Rottweiler vs Pitbull: Which Makes a Better Family Pet?

Last Updated on April 15, 2023

Rottweilers and Pitbulls fall in the same boat of being strongly protective and sweet towards their families. They also have the shared misconception of being aggressive dog breeds. 

The Rottweiler (Rottie) is a purebred guard dog, but Pitbulls can refer to any of the four breeds that are descended from bulldogs and terrier breeds.

A Rottweiler and an American Pitbull Terrier standing
The beautiful Rottweiler (left) and American Pit Bull Terrier (right)

Included under the Pitbull category are the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bully.

In this article, we’ll be focusing on the APBT and comparing them with the Rottweiler. 

Breed Comparison: A Quick Overview

As mentioned, Rotties and Pitbulls are extremely similar with slight differences, as you can see from the table below: 

Rottweiler VS American Pit Bull Terrier
Breed Rottweiler Pitbull
Average Price $1200-$2000 $500-$800
Average Lifespan 9-10 years 12-16 years
Size 22-27 inches  17-21 inches
Weight 80-135 lbs  30-65 lbs
Energy Average High
Trainability Easy to train but may be stubborn Easy to train but may be stubborn
Temperament Loyal, Protective, Confident Loyal, Affectionate, Energetic

Rottweiler vs Pitbull History

Rotties and Pitties have vastly different histories, despite their very similar temperaments. The Rottweiler was developed as a herding dog, but the Pittie was created for blood sport. 

Furthermore, while the American Kennel Club recognizes that Rottweiler as a pedigreed dog, you won’t be able to register the APBT with the AKC. 

The Humble Beginnings of the Rottie

A Rottweiler on the park

Hailing from the Roman Empire, these Asian mastiff-type dogs became highly popular in Rottweil, a German town, after the fall of the Empire.

These dogs were used to protect livestock from both wild animals and burglars. After that, they were used by butchers to pull meat carts. 

Industrialization almost forced the breed into extinction but, with luck on their side, dog lovers took note of their gorgeous looks during a dog show in Germany, and the rest was history. 

Today, Rotties are popular as family pets, and their obedience helped them find employment in the military and service sector. 

The Bloody History of Pitties

Two Pit Bulls laying down

Pitbulls are all developed from English Bulldogs and Terriers for their natural prey drive. The resulting dogs were used for bull-baiting, and when blood sports were banned, the dogs were set against each other. 

Now that dog-fighting is illegal, many Pitbull dog owners adopt them for their sweet disposition.

It has been a long battle to abscond the Pitbull breeds from their ‘fighting dogs’ association, but fortunately, dog lovers all over the world have taken it upon themselves to change the public’s perception of these powerful dogs.

According to new research, Pitbulls are second to Golden Retrievers in terms of calmness, which has greatly increased their popularity as “nanny dogs”. Aside from that, they are also used for drug detection.

Do Rottweiler and Pitbull Look Similar?

Side-by-side close-up image of Rottweiler and APBT
The handsome facial features of the Rottie (left) and Pitbull (right)

Both the American Pit Bull Terrier and the Rottweiler are intimidating-looking breeds, in part due to the associations we have due to media portrayals. Aside from that shared trait, they look very different from each other. 

Pitbulls come in a variety of colors, including merle, blue, red, grey, white, and brindle.

Rotties only come in one color: Black and Tan. The Rottweiler’s signature markings are similar to the Doberman’s. You’ll see tan points above their eyebrows, on their cheeks, and their undercarriage. 

While both dogs have relatively short coats, the Rottweiler’s fur is slightly softer to the touch than the Pitbull’s prickly velveteen hide. 

Rotties are also much larger than the Pitbull, with males growing up to 27 inches, whereas the largest Pitbull only goes up to 21 inches. 

Take a look at this Rottie and Pitbull pair spend the day together: 

You can also see their size disparity, although they are both rather large-sized dogs.

When it comes to their facial and physical features, the Rottweiler has blockier heads and proportionally floppy ears.

In the past, their tails were always docked, but animal rights activists have ensured that it’s banned in many countries, including Australia, Germany, and the UK. 

Full-body images of the Rottweiler and APBT
The physiques of the Rottie (left) and Pitbull (right)

The ABPT is a dog built from muscle, and they also have relatively blocky heads, though it can be described more aptly as angular or wedge-like.

Their ears were almost always cropped as ear cropping gave dogs an advantage in the fighting ring. 

Since blood sports have been outlawed and animal rights are being advocated all over the world, we’re seeing more natural rose or half-prick ears.

Pitbull vs. Rottweiler: Temperament & Personality

Pitbulls and Rottweilers are giant sweethearts and want nothing more than to cuddle with their owners. Depending on their socialization, both dogs have the potential to be as friendly as a Golden Retriever.

However, if you’re looking for a guard dog, you’re better off with the Rottweiler as they can be trained to protect and defend. 

An American Pitbull Terrier and a Rottweiler sticking their tongues out
The sweet Pitbull (left) and Rottie (right)

The American Pit Bull Terrier is more prone to separation anxiety, which makes them better suited to homes where there’s at least one person present.

Rotties can keep themselves entertained but will require adequate stimulation and exercise to keep their destructive tendencies in check.

Is a Rottweiler more dangerous than a Pitbull?

We all know the saying, “Guns don’t kill people; people do.” It’s the same with dog breeds. 

Dog training is extremely important. You could as easily turn a Chihuahua into a vicious dog as a German Shepherd, but the reason that Pitbulls and Rottweilers are singled out is that they look mean.

Status dogs are highly affiliated with a crime because if you think about it, drug-lords or mafia-kings would much likely adopt muscular dogs as pets rather than a fluffy Pomeranian

So when you’re wondering which dog breed is considered “the most dangerous”, you might want to look at their upbringing.

A Labrador that’s been trained to decapitate burglars would definitely be more dangerous than a Pitbull that’s kept as a family dog. 

Which breed is stronger between Rottweiler and Pitbull? Can a Rottweiler beat or kill a Pitbull?

If you strip a dog down to their bite force and muscularity, the Rottie has the advantage of strong jaws, whereas the Pitbull is built of pure muscle. 

In a fight, a well-trained Rottweiler should be able to overpower the Pitbull with no problem. However, this is all theoretical, as it really boils down to the dog.

It is believed that Pitbulls have a meaner bite because they don’t let go, but this is a myth. There is no anatomical structure that allows any dog to lock their jaws.

Pitbull vs. Rottweiler: Which breed is the perfect family and protection dog?

A smiling American Pitbull Terrier and a Rottweiler puppy
A cute Pitbull (left) and an adorable Rottie puppy (right)

The owner always trumps the breed; therefore a pooch that’s raised in a loving environment would be the perfect family dog, whereas a dog that’s been strenuously trained to guard will be the perfect protection dog. 

However, it’s worth noting that Pitbulls are more amenable towards strangers than Rottweilers, which are a confident and self-possessed breed. Rotties may be unfailingly obedient, but they do have stronger protective instincts. 

It goes without saying that Pitbulls can be guarded around dogs they don’t know if they weren’t socialized extensively as a puppy.

Remember that a comfortable dog is a safe dog. A dog that’s fearful of its environment is more likely to strike out.

While both dogs can be great companions for children, it is never recommended to leave young children unsupervised around dogs. 

Is a Pitbull easier to train than a Rottweiler?

Both breeds are intelligent and will be able to comprehend what you want them to do easily.

However, the APBT is slightly more people-pleasing than the Rottweiler, who requires a firm hand in order to avert their stubborn tendencies. 

Since these dogs are considered large breeds, proper training should start from an early age. An unruly pup will grow up into an unmanageable dog that’s both strong and big, which may cause problems for you or your household. 

These dogs can easily knock over and grievously hurt young children or smaller pets, so keep that in mind when you think that obedience isn’t all that important. 

How to Take Care Rottweilers and Pitbulls?

Rotties are a brachycephalic breed which means that they won’t do well in hot weather. Take care to make sure they always have shelter and ice-cold water, especially in the height of summer.

Rottweilers can handle snow and winter just fine. In fact, they love it!

Pitbulls are prone to both overheating and hypothermia due to their sparse coats. If you live somewhere that has harsh winters, you might want to dress your dog in thick winter coats or let him sleep near a heater. 

American Pitbull Terrier and Rottweiler running
A Pitbull (left) and a Rottweiler(right) running

Pitbull vs. Rottweiler exercise

Rottweilers and Pitbulls aren’t considered high-energy breeds, but you will definitely want to spend at least an hour exercising them rigorously or providing them with appropriate stimulation. 

Rotties, in particular, will need a job to keep them happy, but if you are comparing their energy levels, the APBT is slightly more high-strung and will play frisbee for hours on end.

To adequately stimulate your Pitbull, you should be looking into agility classes.

Grooming a Rottweiler and Pitbull? Which breed sheds more?

Rottweilers may have a short coat, but they are double-coated, which means they shed copiously twice a year

With the Rottweiler, you can get away with a bath once every six weeks. Frequent bathing can cause your dog’s skin to dry out and cause more problems.

When they are going through their annual blowout, you can give them a weekly bath to keep their shedding under control. 

Pitbulls have a single coat, and they shed all year round. As long as you give him a thorough brush once a week, you’re pretty much good to go. 

However, Pitbulls are more prone to skin problems, and that may require you to bathe them more often. Medicated baths should be given on a weekly basis to keep the coat and skin healthy. 

Feeding a Pitbull and Rottweiler

To keep your Pitbull in tip-top condition, you want to give him premium dog food that’s high in protein.

Rottweilers can also benefit from the best dog food you can find on Amazon or Chewy.

When it comes to portion size, it really depends on your dog’s activity level as well as weight. Puppies will need to be fed a high-calorie nutritious diet, but adults will do better on something that’s less calorie-dense.

Pitbull vs. Rottweiler: Which is Healthier?

An American Pitbull Terrier and a Rottweiler smiling
A Pitbull (left) and a Rottie (right) giving big smiles

When it comes to health issues, it’s sad to say that the Rottweiler has a significantly shorter lifespan when compared to the Pitbull’s robust longevity.

You can expect Rotties to live around 9 to 10 years, but the Pitbull’s average lifespan is closer to 14 years

As with all large breed dogs, you want to look out for hip dysplasia and avoid excessive exercise when they are still puppies. Rotties have a propensity for weak hips and elbow dysplasia due to being top-heavy.

You might have to invest in glucosamine supplements to strengthen your doggo’s hind leg strength.

Aside from that, the APBT’s only other serious concern is Cerebellar Abiotrophy, which impairs their coordination and balance. In severe cases, it may also affect their cognitive behavior.

Other than that, you might want to watch for mange, skin allergies, and hyperthyroidism.

Rotties have a slew of health problems associated with their breed, with the most common fatal disorders and illnesses being: 

  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Bloat
  • Lymphoma
  • Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis
  • Von Willebrand disease
  • Addison`s disease
  • Folliculitis

Rottweilers are also prone to obesity, so take care not to overfeed them.

Rottweiler or Pitbull Puppy Prices: Which is More Expensive?

Rottweiler and American Pitbull Terrier puppies
The lovable Rottie (left) and Pitbull (right) puppies

Being one of the top breeds in America, Rottweilers can fetch a handsome price upwards of $1,500.

Since the American Pit Bull Terrier isn’t recognized by the AKC, they are much more affordable at $800 – $1,500, and Pitbull mixes usually go for a lot less than that.

Unless you’re planning to show your Rottweiler, you might want to consider adopting from your local shelter.

Rotties and Pitties are amongst the least adopted breeds due to their reputation, but no shelter would let you adopt a dangerous dog unless you are a professional dog handler who is experienced in rehabilitating dogs. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Side-view images of an American Pitbull Terrier and a Rottweiler
The strong Pitbull (left) and powerful Rottie (right)

What breed of dog has a stronger bite, Pitbull or Rottweiler?

The Rottweiler has a stronger bite force of 328 lbs of pressure per square inch. The Pitbull’s bite force is only around 235 PSI, just slightly more than a Labrador Retriever.

What are local laws and restrictions for Rottweilers and Pitbulls?

Due to the negative associations between Rottweilers and Pitbulls and their aggression, you might find that they are less than welcome in certain places. In fact, some states have explicit bans and restrictions. 

Rottweilers are not allowed to be kept in Royal City, Washington. In the UK, Rotties can’t leave the house without a muzzle.

In Ecuador and the Bermuda Islands, they are completely banned. There are also certain restrictions for Rottie owners in Ireland, Portugal, Romania, and Singapore.

Pitties are banned in New Zealand, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, France, Finland, Denmark, Poland, and Norway. They are more largely discriminated against, and you should check your local laws if you stay in the following states:

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Conclusion: Which is Better: Rottweiler or Pitbull?

A Rottweiler and an American Pitbull Terrier looking up
The charming Rottie (left) and Pitbull (right)

Sometimes people choose dogs based on their looks. Some choose them based on their maintenance or temperament. There are also those who let the dog do the choosing, especially when adopting from a shelter. 

Rottweilers and Pitbulls are both great breeds, but it all boils down to whether you are ready to take on the responsibility of ensuring your dog is well cared for.

It’s especially important when choosing a misunderstood breed like Rotties or Pitbulls. We don’t want to deepen prejudices due to bad training.

Remember, regardless of what breed you choose, getting a puppy is very much like bringing a new baby into your home. You can take a look at our comprehensive guide for new owners to get an idea of what to expect.

Do you have a Rottie or a Pittie? Let us know in the comments what you love about these breeds!

Further reading: Ready to compare some other popular dog breeds?


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