What Are The Differences Between A Rottweiler And Doberman?

Both of these dog breeds originated from Germany, but they were developed for different purposes. Rottweiler and Doberman both are dominant and large dogs. The Doberman pinscher breed was a brainchild of the tax collector Louis Dobermann. He began breeding a dog type, which bears his name for companionship and protection. Whereas the Rottweiler originated as a draft dog, pulling carts of farmers as well as herding their stock to the market. The Doberman may have some Rottweiler blood in his/ her lineage.

Key Difference (Rottweiler vs Doberman):

Both Rottweiler and Doberman are considered the smartest breeds of dogs and they were bred for guarding purposes. The Doberman has versatile skills and is a watchful, clever, and faithful companion. Rottweiler on the other hand, is very obedient, eager to work and devoted.

Rottweiler and Doberman are 2 different dog breeds originated from Germany. Their nicknames are ‘Rottie’ and ‘Dobbie’. Both these dog breeds are working dogs with different needs. Still, there are various differences in their temperament, build and physical characteristics, etc.

Doberman breed, officially known as Doberman pinscher has a muscular, strong, and compact built. Their name was originally developed in 1890 by Mr. Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, in Germany. Dobbies are amongst the most common of pet breeds. This breed is famously known as an alert, trustful companion, and bright dog. In the past, they were widely used as a police dog, but less common today.

The Doberman is very famous for his/ her obedience. This dog breed engages a quick relationship with every family member and they also become a good family member themselves. They are speedy dogs and possess overexcited skills. Whenever needed, they save their master’s life because they live only to serve.

The Rottweiler is one of the oldest herding dog breeds. Their origin is not known, but many researchers claim that Rotties descended from the drover dogs indigenous to olden Rome. This breed was once known as Rottweil butchers.

During the 1st and 2nd World Wars, Rotties were put into service in different roles such as, messenger, ambulance, security/safeguard, and draught dogs. These dogs are heavier, longer with a broad head, and stockier.

This dog breed has a self-assured and noble appearance. The attentiveness and long, vigorous build of this dog, let it work as a protector dog. It can also function as a cattle herder, and can perform various other duties that need strength, endurance as well as agility.

Size Differences

The Rottweiler is somewhat smaller than a Doberman pinscher. The Doberman mature females are 24 to 26 inches tall, whereas males are between 26 and 28 inches taller at the shoulder.

On the other hand, a mature Rottweiler female ranges 22 – 24 inches in height and male Rottweiler stands between 24 to 27 inches.

Weight Differences

Although dog breed standard doesn’t specify a weight, but most Doberman ranges between 66 – 88 pounds.

Rottweiler on the other hand is a more solid canine, and weigh much more than Dobermans. They range from 75 pounds to 135 pounds.

Coat and Color

Both of these breeds sport short coats, but Dobbies are smoother as compared to the Rottie’s coarser hair. The Rottweiler comes in only one color pattern (black with mahogany or rust markings).

The markings appear:

  • At the top of each eye and on the throat and cheeks
  • Under the tail.
  • A strip around their muzzle, but not the nose bridge
  • The front legs from the knee to the toes.
  • A triangle on both sides of the sternum

The Doberman may appear in black, red, fawn, Isabella and blue, along with some rust markings. Locations of a Dobbie’s markings are similar to the Rottie, but they appear on all legs and feet.

Temperament Differences

The Rotties are not usually a cuddly type, but they want to make sure their owners are safe. This dog breed can serve as a good family dog, but this does not mean he will be fine with the kids of other people. Rottweiler as a territorial canine is not often good with other dogs. A plus point is that unlike other breeds, Rotties do not mind being alone, so they are less likely to suffer from the separation anxiety. Rottweiler certainly lets their owners know if there is a stranger around, but usually they are not nuisance barkers.

The Doberman pinschers like to be with their people. With the right socialization and training, they become a good family pet. Dobbies are more athletic and they require more exercise as compared to the Rotties. Dobermans are usually somewhat smarter compared to the Rottweiler. A Dobbie can easily become destructive without an outlet for considerable energy. Further, Dobbies are more affectionate compared to Rotties and they take trainings more easily.

Health Concerns

When it comes to the health concern of Rottweiler vs Doberman, neither breed is especially long-lived. The Doberman pinscher usually lives around 10 years and Rottweiler between 8 to 10 years.

Doberman health issues include:

  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Hypoadrenocorticism or Addison’s disease
  • Bloat
  • Wobbler’s syndrome, caused by vertebrae malformation
  • Von Willebrand’s disease, which is a type of canine hemophilia.

A Rottweiler also prone to cardiomyopathy, Addison’s and von Willebrand’s disease. Other health problems in Rotties include:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (eventually causes blindness, and other eye conditions).
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Cancer

Which Dog Breed is Right for you?

  • Maintenance: Both dog breeds are easier to maintain as their grooming needs are not demanding. Bo the Rottweiler and Doberman pinscher fit well for their owners that are not willing to spend money and time on upkeep.
  • Shedding: Shedding is considered a normal process to naturally lose damaged or old hair. Both dog breeds shed moderately. However, brushing can reduce shedding and make your dog’s coats cleaner and softer.
  • Training: Both dog breeds are easier to train. So this is very helpful for the first-time owners and even for those owners who like dogs willing to listen well and obey quickly.
  • Adaptability: The Doberman breed has a better adaptability compared to Rottweiler because it can better respond as well as alter itself to the environment.
  • Exercise Needs: Both these dog breeds require a regular exercise as they need to be fairly active to maintain their fitness. You are advised to take your dogs for a trip to dog parks every day.
  • For New Owners: Doberman pinscher breed is a better choice for first time dog owners.
  • With Kids: Both of the breeds are not the best for kids. In isolation, these breeds might not be a right option for families having small children. However, if you grow up the puppies of these breeds with your kids and provide them relaxed and pleasant experiences, they will mitigate the risks.

I personally find Dobermans more interesting. In my opinion, this dog breed looks more elegant and they tend to draw attention and they can be very tolerant, dedicated, loyal, and affectionate with the family even when they have a tough-looking.


Moreover, this dog breed is not for everyone because Dobbies need a confident family that can be consistent and firm, when setting rules. This dog breed is very keen and super energetic with tremendous strength, so they need leadership and interaction from their owners, and without proper training they can become willful and stubborn.

Personally, I am more scared of Rotties. There are 2 Rottweilers in my neighbor’s home and they are savages. Whenever I walk past them, they get MAD. When they realize it is not possible to get out, they even start turning on each. And man they are so LOUD.
A friend of mind has a Doberman. He does bark and is intimidating and all, but in the presence of his owner, he remains obedient and calm. Seemed like a great dog.

When it comes to Rottweiler vs Doberman, both are two very different dogs. Different people may prefer differently, but one will certainly be better suited to you. When deciding a breed, all depends on your likes and needs (apart from being protective because both breeds possess that quality). 
The coat is the first most visible difference between both breeds. Rotties have double coats, compared to a Dobbie. Dobbies shed short prickly hairs, whereas the Rotts shed softer fluffier. 
If you want to have a dog that does not bounce around your home, having a Rott is the best option since they are less active. Rotties require regular exercise because they are prone to become overweight. Further, their exercise needs are different than the Dobbies. Dobes on the other hand, are more agile and they have more endurance. People having a more active lifestyle should go for a Doberman.
Both the breeds bond very well with their owners, however Rotts tend to be more stubborn and dominant. Rotts can be a little harder to train so you need to keep in mind the history of both breeds. The Doberman was created to work closely with their owners and they are very reactive as well as sensitive to owner’s inputs. Rottweiler was created for cattle hardening. So, this is a more independently thinking and working dog. 
If you have any experience of spending time with either breed, please share your experience with us.

Post Author: Christian

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