Rottweiler vs. Pitbull Breed Comparison

María Besteiros
By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. Updated: December 14, 2023
Rottweiler vs. Pitbull Breed Comparison

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The Pitbull and the Rottweiler are two dog breeds that are often included in a country's list of potentially dangerous dogs. These are lists which exist in certain countries that limit or prohibit the ownership of certain dog breeds which are considered too dangerous for most owners. The reason that some dogs are on this list is due to violent incidents which have occurred with breeds of certain dog, but it is controversial legislation. While some dog breeds require greater levels of care and education than others, many activists argue that no dog is themselves dangerous. It is the actions of their owners that lead to violent incidents.

At AnimalWised, we provide this Rottweiler vs. Pitbull comparison to look at two dogs which are often unfairly determined to be dangerous. In truth, these dogs can be some of the most loyal and loving companions for many types of family, as long as their care is respected.

You may also be interested in: American Rottweiler vs. German Rottweiler


  1. Rottweiler vs. Pitbull origins
  2. Rottweiler vs. Pitbull size
  3. Rottweiler vs. Pitbull bite
  4. Rottweiler vs. Pitbull character
  5. Rottweiler vs. Pitbull care
  6. Rottweiler vs. Pitbull health

Rottweiler vs. Pitbull origins

When referring to a dog as a Pitbull, there are various breeds which have some variation of this name. In this Rottweiler vs. Pitbull breed comparison, we are referring specifically to the American Pitbull Terrier. The other types of Pit Bull breeds are often confused with this breed since they share certain physical characteristics, as well as breed origins.

As their name suggests, the America Pit Bull Terrier is a dog with origins in the United States of America, although their ancestors can be traced back to England. The specific emergence of the Pitbull is dated to the 19th century. Unfortunately, they were dogs that were used to fight other dogs, as well as animals such as bears and bulls. Fortunately, this practice is largely outlawed, although illegal operations still take place.

This history of dog fighting has resulted in various breed associations not even recognizing the breed, even if they accept other Pitbull types. Its inclusion in the list of potentially dangerous dogs has also led to prejudice against the breed in many countries.

Also known as a Rottie, the Rottweiler also arose during the 19th Century, but this time in Germany. The name of this German dog breed name comes from Rottweil, a city in the south. Like the Pitbull, the Rottweiler also has a fierce appearance and strong build. Unlike the former breed, the Rottweiler was never bred as a fighting dog, but was first employed as a cattle dog. Unfortunately, their strength has meant that many individuals have also been used in this blood sport.

The natural tendency for protection has also led to the Rottweiler's employment as a guard dog for property. Today, the Rottweiler is often used for security, defense and even law enforcement when employed as a working dog. They are also highly appreciated as a companion animal to many families, despite some restrictions when considered to be a dangerous dog.

Rottweiler vs. Pitbull size

The Pitbull is a medium-sized dog, although it can be considerably heavy. In general, it ranges from around 31-35 lb/14-16 kg in weight. As for the average height at the withers, it is about 18-22"/46-56 cm. Rottweilers are much heavier at around 88-110 lb/40-50 kg. They are also taller, ranging from 23-27"/58-69 cm at the withers. In short, Rottweilers are much larger in size than the Pitbull, despite the Pitbull also often having an imposing presence.

While a difference in size between the Rottie vs. Pitbull is most striking, there are other important physical distinctions between these breeds. Although both dogs have very strong jaws, the Rottweiler's head is broader and more square shaped. Rottweilers also do not often have their ears cropped, a practice common in Pitbulls to make them appear more intimidating. However, it is common to see tail docking in the Rottweiler.

In many countries, these practices are contravened by law. We discover why with our article on ear cropping and tail docking in dogs.

Another obvious difference between the two breeds is their coat. Pitbulls and Rottweilers have short, smooth coats, but their coloring is very different. While the Pit Bull can be found in a variety of colors, all accepted Rottweilers have a distinctive black and tan coat.

Rottweiler vs. Pitbull Breed Comparison - Rottweiler vs. Pitbull size

Rottweiler vs. Pitbull bite

Both the Rottweiler and the Pitbull are strong and powerful dog breeds, but when it comes to measuring bite force, there isn't a definitive answer about which breed has the absolute strongest bite. Bite force can vary greatly among individual dogs within a breed due to factors such as genetics, jaw structure and training.

It is worth noting that both Rotties and Pitbulls are often included in discussions about dog breeds with strong bite force. Studies on bite force have shown that various breeds, including Rottweilers and Pitbulls, have a powerful bite. This is when bite force is measured in the range of hundreds of pounds per square inch.

In practical terms, bite force isn't necessarily the most important factor in determining a dog's behavior or temperament. Factors like training, socialization, upbringing and individual personality play a significant role in a dog's behavior towards people and other animals.

It's important to remember that a dog's strength and bite force, regardless of the breed, can have serious implications for safety and responsible ownership. Proper training, socialization and responsible ownership are crucial for preventing aggressive behavior and ensuring that any dog, regardless of breed, interacts safely with its environment and other living beings.

Learn more with our article on how to get a Pitbull to release their bite.

Rottweiler vs. Pitbull character

In this section we will give some general characteristics of both breeds in terms of personality and behavior. This does not mean that all specimens will behave in exactly the same way. It is very important to point out that other factors play a part in determining a dog's character, especially education, care and experience.

One important similarity between the Rottweiler and the Pitbull is their reputation. Despite both being considered dangerous dogs, both animals can be excellent companions when treated correctly.

Among the character differences between Pitbulls and Rottweilers is their sociability. Generally speaking, the Pitbull is a much more social dog. They will often approach strangers without any problem. Largely due to their breeding instinct, Rottweilers tend to be much more guarded.

Both dogs are noted for their outstanding intelligence. The Rottie is perhaps a little more versatile in terms of being task orientated. While both can be trained to a high level of accuracy, the Rottweiler is more noted for performing a wide range of tasks. For this reason, they commonly participate in activities that blend canine sports and obedience, such as agility training.

To ensure any dog has a good character once they mature, the socialization process needs to be respected. Learn more with our article on socializing puppies and adult dogs.

Rottweiler vs. Pitbull care

When caring for these dogs, education is key if we want to enjoy a companion with a balanced temperament. It is important that training and education begins as soon as possible, as is the case with socialization. It must be taken into account that both breeds can adapt to life in the city. This implies knowing how to behave with people and other animals in various situations.

Regarding hygiene, there are not many differences when caring for Rottweilers or Pitbulls. Both have short coats that are relatively easy to maintain. We do need to be especially careful with the Rottweiler's diet since they are a be a dog breed prone to obesity. This means we need to avoid an excess of treats and provide an adequate diet in sufficient quantities.

Both breeds are active dogs that need daily walks combined with exercise. Although it may not appear to be so, the Rottweiler often needs more exercise than the Pitbull due to a slower metabolism. This is another important way to avoid becoming overweight. Exercise also helps to keep both animals balanced in terms of behavior.

Rottweiler vs. Pitbull Breed Comparison - Rottweiler vs. Pitbull care

Rottweiler vs. Pitbull health

Both the Pit Bull and the Rottweiler are generally healthy and strong dogs. As we have said, the Rottweiler is prone to obesity so they need proper weight control. This is because the extra pounds of weight are associated with various health problems such as diabetes and osteoarthritis in dogs. Being overweight also affects heat tolerance, exercise stamina and reactions to anesthesia, as well as reducing quality of life and life expectancy.

Being large and heavy dogs, they are more likely to suffer from mobility problems, such as the aforementioned osteoarthritis or hip dysplasia. We can also count cancer among the diseases to which both breeds show a certain predisposition. Canine heart disease, eye problems and torsion-dilation of the stomach are also shared by both dogs. The Pitbull has a greater tendency to developing skin problems.

Finally, the life expectancy of the Pitbull is about 12 years of age. On average, that of the Rottweiler is somewhat lower, although there will also be specimens that reach and even exceed a dozen years.

Now that you know the differences between Pitbulls and Rottweilers, remember that in shelters you can find specimens of both breeds. This is especially the case with adult dogs and mixed breeds of both. These animals need help with adoption, so please consider caring for them where possible.

If you want to read similar articles to Rottweiler vs. Pitbull Breed Comparison, we recommend you visit our Comparisons category.

  • Fogle, B. (1995). The Encyclopedia of the Dog. London: Dorling Kindersley.
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Rottweiler vs. Pitbull Breed Comparison