American Rottweiler vs. German Rottweiler: The 1 Major Difference

Sharing is caring!

You may be really surprised to find out that there aren’t many differences when comparing the American and German Rottweilers. However, their standards are slightly different and are worth a look!

German rottweiler standing up outside
German Rottweiler

Soulful eyes, broad skulls, and the most muscular bodies you ever did see…

Must be a Rottweiler!

Rottweiler fans are truly “a breed of their own.” This is a dog loved by millions. Rotties (as they are affectionately known) have exploded in popularity since the early 1900s when they were used as police dogs.

Nowadays, we have two types of rottweilers: American and German.

What’s the difference? Doggie HQ invites you to find out!

Rottweiler Breeding History & Breeding Standards

The most fundamental difference the American and German Rottweiler is this: German Rotties are bred in Germany with german bloodlines whereas American Rotties are born in the United States.

In Germany, the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub is the association that sets the very strict standard. While in the US, to be registered, they would go through the American Kennel Club.

The rottweiler breed is actually one of the oldest in history. While originally bred for herding, they have really shined when it comes to guard dogs, service work, and overall family dogs.

It’s also worth mentioning that the ADRK makes each puppy take and pass a breeding suitability test before accepting them into the club. Faulty rottweilers can be disqualified for their physical traits or personality.

German vs. American Rottweilers: Difference in Looks 

Even though they share a name, German and American Rottweilers, their physical general appearance looks somewhat different. Once you get past the similarities, the distinctions are easily noticeable. Purebred rottweilers have a majority black coat with a few markings. These are usually on their chest, legs, and around their face and throat. You’ll notice that both types also have almond-shaped eyes. So let’s get into the differences!

For size, a German Rottweiler will be slightly bigger than its American counterpart. The word “stocky” is fitting. Rottweilers from the United States are slightly slimmer. Both dogs will measure in at between 24 to 27 inches and weigh 80 to 110 pounds. So, large dogs!

A German Rottweiler will also have a broader nose.

However, the biggest physical difference will be the tail. The ADRK standards does not permit Rotties with docked tails to be registered. Therefore, all registered German Rottweilers will have a long and natural tail. Conversely, American Rottweiler tails are often docked. The Smart Canine explains that though tail docking is not medically required, the American Kennel Club’s breed standard still states that the tail should be “short and close to the body.”

Docked tail? Likely an American Rottweiler.

Undocked tail? Definitely German.

If you see unusual coat colors such as red, blue, or all black, he is undeniably American. If he has a broad head, chalk it up to be German.

American rottweiler on a leash while in training
American Rottweiler

American vs German Rotties: Personality

When you see a Rottweiler walking down the sidewalk, do you immediately cross the street?

Unfortunately, Rotties are a highly misunderstood breed. Especially in the United States, many people associate American Rottweilers with aggression. Yet they are also one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. holding the #8 spot on the American Kennel Club’s 2021 Most Popular Dog Breed Full Ranking List. This is thanks to their handsome appearance and even more importantly, their personality.

German Rottweilers remember their working dog roots. They will be calm, protective, and stay level-headed during times of stress and chaos. For this reason, they make wonderful military and police dogs in Germany.

In contrast, American Rottweilers are typically a bit friendlier. They are still extremely loyal and hardworking, but less standoffish towards strangers.

Speaking from personal experience, some Rottie owners also claim their American Rottweilers are cuddlier than their German counterparts.

But truly, it all boils down to the environment each puppy is raised in!

Common Health Problems in Rottweilers 

Looking into adopting a Rottweiler? Be sure to find a great veterinarian. Rottweilers are prone to the following health issues:

  • Obesity
  • Allergies
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Bone Cancer
  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
  • Bloat
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Von Willebrand Disease
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans – a cartilage abnormality that has similar symptoms to arthritis.

Rottie Lifespans

The bigger the dog, the shorter the lifespan. Not always, but oftentimes this is the case. Rotties typically live between 8 – 10 years.


Sadly, Rottweilers have a bad reputation.

Many people assume Rottweilers are dangerous dogs. Yet the truth is, any dog has the potential be to a loving, affectionate, well-behaved pet (and similarly, also has the potential is develop fear, aggression, bad behaviors, etc.) It all comes down to proper training!

Personality-wise, let us be clear: Rottweilers are not inherently dangerous dogs. What they are is loyal. Rotties of both American and German origin require a dog trainer who is experienced with the breed. This will yield the best results. Rottweiler HQ lists the following as must-know facts about training a Rottie:

  • Start at a young age
  • Understand dominance
  • Socialize
  • Use positive reinforcement

Follow these steps, and you will have a sweet-natured pooch.

Grooming and General Rottweiler Care

Short and straight – that’s a Rottweiler’s coat. Both the German and American Rottweiler need regular grooming. Even though their hair is short, both have an undercoat. Weekly brushing and regular baths keep loose dead hair to a minimum. During the spring and fall they will shed much more.

Also, Rottweilers get stinky!

They love to roll in the grass. Additionally, the face needs to be wiped down with a wet cloth. Otherwise, drool and discharge can fester and smell bad.  

It’s also important to know that both breeds needs lots of exercise and playtime.

Quality nutrition is key with this breed. We mentioned their health problems earlier (Osteochondritis Dissecans), since this is a joint issue you want to avoid your rottweiler growing too fast. While you can give them treats and some people food such as sauerkraut, banana chips, and pineapple these should not exceed more than 10% of their daily calories.

rottweiler puppy laying in the grass

German vs. American Rottweilers: How Much Do They Cost?

Finding a Rottweiler puppy isn’t difficult. However, puppies should always, always, always be bought from a reputable breeder. Once you have decided that yes, a Rottie is the breed for you, the next question is…how much will a Rottweiler cost?

To answer this, decide whether you want an American or German Rottweiler.

On average, a purebred American Rottie will be around $1500.

German Rottweilers are far more expensive. $2,700 to $3,000 is not unheard of. On top of that, if you live outside of Germany, there will also be an added shipping fee of several hundred dollars. These are not cheap dogs! German Rottweilers are more expensive because:

a) The breed standards are higher

b) They must undergo a breed suitability test.

c) Shipping costs

Animal shelters and Rottweiler rescues are two additional options. Just be sure to do your research and understand the ins and outs of adopting an adult dog. Breeds like this, along with pitbulls, are often rescue dogs from puppy mills. Most of the time they have been abused for have went through intense training to learn how to fight others, while people make bets on them.

Rottweiler FAQs 

Which breed of Rottweiler is best?

Which type of Rottweiler is “the best” is subjective. A police officer in Germany might prefer the strong presence of a German Rottweiler, while a family with children who loves hiking and playing in the backyard could potentially prefer the fun-loving American Rottweiler.

What is the rarest Rottweiler?

Most Rottweilers are black and tan.
However, rare colors do exist. A white Rottweiler with albinism will have special light markings. Similarly, it is uncommon to see an all-black Rottweiler.

How can I tell if my Rottweiler is purebred?

Scientifically, the only real way to know if a Rottweiler is 100% purebred is to get a genetic DNA test done. Or receive papers from a registered breeder. If you are unsure or do not know the lineage of your dog, you can also look at the head shape, eyes, ears, tail, coat appearance, etc.
A full-blooded German or American Rottweiler will match each breed standard, respectively and one of the easiest ways to find answers to your questions.

Which is more powerful Doberman or Rottweiler?

Both dogs are powerful! A Doberman has a leaner body with longer legs. As a result, a Doberman will be faster and more energetic than a Rottweiler. Although both dogs are muscular, the Rottweiler wins in a competition of strength.

What is the best way to pick a Rottweiler puppy?

It can be tempting to pick a puppy based on its looks alone. Yet the best way to select your new fur baby is to speak with reputable breeders. They will help you choose a puppy that has the right temperament for your living situation.

When you go to see a litter of puppies, look for:
·     The temperament of the mother and father dog
·     How the puppies interact with each other
·     Any physical traits / issues
What you want (in a pet) is a puppy who is curious, friendly, and healthy.
What you want in a show-quality puppy are the same traits, plus strict adherence to the official breed standards.

Final Thoughts

There you have it!

A guide to everything you need to know about the American Rottweiler vs. American German Rottweiler. Both are impressive dogs who will loyally follow you to the ends of the earth. Handsome, powerful, and oh so devoted, a Rottie is a joy to live with. While you may think their are is just a

Similar Posts