German Pinscher Vs. Rottweiler – (5 Things You Need To Know)

So, you want to know about the German Pinscher vs. Rottweiler, do you? Well, you came to the right place.

From herding cattle to detecting explosives, dogs have played vital roles as “man’s best friend” for many centuries. However, choosing the right dog breed can be challenging. So, if you’re torn between two species, like the German Pinscher versus the Rottweiler, this article is here to help you choose the best one. 

The German Pinscher and the Rottweiler differ in many aspects, including attributes and general appearance. The German Pinschers are very loyal and have a medium-sized, robust square build. Powerful and intelligent, the Rottweiler is medium-large with a compact build.

Find out about Rottweilers and German Pinschers at GermanPinscher.Dog.
Good Rottweilers are cute, playful, and great at being more intimidating in appearance than in personality.

In order to carefully choose which breed would best suit your needs and wants, here are five essential things you need to know about the German Pinscher vs. the Rottweiler. 

History And Heritage 

German Pinscher

The German Pinscher originated in Germany. The breed is a progenitor of other breeds such as the Doberman, Miniature Pinscher, different Pinscher types, and the Standard Schnauzer. Some of the German Pinscher’s most attractive qualities are its loyalty, intelligence, and playfulness. (source

The earliest depictions of German Pinscher found in dog books go as far back as 1884. The German Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1897. However, the German Pinscher population severely declined in the 1950s after the two World Wars. Single-handedly saving the species from near extinction, Werner Jung used typical Pinschers with some oversized Miniature Pinschers and even risked his life to smuggle a red female pinscher from East Germany. (source)

German Pinschers arrived in America around the late 1970s and early 1980s and were bred only in small numbers. After more US breeders began importing from Germany, England, and other European countries, the population grew. The American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 2003, ranking it as the 134th most popular breed at the time of writing. (source). 

As farm dogs, German Pinschers are of great help in catching rats and vermin. Now, they’ve evolved into outstanding watchdogs and protective family companions.

Rottweiler

Also originating from Germany, the Rottweiler is one of the oldest dog breeds. Its origins date back to ancient Roman times when its ancestors, mastiff-like, cattle-herding dogs, served in the army to accompany and guard the Roman legion as they conquered Europe. After the Romans moved on, dogs left behind in Germany became the progenitor of many German breeds. (source

Many of the dogs Romans brought settled in the town of Rottweil in South-West Germany, where they helped move cattle to the market, guarded livestock and properties, and protected their owners from bandits and thieves. Soon after, they became known as the Rottweiler Metzerhund, which means the “Butcher’s Dog from Rottweil” in English. (source)

During the industrial revolution, cattle began to be transported by trains, and the breed saw a decline in interest until World War I when demand for police dogs increased. In both World Wars, Rottweilers performed various heavy-duty tasks and even served as messenger, ambulance, draught, and guard dogs. 

The first standard Rottweiler produced by the International Club for Leonbergers and Rottweiler Dogs in Germany dates back to 1901. Rottweilers were first imported to Britain in 1930, and the American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 1931. Currently, it is ranked as the 8th most popular breed by the AKC. 

Despite the impressive history of Rottweilers as excellent working dogs and protective companions, present-day media portrayal of the breed as aggressive and violent dogs in several films and TV shows negatively impacted Rottweilers. As a response, many Rottweiler kennel clubs and organizations constantly try to eradicate such stigma and bring back the dignified image of the breed. (source)

How Can We Tell German Pinschers And Rottweilers Apart?

German Pinscher Vs. Rottweiler information at GermanPinscher.Dog.
Here’s a black and tan German Pinscher. Cute and tough at the same time.

At first glance, German Pinschers and Rottweilers may seem quite similar, but upon closer inspection, distinct physical attributes between the two breeds become more noticeable. German Pinschers and Rottweilers differ in terms of build and size, head, and color. 

According to the American Kennel Club, the official standard of the German Pinscher dictates that it should have a moderate body structure, squarely built with muscle and power for endurance and agility. On the other hand, Rottweiler’s official standard states that it should have a compact and substantial build to show great strength, agility, and endurance. Typical German Pinschers, with their ideal height of 17-20 inches, are smaller than Rottweilers as their height ranges around 24-27 inches for males and 22-25 inches for females. 

The Rottweiler’s head should be medium length, broad between the ears, and have a noble, alert, and self-assured expression. The German Pinscher has a powerful, elongated head with a less pronounced occiput. Both breeds have medium-sized eyes without apparent protruding or receding, but a Rottweiler’s are almond-shaped, while the German Pinscher’s eyes are oval. 

In terms of their ears, the German Pinscher has ears set high and stands erect when cropped but has a V-shaped folding pleat when uncropped. However, the Rottweiler’s ears are set well apart, triangular and medium-sized, hanging forward tightly against the head and stopping around the mid-cheek. 

Two of the most apparent physical differences between the German Pinscher and the Rottweiler are their muzzle and nose. The Rottweiler’s muzzle has a straight bridge, broad at the base and its end, with a well-developed chin. The German Pinscher’s muzzle is more elongated, parallel, and equal in length to the top skull and ends in a blunt wedge. 

Talking about color, the Rottweiler always comes in black with rust to mahogany markings, while the German Pinscher comes in various colors. The breed can have a color of fawn, multiple shades of red, including stag red, and black and blues with red or tan markings. 

What To Love And What To Be Mindful Of About The German Pinscher

Find great information about a real-world experience with German Pinschers at GermanPinscher.Dog.
A typical downward dog. GPs invented this pose.
  1. Trainability 

German Pinschers are excellent at housebreaking, but it is also essential to begin socialization early to avoid aggression, which can be a problem in the breed. The German Pinscher is incredibly smart and a quick learner, but they quickly get bored of repetitive training and may want to do things their way. Doing a variety of firm, consistent training routines, best done by experienced owners, is essential for getting proper exercise and enough stimulation. (source)

  1. Temperament, Personality, And Tendency

A well-bred German Pinscher is a lively, alert, and friendly dog who will make a devoted and temperate companion. Since German Pinschers are working dogs, they are full of energy, requiring several hours of exercise daily and a big enough area to play in. This situation is not the best for busy people and not at home often or those living in small dwellings like apartments with no extra land space or nearby dog parks.  

German Pinschers are generally good with children, but it’s better if there is supervision because they might get too lively or playful, which is a hazard for injuries. With strangers, German Pinschers are not too friendly but not too wary either. They have a strong protective sense and are very territorial, so it might take some time before they warm up to someone they just met. 

Although working dogs with an innate drive to be protective, German Pinschers are highly affectionate, so expect them to ask for plenty of cuddles and belly rubs. The breed can also reasonably adapt to new environments, such as changes in living conditions, weather, daily schedule, and other routine variations.

If barking is a deal-breaker, then the German Pinscher is on the safe side. German Pinschers only bark occasionally, which is usually when they are trying to get the attention of their owners to warn about possible dangers. The breed, however, has a high prey drive, so they also tend to chase and catch something, especially other smaller animals who look like prey, like small dogs, cats, or hamsters. 

  1. Maintenance And Grooming 

The German Pinscher is a low-maintenance dog. The GP has a relatively short and dense coat that requires little maintenance and grooming. Weekly brushing and a bath now and then are enough to keep them looking clean and shiny. (source

Overly long nails on dogs are risk hazards because they can be painful and cause walking and running issues, so monthly trimming of their nails is necessary. Like with all breeds, a German Pinscher’s ears should be checked as often as weekly and cleaned of any debris or extra wax if necessary. It’s also essential to note that the breed is not hypoallergenic and sheds occasionally. 

  1. Health, Nutrition, And Life Expectancy 

German Pinschers are generally healthy, robust dogs but are also susceptible to health issues like all other breeds. Because the German Pinscher has a small gene pool, they can be prone to health conditions such as:

  • eye disease like hereditary cataracts 
  • hip and elbow dysplasia 
  • von Willebrand’s disease (a blood disorder in which the blood is unable to properly clot) 
  • thyroid disorder 
  • increased incidence of cardiac disease

In order to make sure the breed will be able to live a long, healthy life, they should be fed high-quality food appropriate for their age and activity level. Obesity can be a problem for many breeds, and the German Pinschers is no exception, so you should give treats moderately. In addition, teeth brushing should be done often and regular check-ups at the vet are necessary to ensure that the breed is in good health. The German Pinscher can live for as long as 12 to 14 years. 

  1. Cost 

Because it’s difficult to find this German breed in North America, a German Pinscher puppy may cost an average of $2,000 – $3,000 depending on the puppy’s breeding and the breeder’s terms. Looking into adoption programs organized by kennel clubs or organizations like the German Pinscher Club of America is also possible if the cost is way over your budget. (source)

The Pros And Cons Of Having A Rottweiler 

The Pros And Cons Of Having A Rottweiler explained at GermanPinscher.Dog.
A younger Rottweiler.
  1. Trainability 

Being an intelligent breed, Rottweilers are versatile, easy to teach, and react well to obedience training. Since the breed is also classified as a working dog breed, activities, including agility training and physical work like learning to pull carts or sleds, are generally enjoyable for Rottweilers. However, Rottweiler puppies can be pretty naughty, so housebreaking might be challenging for inexperienced owners. 

Because Rottweilers can grow to be big, powerful, and occasionally stubborn as adults, it’s also essential to start training them early. Establishing control utilizing positive training such as obedience training, giving clear verbal commands, and occasional physical corrections that are not too rough are some of the adequate methods to raise an intelligent and well-mannered Rottweiler. 

  1. Temperament And Personality 

Rottweiler’s personalities vary greatly. Some enjoy being affectionate to almost everyone, entertaining their owners, and making them laugh, while others act like little princesses and princes. The breed also has high energy levels, so plenty of training and exercise is needed. Having a significant area for Rottweilers to run around and play in is the best living condition for this giant dog breed. Living in a smaller space, such as an apartment with no garden or nearby parks, might not be the most suitable for Rottweilers. 

With children, Rottweilers are generally well-behaved. One of Rottweiler’s most endearing personalities is its gentleness despite its size and strength. Rottweilers are playful and protective, but their herding instincts tend to bump into children and knock them over, which might cause serious injuries. So, leaving small children unattended with Rottweilers, or any dog for that matter, is never a good idea. 

Rottweilers are second nature to be excellent watchdogs with high protective and territorial instincts, so problems might arise if unannounced strangers present themselves. That said, Rottweiler owners should also be responsible for informing and assuring any guests coming over that they will be gladly welcomed once their Rottweiler recognizes them as friends. (source)

Despite their immense size and negative portrayal by mainstream media, Rottweilers are very loyal and affectionate with their family and rarely aggressive or violent. They love watching over their owners and following them around the house. Rottweilers are also very adaptable to different situations or environmental changes, but they can tolerate cool temperatures better than warm ones. 

Rottweilers are very playful and energetic, but they also have a high prey drive meaning a high impulse to catch and chase something, so having other smaller pets in the house might not be the best for the breed. In addition, it can also be more difficult for young adults and mature Rottweilers to get along with pets other than Rottweiler puppies, who can adapt reasonably well to other older animals in the house. 

  1. Maintenance And Grooming

Rottweilers have a double coat with a medium-length, straight, coarse outer coat that lies flat. Despite their double coat, Rottweilers shed very moderately and at most only twice a year, often during spring or fall. This breed is a low-medium maintenance dog, so observing good dental hygiene, weekly brushing and trimming nails, and regular bathing are enough to keep Rottweilers clean. 

  1. Health And Life Expectancy 

Relatively healthy and disease-free dogs, Rottweilers are generally safe from breed-specific illnesses, but like most breeds, Rottweilers can also be prone to some common health issues such as:

  • hip and elbow dysplasia 
  • eye diseases
  • heart conditions
  • Osteochondritis dissecans (a condition affecting the shoulder joints) 
  • cancer

To ensure that the breed is healthy and will live long, providing good nutrition of high-quality ready-made or homemade dog food appropriate to their age should be prioritized. As with other breeds, you should give treats moderately to prevent the risk of obesity. Regular vet check-ups to monitor their health are also necessary. The Rottweiler can live for as long as 9 to 10 years. 

  1. Cost 

The Rottweiler is ranked as the 8th most popular dog breed by the American Kennel Club, so looking for a reputable breeder won’t be much of a challenge. The average cost of a quality Rottweiler puppy from a good breeder is around $1,200 to $2,000. However, a Rottweiler from top breed lines or champion lines may cost as much as $2,500 and $4,000. The American Rottweiler Club also organizes adoption and rehoming programs for rescued Rottweilers. (source

German Pinscher Vs. Rottweiler, Which One Should You Get?

German Pinschers and Rottweilers are both energetic, versatile, and highly loyal breeds. Still, they can grow quite big and require constant training and stimulation so that they would be best cared for by experienced owners. They are generally equal in terms of health, maintenance, and temperament. Some key differences between the two breeds would be their appearance, cost to purchase, and life expectancy. 

Dogs are not one-size-fits-all, so the best breed is the breed that suits your needs, wants, lifestyle, and living conditions. Although having the readiness and commitment to be good, responsible dog owners are perhaps the ultimate factor in deciding whether you should get this breed or that breed. Regardless of breed, if you give them enough love and care for them as they do for you, any dog would be perfect.

German Pinscher Vs. Rottweiler At A Glance

Sources/References 

  1. German Pinscher Frequently Asked Questions. (n.d.). Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://web.archive.org/web/20141122004623/http://germanpinscher.com/faq.htm
  2. The German Pinscher HISTORY. (n.d.). Retrieved September 18, 2021, from https://web.archive.org/web/20090207220111/http://www.germanpinscher.com/history.html
  3. Breed History. (n.d.). Retrieved September 18, 2021, from https://germanpinscher.org/breed-history/
  4. Greenberg, A. (November 6, 2017). Rottweiler Dog Breed Information. Retrieved September 18, 2021, from https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/rottweiler/#standard
  5. Rottweiler Dog Breed Information. (n.d.). Retrieved September 18, 2021, from https://www.purina.co.uk/find-a-pet/dog-breeds/rottweiler
  6. Rottweiler. (August 14, 2021). Retrieved September 18, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rottweiler
  7. German Pinscher Breed Information, Characteristics & Heath Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved September 18, 2021, from https://www.dogzone.com/breeds/german-pinscher/
  8. Greenberg, A. (November 6, 2017). German Pinscher Dog Breed Information. Retrieved September 18, 2021, from https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/german-pinscher/
  9. German Pinscher – Price, Temperament, Life span. (n.d.). Retrieved September 18, 2021, from https://www.dogbreedslist.info/all-dog-breeds/german-pinscher.html
  10. Owning a Rottweiler. (October 18, 2019). Retrieved September 18, 2021, from https://www.amrottclub.org/about-the-rottweiler/owning-a-rottweiler
  11. Rottweiler – Price, Temperament, Life span. (n.d.). Retrieved September 18, 2021, from https://www.dogbreedslist.info/all-dog-breeds/rottweiler.htm

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