Rottweiler vs Doberman Pinscher. It’s not unusual for people in love to get hitched and take vows to love and cherish each other. It’s also not unusual for certain dogs to devote themselves to loving, cherishing and protecting you and your family. There are several breeds that will fit the bill, but two that are high on the list of anyone looking for a guard dog are the Doberman Pinscher and the Rottweiler. In this edition of Animal Facts, we’ll help you decide which breed is better for you in this epic battle of the guard dog breeds.
History Rottweiler vs Doberman Pinscher
Nobody likes the tax man. So, in the 1880s when German tax collector Karl Friedrich Louis Doberman engineered a dog type by crossing breeds such as the Rottweiler, Manchester Terrier, Weimaraner and Black English Greyhound, he did it with one goal in mind—to create a guard dog unmatched in fearlessness, intelligence, toughness, vigilance and athleticism. His efforts resulted in a breed that bears his name to this day (sans one “n”), the Doberman Pinscher.
After Dobermann’s death, the Germans named the dog he created in his honor. Eventually, they dropped the word “pinscher” (which means, to nip, bite or grip) because of its negative connotation.
Near the end of the 19th century, a breeder named Otto Goeller founded the National Doberman Pinscher Club. He is credited with further developing and refining the dog type, and in 1900, the German Kennel Club officially acknowledged the Doberman Pinscher as a breed. In 1908, the Dobie was introduced to the U.S.
The breed saw a major decline during World War I when many of those who owned the large dogs couldn’t afford to feed them. After the war, many of the surviving canines were brought to the U.S., but with the dawn of World War II, the breed was set back again in Europe. Despite its struggles in Europe, the Doberman flourished in Europe. In fact, many experts credit American breeders with the survival of the breed.
The Rottweiler is an ancient herding breed that is thought to be a descendant of the drover dogs of ancient Rome. Drovers were strong, reliable, Mastiff-type dogs that were used to herd and guard cattle used by Roman soldiers for food. Eventually, the Romans made their way into southern Germany, and the Drover dog became an essential part of the cattle trade and remained so, even after the Romans were forced out of the area. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, these dogs were used by travelling butchers to guard money pouches that were tied to their necks, and herders would use them to protect and move cattle from pasture to market in the town of Rottweil—the town that gave them their name.
The Industrial Age saw a decline in the breed, as railroads became the most efficient means of getting stock to market.
The demand for police dogs during World War I spurred a resurgence of the Rottweiler. They served as messengers, ambulance and guard dogs, as well as in search and rescue operations—a duty that they still perform today. In 1931, the breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club, and today the Rottweiler is the eighth most popular dog breed in the U.S.
Fun Fact: The Doberman saw a surge in popularity when a K9 military unit called the Marine Corps Dobermans of the Pacific rose to fame during World War II.
Size and Appearance Rottweiler vs Doberman Pinscher
A medium to large breed dog, the male Doberman stands 27 to 28 inches at the withers, while the female stands 25 to 27 inches and typically weighs between 70 and 100 pounds. The Dobie is elegantly built with a streamlined, muscular frame, long neck, and narrow muzzle. Although they’re born with floppy ears and long, thin tails, many owners have their pup’s ears clipped and tail docked to enhance their sleek looks, while some have them altered to give them a more intimidating appearance. Originally, their tails were clipped out of fear they would break off—weird but true.
Their short haired coat comes in black, red, brown, blue (diluted black), fawn (diluted red), or any combination of two of these colors.
Fun Fact: There is also an albino variation of the Doberman. These pups are actually a cream color with white markings and blue eyes.
The Rottweiler is also a medium to large breed dog with a large head and broad muzzle. It is deep-chested and thickly muscled from its head to its hindquarters. While most Rotties are born with tails, some are born with bobbed tails.
The average male stands 24 and 27 inches at the withers, and weighs between 110 and 132 pounds. Females typically stand 22 to 25 inches at the withers, and weigh anywhere from 77 to 105 pounds.
Its short, dense, double coat is black with distinct brown markings on the brow, cheeks, snout, chest, and legs.
Fun Fact: Unlike other breeds, the colors and markings of a Rottweiler do not vary from dog to dog. They will always be black with brown patches that come in one of three shades—rust, mahogany and tan.
Temperament and Family Life Rottweiler vs Doberman Pinscher
When it comes to their people, Dobies are unwaveringly loyal and reliable, but can be suspicious of strangers. The quintessential guard dog, they won’t hesitate to protect you, your family, and your property with their lives if they perceive a threat. Just the suggestion that a Doberman is on patrol is enough to make most “ne’er do wells” think twice about doing anything that might bring them face-to-face with such a fierce opponent. Dobermans get a bad rap for being overly aggressive. Truth is, most Dobies are aggressive only when they have a reason to be.
That said, they can also be quite playful and take years to reach maturity. In fact, most females aren’t ready for guard training until age 2, while most males aren’t ready until they’re 4 years old. Dobermans are “one-human dogs.” They tend to bond closely to one person in the family and even though they don’t come across as softies, they’re gentle and loving with children they are raised with.
Fun Fact: Dobermans are clean freaks that hate the cold and don’t like to get wet.
As is typical of most “big dog” breeds, Rotties carry themselves in a quiet, confident manner but they tend to be big softies when interacting with their people. Although they’re known for their alertness and protective instincts, they love to let their guard down and clown around with family.
Since Rottweilers have a natural inclination to be territorial, they make excellent guard dogs. They tend to be aloof with strangers, but will warm up to new people or environments if given a little time. It is imperative to properly train and socialize your Rottie as a pup, so that you won’t have an exceptionally strong, aggressive bully on your hands.
Trainability and Intelligence Rottweiler vs Doberman Pinscher
Dobies are perhaps the most trainable dog breed, and have fifth highest intelligence rating of all canines, according to canine psychologist, Stanley Coren. They learn quickly, maintain a level of alertness not seen in other breeds, and are devoted to their humans, implicitly following their commands to the letter.
The trick to training this savvy canine is to be consistent, fair, and observant. Pay close attention to your pooch, lest you may find yourself outsmarted, and like other breeds, this dog type responds well to positive reinforcement.
Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers are intelligent, but we could all use some help training them. Check out Brain Training for Dogs to learn how to use your dog’s natural intelligence to stop bad behavior.
Since they’re so easy to train, the Doberman is highly sought after to fill several different positions. Not only are they used for protection, they serve as police dogs, take part in search and rescue operations, and make excellent service and emotional support animals.
The Rottweiler may be built like a bulldozer, but there’s a lot of brain behind that brawn. The Rott is the 10th smartest dog breed in regards to trainability…and that’s a good thing, because its size and strength —combined with its territorial instincts—can make for a rather destructive loose cannon.
Rottweilers can also be stubborn, so be sure your personality is strong enough to handle one. This is a dog that is best suited to someone who is assertive, and can be firm and consistent when giving commands. If you let your Rottie take the lead, it will be more than happy to train you.
Professional training and socialization is recommended for all Rottweilers, especially if you are a first time Rott parent.
True to their working roots, this is a breed that needs something to do. Since they rank highly in obedience training, they often serve in the military, law enforcement, search and rescue and as customs inspectors. They are also frequently used as therapy and guide dogs.
Fun (or not so fun) Fact: Rottweilers have a bite force of 328 pounds.
Exercise Needs Rottweiler vs Doberman Pinscher
How does a Doberman stay fit? With 1 to 2 hours of exercise each day. Not only does a high-level of activity help keep their slender, well-toned physique in check, it also keeps their mind sharp and curbs destructive behavior due to boredom.
Start by walking your Dobie once or twice a day for at least 30 to 45 minutes. The length of time you spend walking your dog will depend on you, as Dobermans have incredible stamina and can go ‘til it’s all gone.
In addition to walks, keep your pup’s quickness on point by tossing them a Frisbee, or setting up a spring pole or agility course in the backyard. Remember, the Doberman is one of the smartest canines on the planet, so mind-stimulating activities like puzzle toys, scenting games, and learning new commands or tricks are a must if you want your best friend to stay well-behaved and happy.
Just like any well-sculpted bodybuilder, your Rottweiler will need a workout regimen that will keep their muscles tight, toned, and flab free, burn excess energy, and bust boredom.
A healthy Rott requires at least 45 minutes to an hour of exercise each day. The foundation of any dog’s exercise routine should be a daily walk or two at a brisk pace. Your Rottweiler will be no different in this regard, but how long the walk lasts will depend on your stamina—not theirs.
Walks should last a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes, and be supplemented by activities that build muscle. Stair climbing, swimming, tug-of-war, and weight pulling are great for overall conditioning. Want to kick your fetch game up a notch? Play weighted fetch. Instead of tossing a ball or a stick around, use a lightly weighted item like a small, plastic dumbbell or sand-filled water bottle.
Since Rottweilers have well-developed chests and shoulders, it is important that the muscles in their hips and hindquarters develop properly.
Doggy squats (which are very similar to human squats) are a great way to strengthen the thighs, and having your pup walk into a narrow space and walk backward to get out of it, will work the hip extensor muscles.
Don’t forget to work your dog’s “main muscle”—the brain. To stimulate mental activity, add chew toys, new tricks, and puzzle, scenting, and nose games to the mix.
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