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Doberman vs Rottweiler: The Key Differences (With Pictures)

Written by: Oliver Jones

Last Updated on May 21, 2024 by Dogster Team

Doberman vs. Rottweiler

Doberman vs Rottweiler: The Key Differences (With Pictures)

Dobermans and Rottweilers are both strong, independent dogs that have endured something of a bad reputation. They are both commonly used as guard dogs, share a similar lineage, and have the same brown and black coloring. They also both need socializing and training from a young age.

However, while they are similar in some ways, they differ in other respects. The Doberman is taller and more slender, while the Rottweiler tends to be bulkier. The former tends to be cuddlier with family, and while the Rottweiler is caring and loving, they usually prefer their own space.

Despite their unfair reputation, both dogs can make excellent family pets, though one might be better for your living conditions than the other. Read on to learn about the differences between these breeds and to determine which one will make a more suitable pet for your home.


Visual Differences

Doberman vs Rottweiler
Image By: Left: Doberman, Pixabay | Rottweiler, McCann-Michelle Shutterstock

At a Glance

  • Average height (adult): 24–28 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 70–100 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10–13 years
  • Exercise: 1 hour a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Not usually
  • Trainability: Intelligent and easy to train
  • Average height (adult): 22–27 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 80–130 pounds
  • Lifespan: 8–11 years
  • Exercise: 1 hour a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Occasionally
  • Trainability: Intelligent and easy to train

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Doberman Overview

Image Credit: Yama Zsuzsanna Márkus, Pixabay

The Doberman was first bred as a protector by tax collector and dogcatcher Louis Dobermann. He used a selection of stray dogs from his rescue shelter and created a dog that would protect him while on his rounds. This history means that the breeds used to first create the Doberman are not certain, but most experts believe that the list included the Rottweiler, the Pinscher, and a terrier.

Having first shown his canine creation in 1876, Dobermann passed away in 1894. Enthusiasts continued breeding the Doberman, and they attempted to further improve the protective toughness of the dogs. Numbers dwindled during both world wars, and a fearsome reputation has likely put a lot of potential owners off buying one of this breed, but modern breeders have done well at rounding off some of the sharper and potentially more aggressive genes.

Personality / Character

The breed does not tend to be stubborn but can remain immature for the first 2 or 3 years of their life, with most dogs reaching maturity at 3 years despite only having a life expectancy of approximately 10 years. They tend to be cuddly and loving dogs with family, including children and adults, but they do need proper socialization to ensure that this is the case. The Doberman can be wary of strangers, but with good socialization and ongoing training, this shouldn’t prove a problem.


First and foremost, the Doberman is a highly intelligent dog. They can learn commands quickly, and since they are eager to please their humans, they will do very well responding to those commands. Enroll in puppy classes because these will give you the basics and enable you to socialize with your dog in a sympathetic environment. This socialization is very important. Without it, Dobermans can be very wary of strangers and reluctant when approached. Take yours to the dog park regularly, and introduce them to visitors to your house.

doberman training
Image By: YamaBSM, Pixabay

Health & Care

Besides being a tough breed, the Dobie is generally healthy. However, you will need to look for signs of von Willebrand disease and hip dysplasia, which can plague large breeds. Insurance can help cover the cost of any unexpected problems.

Generally, the breed benefits from having plenty of outdoor time, including in their own yard and down at the park or on walks. This means that they do better in a house rather than an apartment, where their size may also be an issue. They will need plenty of exercise every day, so expect to spend an hour walking, running, and playing games. The Dobie does have a hearty appetite and can eat three cups of dry kibble a day.


The short coat of the Doberman does not require much in the way of grooming or brushing. They do not usually smell of dog either. While the coat is minimal fuss, you should brush it every week to help remove dead hair and stop it from becoming knotted.

Doberman Pinscher Sitting
Image Credit: 1790316, Pixabay

Suitable For:

The Doberman does appreciate plenty of room and needs a lot of exercise. They are also a strong breed, which means they are not necessarily a good choice for young children or seniors to walk. Active families who have plenty of time for exercising, training, and socializing is where the Doberman will do best.

Doberman Pros
  • Intelligent breed that is easy to train
  • Loving and cuddly with family
  • Minimal coat maintenance
Doberman Cons
  • Needs socialization to avoid aggression
  • Won’t always get along with other dogs or animals

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Rottweiler Overview

Image Credit: Ricantimages, Shutterstock

The Rottweiler is a German breed and was bred from giant Molossus dogs. They were used to pull heavy carts, usually containing dead animals and meat, to markets. Besides pulling the meat, they were entrusted with protecting the cart and its contents.

Like the Doberman, the Rottweiler nearly became extinct. First, with the advent of rail travel, dogs were no longer necessary for pulling carts because trains were quicker and could carry more load while also being generally safer. The breed became popular again in the 20th century.

Besides being used as a guard dog, the Rottie was kept as a pet and companion dog and was also used for police and armed services work. Today, the breed is still used for public service work and as a guard dog, but a well-raised Rottweiler makes a loving and loyal companion dog that is suitable for families.

Personality / Character

The Rottweiler is, above all, a confident dog. They are not worried by strangers and will never back down if confronted or even attacked. This does mean that Rottie can take time to make friends with people. With family, however, they are affectionate, loving, and protective. They will follow their humans around the house but are more likely to sit close to you than on your lap.

Even as a puppy, the Rottweiler is not overly excitable. Males are known to be watchful guardians, while females are more family-oriented and are considered the better choice as family companion dogs.


Don’t let the sheer size of the Rottie fool you. Some can be fast and agile dogs, and all require a decent amount of daily exercise, especially since the breed is prone to weight problems. Consider enrolling in a canine sport if you cannot provide enough structured and vigorous exercise. The breed tends to excel in strength-based sports like cart pulling; it was what they were initially bred for, after all.

man with his pet rottweiler outside
Image By: Srqntrz, Shutterstock


Besides providing exercise, you should provide adequate training. This dog requires a firm but not physical or aggressive hand during training. Very intelligent, the breed will learn commands quickly, but you will usually do better if you can make training sessions short and inject some fun into them. The Rottweiler is considered a relatively easy breed to train, though the efficiency of the Doberman means that training sticks more easily for them.

Health & Care

The breed is a healthy one, but the Rottie can suffer from weight problems, so you will need to make sure that you weigh food carefully and do not overfeed your pup. Other common health problems include hip and elbow dysplasia, aortic stenosis, which is a common heart complaint, and osteosarcoma, an aggressive cancer of the bones.

The Rottie is a family-loving breed and can become destructive and show other negative attributes if they are left alone for too long.

You will have to feed them around five cups of food per day, though the exact amount depends on age, exercise levels, and general health.

rottweiler lying on the ground
Image Credit: Roberto Mares, Pixabay


The short double coat of the Rottie needs weekly brushing. This removes dead hairs that can otherwise become knotted and uncomfortable. Brush their teeth twice a week, and conduct a regular check inside the ears and mouth to look for any early signs of infection.

Suitable For:

The Rottweiler is a loyal family dog. The breed needs to be around their people, which means that they can struggle with separation anxiety and may become destructive if there is nobody at home all throughout the day. The Rottie does need exercise, though some prefer walks to cart pulling and running, so you will need to be able to dedicate a good 45 minutes a day to this. Their size means that they can accidentally knock over very young children but will do well with older children who are calmer and more respectful.

Rottweiler dog standing
Image Credit: Piqsels
Rottweiler Pros
  • Calm and level-headed
  • Generally health
  • Accepting of strangers, with early socialization
Rottweiler Cons
  • Prone to weight problems
  • Can suffer separation anxiety if left alone for too long


Which Breed Is Right for You?

The Doberman and Rottweiler breeds share a lot of similarities. They have similar markings; both come from Germany, and they were both highly revered working dogs. However, besides their obvious appearance differences, the two breeds are different in other ways. The Dobie tends to be cuddlier than the Rottie, while the Rottweiler is a calmer dog, even when they’re a puppy.

Both breeds require a decent amount of exercise, and both benefit from early and ongoing socialization to ensure that they are not too apprehensive and cautious around strangers. In terms of training, both are intelligent and can be trained quite easily, but it is the Doberman that is considered the more willing to accept training.

Whichever breed you choose, you can expect them to live around 10 years, and while both breeds are generally healthy, they are respectively prone to certain genetic conditions.

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: Dogster/Shutterstock

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