Is A German Shepherd Better Watchdog Than A Rottweiler?


It is time to talk about the German Shepherd vs Rottweiler and put these two dogs side by side, comparing everything — from paws to muzzle.

They are considered to be two of the best guard dogs in the world. They have proven to be the two most loyal and brave companions and family dogs. And, they are incredible working dogs at the same time.

However, when it comes to choosing between these two dog breeds, it is not that easy to do. Both dogs have a lot of good qualities. They also have traits that some people might find “a bit too much” or too hard to handle.

Then, there are their physical characteristics, including coat type, coat color, coat patterns, ears, tail size, weight, and height… These are all the things dog owners want to know before bringing a new furry friend into their homes.

And, we have two German Shepherd vs Rottweiler charts in which we will cover all these traits for you to decide which dog is a dog for me? Is it the famous GSD or the Rottweiler with its ancient ancestry?

Let’s see the facts.

German Shepherd Vs Rottweiler

So, we have the German Shepherd vs Rottweiler charts in front of us. The first one is about the general physical appearances and their average lifespan and price. These are the first, basic facts that are needed to see the size difference between these two dogs.

German Shepherd Rottweiler
Height 22-26 inches 22-27 inches
Weight 50-90 lb 80-135 lb
Lifespan 7-10 years 9-10 years
Price $500-2000 $1500-3000

The second chart is more in-depth, taking these dogs’ social and family traits into consideration. We will, of course, talk about all of these traits, and explain what they mean.

We will also use the abbreviation, GSD, for German Shepherd and, Rottie, for Rottweiler, during this text.

German Shepherd Rottweiler
Affectionate Affectionate
Excellent with children Good with children
Not so good with other dogs Not so good with other dogs
Not so open to strangers Not so open to strangers
Excellent watchdog Excellent watchdog
Very playful Very playful
Highly adaptable Adaptable
Trainable Trainable
Moderate barking Not vocal
Lots of shedding Moderate shedding
No drooling Moderate drooling

Physical Appearance

german shepherd and rottweiler facing each other

Whether we want to admit it or not, we all notice the physical characteristics of a dog. We like a certain dog breed not only because of its temperamental traits, but because we think it looks pretty.

Some people love Belgian Malinois, but think GSDs are not that special, even though they are quite similar-looking dogs. On the other hand, the Rottweiler and the German Shepherd are two very different-looking dogs.

The things they have in common is that they are both large breeds, and that they are both registered as purebred dogs all around the world in various kennel organizations.

In other words, you cannot mistake a Rottie for a German Shepherd. But, how exactly are they different, and what does this mean in terms of owning one? We’ll see in the text below.

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is undoubtedly one of the most famous dogs in the world. If you think about police dogs, what dog comes to your mind? If it is a GSD, you are absolutely correct — they are police dogs, military dogs, search and rescue dogs, and service dogs.

But, you can see in their name that they were originally bred for a completely different type of job. They were originally bred in Germany to be herding dogs (sheepdogs); hence, the name, Shepherd.

They were supposed to protect the flocks from predators, large and small, so they needed to be large dogs. Today’s GSD’s height is up to 26 inches, and weight is up to 90 pounds. Female GSDs are smaller than male GSDs.

Their most popular coat color is black and tan, or black and red, but nowadays, you can find all kinds of coat colors in GSDs — isabella, blue, black, and even a white German Shepherd!

One thing is the same — they all have a double coat of medium hair length. There are long-haired GSDs, but they are not as common as medium-haired ones.


The Rottweiler is larger than the GSD. Not by much, but still, the size difference is noticeable when you put these two dogs next to each other.

The Rottweiler’s average height is up to 27 inches, and its average weight is up to 135 pounds. So, they are not much taller than GSDs, but they are much heavier. Also, a male Rottweiler is larger than a female Rottie.

This size difference is normal when you realize that the Rottie came from old Roman empire dogs called Molossus. They were very large Mastiff-like dogs from Ancient Rome.

Today’s Rottweilers are not as large, but they still have the intimidating looks of a true big guard dog. They also have a very strong bite force, which makes them jump on top of the list of the best protection dogs.

They are higher ranking than Dobermans and Pitbulls. This tells a lot about their looks, strength, and devotion.

The Rott comes in one AKC (American Kennel Club) accepted coat color — black with vivid tan or mahogany markings. They have a smooth and short coat type.

Personality Traits

german shepherd and rottweiler running on a meadow

Temperamental traits are what make this German Shepherd vs Rottweiler debate so interesting. This is where people start to have opposing opinions.

But, the debate only proves that both German Shepherd dogs and Rottweilers are popular dog breeds considered to be one of the best working breeds.

Both dog breeds had different origins — one was a shepherd dog, and the other one was a butcher’s dog (protecting butchers). However, today, these dogs have similar jobs, and they have nothing to do with being sheep dogs or cattle dogs.

German Shepherd

The GSD is the perfect family pet. They make great companions, and they are excellent with young children as well. This comes from their innate calmness and laid-back nature that dogs around small children need to possess.

They are also very intelligent dogs that are very easy to train. Their trainability makes them not only excellent guard dogs, but excellent at doing police work or completing various dog training.

However, they are active dogs that love to play. This means you need to give your GSD a lot of mental stimulation and a couple of hours of exercise every day.

The best option is to have a yard where a GSD can enjoy its nature and do what it does best — protect.

Even though they are good with children, they are not as open to strangers. That is desirable and normal because they are supposed to be guard dogs.

If we compare a Rottweiler vs German Shepherd, we can see that the GSD has more grooming needs than the Rottie. Daily brushing is a must.


The Rottweiler is also great with children, although they need to go through proper socialization from an early age before leaving them alone with children. They won’t intentionally hurt them, but they are not as patient with children pulling their ears and tail, and being very loud.

We can also see that the German Shepherd vs Rottweiler chart tells us that Rotties are also excellent guard dogs with a certain reservedness toward strangers. They also have high energy levels, and they will need lots of exercise.

Just like GSDs, the best place for a Rottie is a home with a yard. Rottweilers are also not the best dogs for first-time dog owners. They require a confident dog owner who knows what needs to be done to train and control such a powerful dog.

Another interesting fact on the German Shepherd vs Rottweiler chart is that Rotties do not bark unless it is absolutely needed, while GSDs will bark often. This is something to take into consideration if you plan on getting one of these two dog breeds.

Health Issues

german shepherd and rottweiler running and playing on the road

When we look at the German Shepherd vs Rottweiler chart, one of the biggest cons (and we are very sad it’s the truth) is their average lifespan. Both dog breeds have a lifespan of up to 10 years. But, the GSD has a shorter lifespan, and it’s from 7 to 10 years, while a Rottie has a lifespan from 9 to 10 years.

They can live longer if we take excellent care of them, if they have no hereditary diseases, if we take them to regular veterinarian checkups, and if it’s in their genes. But, these dogs do have health problems, and the most common ones for both dogs are:

  • Bloat
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Degenerative myelopathy

It is very important to get a puppy from a responsible breeder who will take great care of his dogs, which means they will test their dogs for various hereditary diseases and breed only those pairs that have been cleared from all of them.

Another common problem with both dogs is that they are prone to separation anxiety. This is not a health issue, but a condition that can develop over time when a dog is too attached to its owner.

The Conclusion

We’ve finished the German Shepherd vs Rottweiler debate. You can see from the text and the chart that both dog breeds are wonderful family pets and excellent working dogs, especially guard dogs.

They are quite similar when it comes to temperamental traits, and very different when it comes to their general physical appearance.

If you choose a dog solely on looks, that is up to you. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, if you want a dog to guard your home, it will be very hard to choose between a Rottie and a GSD.

Whatever you choose, you won’t make a mistake because both dogs are excellent at guarding, and you have to remember that traits can vary in individual dogs.

There are some small differences in the way they behave toward children, if they bark a lot or not, and how much socialization they need.

We wish you good luck in choosing your perfect guard dog.