German Rottweiler Vs American Rottweilers

The Rottweiler is an iconic versatile breed. Throughout history, this noble dog has been used as a guard, police officer and guide dog. They were first used in Roman times to protect humans and drive cattle in Europe.

Many people do not know that there are actually two types of this breed, the German and the American Rowena. These dogs look very similar and are hard to tell apart. But their purposes and personalities are different! Let’s understand the differences between the German and the American Rowena in terms of appearance, personality and aggression.


The German Rowener has a classic look with a medium length thick black coat and tan markings. These markings should be on their eyebrows, nose, chest and calves.

Their overall appearance is strong and powerful, with a broad head. They had muscular necks and bodies, deep chests and strong, powerful legs. They are officially considered a medium to large breed, although many refer to them as large dogs. Their muscle mass makes them look bigger than they really are. The average dog weighs about 100 pounds and can grow up to 25 inches tall.

A distinguishing fact about the German variety is its undocked tail. Tail docking is banned by the breed standard.

The American Rottweiler looks like an elongated ‘’classical’’ Rottweiler. They have longer legs and snout, a slimmer head and neck and less muscle. Most have the traditional black coat with rust but some are rare colors like red, blue or all black with no markings.

An American Rottweiler will also have a docked tail, while the German does not. There are also more subtle differences as the AKC accepts longer muzzles and narrower heads. Americans are also a few inches shorter and generally weigh less. Their slim appearance and reduced muscle makes them very athletic.


Both dogs have a short and straight coat with an undercoat. Shedding is moderate but increases around the start of spring and autumn.

German Rottweiler can only be black with tan markings. The American can be black and mahogany or black and rust. Americans may also be completely black, red or blue, but these colors are very rare.

Fur can be slightly wavy or wiry in some American Rottweiler . A wavy coat or lack of undercoat is disqualifying for German Rottweilers.


Both rottweiler dogs have markings on the eyebrows, muzzle, cheeks, throat, chest and legs. The secondary color (markings) must not exceed more than 10% of the entire coat.

Markings are not compulsory for Americans.


The German Rottweiler has a broader head which is why they are sometimes called ‘block-heads’. Both rottweiler dogs have almond-shaped eyes and triangular ears which point downwards.


Snouts are usually thick, not too short or too long and end with an all-black nose. Snouts may be slightly longer and slimmer in American Rottweiler


American Rottweiler has naturally longer legs, but both dogs must have straight and stocky legs,  which are well-spaced.


American Rottweiler and German Rottweiler are trotters. Their gait is described as effortless and ground-covering. Strides should be full of energy but firm and balanced.

American Rottweiler has an especially strong forward reach, while German Rottweiler has a particularly stable back.


Tails are always undocked in German Rottweiler and mostly docked in American Rottweiler.


Both types of Rottweilers are courageous, adaptable, intelligent, strong and willing to work.

The German Rottweiler has a wait-and-see attitude, rather than outright aggression. They are fierce protectors and fearless, but controlled in the face of danger. Their calmness and level-headedness means they are well suited for security, military and police work.

An American Rottweiler is loyal and courageous, but generally more friendly.


The temperament of both Rottweilers is quite similar as they are ultimately the same breed.

German types are described as “good-natured”, “devoted” and “eager to work”. They seem to have a calmer and hardier disposition as breeding has focused on their roles as working dogs.

Americans are generally friendlier with strangers and have a good-nature.


Rotties are naturally territorial, but with proper training this can be harnessed in a positive way. They are often mistaken as aggressive due to their fearlessness.

Hostility, viciousness and excessive shyness are all eliminating faults for the German variety. The AKC does not apply the same rule to the Americans.


Both dogs can be gentle companions when properly trained.

Americans are especially close to humans and develop strong bonds with members of their family. They love a good cuddle and can sometimes be unaware of their size and act like big lap dogs.

The German Rottie is not known for having a cuddly personality and is not as affectionate.

Energy Levels

Both the American and German Rottweiler have a high endurance and energy level. Both need a lot of stimulation and can exercise for over two hours a day. Walking, trotting and swimming are activities they love!

The American Rottweiler can be slightly less powerful than the German Rottweiler , but more agile and leaner.


Rottweilers have an average lifespan of 9 to 10 years. With a healthy diet and good exercise some can live even longer.

Both dogs are prone to similar health conditions: hip and elbow dysplasia, cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy, allergies and cancer.

Due to a strict breeding and registration process it is extremely rare to find a German puppy with many health issues.


German Rottweilers are working dogs. They are incredibly versatile in the job roles they can fulfil, from guard and security dogs to guide dogs for the blind or deaf.

American Rottweilers are much more suited to a role as a family protector, becoming loyal and a true guardian.