be viewed as aggressive. This is often due to them being commonly being trained as guard dogs.

This means there will be certain living situations where a German Shepherd might not be welcome. However, with extra time and attention these dogs will be loyal lifetime friends.

Rottweilers also have the potential to be good family pets. Similarly to the German Shepherd they will require more time and training.

Cute puppy

You will want to make sure you have time to properly socialize your Rottweiler with humans and other animals or they might become aggressive towards strangers.

Another thing to keep in mind while considering this particular breed is that they are viewed as a vicious dog breed and are not welcome in almost all apartment complexes and might not be welcome in locations that allow dogs to socialize off leash.

Despite this with love, attention, and training your Rottweiler has the potential to be a loyal and loving family member.

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