What are the differences between a doberman and a rottweiler?

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What are the differences between a doberman and a rottweiler?
Rottweilers and Dobermans have similar colourings but the rottweiler's body is thicker set. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The Doberman pinscher, sometimes called the "dobie," and the rottweiler, often nicknamed "rottie," both originated from Germany. These dogs have thick, short-haired coats with similar colourings, the Doberman with its black and brown markings and the rottweiler with black and tan. Although the rottweiler is sometimes perceived as being bigger, the two breeds are actually of a similar maximum size of about 27 inches. Both are working dogs with a need for large mounts of exercise. Although there are similarities between these two breeds of dog, there are also some marked differences.

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Although the colourings of both breeds are very similar, bluish tones are sometimes seen on Dobermans. Dobermans have relatively fine hair which sheds an average amount, whereas rottweilers have harsh, rough hair that sheds much less. They therefore require less grooming.

Physical Characteristics

The minimum weight for a Doberman pinscher is about 34kg, whereas the minimum weight of a rottweiler is about 41.7kg. The Doberman's physique is sleeker, slimmer and more refined, and the rottweiler is stockier and more bulky with muscle. The difference in minimum weight is attributable to this. The maximum life expectancy of a Doberman is about 14 years; 12 years for a rottweiler. The litter size at breeding time also differs, with Dobermans having as few as 3 puppies, up to a maximum of about 10, and rottweilers having around 8 to 12 puppies.


A prominent difference between the two breeds is their temperament. The Doberman is very alert, intelligent and loyal, and can be trained to be aggressive toward intruders. It can be taught to track and hunt with precision. The Doberman is very sociable and, without other dogs or people, can become aggressive. Rottweilers are a quieter breed, more relaxed and laid-back. They are not quite as intelligent, but can be well trained, much loved dogs. They instinctively guard the family they belong to, and love to play and fetch while getting plenty of exercise. The rottweiler is used for herding and working, whereas the Doberman is not used for herding because its temperament makes it unsuitable. The Doberman is instead used as a guard dog because if its aggressive nature. Dobermans can, however, be very loving and affectionate toward their owners.

Health Concerns

The Doberman suffers from a number of health complaints. These include the von Willebrand's disease bleeding disorder, cardiomyopathy, cervical vertebral instability and prostatic disease. Rottweilers suffer mainly from hip dysplasia, a painful and immobilising hip problem.


Originally developed around 1890 by Karl Friedrich Louis Doberman, the Doberman was bred as a guard and police dog. The rottweiler started out as a herding dog in the early 19th century, then moved on to pulling carts carrying livestock to slaughter. It also become a search and rescue dog during wartime.

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