If you are trying to decide whether the Rottweiler vs Pitbull would be right for you, we’re here to help.
We are going to look closely at both breeds, comparing their size, appearance, health and personality.
We’ll pick apart the facts from the fiction to better understand which of these breeds might suit you best.
Let’s start with where both these dog breeds came from.
Origins of the Rottweiler
Both powerful and impressive dogs, but the Rottweiler and Pitbull come from very different backgrounds.
The Rottweiler began in Germany and is the descendant of ancient Roman herding breeds. Eventually, the Rottie became a well-known butcher’s companion.
With much of his early work taking place in the town of Rottweil, it is no wonder this large and muscular drover became known as the Rottweiler.
The Rottie’s intelligence and temperament made him an ideal dog for working in law enforcement and with the military.
But this muscular breed also has a heart of gold and was of the first breeds utilized as guide dogs for the blind.
So, what about the Pitbull?
Origins of the Pitbull
The Pitbull has a much sadder beginning.
The name “Pitbull” in general describes a number of bull terrier breeds crafted in Great Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries by blood sports enthusiasts.
Pitbull breeds were purposefully crossed with terriers for their persistence and bulldogs for their jaw strength.
The Pitbull’s duty was to either fight other dogs or fight in packs against a bull.
Thankfully, these inhumane sports were outlawed by more modern animal welfare laws.
Although, sadly, underground and illegal dog fighting practices still take place today.
Despite the Pit’s bloody history, the temperament and loyalty of this breed have made them a fairly popular family and companion dog all over the world.
In fact, the Pitbull remains one of the topmost decorated war dogs and they have even played starring roles in a number of Hollywood films!
They also partake in military and police work and were once known as “nanny dogs” for their gentleness and patience with children.
Rottweiler Vs Pitbull Appearance
Both the Rottweiler and the Pitbull are large muscular dogs, but look quite different.
For example, the Rottweiler is around 22 to 27 inches tall and weighs 80 to 135 lbs.
They have floppy ears, a docked tail, and a sleek coat that comes in four patterns:
Pitbull breeds, on the other hand, can be stalkier, extremely muscular, with large heads and wide jaws, either clipped or floppy ears, and a long tail.
They can stand 17 to 19 inches tall and weigh between 40 to 70 lbs.
Pit breeds may be most famous for their “smiles”, which make them appear happy and expressive.
Like the Rottie, the Pitbull’s coat is also short and sleek, but it comes in a wide range of colors, including
You can even get Pitbulls with a blue nose!
Rottweiler Vs Pitbull Temperament
Many potential dog owners have concern that Rottweilers and Pitbulls may not be good family pets and can be aggressive and unpredictable.
However, studies have shown that dogs who bite most frequently are unneutered male dogs.
Other studies show breed specific-aggression is actually unfounded and all dogs may bite if provoked, anxious, or injured, regardless of their breed.
More recent studies have theorized that dog bite force and jaw strength may not have so much to do with the breed, and more to do with the size of a particular dog and their head and jaw.
This means that the bigger the dog and the larger the head, the stronger the bite.
If this is true, then the Mastiff has the most powerful bite in the canine kingdom, not the Rottie or the Pit, as once speculated.
So, when it comes to the Rottweiler vs Pitbull, which makes the better family pet?
Rottweiler Vs Pitbull – Which Breed is Better for Families?
Both breeds make wonderful pets for the right person or family so long as they are properly socialized at an early age and undergo lots of obedience training.
Prospective owners should note that both breeds may have natural guarding tendencies and are very powerful, making training and socialization just that much more important.
Due to their fighting histories, however, the American Kennel Club, (AKC), points out that the Pitbull breeds could develop dog aggression at any given time.
This means they should never be left alone or unsupervised around other dogs.
This may mean that the Pitbull is not the best choice for families if there are other dogs living in the house.
On the contrary, the Rottie thoroughly enjoys other dogs and is a very social breed.
Both the Pitbull and the Rottie are intelligent but can exhibit stubborn behavior. Either way, their loyalty, and eagerness to please make them enjoyable breeds to train.
Both breeds are both people-oriented and will be better suited to those with enough time to nurture, train, and exercise them consistently.
Rottweiler Vs Pitbull Training Requirements
As previously mentioned, early socialization is key to ensuring both the Pit and Rottie grow up well-rounded and well behaved.
In addition, because they are so strong, experts do not recommend roughhousing games like wrestling, as these can encourage aggression in these breeds.
The Rottie is especially intelligent and will need consistent training to keep them mentally stimulated.
On the other hand, the Pit is a free-thinker and will most certainly exhibit some hard-headed behaviors.
Experts have found that positive reinforcement training works best with these two breeds.
Since the Pitbull can be especially prone to digging and chewing when bored or left alone, we highly suggest you check out our guide on crate training.
You should also see our guide on how to best potty train a new puppy.
Rottweiler Vs Pitbull Exercise Requirements
Both the Rottie and Pitbull are athletic breeds who require plenty of exercising, although they require different amounts and types.
The Rottweiler, for example, will need about an hour or so a day and should be offered doggy jobs such as hauling light loads or helping out around the house.
They are intelligent and require mental stimulation as well as plenty playtime.
The Pitbull is very high-energy and needs exercise throughout the day, although the AKC warns not to leave them out in the backyard to compensate.
Like the Rottie, the Pit is family-oriented and needs mental stimulation.
Free play time in a securely fenced in backyard is good for both breeds, but they will also need adequate time to play and bond with their humans.
Long walks, jogs, runs, hikes, and backyard Frisbee sessions make excellent exercise choices.
You should also note that the Rottweiler enjoys swimming and would make a great companion for those with beach or lakefront properties!
Rottweiler Vs Pitbull Health Concerns
The Rottweiler has a shorter lifespan than the Pitbull and can be prone to a number of health issues, including eye diseases, heart conditions, hip dysplasia, and cancers.
The National Breed Club recommends that Rottweilers undergo early health tests, such as
- hip evaluation
- elbow evaluation
- cardiac exam
The Pitbull can live 12 to 16 years, but they too are prone to a number of genetic health issues. These can include
- hip dysplasia
- skin and coat allergies
- cardiac disease
- cerebellar ataxia
According to the National Breed Club, the Pitbull should undergo the following tests:
- hip evaluation
- thyroid evaluation
- cardiac exam
- neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL) DNA test
- ophthalmological evaluation
Grooming and a healthy diet and lifestyle will also help to maintain the overall health of your Rottweiler or Pitbull.
Both the Rottweiler and Pitbull need high-quality dog food that is formulated specifically for their age and size.
But what about grooming?
Grooming Requirements of the Rottweiler Vs Pitbull
The Rottie requires more maintenance than the Pit when it comes to grooming, but not much.
Your Rottweiler will need weekly brushing to keep both their coat and skin healthy, as well as regular bathing.
In contrast, the Pitbull only needs brushing and a bath once a week and as their owner sees fit.
Both breeds will need their ears cleaned to keep them infection-free and their nails trimmed to keep them from breaking.
Rottweiler Vs Pitbull – Which Breed Makes a Better Pet?
When it comes to the Rottweiler vs Pitbull, the choice may come down to personal preference.
Before youmake your final decision, you also need to check the whether there are any restrictions on owning either breed in your region.
In the UK, it is illegal to own a Pitbull. Several states in the US and regions in Canada also have breed specific legislation restricting ownership of Pitbulls and/or Rottweilers.
If health is a concern, a prospective owner may consider forgoing getting a puppy and adopting an adult dog from a shelter.
Rescuing an adult Rottweiler or Pitbull from a shelter could mean you are less likely to be blindsided by future health issues.
Check out our guide on rescuing your dog from a shelter!
Remember, both breeds can make good family pets as long as they are well socialized and properly trained.
The Rottie would make the best companion for homes of active families who have other household dogs, while the Pitbull may be more suitable for homes without other dogs.
So, which one will you choose? Tell us in the comments!
References and Resources
Gershman KA, Sacks JJ, and Wright JC. 1994. Which Dogs Bite? A Case-Control Study of Risk Factors. Pediatrics.
Schalke E et al. 2008. Is breed-specific legislation justified? Study of the results of the temperament test of Lower Saxony. Journal of Veterinary Behavior.
Hsu Y and Serpell JA. 2003. Development and validation of a questionnaire for measuring behavior and temperament traits in pet dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Howell TJ, King T, and Bennett PC. 2015. Puppy Parties and Beyond: the role of early age socialization practices on adult dog behavior. Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports.
Irion DN et al., 2003. Analysis of Genetic Variation in 28 Dog Breed Populations With 100 Microsatellite Markers. Journal of Heredity.
Coren S. 2006. The Intelligence of Dogs. Free Press.
Acumen L. 2011. The Genetic Connection; a Guide to Health Problems in Purebred Dogs, Second Edition.