rottweiler vs pitbull

Rottweiler vs. Pitbull: Which Breed is the Best

If you are trying to decide between which of the two breeds, a Rottweiler and a Pitbull, you have come to the right place.

In order to decide which of these two breeds better fits into your family dynamic, it helps to learn in detail about each of the breeds. Read on to find out which of these two pups will work best for you in your specific situation.

What Exactly is a Pitbull Dog?

The Pitbull isn’t an exact specific breed, but it’s an umbrella term used for dogs that have ancestors bred between Terriers and Bulldogs.

These include four different actual breeds of the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Bully, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. All four of these breeds look similar and have the same traits.

Most commonly, when someone speaks of a “Pitbull”, they are referring to the American Pit Bull Terrier, so in this article, we will use him as a comparison to the Rottweiler in similarities and differences.

Similarities of the Rottweiler and the Pitbull

Both of these breeds of dogs have many similarities. The American Pit Bull Terrier and the Rottweiler are both purebred dogs who are overall very friendly, family-friendly, kid-friendly, and stranger friendly.

They may be aggressive dogs if they are trained to be so, but generally, as a family dog, they are loving and very willing to please their owners.

Both breeds can live in any area, including an apartment or condo, indoors, in a small, medium, or large yard, as long as they get plenty of time for exercise so they don’t become bored.

Both the Rottweiler and the American Pit Bull Terrier are very strong and have high needs for exercise, while they both have very easy coats to keep groomed with the smallest amount of care.

Differences between the Rottweiler and the Pitbull

The Rottweiler is taller and heavier than the American Pit Bull Terrier, and as such, he has a bit shorter lifespan, as all dogs of larger breeds do.

The Rottweiler is considered a large to giant breed dog that has high intelligence, while the American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium to large dog with an average intelligence rating.

The Rottweiler may be a bit more protective but stubborn at the same time, and the American Pit Bull Terrier is more affectionate than some Rottweilers as a whole. Both breeds can be socialized and trained to have the best of these qualities.

The Rottweiler barks more often than the American Pit Bull Terrier and shed less with less pet dander.

However, he is considered a medium level when it comes to drooling and the American Pit Bull Terrier either has a low tendency to drool or none at all.

Breed History Comparison


The Rottweiler’s lineage dates back to the Roman Empire and this makes him one of the oldest breeds in the world.

He descended from the very large Mastiff breed and was used to drive cattle and protect them from predators and robbers while herding the cattle on long trips for the army as it moved around the continent.

After cattle were taken to the market and sold, it was said that the owners would tie the money in a leather pouch around the Rottweilers neck so it was safe from robbers.

Robbers would take a look at the protective guard dog and herding dog and decide not to challenge him for the money sack.

As time evolved, the Rottweiler found many other types of employment, such as pulling heavy wagons of meat for butchers, and he found a calling to provide protection as a highly intelligent German police dog.

After his working days ended, the Rottweiler was discovered and brought to America as a sweet and loyal family pet.

The American Kennel Association (AKC) ranks him as the 8th most popular dog in the United States.

Rottweilers or Rotties, as they are lovingly referred to, are often bred with other purebred dogs because of their great qualities.

American Pit Bull Terrier

The first known instance of the American Pit Bull Terrier was in England during Queen Anne’s time of ruling in the early 1800s.

The favorite sport at this time in some of the larger towns was bull-baiting, which included matching dogs and bulls together in a fight as a pastime and event.

The bulls were anchored to stakes in the ground with a 30-foot rope, so they could only move that distance in a circle from the area. The dogs would attack the bull until it died of exhaustion or blood loss.

It is said that not only was this a popular spectator event but that it also made the meat much more tender.

The American Pit Bull Terrier was originally bred for a fighting dog. Since this became illegal, they are commonly used for herding and catching animals as well as for family companions and guards.

However, the dogs were very aggressive but were never taught to show aggression to people, or else they were put down.

American Pit Bull Terriers have also been bred for centuries for roles that don’t include aggression, such as companion dogs and working dogs to herd animals.

The American Pit Bull Terrier was bred to be a dog with high agility and speed, at which he excels today.

Appearance Comparison


The Rottweiler can be a large breed of dog or he may be considered a giant breed of dog if he is at the high end of the range of weight and height for his breed.

A mature Rottweiler can reach a height of 22 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder and a final weight of anywhere between 80 to 135 pounds.

Being a large dog gives him a much shorter lifespan than small dogs and he can be expected to live to 9 to 10 years with very good care.

The recognized colors of a Rottweiler are a black body with beautiful rust-colored markings on its body.

The rust color will be on his legs, chest, snout, and above both eyes so that they look like eyebrows and show you a very intelligent and expressive look.

The Rottweiler has a short outer coat and a thick inner coat, so it is considered double coated. His outer coat is very shiny and soft.

His body is very sturdy and muscular and thick legs and a stocky build that may appear as if he is overweight because he is so wide. His head is boxy and large and it is uniform with the body.

He has a medium-long snout and cute ears that flop forward from about half their height to give him an approachable appearance of cuteness.

When you see a Rottweiler, you will immediately think of him as looking very powerful and he is true. Rottweilers will reach their final height by the time they are about one year old.

However, this is when they will add additional muscle and weight until they mature at the ripe old age of three years old as a late maturer. At this point, you can definitely recognize that a particular dog is a purebred Rottweiler.

American Pit Bull Terrier

The American Pit Bull Terrier is recognized as a medium-sized dog. He can reach a height of 17 to 21 inches tall at maturity and can top out at a weight of anywhere from 30 to 65 pounds when fully grown.

The American Pit Bull Terrier lives to be about 12 or 16 years old with good veterinarian care.

He is much leaner and more muscular than the Rottweiler, so he also appears larger than life.

This breed of dog has a wedge-shaped head that is blunt. He has small beady eyes with a powerful thick neck and muscles even show on his head. He has a long tail that reaches his hocks. His ears may be cropped or uncropped, depending on the breeder that you buy a puppy from.

It is commonly said that this breed of dog has the highest rate of muscle for each pound of body weight than any other dog and it makes it look longer in the body than he is tall.

The American Pit Bull Terrier has a short coat that may feel stiff to the touch. This breed of dog may be called a dog with a coat of many colors due to all the different colorations he may have.

He may be a solid color in black, blue, fawn, light fawn, chocolate, or white. You can also find American Pit Bull Terrier puppies in combinations of colors, including black and white, blue, white and tan, chocolate and tan, or fawn and white.

So, basically, no matter what color of a dog is your preference, you can easily find an American Pit Bull Terrier in that specific color.

Temerament Comparison


Your Rottweiler pup will be ecstatic when you arrive at home and he also is a quite jumpy dog. He will be happy to have some playtime with you and then settle in on the couch next to you for cuddle time or get in your lap as a lap dog does, no matter how large he gets.

Rottweilers are more aloof with strangers and it takes them a while to warm up to new people. He takes cues from his human family as to whether a new person is a threat or a friend. After he warms up to a new person, he is happy to be near them and play with them.

A Rottie can play fetch and other games for hours on end with his family. He loves any type of outdoor activities and really loves the water, swimming, and playing in a sprinkler or garden hose.

Rottweilers are loyal, affectionate, and very confident. They love to protect their family members, whether it’s humans or other pets in the household. They can be quite silly at home with their families and maybe a bit stubborn when you are training them.

The Rottweiler’s behavior and instincts include an average amount of aggression and a very low tendency to burrow or dig in the yard.

He has a below-average instinct to chase or catch vermin while having a high propensity to shed, be a guard dog, and a watchdog that is protective of his family.

American Pit Bull Terrier

The American Pit Bull Terrier, if correctly socialized and trained from a puppy by a loving family, would make a terrible guard dog.

He would rather just play with a stranger immediately when he sees them and isn’t that great of a protector by instinct.

Your dog would likely greet a thief and invite him inside to play with all of his toys and share his treats.

This breed of dog is very social and his main objective in life is to have everyone and every animal he sees play with him.

Because the American Pit Bull Terrier is so sociable, he often has separation anxiety when his human pack is gone for several hours at a time.

He is very much considered a pack dog that needs to be with others at all times and he needs entertainment in the time you are away to keep out of trouble.

American Pit Bull Terriers are also tolerant of kids and very gentle as well. He is a bit less energetic than a Rottweiler but still loves to play with his family members although for shorter spans of time.

The instincts of this breed of dog show that he has an average amount of aggression and he ranks below average for digging in the yard or burrowing. He has the average ability to follow commands, guarding, herding, catching mice, shedding, and being a watchdog.

Exercise Requirements

Rottweiler and American Pit Bull Terrier

The exercise requirements are very similar for both the Rottweiler and the American Pit Bull Terrier.

Both dogs need at least 60 minutes of hard playtime per day to stay happy and healthy. These breeds both love playing frisbee, fetch with a ball and they excel in dog agility courses.

You should monitor playtime with small children in your home, as both breeds are very powerful, and even as young adult dogs or older puppies, they can easily get rambunctious and knock smaller children down.

It isn’t because they are being aggressive dogs, but merely because they may not understand their strength yet.

As your pet gets older, he will understand and the smaller children will grow faster than he does, so eventually, you won’t need to supervise the play with children.

Both breeds need a minimum of an hour of playtime per day or they will become bored and will then get destructive of your property, no matter if they are inside or outside dogs.

Keep in mind that an adult American Pit Bull Terrier has a bite strength of 235 pounds of pressure per square inch and a Rottweiler has an amazing bite at 325 pounds of pressure per square inch. Each dog can be very destructive with all its force.

Training Comparison

Rottweiler and American Pit Bull Terrier

Both the Rottweiler and the American Pit Bull Terrier can be quite stubborn when it comes to training, so you will need to be a definite pack leader or your pup will learn at a very young age that he can ignore what you are commanding and take advantage of your good-natured charm.

It’s very important to start training a puppy of either of these breeds as soon as you get them home and acclimate them to their new surroundings. Larger breed puppies will become very large and powerful adult dogs and they need to be able to mind you at all times.

The first command should be the sit command to teach your new puppy. This keeps him from jumping up on people even though he gets excited about seeing someone and this is the case with both breeds even in adulthood.

You also need to teach your new pooch to walk on a leash properly. Rottweilers do well with a standard collar and leash.

However, you may need to upgrade these as they grow into thicker and wider materials to support them well. American Pit Bull Terriers are known for pulling very hard forward while walking on a leash.

It’s best to teach this breed to walk on a leash while wearing a harness instead of a collar. When dogs pull forward very hard in a collar, it cuts off their air supply by pushing on their windpipe and it’s not fair to the dog.

Both breeds of dogs want to please their owners, are very intelligent, and very easy to train.

The Rottweiler has a longer attention span than the American Pit Bull Terrier, so you will want to train the pitbull in shorter bursts of time so he can learn in his own way.

Socialization is also part of puppy and dog training. You should take your puppy of any breed around different people, places, and areas with other animals as well.

Your goal is to make your pretty pooch understand that everyone likes him and is not a threat to him. This will help him to be a well-rounded dog that is friendly to everyone.

Health Comparison

All purebred dogs do have some health issues that are prevalent in their specific breed and they have been inherited from their bloodlines.


Rottweilers are prone to health issues such as hip and elbow dysplasia in which the joints are not formed correctly and it gives them arthritis and pain in the joints.

They may also have dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart condition in which the puppy has thinner heart walls that are more dilated than they should be, causing the heart to malfunction, which can at times cause heart failure.

Rottweilers may also have stenosis where the heart’s aortic valve causes a blockage, as a human does at times and it impedes blood flow. Some Rottweilers are susceptible to bloat from overeating as well.

American Pit Bull Terrier

The American Pit Bull Terrier is susceptible to many fewer health concerns, so he is, all in all, a more healthy puppy and dog.

He may also develop hip dysplasia and cerebellar abiotrophy, where one part of the brain is damaged that controls balance and coordination, resulting in not being able to move as they should.

This breed may also suffer from skin allergies, which are easy to combat with specialized food and ointments.

The good news about health issues and puppies is that if you choose to purchase a purebred pup of either breed from a breeder, they should have screened both parent dogs of the litter for all of these health issues.

You should be able to see the medical records showing that both parents are negative for these issues, so you know in turn that your pretty pooch will be far less likely to have any problems.

You should also get a health guarantee on your new puppy as well as records of his vaccines and a visit to the vet showing he is healthy.

Nutrition Comparison

Rottweiler and American Pit Bull Terrier

Both types of puppies and dogs need the same high-quality diet that is age-appropriate for their stage of life: puppy, adult, and senior with one difference.

If your Rottweiler is quite large for his breed standard, he may do better on dry kibble that is geared for large breed dogs as it has more nutrients that he will need.

A Rottweiler will eat about 3 cups of food per day as an adult and the American Pit Bull Terrier about 2.5 cups per day as he is smaller in adulthood.

Both should be fed twice a day to space out the food and nutrients so they can have energy through the daytime.

If your Rottweiler tends to try to overeat at mealtime, you can consider feeding him 3 times a day instead so he won’t eat too much and bloat. Bloat is a very serious condition that can even lead to death in a dog.

Your pups can have dog treats when training as positive reinforcement, but remember treats should be only a small portion of their food per day, at about 20%.

Too many treats can make your dog overweight and, since both breeds are susceptible to dysplasia, it will aggravate the problem and can run into health issues from the extra weight.

Grooming Comparison

Rottweiler and American Pit Bull Terrier

The grooming regime for both breeds of dogs is the same. You only need to brush them once or twice a week unless they are shedding. When they shed heavily in the spring and fall, you should brush them daily to remove any loose fur.

Your puppy or dog should only need a bath every 2 to 3 months or when he gets muddy or dirty. Bathing them too often can dry out the skin and lead to rashes. And remember to only use doggy shampoo.

Puppy Prices Comparison


Show quality Rottweiler puppies cost about $2,000 and puppies of the same breed for companion and family dogs start at about $1,200.

American Pit Bull Terrier

This breed of puppy will be $800 and higher depending on the parent’s lineage and breeding background.

Final Thoughts

To own either of these breeds of dogs, you need to make sure that you are the pack leader for them to follow and don’t let them get away with bad behavior, even when they are a puppy. Both will be strong dogs, but a Rottweiler would make a better family guardian than an American Pit Bull Terrier.

The American Pit Bull Terrier is less expensive all-around in his purchase price, the amount of food he eats, and for his accessories, as he doesn’t need items for large dogs, such as beds and toys.

Either of these dogs with the correct training and socialization can make a wonderful addition to your family.

Similar Posts