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Rottweiler vs Chow Chow: Even More Different Than They Appear

Rottweiler vs Chow Chow

Rottweilers and Chow Chows are both frequently used as guard dogs. Pet owners like them for their bold spirit and intimidating looks.

They are naturally protective and loyal. Antisocial individuals have given each breed a reputation for being aggressive and dangerous. However, that is where the Rottweiler vs Chow Chow similarities end.

The Rottweiler vs Chow Chow is large to giant-sized black and brown dog with short fur. Chows are medium-large dogs with two varieties based on their hair coat. Chow Chows come in five colors.

Although the two breeds potentially make great family companions and excellent guard dogs, their personalities also differ vastly. Their demeanor is not very similar, and they are much different in size and conformational standards.

Rottweilers are from Germany, and Chows are from China

The history of most dog breeds is complex because there are so many evolutionary levels. Rottweilers were first developed in Germany around 100 AD, but their ancestors were mastiff types from the Greek and Roman eras.

Roman legions brought the lighter descendants of livestock guardian dogs to help them drive cattle from Italy to Germany. Once there, crosses with local herding dogs helped shape the modern Rottie. A breed standard was drafted in 1901, and the Rottie has not changed much since.

Luckily, Germany was interested in the Rottweiler’s working abilities for the police force because the breed’s driving and hauling uses were replaced by the railroads in the 1830s. They became official police dogs in 1910. Rottweilers proved indispensable in both world wars.

Rottweilers joined the working group of the AKC in 1931

Designated by the English term used for cargo shipped from Southeastern Asia, the Chow is a primitive breed with some of the closest genetic ties to wolves. Appearing as early as 250 BC in China, evidence suggests Chow Chow’s ancestors may have come from Arctic Asia a thousand years earlier.

Like Huskies, the Chow was developed to help herd, pull sleds, guard homes, and hunt. In some parts of China, it also was used for its meat and fur. Of course, eating dog meat in Europe was taboo, and Chow Chow exports were put on display as zoological attractions.

The first efforts to breed Chows as pets began in the 1880s with the debut English champions produced a decade later.

Chow Chows became a member of the AKC in 1901.

Like the Siberian Husky or Akita, Chow Chows belong to the Spitz family, only lacking the definitive wedge-shaped head. They have the characteristic upright triangular ears, curled tails, and dense dual coats.

Rottweilers and Chow Chows are dissimilar in appearance

Rottweilers and Chows come from different families, and their looks reflect it.


A Rottweiler is a very large dog, ranging from 22 to 27 inches tall at the shoulders. They weigh from 75 to 130 pounds although some males can approach 150 pounds. Chow Chows, by contrast, is only 18 to 22 inches tall and weighs 45 to 75 pounds.


Rotties and Chows have similar heads. The head in each breed should be large but balanced. It is broad in the face with a blunt edge to the muzzle.

A Rottweiler has a head that is medium in length and the muzzle: back skull ratio is 3:2. Rotties have medium-sized almond-shaped eyes deep-set eyes that should be brown. The ears are high-set, medium-sized, and triangular. They droop and lie close to the cheeks.

Rotties have broad powerful jaws and a well-defined stop. The forehead can be slightly wrinkled in some dogs when alert.

Chows also have a skull with a medium length and a muzzle-to-head ratio of one to three. The jaws are wide and strong and the ears relatively small, triangular, and upright and set slightly forward of a vertical line.

Chows have well-developed brows that give them a scowling appearance. Unlike Rotties, Chows have a more moderate stop, and their eyes are set at a slant.

Neck, Chest, and Body

Both Chow and Rottie have moderately long and muscular necks. This enables the Chow Chow to carry its head proudly and the Rottweiler to carry out its purpose as a powerful and mobile working dog.

Each breed has a deep and broad chest, but the Rottweiler has greater depth and breadth relative to its size. Rottweilers and Chows have a strong and level topline. Where the Chow is short and compact, the Rottie is slightly longer than it is tall.

Rottweilers have more of an abdominal uptuck than Chows, but it is never more than moderate. The croup of both breeds slopes slightly, but the Chow is more rounded.


Rottweilers have straight and powerful limbs whereby the angulation in the forequarters balances that of the hind end. Because of their power and breadth, Rotties have a wide stance, but it should not affect their athleticism. Both breeds are moderately dense in bone.

Chows have minimal angulation in the stifles and hocks. This gives them a straight leg and stilted gait. Like Rotties, Chows have well laidback shoulders with heavy musculature.


A Rottweiler’s tail flows naturally from the topline and croup. When full, the tail makes a gradual upward curve when the dog is excited. In North America, Rottweilers commonly have docked tails.

The length is only a couple of vertebrae. Chow Chows have a high-set tail that curls tightly against the back.


Rottweilers have a dense medium-short coarse flat coat. It tends to be longer around the neck and across the shoulders. Rottweilers often have only a partial undercoat that covers only the neck and upper rear legs.

Chow Chows have one of two coat types, both of which are dense with thick underfur.

The first and more common type is the rough-coated variant. This coat is medium-long and stands off from the body, giving the Chow a fluffy appearance. Rough-coated Chows have a mane or ruff of hair around the neck and Culottes on the hind legs.

Smooth-coated Chows have short fur, but it still stands off the body. They lack the ruff and breechings of the long-haired variety.


Rottweilers come in three acceptable colors. They are variations of the black dog with brown points.

Brown points are markings that occur in a stereotypical pattern above the eyes, on the cheeks, chin, throat, front of the chest, on the paws and legs, and under the tail.

In Rottweilers, the brown points can be mahogany, rust, or tan, accounting for the three color variations. Occasionally, a dilution gene may cause a Rottweiler to be blue & brown.

Chows can be one of five colors.

  • Red – golden to deep mahogany
  • Black – solid
  • Blue – dilute black
  • Cinnamon – fawn in the United Kennel Club; this color has a wide range of shades
  • Cream – some dogs are nearly white

Chow Chows frequently have multiple shades but are not bicolored nor pointed like Rottweilers. Light shading occurs on the abdomen, breeches, and feathers of rough-coated dogs.


This video shows a Rottweiler and a Chow Chow playing together. The Rottie has a full tail, and you will notice how it curves into a type of sickle. Contrast that with the Chow’s tightly curled tail.

The Chow is more compact than the Rottie with prick ears and a denser, longer, fluffier coat. The Rottie is black & tan while the Chow is red.

Note the lighter shading on the plumes of the Chow’s tail and the breaching on the upper hind legs. Finally, you can readily see how much more active and athletic the Rottie is than the Chow.

What is the temperament of a Rottweiler vs Chow Chow?

The Rottweiler is a courageous dog marked by a calm watchfulness. It is aloof and highly discerning with strangers, although some warm up quicker than others.

Most Rotties remain reserved but are civil as long as their owners are present. They are protective of both property and household members.

Rottweilers are intelligent, loving, and loyal. They can be belligerent and dominant with other dogs, especially those of the same gender.

Chows are also loyal but act more like cats than other dogs. They are not exceedingly expressive with their affections and are usually aloof, quiet, and independent.

They may only bond with one or two members of the family. Chows can get along with other household pets, but they may fight with dogs of the same sex.

Are Rotties and Chows healthy dogs?

Rottweilers and Chows have several health issues that are breed-specific and some that affect them because of their size. Chows can live nine to fifteen tears. Some of them have surprisingly short lifespans. Rottweilers live eight to ten years, commensurate with their size.


  • Hip or elbow dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy – the retina is a thin tissue that sits at the back of the eye responsible for night and color vision; dogs with PRA eventually become blind
  • Osteochondrosis of hock, shoulders, and spine – cartilage growth abnormalities
  • Entropion – eyelids roll inward
  • Sub-aortic stenosis – narrowing of one of the valves that control blood flow from the heart
  • Bloat


  • Luxating patellas – Chows are not Toy breeds, but the conformation of their hind legs leaves them prone to this problem; the kneecap does not stay in its proper position
  • Hip or elbow dysplasia – growth abnormality in respective joint
  • Hypothyroidism – low thyroid hormones
  • Bloat – stomach distended with fluid or gas and it twists
  • Cataracts
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma – pressure builds within the eyes
  • Diabetes
  • Myotonia

Training Challenge of Rottweilers vs Chow Chows

All dogs have a high expectation of intelligence. Comparing such a characteristic between dogs can be difficult because of differences in uses.

Stanley Cohen is a canine behaviorist and psychologist who made a comprehensive ranking of intelligence based on several factors. His most popular works deal with canine trainability.

Chow Chows, according to Cohen’s studies, ranked 76 out of 79 dogs in the ability to learn and retain commands or working intelligence.

Far from implying that Chows are not smart, the work indicates that the breed is among the most difficult to train. Their cat-like personality extends to their willingness to please which is close to nil.

Chows are very independent and can appear willful and stubborn. Any attempts to force them to perform an action or the use of harsh methods to coerce them to obey a command will cause them to lose respect for their handler.

As a primitive breed, Chow Chows do not take easily to modifying behaviors based on instinctual drives centered around reproduction (dominance), resources (food, bed, and toy guarding), territorial protection (aggression), and predation.

Chows take a lot of continual socialization starting at a very young age to become civil around people. If they fail to become bonded with their owners, they are content with their own company.

Unsocialized Chow Chows are either fearful or aggressive. A Chow that feels cornered can become ferociously defensive.

Rottweilers are ranked among the top 10 canines in working intelligence. They can learn a command after only a few repetitions and remember it 90% of the time.

In addition, they are adaptable and have a strong work ethic. However, they also have training challenges.

Rotties are large dogs that are impossible to control by physical force alone. Not only that, but they respond negatively to verbal or physical harshness.

Although they are amenable to learning, they are independent-minded, and you must command their respect.

You must begin socializing with a Rottie from a young age as they will otherwise grow up shy or prone to attacking without discernment. A well-socialized Rottie’s nature is to carefully assess whether she is facing a threat or not.

How much exercise do Rottweilers and Chows require?

Rotties are active working dogs that need 90 to 120 minutes of exercise daily to stay fit and happy. They also need mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behaviors such as pacing, chewing, and barking.

A few activities that will give your dog a sense of having a job are agility, Shutzhund, and herding trials.

The main goals are to ensure your Rottweiler gets enough running and to exercise his mind. You can accomplish the latter through puzzles and interactive games like fetch.

Chow Chows require 45 to 60 minutes of daily exercise. They also require mentally enriching exercises, but you may need to work harder to get your dog to engage with you. You must exercise caution with Chows because many are short-nosed and thus, heat sensitive.

Puppies of both breeds should only exercise 5 minutes every month of age outside of spontaneous play.

You should focus most of your efforts on training and socialization for your pup. Rottweilers may not be mature enough for strenuous exercise until they are 18 months old.