Rottweiler vs Doberman What’s the Difference

If you are considering bringing either a Rottweiler or a Doberman into your home, there are a few things you should make sure you understand before making the commitment.

Both breeds can be excellent inclusions into your family, but especially considering the size and strength of these dogs, it is good to make sure you are prepared to exercise and train them appropriately.

choosing the perfect dog breed

Without a strong leader, they can become aggressive, destructive, or just head-strong – which can be difficult to deal with once they reach full size!

Rottweiler vs Doberman side-by-side comparison


RottweilerDoberman
Average Age8-11 years10-13 years
Average Weight85-130 lbs60-80 lbs
Average Height (at the shoulder)22-27 inches24-28 inches
Prey DriveMedium to high Low
NoiseDoes tend to barkInfrequent barker
Typical behavior with people/kidGenerally aloof, mellow, protective of familyAverage
Typical behavior with other dogsNot very friendlyNot friendly

Rottweiler vs Doberman: History

Rottweilers and Dobermans have both been bred to look scary and be protective of their owners/families. Both dogs are great additions to a family and have the strength and bravery needed to ensure their loved ones are safe.

Rottweiler History

Rottweilers can trace there heritage back to Molossus, a mastiff-type bred in the Roman Empire. They traveled with the army driving cattle and mating with local dogs, which would lead to the Rottweilers we know today.

Rottweilers, as a breed, flourished in Germany, where they were bred to pull carts and drive cattle. This strong pup was often found in the company of farmers and butchers. Their protective nature also made them useful to keeping money safe from thieves and cattlemen would often tie their earnings around the dog’s neck.

Eventually Rottweilers would become popular in police work and the public. By the mid-1990s, more than 100,000 Rottweilers were registered with the American Kennel Club.

Doberman History

Dobermans also found their start in Germany. The breed originated with a tax collector by the name of Dobermann – after whom the dog is named – who was looking for a loyal protector.

Ultimately, breeders worked to make Dobermans brave, smart, quick, and tough. They overshot the mark though and this breed became known for being headstrong and aggressive.

Dobermans found their way to America in the early 1900s. This turned out to be fortunate as in both world wars, owning large breeds in Europe was only possible for police and wealthy people. Had the breed not had a strong foothold in America, they may have died out.

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Rottweiler vs Doberman: Temperament

Rottweilers and Dobermans are both highly intelligent and get along well with their families. They can both be a little more hesitant with strangers, especially Rottweilers who are always looking for danger.

Rottweiler Temperament

Rottweilers often appear aloof with new people and new situations. They are known for being calm and confident. They are neither excitable nor aggressive generally. Rottweilers are intelligent and have a strong work ethic.

There are some minor differences between males and females. Male Rottweilers tend to be more watchful, and they are often assessing threats. Females may be more affectionate and a little easier to control. All Rottweilers are highly trainable if a little stubborn.

Doberman Temperament

Dobermans are both highly intelligent and very active. They are loyal, playful, and loving. Dobermans also maintain a “puppy” mentality until they are nearly 4 years old. They learn fast and enjoy being busy and challenged.

Dobermans like to have socialization. As puppies they are curious and playful. Pups will often approach new people and want to be held – which is a good sign of their future temperament.

Rottweiler vs Doberman: Grooming

Good grooming habits often begin when your dog is a puppy. For both Rottweilers and Dobermans, you should get your dog accustomed to having you groom and check their ears, nose, eyes, mouth, and feet from a young age. This will help you be able to inspect those regions for any issues throughout their life.

If at any point while grooming, you notice your dog has sores, rashes, redness, tenderness, inflammation, or discharge, these are all signs of a potential infection or other health problem. 

Rottweiler Grooming

Rottweilers have a short, coarse double coat. The undercoat is primarily found on the neck and thighs and varies depending on the local climate. This coat sheds a couple times a year. Most of the year, weekly brushing with a bristle brush should keep your Rottweiler looking nice.

Rottweilers also need bathing on an occasion and benefit from brushing their teeth every few days. By making grooming positive when your Rottweiler is a puppy, you will have an easier time handling the dog when fully grown (potentially over a 100 lbs.)!

Doberman Grooming

Dobermans have a short, sleek, smooth coat. They require minimal grooming and are a generally clean pup. They do shed, but weekly brushing should be enough to keep the shedding under control.

Baths are typically only needed if your Doberman has found something stinky to roll in. They do need regular brushing of the teeth and trimming their nails if they aren’t wearing them down through play.

Rottweiler vs Doberman: Training

Training of any dog breed should begin when they are puppies. Neither Rottweilers nor Dobermans will disappoint in the training arena. They are both highly intelligent and respond well to positive reinforcement. 

Be sure to establish yourself as a leader early on and you will quickly have a loyal, well-behaved companion.

Rottweiler Training

As previously mentioned, Rottweilers can be stubborn, grow to over 100lbs, and are strong. They are also highly intelligent and are eager to please and protect their owner.

While this makes them an excellent breed to join your family, it does highlight the importance of a good training and socialization from a young age.

Short, focused training sessions are perfect for Rottweilers. This breed is like a sponge in the first year and can quickly learn many common commands. They are also easily potty trained.

Consistent, firm correction of behaviors you don’t want (like nipping) should fix the problem quickly. Be careful about ignoring or not addressing inappropriate behavior as this can lead to more difficulty correcting it later.

Doberman Training

Dobermans thrive on and love having a schedule. In training, consistency is key for this pup. Schedule their training to be the same time each day and try not to deviate from the pattern. 

Dobermans respond to positive reinforcement. Treats – or even simple praise – will often get the results you are looking for. Harsh and physical punishment teach dogs to be fearful or aggressive.

Once you have established yourself as the leader, Dobermans become much easier to train.

Rottweiler vs Doberman: Lifespan

Rottweilers typically live 8-11 years, while Dobermans usually live 10-13 years.

Rottweiler vs Doberman Health

Both Rottweilers and Dobermans are generally considered healthy dogs. Although like any dog they should be regularly seen by a veterinarian to make sure everything is going well.

Rottweiler Health

Rottweilers are a typically healthy breed though there are a few concerns to watch out for. If you get you puppy from a breeder, make sure to ask for health clearances for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hyperthyroidism, von Willebrand’s disease, and confirmation the eyes are normal.

In addition to the problems that have clearances (above), you’ll want to watch out for Aortic Stenosis/Sub-aortic Stenosis (a heart defect), osteosarcoma (bone cancer), bloat/torsion, and allergies.

Doberman Health

Dobermans share some similar health concerns with Rottweilers, but several of these concerns can be inherited. So, like with Rottweilers be sure to check for any health clearances and history of the parents.

Dobermans deal with von Willebrand’s disease, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Wobbler’s Syndrome, Cardiomyopathy, Albinism, Color Mutant Alopecia, Narcolepsy, and bloat.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a large, loyal companion, then a Rottweiler or a Doberman might be a good fit for you.

Rottweilers can be good family dogs or companions with other dogs, if they are raised that way. They are highly protective and loving. But they do have the potential to overeat or become destructive/bark if they get bored.

Dobermans on the other hand, despite a reputation of being vicious tend to have very sweet personalities. They were not a herding dog, so they tend to fit better into a family. But they are very protective and want to have a schedule where they are part of the family.

Whichever choice you make, be sure to find a reputable breeder or checkout adoption. 

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