German Shepherd vs Rottweiler: Which Is Right for You?


German Shepherds and Rottweilers are both incredibly popular dog breeds in America, although these two breeds differ in some important ways that you will want to know if you are thinking of bringing one home.

German Shepherds and Rottweilers are similar in strength, guarding abilities, and intelligence levels. They do, however, possess several key differences in shedding and friendliness towards people and animals that must be taken into consideration when choosing between the two breeds.

It’s very important to know these differences as they can influence your decision to choose, and eventually, your experience as a dog owner.

In this article, we will compare the two breeds in many aspects with the hope of helping you decide which better dog is for you.

What’s Their Personality Like?

German Shepherd and Rottweiler

A dog’s personality, behavior, or temperament is one of the top factors that influence a person’s decision in choosing a pet.

This is mostly because a dog’s personality has to match well with that of the owner, so that a peaceful and enjoyable relationship between the two can occur and last for a long time.

Some pet owners prefer an outgoing type of dog, while others prefer a calmer, more aloof one. It often boils down to personal preferences.

Below we’ll explore the personalities of the German Shepherd and the Rottweiler for your reference.

German Shepherd Personality

German Shepherds are strong, agile, and intelligent creatures.

They originated as herding dogs in the 19th century by a German military officer and ex-veterinary student named Max Emil Friedrich von Stephanitz, who was impressed by the intelligence and agility of the German sheepdogs he saw in the countryside where he used to live.

GSDs possess a high prey drive, making them susceptible to chasing small animals. It’s also the reason why little GSD puppies are prone to nipping your hands more than other breeds.

They are also very loyal and protective, which can be attributed to their herding responsibilities, in which they were trained to protect sheep from predators.

Their guarding instincts are very high, which makes them very suitable as home protectors. 

If a GSD is untrained, however, situations can easily go awry. GSDs can be somewhat wary of strangers and other pets, especially if they have not been socialized properly.

While the GSDs are popular for their positive characteristics, they are also widely known to be the cause of many dog bites in America.

Thankfully, GSDs are naturally smart and easy-to-train. These characteristics are why they are very popular as service and police dogs.

With proper training and socialization from an early age, you can harness their natural guarding abilities into good use and eliminate the aggressiveness.

Despite their aloof appearance, German Shepherds are very loving and affectionate pets. They get quite attached to their owner and are great with kids.

Rottweiler Personality

Rottweilers are strong, active dogs with a huge, stocky build.

They originated as herding dogs for the cattle that the Roman empire brought with them through Germany. These dogs met with the native dogs of the old city of Rottweil, where the butchers bred and named them Rottweiler Metzgerhund or “Rottweil butcher’s dog.”

In the past, aside from herding, Rottweilers also pulled carts which contained meat and bring them to the markets. They also guarded the butchers and their shops.

Today, Rottweilers mostly serve as working dogs, performing serious tasks such as herding cattle and guarding humans and their property. 

Rottweilers, “Rotts”, or “Rotties”, are naturally loyal and obedient dogs. Like German Shepherds, they thrive in carrying out any kind of work. Without it, they can become bored and act out by wreaking havoc around the home.

Rottweilers typically present an aloof appearance and personality.

They are smart and self-sufficient, but wary of instant friendships with strangers. Nevertheless, Rotties tend to be loving and affectionate towards their owners.

They are also notorious for their tendency to be aggressive – especially males. This is because Rottweilers have dominant personalities. Thus, the owner of a Rott needs to be firm and establish that they are the alpha in the pack, not somewhere in the middle. 

With early training and constant socialization, a Rottweiler’s negative traits will diminish. 

Personality Pros and Cons

PROSCONS
GERMAN SHEPHERDLoyal, intelligent, protective, affectionate, and industriousProne to boredom, can be aggressive if left untrained
ROTTWEILLERLoyal, intelligent, protective, and obedientCan be aloof especially to strangers, prone to boredom and aggression if left untrained, can be stubborn

What Size Are These Breeds?

The size of a dog is another important factor that anyone must consider in choosing one.

Many people actually underestimate the significance of this one, thinking that every dog is just the same no matter the size. It is only later that some realize how the size of a dog can affect their pet-owning experience.

Both the German Shepherd and the Rottweiler are massive dogs. Because of this attribute alone, it can be quite cumbersome to handle them, especially for novice pet owners. 

But if you have already decided to go for a large breed, we’ll show you a comparison of the sizes of each breed below.

German Shepherd Size  

An average adult German Shepherd can measure about 22-26 inches in height (55-65 cm) and weigh around 75-96 lbs (34-43 kg). That’s quite large and heavy, but thiS also makes them look striking, albeit intimidating.

Naturally, their large size is accompanied by above average strength. It also makes them adaptable to environment and weather changes and generally resistant to diseases.

Additionally, their size and strength makes them a perfect candidate for simple jobs such as carrying your items or closing the door.  

On the other hand, a German Shepherd’s strength can be also dangerous. A GSD that jumps on people can knock them down, and this can be dangerous especially for little children.

Likewise, this can be annoying for smaller pets who can be hurt simply by rough playing with a massive dog.

Rottweiler Size

The Rottweiler is slightly larger than the German Shepherd. An average male Rottie has the height of 24-27 inches and weighs around 95-135 pounds.

A female, on the other hand, stands 22-25 inches and weighs around 80-100 lbs.

The stocky build of a Rottweiler makes them “durable” and capable of performing heavy tasks such as pulling carts. 

Due to their size, Rottweilers have lower energy levels than GSDs and are therefore prone to obesity. Hence, constant exercise is a must to prevent this from happening.

Like the GSD, the sheer strength of a Rottweiler can prove catastrophic especially if the dog is untrained. This is why training and socializing them is a lifelong commitment.

Adaptability / Size Pros and Cons

PROSCONS
GERMAN
SHEPHERD
Sturdy, adaptable to changes, eager to workProne to obesity, their need for constant exercise can be too much for less active owners, their power can be too much for those without the physical strength to handle them and dangerous around kids
ROTTWEILLERSturdy, adaptable to changes, eager to workProne to obesity, their need for constant exercise can be too much for less active owners, their power can be too much for those without the physical strength to handle them and dangerous around kids

Are They Apartment-Friendly? 

Many people living in apartments, especially those who live alone, consider getting a dog for companionship. Having a dog definitely lessens the feeling of loneliness and adds comfort and affection to an otherwise solitary space.

However, not all dogs are suitable for apartment living. Several factors contribute to whether a specific breed is compatible with a smaller space or bigger houses with fenced yards.

Generally, smaller dogs fare better in apartment living. This is simply because they require less space to move around, and smaller breeds require less exercise than their larger counterparts.

They are also a bit easier to maintain especially for busy apartment dwellers.

Having said that, living in an apartment shouldn’t prevent you from getting a large breed if that’s what you really want. However, there are matters that you need to consider carefully before committing to a GSD or a Rottweiler.

German Shepherds Can Be Good Apartment Dogs

Although not ideal, German Shepherds can definitely thrive in apartment living, thanks to their high adaptability to changing environments. 

But you should be prepared to meet the following conditions to provide your GSD an good life while living in a relatively small space:

Breed-restriction Laws

In some states, apartments impose breed-restriction laws on their tenants, which means that there are specific breeds that are not permitted. The idea behind these laws is to prevent dog attacks by potentially dangerous breeds.

Unfortunately, GSDs are one of those prohibited breeds. 

However, some private apartment owners can be negotiated with, but corporate owners are much harder to convince, as they carry much higher liability for any such occurrence.

In the case of the latter, their decision must be respected and you are left with the choice of moving to another apartment that accepts GSDs or choosing another breed.

Exercise

You need to exercise your GSD daily. If your apartment does not have a spacious area where you can exercise your dog, it must at least have a nearby park that you can visit everyday.

Remember that exercise is a must for active dogs like German Shepherds!

As a rule of thumb, your German Shepherd must have at least 30 minutes to 1 hour of exercise daily.

Separation Anxiety

You should not leave your GSD alone for long periods of time, as they are prone to separation anxiety.

It’s in their nature to become quite attached to their owners and therefore feel anxious whenever they’re not around.

As a rule of thumb, adult GSDs should only be left alone for a maximum of four hours, while puppies should be left alone no longer than three hours.

If it’s unavoidable for you to be away on a daily basis for long periods, consider getting a dog-sitter.

Neighbors

Your GSD must be trained to behave well around your neighbors.

It’s your responsibility as a dog owner to train your dog and keep her well-mannered around people to prevent undesirable incidents from happening.

Keep in mind that many people are very scared of large dogs.

Noise

GSDs are vocal dogs, and they will bark a lot especially if they are untrained!

If your apartment has weak soundproofing or thin walls, this can be very annoying for your neighbors who only want to live peacefully inside their units.

Shedding

GSDs shed a lot, thanks to their double coats. Consequently, you must prepare yourself to clean your apartment often to get rid of all the hair.

Overall, if these conditions have been met, then there’s no reason for you not to keep a German Shepherd in your apartment!

Adult Rottweilers Do Better in Apartments

Rottweiler on floor

Rottweilers can cope living inside apartments, but keep in mind that adult Rotts are more suitable for this type of space than puppies because of their lower energy levels. 

Remember the following pointers if you’re planning to get a Rottweiler for your apartment:

Exercise

Exercise is a must for Rottweilers.

Rott puppies are very high-energy dogs. Because they are bred as working dogs, they will be very curious and will always look for something to do. 

All that pent-up energy should be channeled into something useful like exercise. Otherwise, the puppy will become bored and turn to destructive behaviors such as chewing objects or digging.

Your Rottweiler puppy will need at least two walks a day and an additional hour of playtime.

This is a commitment that you should be aware about, since it can be too much to handle for an owner who is always busy. 

The need for exercise is exactly why a fenced yard is perfect for high-energy dogs such as GSDs and Rotts.

Apartments, of course, do not always have this luxury, so you will have to utilize nearby parks and safe sidewalks for your dog’s exercise needs.

When a Rott puppy becomes an adult, he will naturally become less active, so living in an apartment will not be much of a problem.

However, a Rottweiler will still need sufficient daily exercise to prevent weight gain, since Rotts, being naturally heavyset, are very prone to obesity.

Frequent Potty Time

Because puppies have less control over their bladder, they will need to go to the bathroom very often – usually every 30 minutes to 1 hour.

It is important to establish where the bathroom is for your puppy while he is still young. Ideally, train him to take a pee outside to avoid the difficulty of transitioning him from peeing inside to outside.

Socialization

Rottweilers are very social dogs; they love being with their owners all the time. Nevertheless, they are not very keen on other dogs, which is why socialization that starts from an early age is very important. 

Socialization lessens the manifestation of undesirable traits, the most prominent being aggression.

This aspect can be accomplished at the same time that you’re taking your dog to the park for exercise, where he will most likely meet other people and animals, too.

Boredom and Separation Anxiety

Like the GSDs, Rottweilers are prone to separation anxiety.. As dogs who always like to see where their master is, Rottweilers can do well in a small space where they will not have to follow them around. 

But if you leave your Rott alone in the apartment for several hours, he may become bored and anxious and act out by destroying things, digging, barking incessantly, whining, or peeing everywhere.

As a rule of thumb, do not leave your Rottweiler alone for more than 6 hours a day. And do not do this abruptly. Rather, transition slowly and in increments.

If you have to leave him for longer than that, consider getting a dogsitter.

Breed Restrictions

Unfortunately, Rottweilers are also almost always included in the list of dog breeds that are prohibited in apartments.

Always check with the management first to find out if they impose these restrictions or not.

Neighbors

Keep in mind that many people are fearful of big dogs in general, but more so of Rottweilers because of their popular reputation as aggressive dogs.

While your dog may be well-mannered, you cannot always control how your neighbors will react in his presence.

You should be prepared for these negative reactions, but also understand that these are simply natural human responses to something that people don’t easily understand. 

Pros and Cons Around the Home or in an Apartment

PROSCONS
GERMAN SHEPHERDVery adaptable to lifestyle and environment changes, excellent guard dogs, can provide good emotional support especially for solo owners Has a high tendency to nip or chew on things, gets bored easily, needs constant daily exercise, can scare off neighbors, prone to separation anxiety, often part of prohibited breeds in apartments, heavy shedders, can exhibit aggression problems if untrained
ROTTWEILERAdults can cope well in apartment living, excellent guard dogs, presents minimal sheddingHas an average tendency to nip or chew on things especially when bored, needs constant daily exercise to manage weight and temperament, can scare off neighbors, more prone to separation anxiety, has a higher need for socialization, often part of prohibited breeds in apartments, notorious for their aggression problems especially if untrained

Are They Good Around Kids?

Both German Shepherds and RottweilerS are massive dogs, which is why many people often wonder if they are safe to be around children.

Here’s the short answer: both German Shepherds and Rottweilers can be great around kids, as long as they have been properly trained and socialized from an early age. Regardless, adult supervision is still always necessary. 

German Shepherds Can Be Wonderful Companions for Your Children

If you search the Internet for photos of German Shepherds with children, you will most likely see a bunch of cute photos of kids cuddling these dogs. 

German Shepherds are natural protectors, having been bred originally as protectors of sheep and human properties. They are extremely loyal to their owners. This makes them an excellent breed to have around children!

However, you need to set up your GSD for success first so that a safe, fun, and loving relationship can grow between your children and your dog.

To do that, you must first understand that the GSD’s natural tendency to protect can easily turn bad if this trait has not been properly nurtured.

Early training and socialization with children are your best tools for managing your dog’s temperament, eliminating bad behaviors, and keeping aggressive tendencies at bay.

Below are some general pointers to remember that will foster a harmonious relationship between your GSD and your child:

Socialization

The best way to turn your GSD from an overprotective, fearful dog into a welcoming and friendly companion is to expose him to kids as early as possible. 

Actually, regardless of whether you have kids or not, socialization is a key part of training that is most responsible for a dog that is well-behaved around people other than the owner.

If you have a child and you want to ensure that your dog will behave well around him or her, a great deal of consistent socialization is a must.

The key is to expose your dog not just to your own kids but to other people – adults and children alike. This teaches your dog proper responses towards strangers, and that not everyone is out to get him.

Begin socializing your puppy as soon as you get him home and be consistent about it. This is the only way that the training will be retained in your puppy for long.

Training

Obedience training and socialization go hand-in-hand. Both need to be introduced to your puppy as early as possible for the best possible behavior outcome.

Training simply makes it easier for you to command your dog so that you can manage him easily while you’re out in public.

Similarly, a simple command can prevent any untoward incidents from occurring between your dog and your child.

Simply put, a well-trained dog is a well-behaved dog. Be sure to read this comprehensive guide all about training your German Shepherd.

Exercise

There’s a saying that a tired dog is a happy dog. This is most often true.

GSDs are very active dogs, hence their energy must be spent on physical activities to prevent boredom and make them calmer afterwards. 

Giving them activities to do gives them a sense of accomplishment and channels their energy into appropriate places. In this respect, you will find that your German Shepherd is not too different than you are!

What Does Exercise Have to Do With a GSD That Behaves Well Around Children?

Simply speaking, a dog that is well-exercised keeps the high energy at bay, thus preventing excited behavior from harming your child.

If your dog is bursting with too much unspent energy, he will be rougher during playtime. He may jump on your child or playfully bite more often, which can lead to serious physical injuries.

To understand all about German Shepherd puppy biting and how to curb this undesired behavior, be sure to read this excellent article that we’ve written for you:

How to Stop German Shepherd Puppy Biting: Do’s & Dont’s

Educate Your Kids About How to Behave Around Your Dog

As a responsible parent and pet owner, you must also train your child to behave appropriately towards your dog. Unfortunately, many parents overlook this aspect, putting all the blame on the poor dog whenever ugly situations occur.

A relationship must be a two-way street. Do not expect your dog to be perfect and always gentle if he is not being treated fairly in the first place!

Many dog bites in America are caused by children teasing or being too rough on dogs.

While toddlers and kids don’t usually aggravate dogs intentionally, they may do so unknowingly if they are not taught otherwise.

Thus, it is up to you as a parent to establish boundaries and teach your child to pet your dog properly, and to not tease, taunt, yell, pull, or encroach on your dog’s personal space.

Supervision

All dogs can be unpredictable. Even the most well-behaved dog on the planet can snap due to a seemingly random trigger.

That’s why it’s advised that you never leave your child and your dog unattended. Always supervise their interactions.

Rottweilers Can Be Wonderful Companions for Your Children

The same information above on German Shepherds and kids can be applied to Rottweilers, too. This is because both breeds are huge, intelligent guard dogs with an inherent desire to protect their owners.

Born with a natural self-confidence and a watchful nature, Rottweilers can be excellent protectors of children. They are also goofy and playful, making them entertaining and rewarding pets for your kids.

But for Rottweilers and children to hang out together peacefully, the same key principles must be followed: socialization, training, exercise, education, and supervision.

The only difference, perhaps, is that Rottweilers need firmer obedience training because they have the tendency to be stubborn, especially the males.

They are quite intelligent dogs that can pick up commands easily, but they are at times known to challenge their owners during training. Hence, training should be done early, firmly, and consistently.

Things to Keep in Mind

In addition to the previous section’s guidelines, here are some pointers you must keep in mind to set up a safe and successful relationship between your child and Rottweiler:

  • Rottweilers can be quite sensitive and attuned to their owner’s emotions. However, this also means they can become jealous easily when a new member enters the family. 
  • Before bringing home a baby, slowly introduce the baby’s smell to the puppy, through the use of her clothes and other belongings.
  • Male Rottweilers tend to mature slower than females. Female Rotts tend to be calmer and easier to command and may be more appropriate for your child.
  • A Rottweiler’s huge size means that it can handle rough play from your child. On the other hand, it can also be disaster for your kid. A simple excited jump can unintentionally knock down your child.
  • While Rotts are sturdy and blocky, never allow your child to ride on their back as this can still hurt the dog.
  • This is where your supervision matters. Never leave your Rottweiler and your child alone!
  • Include your child in the training of your Rottweiler. This establishes your child as another authority to obey rather than another “puppy” to boss around.
  • Training should NEVER include any physical punishments such as hitting or pinning the dog to the ground. This is cruel and counterproductive and can lead to undesired behavior in your Rottweiler.

If proper training and socialization have been accomplished early on and boundaries have been established between the child and your dog, you can rest assured that your Rottweiler’s aggressive tendencies will rarely present and a healthy friendship can exist.

Pros and Cons Around Kids

PROSCONS
GERMAN SHEPHERDExcellent guard dogs for children, affectionate and playful, intelligent and easy to trainHigh energy and huge size can unintentionally hurt kids; early training and socialization is a must, otherwise aggressive tendencies may present; not for novice parents who don’t have the time to train; if untrained, its high prey drive can cause it to see kids as “prey”
ROTTWEILERExcellent guard dogs for children, gentle and playful, intelligent Huge size can unintentionally hurt kids; early training and socialization is a must, otherwise aggressive tendencies may present; can be stubborn during training; not for novice parents who don’t have the time to train; males mature slower and tend to have dominant personalities; prone to jealousy

Are They Good Around Other Pets?

Rottweiler with hairless cat

While a dog’s breed can determine its behavioral tendencies, the way a dog responds towards other animals is still dependent on many factors, including its upbringing and past experiences with other animals.

Below, we’ll briefly explore how the German Shepherd and the Rottweiler react towards other pets. This information might be useful if you have other dogs or cats in the house or are planning to bring home a new one.

German Shepherds Can Coexist with Other Dogs

Generally, German Shepherds can live peacefully with other dogs in the house provided that they have been socialized early. 

Socialization means exposing your GSD to other dogs, animals, people, places, and senses. This helps your dog adjust his behavior towards creatures other than him and teaches him the idea that not everything that moves is a prey.

Socialization also reduces anxiety in your GSD, which can sometimes manifest as aggression. It helps your dog stay calm and confident in most situations.

The key to a successful socialization that yields the best results is timing and consistency.

Ideally, you should start socializing your dog at 3 to 12 weeks of age, when he’s still a blank canvas for absorbing new behavior.

This doesn’t mean that it would be impossible to socialize an adult GSD.

While it is possible, it can be more challenging as you’re trying to break old habits in a dog that has already learned his ways. Patience and consistency are key to making this successful.

Why German Shepherds Behave Aggressively Towards Other Dogs

Lack of socialization is perhaps the number one reason why German Shepherds show aggression to other dogs. They view other dogs as threats or enemies.

Sometimes, there are other reasons behind the aggression that are not covered by socialization training. These are the following:

  • Your dog has experienced trauma or negative experiences from other dogs in the past.
  • There is a sudden change in lifestyle or the environment, such as moving into another location or welcoming a new member of the family. While GSDs are generally adaptable and flexible, individual dogs can still exhibit different responses.
  • Your GSD is exhibiting what is called “resource guarding,” or protecting a certain item too much, such as food or a toy.
  • Your dog is not spayed. In this case, the hormones responsible for the aggression are still active.
  • Your dog is ill.

In such cases, it’s important to trace the root cause so you can come up with the proper solution and remove the aggressive behavior.

For a more in-depth discussion on this topic, be sure to read this informative article: How to Socialize Your German Shepherd

German Shepherds and Cats

While the thought of a big dog with a high prey drive and a cautious cat together can be hard to imagine, the truth is that German Shepherds and cats can get along nicely most of the time.

But it may still depend on the individual personalities of both animals and their past experiences which may shape their present reactions.

It’s important to understand that GSDs instinctively chase other animals due to their inherent instinct to chase sheep and keep them together in the flock.

While many of today’s GSDs are more often seen doing police work than herding sheep, the prey drive is still there and it manifests in different ways.

The most obvious instances are chasing little animals such as squirrels and cats and biting or chewing furniture, or even your hand!

Of course, with proper socialization between the two animals, coexistence is definitely possible.

In the video below, you can see an adult GSD acting suspicious of the family’s new kitten at first, but in the end the two become best friends!

The keys to preventing a disastrous first meeting is to start slow, create a safe space for the cat where she can be protected from a potential attack (e.g. a crate), and leash your dog.

Make sure that your dog is trained first and follows basic commands such as “Stop” or “Stay” before introducing him to any cat.

Rottweilers and Other Dogs

Rottweilers are territorial dogs, and they may have issues particularly with dogs of the same sex.

Despite that, coexistence between a Rott and another dog in the household is definitely possible if the Rott has been exposed to other animals while he is young.

The most important requirement for setting up a peaceful relationship between a Rott and another dog is your training and supervision.

Because Rotts tend to have dominant personalities, you must firmly establish your position as its “leader” so that he does not boss you around.

Armed with the knowledge that Rotts can have aggressive tendencies, it is your responsibility as the owner then to make sure that your dog is even-tempered.

In public parks, it is good practice to always keep your Rott in a leash unless you’re ABSOLUTELY sure that it is not going to harm anyone. 

Muzzling Your Dog: Good or Bad?

At first thought, it may sound cruel, but muzzling your Rott in a public park where different sights and sounds can trigger your dog’s protective mode ensures not only other people’s safety but also your dog’s.

In fact, in some countries like Singapore, muzzling a Rottweiler (or a German Shepherd) is required when visiting public areas.

Make sure to get a good muzzle that fits your dog’s mouth and nose to prevent hurting him.

Proper muzzling also requires training, so be sure to start at an early age so that your pup becomes accustomed to it. Waiting until your dog is older to muzzle train can be a traumatic experience for them.

Always remember to supervise your dog at all times even if he is trained, as he can snap into instinctive protective behavior if he perceives something as a threat.

This doesn’t mean that your dog is bad; it just means that your dog is exhibiting its natural instincts to protect you.

Rottweilers and Cats

Rottweilers and cats can live together peacefully inside the same house provided that they have been properly socialized together when they are young.

It can be said that Rotts get along even better with cats than with other dogs of the same sex.

The same guidelines in proper introductions apply: 

  • There must be a safe space for the cat to run to or hide.
  • The dog must be leashed at the first meeting.
  • Introduction must be gradual, starting with scents first and then slowly moving on to face-to-face meetings.
  • All interactions must be supervised.

What Are Their Grooming Requirements?

German Shepherds and the Rottweiler have essentially the same grooming requirements with a few small differences. We will now highlight these differences below.

Keep in mind, however, that German Shepherds will require more brushing because they are heavy shedders, which can be attributed to their thick double coats.

Grooming a German Shepherd 

The following are the basic grooming requirements of a German Shepherd:

  • Bathing: Bathe your GSD only once every 2-3 months. Any more than that can disrupt his skin’s PH levels and cause dryness and flakiness. 

    Use shampoo that’s not too harsh on the skin and that contains natural ingredients that help improve the texture and smell of your dog’s fur.

    We recommend the Burt’s Bees line of shampoos as they are mild, pH-balanced, and have different variants for different needs.
  • Brushing: Because GSDs shed heavily, it’s advised to brush their coat at least four times a week to remove loose hairs and dirt and activate the skin’s oil glands.

    A simple slicker brush like the Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush can effectively rake the finer undercoat of your dog.
  • Nail trimming: Nails should not be overlooked in grooming dogs, as they can hurt the dog and its owners once they get too long. To trim the nails, you can either use clippers or a nail grinder
  • Dental care: Like humans, dogs also need their teeth cleaned to keep their breath fresh and to prevent mouth diseases.

    Ideally, brushing should be daily or at least several times a week using a dog-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste. Dental chews also help clean the teeth.
  • Ear cleaning. While GSDs are not very prone to ear infections like other breeds, it’s good to check your dog’s ears once in a while to see if they are still clean.

    For ear maintenance made quick and easy, try using these simple ear wipes from PetMD.

Grooming a German Shepherd: All You Need to Know

Grooming a Rottweiler

The grooming requirements of a Rottweiler are almost the same as those of the GSD, but with very slight differences as we mentioned above. 

Rottweilers have a flat, medium-length outer coat all over their bodies and an undercoat on the neck and thighs. Because their hair is relatively shorter than the GSD’s, brushing needs to be only minimal.

However, it must still be done weekly to minimize shedding. Unlike GSDs, Rotts are only seasonal shedders, but they may shed moderately throughout the year.

Some adult Rotts with dominant personalities may feel uncomfortable with being brushed all the way down the back. That’s why it’s advised to start grooming them early so they gets used to the procedure.

Unless your Rottweiler gets dirty very often, bathing every few months is enough

Toothbrushing and nail trimming must be done weekly. Because they are black dogs, they have black nails that are trickier to trim.

Here is a straightforward video on how to trim black nails on a large dog:

Grooming Pros and Cons

PROSCONS
GERMAN SHEPHERDGenerally low maintenance grooming required, hair does not need shaving or stylingHeavy shedder that requires daily brushing, many GSDs have black nails which are tricky to trim, prone to skin allergies, huge body requires more effort to bathe
ROTTWEILLERGenerally low maintenance grooming required, hair does not need shaving or styling, minimal brushing requiredHave black nails that are tricky to trim, huge body requires more effort to bathe, prone to skin allergies, moderate shedder

Lifespan and Common Health Problems

Both the GSD and the Rottweiler have a host of health problems that are common to large breeds. Their large size, body shape, and genetics cause these problems.

Many veterinarians also agree that purebred dogs experience more health problems than mixed breeds.

Generally, large dogs tend to live shorter than smaller breeds, but with proper care, most of them live long lives.

German Shepherd Lifespan and Health Problems

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), GSDs have an average lifespan of 7 to 10 years, but many GSDs live longer than that.

Some of the common health issues found in German Shepherds are the following:

It can be disheartening to see a long list of potential problems in this breed. Unfortunately, many GSDs over the age of 10 succumb to cancer.

Rottweiler Lifespan and Health Problems

Rottweilers typically live for 8 to 10 years, according to the AKC.

They also have their own share of health problems that can present in their lifetime, many of which they share with the GSDs.

However, unlike the GSDs, they are more prone to having vision problems that eventually lead to blindness.

The following are the most common health issues in Rottweilers:

Prolonging the Life of a Large Dog

Many of the diseases mentioned above are do not appear immediately in dogs and only manifest later in life.

Because of this, it’s important to get your dog from a responsible and transparent breeder. 

Of course, checking the breeder’s reputation is not always feasible if you’re adopting dogs from the shelter. In that case, it’s your responsibility to take proper care of your pet so that he or she will live a full life.

Knowing that large breeds tend to have several health problems, you can prolong your dog’s life by taking care of the following:

  1. Make sure that you feed your dog only high quality foods.
  2. Exercise your dog daily. This is the best way to keep them at a healthy weight.
  3. Groom your dogs regularly as this is a good time to spot check your dog for symptoms such as lumps or skin allergies. Besides, some diseases occur because of lack of proper grooming (e.g. dental infections).
  4. Keep their vaccines updated. Many common canine diseases, such as parvo and leptospirosis, can be avoided with a simple vaccination.
  5. Take regular visits to the vet.

Cost of Owning a German Shepherd and Rottweiler

Owning a big dog is a lifetime financial commitment.

Simply speaking, you will spend more money on big dogs than on smaller ones because they eat more, require bigger-sized items such as crates and toys.

Also, they may experience some serious health problems that will result in higher than average veterinary bills.

German Shepherd Cost

On average, you will spend a minimum of $2,000 on your puppy’s first year. This covers the puppy price, crates, vaccines, food, toys, grooming, microchip, spaying or neutering, and complete medical exams.

Of course, these expenses are not one-time and may be spread throughout the year, but you will definitely be spending more on the pup’s first year with you. 

Besides, expenses will vary depending on your dog’s needs and your preferences. You may be the type of person who loves getting new toys for your pet frequently. We certainly are!

Rottweiler Cost

On average, a Rottweiler puppy costs about $1,500 to $2,500, depending on the source. A puppy sourced from a mill will cost $850, but this is not recommended. Avoid puppy mills – we cannot stress this enough!

This puppy from a mill may experience serious health problems in the future that will cost you thousands of dollars, a lot more than you would spend if you’d just gotten one from a reputable breeder.

The same basic needs mentioned for GSDs also apply to Rottweilers, so the cost will most likely be the same.

However, because Rotts require consistent training, you may spend a bit more on training related products like treats or obedience classes. 

Final Thoughts

Both German Shepherds and Rottweilers are loyal, protective dogs that are ideal for families looking for security and companionship.

They share many similarities such as loyalty, intelligence, guard instincts, and size. 

Both breeds are not recommended for novice owners who don’t have the time to train and exercise their dogs.

Keeping them requires commitment, knowledge of their inherent characteristics and common health issues, time, effort, and money.

While GSDs and Rotts typically exude an intimidating aura and are widely popular for their aggressive tendencies, they can be the most loving and gentle dogs you’ll ever have if they have been trained and socialized properly.

Jhoanne Kristine

I am a cultural worker and content writer with a passion for animals, food, the arts, and pop culture. As an avid dog-lover, I spend a lot of time volunteering for shelters and serving as a voice for animals who are in need. Over the years, I've learned a lot about dogs, especially large breeds like German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers, and I enjoy sharing my knowledge and insights with the world. In my spare time, if I am not reading on the Internet or playing video games, you will likely find me baking bread for humans and treats for my two dogs - Leon and Peanut.

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