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The German Rottweiler and American Rottweiler – The Similarities And Differences

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Did you know that German and an American Rottweiler are actually the same breed? Read on to learn what separates them.

Rottweiler is one of those dog breeds that you just cannot miss. They are powerful in their stand, they have striking looks, and Rotties are super fast when it comes to protecting what’s theirs, including their humans.

Did you know that this powerful dog is originally from Germany? Or that they usually bite by giving you a warning via a short bite, and later on, bite to fully defeat you?

If you are a Rottweiler lover already you know that some may appear more sturdy or square than others do, while some have their tail on, while others are without a tail.

Rottweilers are powerful dogs of well-balanced and muscular bodies. They are so strong, that it’s fair to say that Rottweilers are one of the most powerful dogs in the world.

Today, they are mostly busy being full-time pets, but many of them are busy performing some kind of task.

That being said, Rottweilers are often used as search and rescue dogs, guards, and even as farm dogs for herding cattle because of their strong muscles and strong bones.

These powerful dogs are commonly classified into German and American rottweilers. Surprised?

There are other Rottweiler types as well, including Serbian and Roman, but German and American Rottweilers are mostly found in the States, so we will focus on them, and similarities and differences between German and American Rottweiler.

German Rottweiler vs American Rottweiler

Is German Rottweiler from Germany, while the American Rottweiler is from the States? Simply said, yes, although this isn’t their biggest difference.

They come with some differences in their body size, head shape, and leg structure.

One big difference between them includes tail docking as well. There is some difference when it comes to breeding standards as well.

As for the American Rottweilers, their standards are set by the American Kennel Club (AKC), while those for the German Rottweilers are set by the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Club (ADRC).

German Rottweiler

German Rottweiler is a breed born in Germany that is carefully bred by the breeding standards created by the ADRK (Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Club).

These dogs are easy to recognize thanks to their tails. In fact, their tails used to be docked, while nowadays they are left being natural.

These dogs are peaceful and calm in terms of temperament and personality. They are great pets and everyday companions.

As for the appearance, they have standard Rottweilers traits: they are powerful in size, large, come with the incredible bone structure, and have strong muscles.

This is the main reason why they are often used as working dogs, primarily as search and rescue dogs, or as guard dogs.

As for the breed’s standards, the ADRK are pretty strict when it comes to guidelines which is why these dogs are of the best appearance, quality, and stamina.

They are usually well trained and are highly obedient and intelligent. This breed isn’t a breed to be messed with, especially when they are on the duty.

Since ADRK standards are very strict and straightforward, it’s almost impossible to find a representative of this breed with some kind of deformity.

German Rottweilers have broad heads and smaller legs when compared to the American Rottweilers.

All in all, German Rottweilers are more desirable than American ones when it comes to certain duties, such as guarding. Dog lovers claim that ancestors of this breed have been Roman cattle dogs.

American Rottweiler

American Rottweilers are dogs born in the States, with unique body traits – they will always have a docked tail.

Tail docking is a specific method of snipping tails. This isn’t only common for dogs, but may be practiced in other animals as well.

AKC’s standards of the breed are looser than those listed in German Rottweiler, according to breeders. ADRK guidelines are more strict compared to AKC’s breed standards which means that more loose breeding standards can lead to specimens that are weak or even aggressive.

Always stick to any recommended breeding guidelines so you can have a well-shaped and healthy Rottweiler.

This is why it’s also important to deal only with responsible dog breeders, who will do their best to deliver you a dog who is healthy, strong, and comes with the right medical documentation.

When compared to German Rottweilers, American Rottweilers are smaller in size and have shorter legs. They are also less popular than German Rottweilers, but they are still present in high numbers as pets and companion dogs.

Another interesting physical trait, when compared with German Rottweilers, American Rottweilers have lesser bone strength and are overall less massive dogs.

As for the character, there aren’t any big differences between these two Rottweiler types.

Important: The biggest difference between the American and German Rottweilers lies in the fact that American Rottweilers have docked tails.

Interestingly, all Rottweilers have german bloodlines. After all, they were brought to the States from Germany and bred by the AKC’s standards and that’s how American Rottweilers were created. Later on, these dogs were recognized as the American Rottweilers.

Are German And American Rottweilers the Same Color?

Rottweilers should always be black. By any breed club’s standards, these powerful dogs should be black.

Rotties can be black with mahogany, rust-colored markings. This can be a maximum of up to 10% of the total color.

It’s common for Rottweilers to have mahogany mark above each eye, on the cheeks, and even on each side of the snout.

The top of the nose should always be black. They will have two triangular marks, facing down on their chest. The markings should be visible on the hind legs as well.

Important: There is no Rottweiler of ‘rare color’. If a breeder tries to communicate this know that this is a red flag. In fact, this should be a clear sign that you won’t get a 100% pure Rottweiler.

Simply said, whenever a breeder mentions that specific Rottweiler is a rare one know that it is a red flag.

Here are some of the most common red flags when it comes to getting a Rottie:

  • Too gangly legs
  • A pale nose
  • A lower jaw
  • Too round eyes
  • A flat rib
  • Easily spotted wrinkles on the forehead
  • A wavy coat
  • Any type of inappropriate coloring

German And American Rottweiler Size Comaparation

The German Rottweiler is bigger. The size difference is always defined by breed standards.

It’s common for adult American Rottweiler to weigh up to 130 pounds, and stand from 24-27 inches.

Compared to this the German Rottweiler is both taller and more massive than the American Rottweiler of the same age when compared. Plus, the American Rottweiler comes with longer legs and a smaller skull.

The skull in American Rottweiler is also more narrow. The bigger the varieties in legs and skull, the more generations of ‘American’ in the dog’s bloodline.

German And American Rottweiler Movement

American Rottweiler should always have a balanced movement that can be described as harmonious.

Their movement is often described as powerful, confident, and balanced. A similar movement should be present in German Rotties, as well.

The movement in German Rottweilers should be almost effortless and ground-covering, that stabile.

Energy should be easily spotted in this breed and the overall balance should be harmonious.

German And American Rottweiler Working Style

Rottweilers are working dogs. They were originally bred to be working dogs, and as such, they are true to their roots even today.

The breeding of these dogs was always carefully monitored to keep their physiques at a certain level, so they can perform what they were bred for.

Thanks to breed’s standards it is possible to continually create litters that are true to Rotties original traits.

Not that they are great workers, but they are amazing all-around pets, who love to keep their humans safe and entertained. However, when it comes to who is more powerful, and who has better working abilities, German Rottweiler wins.

American Rottweiler, due to different breed standards, is a great protector, but they do not have the Rottweilers’ original agility and power, that this breed is known for.

Why Rottweilers Bred In America And Germany Look Different?

It’s common for people to ask why American and German Rottweilers are so different.

Even today, with so much available information on every corner, people get confused. As mentioned earlier, there is a good reason for this, for Rotties difference.

With that being said – why do Rottweilers in Germany look different from Rottweilers bred in America?

So far, it should be clear that it all has to do something with standards. Breeding standards in Germany are stricter than those in the States.

ARDK will refuse to register puppies that have failed to meet the strict breed test and standards. This way only the best specimens get to be registered and reproduced further.

This is the most effective way to keep the breed’s standards high. Plus, this type of practice limits the number of Rottweilers with breed faults in Germany.

As such, this practice is an effective way to prevent breed faults to reproduce further. Simply said, when you’re buying, a German Rottweiler you know that you are getting a purebred dog.

Still, the most important thing about these types of dogs is that they are not two separate breeds. There is only one type of Rottweiler, the one that meets breed standards.

Are German Rottweilers More Expensive?

The next logical question is money-wise. If German Rottweilers are more challenging to register, does that means that they are more expensive?

An average price for a Rottweiler in the States can go between 500 to $4,000. When it comes to this bred it all comes down to quality, and quality comes at a price.

As expected, the German Rottweilers will come at a higher price than American ones. This is mostly due to strict ADRK standards.

Getting a dog is a big step, especially when you are getting a large size dog like a Rottweiler is.

What people tend to overlook when it comes to getting a dog is that purchasing a dog isn’t the only expense.

The cost of owning a dog over years is never small, or something to be overlooked. In fact, the financial side of owning a dog is something that should always be taken into consideration, especially when it comes to owning a large dog breed.

Larger dog breeds will eat more, finding a dog sitter for larger breeds can often cost more, and even veterinarian costs for larger breeds tend to be more expensive.

For example, if you want your Rottie to thrive physically you need to focus on delivering the best dog food for Rottweilers, as this is the only way to know 100% that your Rottie is getting all needed nutrients.

If you look at the overall cost of owning a Rottweiler for his lifetime, you might discover that a ‘cheaper’ puppy will usually cost you more.

You may not know this, but when breeds standards aren’t met health problems will appear and be more frequent.

As you probably know already, healthcare is expensive, both for humans and animals.

When you buy a Rottweiler that has been bred to proper Rottweiler standards, you know that you are getting a healthy dog. This is why it’s important to deal with responsible dog breeders only.

Always Focus On Finding A Good Breeder

Responsible breeders are the key factor when it comes to having a healthy dog.

Finding a good and responsible breeder is the best and the easiest way to avoid puppy mill breeders, and get a healthy dog.

Plus, responsible breeders will give you much more than merely a healthy puppy. They will present you with all medical documentation on the puppy, ask you a list of questions to make sure that you are a good fit for their dog, and they will inform you on what to do if a problem arises.

The Bottom Line

Rottweilers are mostly used as guard dogs nowadays when they are not chilling as full-time pets.

When not guarding, they can be found working as search and rescue dogs, or as police companions.

Rottweilers are physically powerful dogs who aren’t afraid to take upon bigger and stronger dogs if they have to defend what’s theirs.

If you are a breed’s lover already, you know what type of dog you need, in terms of personality and physical appearance.

If you want Rottie that is strictly based on breed’s standards then you might want to think about German Rottweiler.

If you want a Rottie that has a softer appearance and prefers to be a pet instead of a working dog then American Rottweiler is the right choice for you.

Make sure that you avoid Rottweiler as a breed overall if you don’t have a long experience as a dog owner, already because this isn’t a breed for first time dog owners.