Difference Between German and American Rottweilers

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German and American Rottweilers

Origin of the Rottweiler dog

The Rottweiler are considered as one of the oldest breeds of dogs who were used as herding dog by the Romans. Ancient Roman history indicates that the origin of Rottweiler way back to roman times where they were used as drover or driving dogs. The drover dogs were very dependable, intelligent and had very strong guarding instincts. The Roman the eleventh invaders’ legions brought the Rottweiler to Europe during their mission to conquest Europe. The Romans used the Rottweiler to group and guard cattle for their soldiers when crossing the Alps and the region which is now southern Germany around A. D. 73 and 74.

How the Rottweiler get its name?

The Rottweiler get its name after the name of the town called Rottweil, a town in southwest Germany. Approximately around the year A.D. 73 or 74, the roman armies built a military settlement on the bank of the river Neckar which is in southwest Germany. The romans called the town as “Rot Wil” because the roof of the villas were made of red tiles and the word wil means villas. Over a period of time the name Rotwil was changed to the name Rottweil.

History of the Rottweiler

In the year A. D. 74, the town Rottweil became a prosperous cattle trade hub and the descendants of the Roman herding dogs showed their importance by driving the cattle to the market. The dogs were used by the romans butchers to protect the cattle from robbers and also from wild animals. While returning from market the butchers used to tie their money bag around the neck of the dog to protect it from the robbers. For this reason they were also called as butcher dogs. They were very loyal to their master and willing worker.  

In the year around A. D. 250 and 260, the Suebi and Alemanni tribes captured the town and thrashed the Roman habitation out of the area. The roman left behind some of their drover dog. Looking at the excellence and usefulness of the “butcher’s dogs”, dog owner started breeding them. At that time there were also local dogs like Entlebucher, Bernese mountain dog, Appenzeller and Greater Swiss mountain dog around the region rottweil. According to researcher these local dogs interbred with the dogs brought by the roman legions to Germany. So to distinguish the dogs from the rest of the local dog,the german named the dog as Rottweiler Metzgerhund or butcher dogs. The Rottweiler were used by the cattle owner for centuries for cattle driving and safeguard of their money. But in the 19th century, railway used as a means of transportation of cattle and the Rottwiler slowly became extinct.

Characteristics of the Rottweiler

  • The Rottweiler adoringly called Rotties or Rotts,
  • The Rottweiler is devoted, obedient, fearless, confident and self-assured by nature.
  • The average life span of Rottweiler is 8 to 11 years.
  • The ideal size of the Rottweiler is medium to large.
  • The height of male Rottweiler is 24 to 27 inch and that of female Rottweiler is of 22 to 25 inch.
  • The weight of female Rottweiler is between 110 and 132 lbs. and that of male Rottweiler is between 77 and 105 lbs.
  • The head of the Rottweiler is broad and have muscular body.
  • They need extensive training to socialize from the early stage of puppyhood.
  • Rottweilers are mostly black and with marking of rust color on the body parts.
  • Most of the Rottweilers snore.
  • Now a days Rottweilers are used by police.

For better understanding of the difference between German and American Rottweiler, one first needs to know about the German Rottweiler club and American Kennel club.

Formation of German Rottweiler club

In the 19th century when the railroads turn out to be the prime method for transportation of cattle, the requirement for the Rottweiler dropped, which result in the decrease of the number of Rottweilers. The existence of the Rottweilers reduced so rigorously that, in a dog show in Heilbronn in the year 1882, only one dog represented the breed.

The Germans did not want their Rottweilers to get vanished and hence in the year 1914 the German formed the first Rottweiler club named DRK, German Rottweiler Club and in 2015 another club called SDRK, South German Rottweiler Club come in to existence. Gradually both the club merged and formed International Rottweiler Club that is IRK.

In the year 1921, the different Rottweiler Clubs of Germany united to create the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub, which is ADRK. Worldwide the ADRK is acknowledged as the home club of the Rottweiler.

Link of Rottweiler with American Kennel club

Gradually the Rottweiler breed became popular among dog lovers and Rottweilers were imported to the different parts of the world from Europe. In the year 1931 the American Kennel Club i.e. AKC officially recognized the Rottweiler as a breed.

Difference between German and American Rottweiler

People often argue about the difference between an American Rottweiler and a German Rottweiler. In order to understand the difference between both the Rottweiler completely, we must need to know the standard set by organization like FCI, ADRK and AKC.

FCI or Fédération Internationale Cynologiqueor is a worldwide canine organization which was formed by countries like Germany, France, Austria, Netherlands and Belgium in the year 1911. FCI follow a strict standard for breeding.

ADRK or the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub of Germany strictly follow the breeding standard set by the FCI where as AKC or The American Kennel Club does not follow the breeding standard set by the FCI. Because of this reason there are certain differences in the appearances and structure of Rottweiler. The standard under which the Rottweiler are bred determine whether the Rottweiler is American or German. The bloodlines is also one of the main factor for the differences between an American and German Rottweiler.

Key differences between American and German Rottweiler

1.       In simple term The Rottweiler who born in Germany is a German Rottweiler. 1.       Whereas the Rottweiler who born in America is an American Rottweiler.
2.       The German Rottweiler are of medium to large size 2.       Whereas the American Rottweiler are of medium large size.
3.       To improve the physical capabilities of the Rottweiler the ADRK follow a strict breeding standard set by FCI as a result of which the German Rottweiler are more strong and powerful dog. 3.       The AKC has guidelines regarding the physical attributes of the Rottweiler and does not obey the standard set by FCI and hence the appearance of the American Rottweiler is different from the German Rottweiler.
4.       To ensure that the best qualities of the Rottweiler breed are allowed to produce puppies, the ADRK define a breed standard. The parent dogs have to pass a difficult test called the ZTP which evaluate the personality, health and temperament. After meeting all the standard the puppies born by the particular parents can be registered as a German Rottweiler. 4.       All Rottweiler born in America can be registered as an American Rottweiler whether they met the standard guidelines of the AKC or not. As a result, there is no quality assurance of the genetics of the pups.
5.       The size of the head of a German Rottweiler is broad and of medium length and the line of the forehead is fairly arched which can be seen from his side.


5.       Some of the American Rottweilers have a more extended and thin head because the AKC does not follow a strict breeding standard.


6.       The German Rottweilera are known for their bite strength.


6.       But due to the low quality of the breeding standard of the American Rottweiler, the bite strength of some of the American Rottweilers are weaker than their German counterpart.
7.       The marking of the German Rottweiler are rich and well defined. 7.       Whereas in some of the American Rottweiler the marks are faded due to the unselective breeding.
8.       The German Rottweilers are muscular and have strong bone structure. 8.       The ideal American Rottweiler are also muscular but some of the American Rottweiler are tall and thin and of weaker version due to the unplanned breeding.
9.       The German Rottweilers are more self-assured and cool by nature. 9.       The ideal American Rottweiler are also courageous and intelligent but the non-restricted breeding by the American breeder has led to the production of confused and aggressive dogs.
10.   Traditionally the tail of the Rottweiler was docked but in the year 1999 Germany banned the docking of tail. So after that all German Rottweiler can be seen with their full natural tail. 10.   The tails of the American Rottweilers are docked short and close to their body.


It does not matter whether the Rottweiler is born in Germany or America as long as the parent of the puppy Rottweiler is of good breed. Now a days in the USA also there are breeders who are adhering the ADRK standard and producing superior quality of American Rottweilers who are similar to the German Rottweiler in all aspects. So it can be said that in spite of their origin if well bred, the Rottweiler can be a great pet, companion and working dog.

Author: Nirupama

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One Response

  1. Victoria Addington

    April 10, 2023 12:26 pm

    It made sense when you mentioned that one of the oldest breeds of dogs is Rottweiler. My husband wants us to have a German Rottweiler puppy. I should advise him to go for it since they look adorable.


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