Doberman vs Rottweiler – What Are The Differences Between These Two Popular Dogs?

doberman vs rottweiler

The Doberman Pinscher and Rottweiler are two breeds of the most intimidating yet protective dogs. They are both intelligent and strong German breeds. They also share many other characteristics like their intelligence, strength, and adaptive learning skills. Both breeds can also be very affectionate!

But what sets them apart other than their looks, which, let’s be honest are not that different? Do they have a similar temperament? Which dog is a better choice for a family pet? Here’s everything you need to know about the difference between a Doberman vs Rottweiler.

What Are Both The Rottweiler And Doberman Dog Breeds Popular For?

These pooches are most popular for their athletic build, intelligence, and guard dog qualities. Both rank in the top 20 list of America’s most popular dogs. They protect, sniff, play, swim, anticipate threats, assist owners, and have high energy to burn every day. They also learn new commands relatively easily. 

What Else Do These Two Dog Breeds Have In Common?

When it comes to Doberman vs Rottweiler there are a couple of similarities between these two beautiful breeds. Both the Doberman and Rottweiler breeds tend to look similar because of their genetics. These doggos share the same lineage. They are muscular, rough, and powerful dogs from loyal breeds. The most common color combination for their coats is black and tan. 

Both pups can frighten away wild animals and are excellent guard dogs who face danger without fear. These two medium-to-large canines are often heroic which makes them jump at the opportunity to rescue their owners or other dogs. Many dog owners, and even the police and military, keep a Rottweiler or Doberman as a guard dog. Both can be bobbed breeds which means their tails are docked at a young age. (Another similarity between the two breeds.) You can find out more about why dogs have tails here.

Docking tails is a controversial procedure common in both the Rottweiler and the Doberman.

Doberman breed

Doberman Vs Rottweiler: So What Are The Differences Between These Two Breeds?

Dog Breed History

The Doberman Pinscher and Rottweiler are two dogs that have a linked history. Did you know that your Doberman Pinscher is a descendant of the Rottweiler? And this fact could contribute to the similarities in their nature.

History tells us that the Rottweiler is much older than the Doberman. Doberman Pinschers were first bred in 1870 and officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1908. On the contrary, Rottweilers played and fought along with the Romans, making them one of the earliest domesticated pups used for driving or herding.

Romans originally bred Rottweilers from Molossus dogs. They trained Rottweilers for keeping intruders away. The Rottweiler dog breed was used for tending to livestock, assisting people, and pulling loaded carts. They later evolved as guard dogs and messenger dogs.

On the other hand, Germans consistently bred Rottweilers with other breeds, like the Smooth-haired German Pinscher, Old Shorthaired Shepherd, and Black and Tan Terrier. They were trained for guarding and attacking purposes. Hence, they evolved as watchdogs and fierce fighters who could protect their owners and land. Both canines are good learners. The Doberman has, however, proved in many intelligence tests that it can learn on its own too.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) and the United Kennel Club (UKC) both recognize the Rottweiler and Doberman breeds. The AKC recognizes three colors for Rottweiler while the UKC approves of a combination of black with rich tan markings. For Doberman, UKC recognizes four of its hues while the AKC recognizes five dog coats with white still not considered as one of the standard hues. Accepted colors are:

Black and rust

Blue and rust

Red and rust

Fawn and rust

Doberman Vs Rottweiler: Appearance

The Doberman and Rottweiler are certainly loving, adorable, and imposing puppies with brave personalities. They might look similar and share common ancestors, but there are several distinguishing features when it comes to their physical appearance and behavior.

One of the most obvious differences in the Doberman vs Rottweiler comparison is the cropped ears common to the Doberman. It’s certainly a controversial procedure but one that is still common and seen as traditional by many.

Dog Coat Colors: How Do These Breeds Compare?

Yes. Dobermans come in several colors. However, Rottweilers usually have a traditional black and shiny appearance with tan-like markings. The Rottweiler has a coarse, short coat whereas the Doberman has a coat that is short and thick.

rottweiler dog

Is The Doberman Pinscher Taller Than The Rottweiler?

Yes. Doberman Pinschers are generally taller than Rottweilers. The average height of a Doberman is 23 to 29 inches. Rottweilers come in at around 22 to 27 inches. Dobermans are often on their toes looking for potential threats – which is probably why they’re so tall! 

There is no argument that Rottweilers are stockier than the Doberman. That’s why they weigh almost 18 to 32 pounds heavier. Rottweilers have an average weight of 72 to 130 pounds and the Doberman averages between 70 to 100 pounds.

The Doberman has a slender and taller look while a Rottweiler is heavy with broad bones and a bulky appearance. 

Doberman Vs Rottweiler: Life Expectancy

This may be hard to believe, but despite having broader bones, coarse hair, and a heavier frame, a Rottweiler usually has a life span of about two years shorter than a Doberman. The Doberman has a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years while the average life span for a Rottweiler is between 8 to 10 years. Whichever breed you may have, it’s important to take note of their most common health concerns.

What Diseases Are Doberman Pinschers And Rottweilers Prone To?

Major health concerns for Dobermans include Wobbler’s Syndrome, cardiomyopathy, and cervical vertebral instability. Minor diseases affecting Dobermans can be demodicosis, gastric torsion, osteosarcoma, hip dysplasia, and von Willebrand’s disease. Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are common among several dogs irrespective of breed.

Although generally healthy pups, there are a few ailments to look out for when it comes to Rottweilers. These include:

Hip and elbow dysplasia


Cranial cruciate ligament rupture



Subaortic stenosis

Gastric dilation volvulus

Dobermans playing

Is There A Difference Between The Doberman And Rottweiler Temperament?

Yes, a slight difference. In terms of their general behavior, both the Doberman and Rottweiler are very playful, social, and highly adaptable working dogs. They are eager to please and have an equally affectionate nature. Both get along well with children. Their protective nature is common, however, Rottweiler puppies are more independent and courageous while Dobermans tend to be energetic, obedient, and people-oriented. Dobermans also require more companionship and can be destructive if left alone for a long time. For those that like to chew, it’s a good idea to get them an indestructible dog toy to keep them occupied!

Does The Rottweiler Run Faster Than The Doberman?

The Doberman has outpaced the Rottweiler in nearly all speed tests. (You never know when that fact might be useful)! Their average speed range is 25 to 35 miles per hour so they make for excellent police dogs. Rottweilers score between 18 to 22 miles per hour. However, you should note that these results do not bind these big dogs from reaching higher speeds (or falling lower).

Are Rottweiler and Doberman Hard to Groom?

No! These lovable guard dogs have a simple grooming routine. However, Rottweilers have a coarse coat and would generally require weekly baths and more brushing than the Doberman. Both breeds need to have their nails clipped short as they love to touch, play and stand up. 

It’s good to clean their teeth every week to avoid plaque buildup. Healthy dogs of the Doberman breed do not require frequent baths. As part of their normal cleaning, you can use a simple grooming mitt to keep their coat clean and shiny. 

Doberman Vs Rottweiler: Which Dog Sheds More?

Rottweilers shed more than Doberman Pinschers. This is because the Rottweiler has a thick, inner coat and a short but coarse outer coat. If you’re planning to get a Rottweiler, you may want to purchase grooming accessories to remove dead hair.

Rottweiler in grass

What To Consider Before Getting A Doberman Vs Rottweiler Dog

Both the Doberman Pinscher and Rottweiler are equally tough and tenacious and outdo one another in a few aspects. So it’s not that easy to pick and choose between the two. But there are a few things to consider before deciding to adopt one of these breeds as your pet. 

Licensed And Reputable Breeders

As with other dog breeds, you need to get your pup from a licensed and reputable breeder before adopting a Doberman or Rottweiler. These breeds are bold and purpose-bred for protection so they may pose a threat if you ignore their breeder’s profile. Poor breeding practices and lack of proper training can make these pups more vulnerable to health issues. In many countries, only a valid and updated license holder can sell these pups. 

Training And Exercise Requirements for Doberman Vs Rottweiler

Rottweilers tend to have a strict exercise schedule compared to Dobermans. Otherwise, they may gain weight due to their naturally higher fat content. But Dobermans need early socialization to be properly trained. Doberman Pinschers are more energetic than Rottweilers in general. 

The daily activity requirements for these breeds are pretty high. However, Rottweilers usually require one to two hours of exercise per day while the Doberman is more active and needs two to three hours of exercise and physical activity that helps in mental stimulation. But every dog is different, and some dog owners may need veterinary guidance before setting a routine for their pooch.

Both breeds love affection. So it’s not a bad idea to give them a frequent pat or scratch on their chin. Don’t they deserve it?

Doberman vs Rottweiler

Doberman Vs Rottweiler Dietary Requirements

It’s important to provide an age-appropriate diet with the right dog food for the Doberman or Rottweiler breed. High-quality dog food is important for optimum growth and nutrition. It’s also worth considering sensitive digestive tracts as well as their required calorie intake to avoid obesity. Seek veterinary advice for the best food options based on the age, size, breed, activity levels, and overall health of your dog.

You may also want to consider feeding your pup healthy snacks such as watermelon, peach, or celery.

How Do Rottweiler And Doberman Interact With Family And Other Pets?

Although Dobermans can sometimes give off a scary and vicious vibe, these dogs are quite calm, loving, and extremely loyal to their owners. They make excellent family pets and get along well with children and the elderly. 

Naturally, both dogs have a protective nature and therefore show great care for their family. Both breeds are loving and affectionate, but the Doberman is better with young children. These breeds are also compatible with other dogs and pets. Since they demand an active lifestyle with lots of games and fun, your family might need to keep up! 

Rottweilers are more intelligent and tend to show empathy towards children. Social and easy to engage, Rottweilers have a hefty build yet display great devotion towards their owners.


Conclusion: Breed Comparison Doberman Vs Rottweiler

While the Doberman Pinscher and Rottweiler breeds have a lot in common, there are several factors that help distinguish the two. Both are remarkable, affectionate dogs of medium to large size. Dobermans are slightly taller with a shiny coat while Rottweilers are shorter and stockier with a short-length coarse coat that requires regular brushing and frequent baths. 

These breeds are highly social and love to play. Dobermans are generally more energetic and jumpy, and therefore faster than Rottweilers. Dobermans are better around people and more likely to experience separation anxiety if left alone for a long time. Whereas the Rottweiler can be independent and more protective. In terms of life span, Dobermans usually outlive Rottweilers by 1 to 2 years.

Which one of these two beautiful dogs would you choose?

Interested in the difference between other breeds? Check out Border Collie vs Australian Shepherd!