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Both the Doberman Pinscher and Rottweiler are known for their fearsome guard dog reputations. In recent years, people have started to realize that these dogs are more friendly and loving than expected, though. This transformation has led to more people adopting a Doberman and Rottweiler as a family pet.
The Rottweiler and Doberman Pinscher look quite similar, but these dog breeds boast significantly different temperaments, which make them a match for different types of families.
If you’re looking for an addition to your household, which dog breed is better for you?
The answer to the Doberman vs Rottweiler debate will depend primarily on your unique circumstances and the atmosphere of your home.
Doberman vs Rottweiler: Breed History
The Doberman Pinscher can be traced to one man, Louis Doberman. He was a tax collector, a notoriously dangerous job in the late 19th century, and he wanted a loyal dog that would protect him while he was working.
Louis was part of the local dog pound, so he had access to a variety of different dog breeds, which he used to form his ideal dog.
It’s unknown which dogs were included in his original breeding strategy, but it likely featured the Rottweiler, the German Shepherd, the German Pinscher, and the Great Dane.
Since then, the Doberman has regularly been featured as a guard dog, but also as a rescue dog, therapy dog, and military and police dog.
The Rottweiler traces its history way back to the Romans, where they accompanied the ancient army through Germany. They were used mainly as cattle herders, and when the Romans left Germany, they left many of their working dogs behind.
Rottweilers have always been working dogs, herding dogs, and guard dogs. They even pulled carts when necessary.
The Rottweiler dog breed almost died out in the early 20th century as smaller dogs, which were easier to keep, took over many of the Rottweiler’s traditional jobs.
Luckily, a group of dedicated breeders ensured that Rottweiler survived, and they’re now one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. They are still used in some areas of the world as herding dogs, and can often be seen working in security.
Doberman vs Rottweiler Appearance
Many people confuse the Doberman vs Rottweiler, despite them having wildly different appearances. The two dog breeds have similar coloring, and a fierce reputation, which means that people often confuse them.
Dobermans are usually quite lean in appearance, and reach a height of around 28″ and a weight of between 60 to 90 pounds. The Doberman Pinscher appears in a wide variety of colors, the most common being black and tan, but they are also brown, blue, tan or even white.
Their coats are short, but smooth and don’t require a lot of grooming. Dobermans shed modestly, usually twice a year when they get their seasonal coat.
The Rottweiler is much stockier and solidly built. They are bred to project strength, and despite being shorter than Dobermans, they tend to weigh quite a lot more.
A Rottweiler has a massive head with a square muzzle and loose lips (that do result in a bit of drool). Most Rottweilers weigh between 95-130 pounds.
The handsome canines only reach their full adult size when they’re around three years of age, so don’t worry if your Rottweiler puppy is a bit smaller than you expected. They’ll quickly fill out and develop the broad signature chest and stocky build that Rottweilers exhibit.
The Rottweiler coat is usually black and tan but also comes in mahogany, rust, and black coats. Their fur is short and rough, and Rottweilers tend to require minimal grooming.
Rottweiler vs Doberman Temperament
One of the biggest things you should look for when adopting or shopping around for a dog is temperament. Both the Rottweiler and Doberman have a reputation for being fearsome, aggressive dogs that are more than a bit scary. Often, though, this isn’t the case.
The main factor that determines aggression will be is socialization and constant attention. Dogs that are correctly socialized, and are kept engaged and exercised, will make great companions with few aggression issues.
Dobermans are incredibly loyal and tend to be aloof and skeptical of strangers. They are fearless and need a job to keep them occupied. They are intelligent, and owners often find that their dogs outsmart them for additional treats.
When socialized and trained correctly, these dogs will be sweet and gentle with all people, including children. Dobermans tend to bond with only one person, so if you’re looking for a family pet that loves everybody equally, it may not be the best option.
Well-socialized and trained Rottweilers are affectionate and loving dogs, though most male Rottweilers tend to be dominant and a bit aggressive with other dogs. Rottweilers are bred to work and need some form of stimulation and ‘job’ around the house.
The Rottweiler’s temperament makes them good family pets, as their job can be to guard and protect your children. They need a firm hand and guidance right from the beginning. They’re more than happy to pursue their own ideas, such as digging up your entire garden, if they’re bored.
Doberman vs Rottweiler Exercise and Training Needs
All dogs need some form of exercise, and under-stimulated dogs can be incredibly destructive. Some dogs need less exercise than others, so it’s important to choose a dog that suits your particular lifestyle.
For instance, runners and hikers enjoy having companions like Weimaraners, Vizslas, and Border Collies who can keep up with them.
Big dogs, like the Rottweilers and Doberman, can do a lot of damage in your household, so it’s important to consider if you have the time to keep these breeds happy.
Dobermans are energetic dogs that need plenty of exercise, though they can become couch potatoes as long as they get their regular daily walks. They also need a lot of mental stimulation, without which they can become destructive and irritable.
That’s why early socialization and consistent training are essential for a Doberman, and it’s important to continue this training throughout the dog’s life.
If you’re not particularly interested in obedience training, there are many other fun activities that you can do with your Dobie. They respond very well to positive reinforcement and love being given puzzles and games to solve.
They don’t require special guard dog training, as that can result in a dog that is too driven and aggressive for family life.
The Rottweiler needs some daily form of exercise, both for mental stimulation as well as to prevent them from becoming obese. The dog breed is prone to obesity, which can cause significant health issues if not corrected quickly.
Rottweilers need early socialization, reinforced continuously throughout their lifetime. They need to be exposed to other pets, children, and adults regularly to prevent aggression issues from developing.
A well-socialized Rottweiler will love their children, but they need to be monitored when children are in a group, as they can get a bit overzealous in their protection.
Rottweilers should also receive constant training. They love to work and are excellent at many dog sports, including herding, weight pulls, and even obedience and agility.
As long as they have something to do and are exercised and socialized regularly, a Rottweiler can make an excellent family pet.
READ MORE: Are Rottweilers Good With Kids?
Doberman vs Rottweiler Health Problems
Unfortunately, all pure-bred dogs are susceptible to certain health problems that feature specifically in the breed. Most reputable breeders will screen and test their dogs for the hereditary problems and will not sell puppies that show signs of having these diseases.
Despite that, you can expect your Rottweiler or Doberman to develop health issues as they age. You should always watch out for signs of the hereditary diseases that are common in the breed.
Dobermans are expected to live between 9-11 years, though puppies that are giving the right care, diet and exercise can live into their teens. They tend to suffer from serious diseases such as:
- Wobbler’s syndrome
- Cervical vertebral instability
- von Willebrand’s disease
Rottweilers have a life expectancy of 8-12 years, with females living on average two years longer than males. However, there are certain health issues associated with the breed, as well as other problems that crop up often in big dogs.
The most common diseases affecting Rottweilers include:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Aortic stenosis
- Entropion and ectropion
- Cruciate ligament rupture
Rottweiler vs Doberman: Which is Better for Your Family?
When it comes to choosing the right dog for your family, there is no clear winner in the Rottweiler vs. Doberman Pinscher debate.
Ultimately it will depend on your family, how many children you have, how much time you have to spend with the dog, and various lifestyle choices. Both breeds can be excellent family pets if trained and socialized properly.
In general, Dobermans are more suited to smaller households where they can bond with one person. They are safe around children, but will never be as cuddly and protective as a Rottweiler.
Rottweilers are great for families with children, where they’ll act as guard dogs for the entire family. Both breeds need extensive training and socialization from an early age to ensure that they grow up to be amazing family dogs.