Rottweiler Vs Doberman: Pick the Better Guard Dog for Your Family

Both the Rottweiler and the Doberman are amazingly popular pet dogs. Part of each breed’s appeal comes from each dog’s strength and sometimes intimidating appearance.

As the world gets crazier, more families are seeking a trustworthy family guard dog that is also kid-friendly. This makes perfect sense, and yet taking on a puppy or rescue dog can be like adding yet another child to your family.

So it is very important to consider which dog breed has the qualities to fit in best with your family’s schedule, lifestyle, and time availability.

In this article, we compare two of the most popular family guard dogs, the Doberman and the Rottweiler.

Rottweiler Vs Doberman

When choosing between the Rottweiler vs Doberman, you are really comparing two dog breeds with similar height, weight, prey drive, protection instincts, temperament, and loyalty.

But there are also some important differences to consider, which this article will discuss in detail.

Learn About Qualities of the Rottweiler and Doberman

In this YouTube video, you can compare and contrast various important qualities that may be important to you.

It is important to think through your commitment to a new companion canine and guard dog from all of the angles discussed in this video.

Popularity of the Rottweiler vs Doberman

Every year the American Kennel Club (AKC) publishes its list of the most popular purebred dog breeds in their registry. Currently, the AKC has issued formal breed registration to 197 purebred dog breeds.

As of the time of publication, the Rottweiler breed sits at number eight on the AKC list. The Doberman occupies the number eighteen slot on that same list.

So the Rottweiler is currently more popular than the Doberman. However, on a list of nearly 200 dog breeds, being in the top 20 is a pretty big accomplishment for any dog breed!

History of the Rottweiler vs Doberman

Comparing the history of two different purebred dog breeds can offer great insight into the temperament, personality, and daily needs of any companion canine.

Rottweiler history

As Vetstreet explains, the Rottweiler breed has been traced all the way back to the time of the ancient Roman legions.

Even then, Rottweilers were powerful large dogs capable of guarding and herding large groups of livestock and protecting them from wild predators and human poachers.

These dogs truly were all-around indispensable canines, pulling carts, hauling supplies, guarding valuables, driving cattle, and just doing whatever needed to be done.

Rottweilers today may not be needed to herd livestock or pull carts, but with the right early training and socialization, they still make fabulous family guard dogs.

Doberman history

According to the Doberman Club of America, the Doberman is a relatively recent human-made dog breed with German roots.

The Doberman takes the breed name from the breed founder, Louis Doberman.

Breeders believe the modern Doberman is influenced by the Greyhound and Manchester Terrier breeds, an earlier version of the modern German Shepherd, the German Pinscher, the Weimeraner, and perhaps others.

Dobermans were always intended to be hunting dogs as well as police and soldier dogs – protection dogs at their finest.

Dobermans today are still regarded as among the finest guarding and protection dogs in the world.

Weight, Height, and Size of the Rottweiler vs Doberman

Both the Rottweiler and the Doberman are considered large breed working dogs. As such, they can definitely take up space in your home and in your car!

Let’s take a quick look at similarities and differences in the size, weight, and height of the Rottweiler vs Doberman.

Rottweiler size, weight, and height

According to the American Kennel Club, Rottweilers are sturdy and broad dogs that can border on stocky.

An adult male Rottweiler will weigh 95 to 135 pounds and stand anywhere from 24 to 27 inches tall (measured from the base of paws to the tops of shoulders).

A fully grown adult female Rottweiler typically weighs between 80 and 100 pounds and stands 22 to 25 inches tall.

Doberman size, weight, and height

The American Kennel Club states that a fully grown Doberman will be a slim and sleek canine machine with long, lithe legs and a compact build.

A fully grown male adult Doberman typically weighs 75 to 100 pounds and stands 26 to 28 inches tall.

An adult female Doberman will weigh 60 to 90 pounds and stand 24 to 26 inches tall.

Health of the Rottweiler vs Doberman

One of the most important parts of your pre-dog ownership research is going to be breed health.

Many purebred dog breeds now suffer potentially serious genetic health issues due to over-breeding to a strict show ring standard.

Some of these genetic health problems can be expensive to manage and potentially life-limiting for the dog. The more you know about the breeder’s operation and the breed line, the better your chances become of picking a healthy puppy.

So we will review the major heritable health issues for the Rottweiler and the Doberman dog breeds and tell you how to do your research before committing to purchase a puppy.

Rottweiler genetic health problems

The Canine Health Information Center, or CHIC, is the foremost authority on purebred dog breed genetic health issues.

CHIC’s records for the Rottweiler breed indicate the following heritable health issues are known to affect these dogs:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia (joint irregularities).
  • Juvenile Laryngeal Paralysis & Polyneuropathy (JLPP).
  • Cardiac issues.
  • Eye issues.

Of these issues, JLPP is the most serious. This is a progressive and ultimately fatal condition that is expensive to manage and heart-breaking to witness.

Dysplasia is often treatable – mild forms may benefit from physical therapy and pain medication, while severe forms typically require a full ball and socket joint replacement.

Doberman genetic health problems

The Doberman also has several CHIC-recognized heritable diseases to be aware of when you are selecting your puppy.

  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Cardiac issues.
  • Eye issues.
  • von Willebrand’s disease.
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis.

Of these issues, von Willebrand’s disease is potentially the most serious. This is a genetic blood disorder that interferes with normal blood clotting.

It doesn’t always present in puppyhood, which means it is very important to make sure the parent dogs have been tested and cleared of the disease.

Autoimmune thyroiditis is particularly common in Dobermans. In this disease, the autoimmune system misfires and begins attacking the thyroid. One of the most common outcomes is hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, as VCA Animal Hospital explains.

Life Expectancy of the Rottweiler vs Doberman

Another important consideration you will want to think through before choosing your family’s new pet dog is longevity.

You will make a significant investment of time, finances, and – most important – emotion and love into your new companion dog. So you want your new pup to be with you as long as possible!

Rottweiler life expectancy

Despite their extreme popularity, Rottweilers are an exceptionally short-lived dog breed. The average longevity for a purebred Rottweiler is just nine to 10 years.

There is one exception to this rule, however. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) states that female Rottweilers who remain intact until after age six may live up to four years longer than the average Rottweiler life expectancy.

The thought behind this is that the ovaries contribute to warding off the number one cause of early Rottweiler fatalities – cancer. However, researchers still don’t know exactly what the ovaries do to increase longevity in Rottweilers.

If you are very concerned about the longevity of your Rottweiler, choosing a female puppy and delaying the spay procedure could help keep your pup with you longer.

Doberman life expectancy

Dobermans typically live 10 to 12 years, which is about average for a large dog breed.

However, as PetMD points out, there are some serious issues that could shorten a Doberman’s lifespan, including CVI (cervical vertebral instability), Wobbler’s disease, and cardiomyopathy.

Gastric torsion, or bloat, is another all-too-common fatal condition that is not genetic but rather relates to the Doberman’s deep chest cavity.

Bloat occurs when the stomach twists, cutting off circulation to the stomach. It is nearly always fatal even when caught in time.

While canine researchers do not fully understand why it happens, there is a minor surgery veterinarian can perform that prevents bloat from occurring. Often, owners, have this done when their dog is spayed or neutered.

Rottweiler Vs Doberman Coat and Grooming

If you or someone in your family has allergies to pet dander, you will want to carefully consider your choice of dog breed. Some dog breeds shed a lot more than others. Choosing a lower-shedding dog may reduce the severity of allergy symptoms.

Unfortunately, both the Rottweiler and the Doberman are true working dog breeds with the traditional double layer working-dog coat.

This is a very important point to understand. With very few exceptions, working dog breeds have two different coat layers that serve two different functions.

A working dog’s inner coat layer (the layer closest to the skin) is like a winter coat, keeping the dog warm and dry. This layer thins out in the warm season and grows thick in the winter season. So seasonal shedding is a given.

The outer layer of the working dog coat is typically longer, coarser, and water-repellant. It is designed to protect the dog’s skin from various perils ranging from water to pests.

While the Rottweiler has longer hair than the Doberman, the Doberman is said to shed more profusely than the Rottweiler. However, both breeds are classified as working dogs and have a double-layer coat.

Both the Rottweiler and the Doberman will shed seasonally as is appropriate to thin or thicken the inner coat layer. And both breeds will shed all year long to replenish the coat’s protective properties as needed.

In both cases, you can control the shed hair you have to clean up to some extent by brushing your dog daily. This will pull out some of the dead hair before it falls to the ground or gets on your clothing or upholstery.

Other than brushing the coat to control shedding, both the Rottweiler and the Doberman are low maintenance. Both need only the occasional bath and neither breed needs professional dog grooming services.

Rottweiler Vs Doberman Exercise and Training

Both the Rottweiler and the Doberman are true working protection and guard dogs. These dogs have naturally high prey and chase drives, high energy levels, and a high degree of watchfulness and vigilance.

Both dogs will need early and ongoing socialization and training starting in early puppyhood to help control their strong instinctual behaviors.

According to PDSA charity, an adult Rottweiler will need an average of two hours per day of activity to stay calm and content at home.

As this amazing video of a Doberman exercising to a video highlights, Dobermans are so motivated they will find ways to exercise on their own.

What does this mean for you? It means a bored Doberman may become a destructive Doberman. Like Rottweilers, healthy adult Dobermans need about two hours of activity and exercise daily to stay calm and well behaved at home.

Rottweiler Vs Doberman Personality and Temperament

Finally, both the Rottweiler and the Doberman score high marks in the personality and temperament department.

This is one reason why both breeds are continually on the list of the top 20 most popular purebred dog breeds nationwide.

Rottweilers and Dobermans are famously loyal to and affectionate with their people to the point of being velcro dogs.

But with strangers, watch out. You will be responsible for training your Rottweiler or Doberman to tolerate guests and visitors to your home, distinguishing between a neutral stranger and a threat, and responding appropriately in either case.

Ultimately, both the Rottweiler and the Doberman can make a great family guard dog choice.

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