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German Rottweiler vs. American Rottweiler

German Rottweiler vs. American Rottweiler

Rottweilers are dogs to fall in love with! They do look a bit scary, but they are smart and loving too. But did you know there were two types of Rotties? We have the German Rottweiler. And we have the American Rottweiler. But what’s the difference? How does each dog look like?

The truth is, there is almost no difference. But only almost. Some differences lie in their looks. Almost all of the differences are defined by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and its German version the ARDK. Both of these clubs have different values and ideas how a dog has to look like to be a Rottweiler.

I will give my two cents later, but to be honest I barely see any difference. Both dogs have almost the same nature and look. So if you are looking for a Rottweiler puppy, you can’t go wrong with either one. But, let’s see what the Kennel Clubs say.

History of the Rottweiler

The Rottweiler is one of the most ancient dog breeds, according to the FCI Standard. Its beginnings may be traced back to the Roman era. These canines were used as herders and drivers. They marched alongside the Roman troops through the Alps, guarding the people and driving their livestock.

In the run-up to World War I, there was a surge in demand for police dogs, which sparked renewed interest in the Rottweiler. Rottweilers served in a variety of capacities throughout the First and Second World Wars, including courier, ambulance, draught, and security dogs.

The first Rottweiler club in Germany, the Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub, was created on 13 January 1914, followed by the Süddeutscher Rottweiler-Klub, which was founded on 27 April 1915 and eventually became the International Rottweiler Club.

In 1921, the numerous German Rottweiler Clubs merged to establish the General German Rottweiler Club. On January 27, 1924, this was formally entered in the Stuttgart district court’s registry of clubs and groups. The ADRK (Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub) is known across the world as the Rottweiler’s home club.

The Rottweiler was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1931. Rottweilers were first shown in the United Kingdom at Crufts in 1936. Separate registration for the breed was established in 1966. In reality, the Rottweiler’s popularity peaked in the mid-1990s, when it became the most registered dog with the American Kennel Club. The Rottweiler was named the eighth most popular purebred dog in the United States by the American Kennel Club in 2022.

What is the definition of an American Rottweiler?

The American Rottweiler is a dog breed with a distinctive docked tail that is born in America. Like we already said, t he tails of these animals are docked. Breeders follow the AKC’s (American Kennel Club) breeding criteria, which are less strict than the ADRK’s. The dogs might be violent, feeble, and vague if they are not well bred.

They have somewhat longer legs and are slightly smaller than American Rottweilers. In comparison to the American ones, they are weaker. Although American Rottweilers are not as popular in the marketplace as German Rottweilers, they make excellent pets and friends.

The American Rottweiler batches are smaller and weaker than the dogs, with less bone strength and bulk. Except for the docked tail and tiny differences in body form, American Rottweilers do not have any distinguishing characteristics. All Rottweilers have German genes; however, only those who were imported to America and bred according to the AKC’s standards were eventually recognized as American Rottweilers.

Which factors determine whether a Rottweiler is German or American?

Whether  your Rottie is German or American is determined by where he (or she) was born . There are some breeders in the United States that have imported German Rottweilers for breeding purposes, which is OK, but the pups they produce in America are American Rottweilers. However, there are advantages to adopting the offspring of these imported Rotties. When we compare the breed (and breeding) standards for Rottweilers in Germany to the criteria for Rottweilers in the United States, these advantages become evident.

German Rottweiler Registration Guidelines

The Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub (ADRK) regulates Rottweiler standards in Germany. The requirements for registering a Rottweiler are quite rigorous! So much so that a Rottweiler cannot be bred until it has passed a Breeding Suitability Test and confirmed to satisfy all of the requirements of a “genuine” German Rottweiler. To pass this exam, a Rottweiler must satisfy the following precise requirements:

  • Heading (eyes)
  • The snout (teeth, tongue)
  • Dewlap (throat, neck skin)
  • Shoulder
  • Elbow
  • Forefeet
  • The Rump’s Highest Point
  • Legs (thighs and hips)
  • Hock
  • Hind feet
  • Withers
  • Stifle
  • Paws
  • Tail

Any flaws in these standards will preclude a Rottweiler from being registered (together with any puppies they may produce). It’s worth noting that a docked tail would also be a disqualification. Tail docking and ear clipping were outlawed in Germany’s breed standard in 1999.

In addition, any possible parent Rottweilers must be certified free of any genetic disorders or abnormalities. The ADRK’s mission is to “improve the breed.” If a mating union fails to do so, the dogs will not be able to reproduce and have their puppies recognized as registered Rottweilers.

American Rottweiler Registration Criteria

The American Kennel Club (AKC) establishes the standards for Rottweilers in the United States. Despite the fact that these requirements cover the same ground as the ones before, a defect in any of the categories will not preclude the dog from being registered with the AKC as long as he (or she) has papers.

Without a doubt, registering puppies in the United States is far easier, but there’s a catch. A puppy buyer has no idea about either parent’s potential flaws or knowledge about genetic disorders or predispositions.

With each generation of “American” added to an American Rottweiler’s pedigree, the puppies produced get farther removed from the original German Rottweilers, resembling them less and less in height and disposition.

Whereas Germany’s purpose is to improve the breed via breeding, it appears that the US produces Rottweilers to fulfill demand, with little to no regard for the “quality” of the dogs bred.

Don’t believe for a second that this applies to all breeders! There are obviously breeders that seek to uphold the ADRK’s criteria in order to improve the breed. The puppies they will provide are American Rottweilers with perfect conformation and a disposition that is indistinguishable from their German counterparts.

Read more:

Angry Rottweiler: Is this breed really aggressive?

German Rottweiler vs. American Rottweiler

I always loved the look of Rottweilers. Big, strong dogs. Muscular bodies and a sharp mind. But, at the same time. They are loving and kind.

Rottweilers are one of the oldest herding breeds. Many believe that they are descendants of Roman drover dogs.

But, even if that is not true. Rotties are majestic canines. The Roman army traveled a long time ago to what is now known as Germany. And Rottweilers stayed there. There is even a town in Germany called Rottweil!

So, Rottweilers have been around a long time. And you see where the term German Rottweiler comes from.

Now, let’s see what makes Rotties good dogs. And also, explore all the differences between the German and American Rottie.

What they look like

What sets them apart is their looks. The American Rottie looks a bit different.

German Rottweiler

German Rottweilers have a wide and menacing head. Just like their name says — they are born in Germany. Their eyes are almond-shaped and dark brown. The ears of the Rottie are set high and are triangular.

Their nose is broad and black in color. The necks of German Rotties are fairly long and well-muscled. and their body is broad and muscular.

The tail of the German Rottie is natural and not docked, and his coat is dense and straight.

What the German and American Rottweiler looks like

The colors of his coat can be black and mahogany, black and rust, and black and tan.

Height and Weight of Male German Rottweiler:

  • Height:
    Approximately 24 to 27 inches

  • Small: 24 inches
  • Medium: 25 inches
  • Large: 26 inches
  • Very Large: 27 inches

  • Weight:
    Approximately 110 pounds

Height and Weight of Female German Rottweiler:

  • Height:
    22 to 25 inches

  • Small: 22 inches
  • Medium: 23 inches
  • Large: 24 inches
  • Very Large: 25 inches

  • Weight:
    Approximately 93 pounds

American Rottweiler

American Rottweilers have a smaller head. But they too have almond-shaped, dark brown eyes. Their ears are triangular and set high, and their nose is broad and black.

The neck of the American Rottie is moderately long and muscled, and their body is leaner than the body of the German Rottie.

Their tail is docked usually. Their coat is dense and straight. Possible coat colors are black and mahogany, black and rust, black and tan, blue, red, and all black.

Height and Weight of Male American Rottweiler:

Height: 24 to 27 inches
Weight: 95 to 135 pounds

Height and Weight of Female American Rottweiler:

Height: 22 to 25 inches
Weight: 80 to 100 pounds

What they are like

When it comes to their nature both dogs are loving and loyal. But they are also guardians and obedient. Rottweilers are silly dogs, but they are also hard-working.

American Rottweiler

American Rottweilers are intelligent and very easy to train. They love to please you and will do anything to make you happy. But, they are a bit stubborn too. So to train them well you have to start early on and don’t forget about socialization! Also, always be firm with them, but don’t be mean! You’re risking them becoming aggressive.

A lot of people are afraid of Rottweilers. This is because these dogs need time to trust someone. They need to see if someone is a threat or not. With children, it’s a different story. Rotties get along great with kids! That is if they are trained right! Always supervise when your kid and a Rottie are playing together.

American Rottweilers get along great with other animals. But again, if they are socialized properly. Your dog won’t have an issue with pets he knows, but if they see a strange animal, they’ll go nuts.

German Rottweiler

German Rottweilers are obedient working dogs. They have to be, it’s the ADRK standard! They are easy to train and are reward and treat-driven. In Germany, you can even enroll your Rottie into special classes where they will learn obedience, tracking, and protection.

When it comes to strangers, they are just like the American Rottie. They won’t get along immediately with strangers, they need time to see what the intentions of strangers are. But by no means are they aggressive, just cautious.

German Rotties are great with children. When they are well trained they will be great playmates and will protect your kid.

German Rottweilers are dominant. Much more than the American. So, they might not be as calm with other animals. Basically, they will always have the need to show they are the alpha.

Read more:

Female Rottweiler VS male Rottweiler

Are the colors of German and American Rottweilers the same?

Rottweilers are usually black with mahogany or rust-colored markings on up to 10 percent of their total color, according to any breed club’s criteria. One mahogany mark appears over each eye, on the cheekbones, and on either side of the muzzle. The tip of the nose is dark in color.

A Rottweiler will have two triangle marks on the chest, facing down, and marks reaching from the forearm to the toes on each front leg. The patterns on the hind legs start on the inside and spread outward onto the stifle. Additionally, Rottweilers have a triangle-shaped area of rust or mahogany beneath their tail.

It’s a red flag if a breeder claims to have a “rare colored” Rottweiler. Although we know that natural variations (like as albinism) do exist, they are exceedingly rare. Almost all of these “rare-colored” Rotties include other breeds in the mix, which accounts for the differences in coloration.

Black and Mahogany American Rottweiler

A Mahogany and black Te American Rottweiler has a rich black coat with dull, reddish-brown markings, according to the AKC. The mahogany hue in certain Rotties is medium-saturated, but there are some situations where it is richer.

Black and Rust American Rottweiler

Rust and black American Rottweilers have the classic black coat and reddish-brown markings that are characterized by the AKC as medium-brilliant.

Black and Tan American Rottweiler

The black and tan American Rottweilers are very identical to the black and rust Rottweilers. However, if you look closely at them, you’ll find that their markings are lighter and yellowish in hue.

Black and Mahogany German Rottweiler

A Black and Mahogany German Rottweiler has a black coat with medium-saturated reddish-brown markings. They have the same appearance as Americans.

Black and Rust German Rottweiler

Black and Rust German Rottweilers have medium-brilliant, brownish-red markings. Their coat is mostly black, with some rusty highlights.

Black and Tan Rottweiler from Germany

Black and Tan German Rottweilers have a dark black coat with tan markings that do not cover more than 10% of the coat color.

Life Expectancy and Health Concerns

Rottweilers live for 9 to 10 years, depending on whether they are of American or German lineage. Some pet owners, however, claim that their Rottie has outlived those ages.

If you want to ensure that your American and German Rottweilers enjoy a long life, keep an eye on them and take them to the doctor if they exhibit signs of any of the ailments that commonly affect their breed:

Hip Dysplasia is a prevalent condition in larger dogs, including Rottweilers. Abnormal stride, discomfort when walking, lameness, fragility, excessive soreness, and, in the worst instances, immobility are all symptoms of this illness.

Elbow Dysplasia is a condition that affects the elbow joint and causes severe discomfort, lameness, trouble straightening the arm, irregular gait, and immobility.

Aortic Stenosis occurs when the blood supply to the dog’s heart is obstructed. This might lead to a heart attack if not detected early.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a condition in which the photoreceptors at the rear of the dog’s eye begin to fail. This can cause problems with day and night vision, as well as total blindness.

Cataracts. When your Rottweiler’s eyes are cloudy, he may have cataracts. There are three stages to this condition: incipient, immature, and hypermature.

Lymphoma is the most common cancer that leads Rotties to their death. The precise etiology of cancer in this breed is currently unclear.

Osteochondritis Dessicans. Rottweilers are particularly prone to this ailment because to their large bones. Their bones expand quickly and can become misaligned, causing a disorder comparable to hip dysplasia but even worse.

Allergies. Rotties have thick undercoats that can harbor germs and fleas. Allergies and eczema are common side effects.

Kennel Club rules – German Rottweiler vs. American Rottweiler

As you can see, there is almost no difference! So why do we have two types of Rottweiler breed dogs?

Do you know what Kennel Clubs do? Well, they have rules on how a dog should look like. Based on those rules you can register your dog as a purebred. If your dog meets the expectations.

Now, the reason why there is an American Rottie, is because the German Rottweiler Club or Allgemiener Deutscher Rottweiler Klub ADRK doesn’t recognize the American Rottie as a purebred.

Germans are strict. They love their rules and love to follow them. But, the American Rottie doesn’t fulfill the expectations set by the ADRK. They believe that only their version of the Rottie is the original one. The American Rottie deviated from the original breed standard.

This is all complicated and it kind of makes sense. But not really. Basically, all Rottweilers are German. That’s where they come from. That is clear.

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But, making a difference between the German and American is okay too. It only means they were bred in a particular country. So, they don’t fit the standards of the other country.

German Rottweiler vs. American Rottweiler: Which one is more expensive?

A German Rottweiler puppy would cost roughly $1.500 on average, whereas an American Rottweiler would cost around $850 or more. Although German Rottweilers are more expensive than American Rottweilers, the maintenance costs of caring for both are estimated to be the same.

You might be wondering why German Rottweilers are more expensive than American Rottweilers. The simple answer is because they are better bred. To further this point, German Rottweilers will very certainly be subjected to a test that will prove that they have passed the breed’s official standard.

German Rottie dog breeders, in particular, spend thousands of dollars to buy and import health-certified dogs in order to produce litters; consider the cost of shipping from Germany to your state as well.

Be aware that puppy mills frequently create low-cost Rottweilers, which can lead to a dog developing a variety of health problems in the future. Whether you’re getting a German or American Rottie, always go with a competent ethical breeder; the price may be more, but it’s rare to find “quality” in anything that’s too cheap.

Despite the fact that the majority of dog experts and fans feel that German Rottweilers are superior, American Rottweilers may be just as charming. In fact, most dog owners would choose an American breed over a German type since they are significantly less expensive.

Furthermore, knowing whether a Rottie has passed or failed the official breed test would be of secondary importance to many. After all, the most important quality that would make most pet owners happy and comfortable is owning a healthy and real Rottweiler.

Where to buy?

Stay away from unlicensed breeders. Regardless of the breed of Rottweiler you choose, it’s recommended that you buy it from a reputable breeder rather than a puppy mill, as puppy mills are mainly interested in making a profit rather than the welfare of the dogs they sell. This will also keep you from getting a Rottie with genetic diseases, which will cost you even more money in the long run.

Rottweiler breeders that are dedicated, ethical, and professional are responsible with ensuring that all of the required parameters for a pure breed are met. Dog breeders play an important part in determining the difference between German and American Rottweilers.

They not only breed healthy puppies with outstanding temperament and appearance, but they also act as a link between puppy purchasers and dog owners, identifying the differences between German and American Rotties.

Dog breeders, like dog owners, have their own set of requirements. Many dog owners choose Rottweilers with certain features because they are considered cool, therefore breeders must continue to breed dogs in this manner, thereby defining what is German and what is American Rottweilers.

You can look for reputable breeders at a National Breed Club. A dog club or organization is a collection of people who care about purebred dogs’ welfare and growth. They keep track of not just trustworthy breeders, but also pups that do not conform to the breed’s standard.

The Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub e.V. represents Rottweilers born in Germany, whereas the American Kennel Club represents Rottweilers born in America (AKC).

Which is a better family dog?

I’m guessing you’ve come to our page because you want to know if Rottweilers make good family pets. Yes, they are! But which one is better?

American Rottweiler

If you want a laid-back family dog, American Rottweilers are the way to go. However, if you are a first-time pet owner, I do not recommend purchasing one. To be great gentle companions, they need a lot of training and socialization, which means you’ll have to spend a lot of time with them.

Another interesting truth is that they develop separation anxiety after they form a strong bond with humans. If you don’t want to take on as much duty, go for a smaller, easier-to-care-for puppy.

German Rottweiler

German Rottweilers are strong, sturdy dogs. They may become family companions if they are properly taught.

However, because they are heavier than the American line, they require more exercise and mental stimulation. I don’t think they’re the perfect dog for you if you prefer to sit on the sofa and don’t enjoy outdoor activities.

Is my Rottweiler a German or an American Rottweiler?

As you can see, there’s not much of a difference between the two breeds. The AKC and ARDK have differing beliefs and opinions about what is suitable for the breed to be recognized as a Rottweiler, which accounts for the majority of the discrepancies. 

The Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler­-Klub is particularly concerned with the dog’s demeanor, as well as the dog’s size and weight. The German Rottweiler is slightly bigger than the American Rottweiler, even if just by a few millimeters, and does not have a docked tail. A somewhat smaller dog with the trademark docked tail is recognized by the American Kennel Club. 

But, after all of this, the only thing that truly distinguishes your Rottweiler as German or American is where he or she came from. Your Rottweiler is a German Rottweiler if he or she was born in Germany. They are an American Rottweiler if they were born in the United States. 

Overall, they are a strong breed with a gentle personality that makes a terrific working dog and pet when properly bred.


So, German or American, which Rottie is the best? Both! Both dogs are great canines with many qualities. The differences between them are minor. But, you decide for yourself.

However, I do need to add something. If you’re looking for a family dog, then maybe the German Rottweiler might be a better fit.

Both dogs get along great with children. But, the German can be a real family companion. If trained well. Of course, remember, both dogs need a lot of exercises and mental stimulation. So, if you’re a couch potato and don’t like being outside, then neither Rottie is for you.

The German and American Rottweiler have a long history as outstanding herders, drovers, and defenders. However, the two dog breeds have distinct physical features.

The American Rottie is a good choice for a casual pet owner searching for a family friend and security. However, if you work in law enforcement, the military, a security agency, or another job and want a working dog, the German Rottweiler is an excellent choice.

Rottweiler FAQ

What Is The Rottweiler’s Life Expectancy?

These large beauties have a lifespan of 8 to 10 years. Before you adopt, set aside a decade to spend with your pet. These dogs are devoted to their owners and do not deserve to be left alone.

Is a Rottweiler a good fit for me?

When you buy a rottweiler, you’re getting a big, strong dog that needs a lot of socializing from the start. Because of their size and strength, this breed of dog requires obedience training as well. Rottweilers are known for being “people” dogs. They desire to be with their masters, preferably exercising outside.

Are these dogs good with children?

Your pet’s tolerance towards youngsters will differ from one canine to the next. Rottweilers, on the other hand, are not the most kid-friendly canines. There should be no issues if your Rottweiler has been properly socialized and trained. Early on, these dogs must be taught what is and is not appropriate behavior. Children are in the same boat. When socializing with such a huge dog, they should always be monitored. 

You should show them what is suitable and what is not with the dog. Because of their big size, natural urge to “herd,” and high “prey” drive, we recommend that you consider if your home is suitable for this breed. Children have a natural need to run about and play. This will attract your dog’s interest, but not necessarily in a positive way.

Are they vicious?

A Rottweiler that has been properly bred, socialized, and taught is not innately vicious. However, you should never forget that these dogs are formidable creatures. If they’re powerful enough to draw a cart, they’re also strong enough to do serious harm if they’re misbehaving or tormented.

Do they get along with other animals?

When a Rottweiler is reared with other pets from puppyhood, problems should be minimal. If you have an adult rottweiler at home and wish to introduce additional dogs, do so gradually and gently. Aggression between dogs is influenced by a number of variables. Males, for example, are less tolerant of other males.

What type of training do they need?

When you have a rottweiler, dog training refers to the obedience training you take with your dog. When these canines get the opportunity to work with their master, they truly shine. Obedience training is frequently the simplest and most gratifying method. Patience is essential while teaching a Rottweiler.

What about discipline?

The Rottweiler is a sensitive, clever, and loyal dog that strives to please its owners. However, it may be stubborn at times and need additional attention. Discipline must be constant and rigorous without being excessively harsh. Often, a harsh word can suffice, however more severe punishments may be required. Ownership is not for the timid or overworked individual who cannot or does not want to keep a close eye on his or her pet.

Do they require much exercise?

Rottweilers are a working dog breed. He is not content to lounge around all day doing nothing. The importance of the owner’s personal dedication cannot be overstated. People who walk their dogs on a daily basis build a more intimate and connecting relationship with them than those who just let them run about in the yard. Every day, your Rottweiler will need at least two long walks (10 to 20 minutes each). Enough exercise is required to keep your Rottweiler healthy since they have a propensity to gain weight if not properly exercised.

Do they bark a lot? 

When someone enters your property or when animals enter your backyard, Rottweilers will bark. They don’t bark excessively, which makes them excellent guard dogs.

Do they shed?

With a medium-length outer coat and a soft silky undercoat, the Rottweiler is a double-coated breed. This is a pretty thorough method of confirming that they do shed. Take a look at those canines! You can clearly see that there will be a lot of fur shedding. The two major times of the year when they shed their undercoats are spring and fall.

My name is Jackie and I am a veterinarian with a degree in veterinary medicine. With extensive experience in treating various animals, I am known for my compassionate and personalized approach to animal care.