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Many people cannot differentiate between Dobermans and Rottweilers. These two breeds are indeed very alike, and I completely understand the confusion. 

They are the two most famous guard dogs whose size, strength, and sheer importance continuously leave everyone speechless. 

If you know anything about these dogs, then you must have already figured out that they both originate from the same country – Germany. Does this also mean that they are closely related? Due to their similar appearance, one must certainly think so. 

However, in order to find out if Dobermans and Rottweilers are truly related, we need to go way back in time and learn how these two breeds were actually created. 

Let’s trace down the breed’s family tree together and solve the mystery. 

Our research into the history of these two breeds and their development showed that Dobermans and Rottweilers are actually related. Both breeds have their roots in Germany, and Dobermans were the ones that actually descended from Rottweilers. 

Now, when you look at their similarities, it all makes sense. However, there is much more to these breeds than meets the surface. 

The History Of Rottweilers 

Rottweiler sitting on deckRottweiler sitting on deck

Ancient historical records actually link the Rottweiler breed to one of the oldest canine breeds in the whole world. Those records show that Rotties are direct descendants of ancient Roman drover dogs (Mastiff-type herding dogs), such as the Molossus. 

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These dogs were not only massively used by shepherds, but also by the army – the Roman Legion that campaigned across Europe, accompanied by these dogs whose job was to guard the people and the livestock from predators.

Their path also led them to a town in southwest Germany called Rottweil – the ultimate town that gave the name to this beloved dog breed. 

Roman drover dogs were mixed with the sheepdog bloodline, which is believed to be the beginning of the true Rottweiler breed. These strong, smart, and reliable dogs were used for pretty much anything, from protecting the property and people, to guarding money pouches, pulling carts, and herding livestock. 

The industrial revolution took its toll on this breed as well, but their popularity and usefulness resurfaced again with the onset of World War I as the breed became a recognized police dog. 

The first Rottweiler clubs started to form after the war, but eventually, in 1921, they were merged into one major club. 

The Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub (ADRK) is now internationally recognized as the official home club of the Rottweiler breed, and it is committed to preserving, and likewise, improving the German breed. 

The President of the ADRK club states that the target of breeding is now more than over: “Healthy, self-assured, and friendly companion and family dogs, associated with excellent shape and performance!”

The American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the breed in 1931, and the American Rottweiler Club (ARC), an official parent club, was formed in 1973. 

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Read also: The 3 Types Of Rottweilers: An Extensive Guide

The History Of Dobermans 

Doberman sitting by lakeDoberman sitting by lake

Since Rottweilers are one of the oldest dog breeds in Europe, it is not surprising at all that they are also the foundation stock for many other dog breeds, including Dobermans. 

There is quite a surprising past behind the Doberman Pinscher breed. Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann (a German tax collector, night watchman, dogcatcher, and the keeper of a dog pound from the town, Apolda) is credited for creating a dog breed that today bears his name. 

In the 1890s, the situation was obviously different than today. Tax collectors weren’t exactly the favorite people around, which also meant they had a lot of nemeses. Here came the idea behind the new breed. 

Although no one knows the exact combination of breeds used to create this rather magnificent new breed, many have made some educated guesses that really do make sense. 

Besides Rottweilers, many believe that Louis Dobermann used the old German Shepherd, the German Pinscher, the Weimaraner, and some other smooth-coated dogs… presumably “Schnuppe”. It is quite a shame that he never made a real record of stud dogs. 

The main criterion for this breed was not looks at all. Dobermann only wanted a powerful and fearless dog that would stand up to any challenge. After Dobermann’s death, the breed was crossed with the black-and-tan Manchester Terrier and the sleek Greyhound. 

To say that these dogs were a hit would be an understatement. They became very popular, especially after the U.S. Marine Corps adopted them as official war dogs. 

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Even though, today, they might not look like original Dobermans, they’re definitely one of the most eye-catching and fearless dogs in existence, which was exactly the main goal of their creation. 

Read also: European Vs. American Doberman – Know The Difference

Shared Characteristics 

Doberman And Rottweiler standing outsideDoberman And Rottweiler standing outside

Since these two dog breeds are indeed related, it is quite natural that they also have a lot of shared characteristics. 

The most noticeable shared feature is definitely their black and tan coloring, which was passed down from Rottweilers to Dobermans. 

Although this color combination is not so dominant, which means that not every puppy will actually inherit it, it seems that breeders for some reason deliberately worked really hard on it. 

Many believe that the black and tan coat gives off intimidating vibes and a desired uniform appearance. Check out some other Doberman color combinations, and Rottweilers’ as well. 

Both dog breeds are excellent guard dogs, and they share immense bravery and fearlessness, which are the key characteristics of protection. 

Additionally, both dog breeds are highly intelligent and trainable. They are capable of performing a variety of tasks, which can also be seen through their impressive history. When it comes to their size, both are very large and muscular dog breeds, with a similar lifespan of 10 to 12 years. 

Related: Why Is My Rottweiler So Small? 8 Possible Reasons

Although they have a bit of a different coat type, both dog breeds surprisingly shed a lot of hair. They shed all year round, with an increase during the shedding season. 

Check out also: How Much Do Dobermans Shed? FAQ About Doberman Shedding

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Lastly, they are both extremely loyal to their owner, and would do anything in order to protect their home and people they love. Also, they can often be aloof with strangers and reserved around people due to their guarding instincts. 

Important Breed Differences 

Doberman And RottweilerDoberman And Rottweiler

These two breeds are cousins that share some similarities, but like any other blood-related creature, they also have many differences. 

The main difference between these two breeds is their size. While both dogs are considered to be large dog breeds, Rottweilers are usually a bit larger than Doberman Pinschers. 

Rottweilers usually weigh between 90 and 135 pounds whereas Dobermans mostly weigh up to 100 pounds. When it comes to height, Dobermans take the slight lead, with a one-inch advantage. 

This is mostly influenced by their physical appearance and body shape. Rottweilers usually have a more stocky and heavy-bone frame whereas Dobermans are much leaner, with a slender frame or a thinner frame. 

Regarding temperament, they are quite similar; however, Rotties can be typically more docile and playful compared to Dobermans. 

Read also: 19 Dogs That Look Like Dobermans – Power And Beauty In One


Doberman And Rottweiler side by sideDoberman And Rottweiler side by side

Both dog breeds are great, and if you ask me which one is the better choice, I really wouldn’t know how to choose. They are truly impressive dogs that will surely get a lot of looks from bypassers. 

If you’re looking for an amazing guard dog that will make you feel completely safe, then there is no better choice than these two breeds. No matter which breed you choose, your safety is guaranteed. 

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They’re also amazing companion dogs, which is a great plus. Are Dobermans and Rottweilers  related – yes! Do these dogs get along? Can a Rottweiler and a Doberman Pinscher live together? 

Well, this is a bit of a trickier question. They might get along quite well, but on the other hand, they might not get along at all. 

They both have similar temperaments, tendencies, and instincts, which can be a double-edged sword. Due to their protective nature and dominance, it might not be a good idea to mix them in the same household. 

Are you a proud Rottweiler or Doberman owner? What are your thoughts on this? Do tell. 

Read next: Is The Blue-Eyed Rottweiler A Breed’s Intruder?

By Andy Marcus

Hello, my name is Andy Marcus, and I am a passionate dog lover and enthusiast. For me, there is nothing quite like the joy and love that a furry friend can bring into our lives. I have spent years studying and learning about dogs, and have made it my mission to share my knowledge and expertise with others through my website. Through my website, I aim to provide comprehensive information and resources for dog owners and enthusiasts. Whether it's training tips, health and nutrition advice, or insights into dog behavior, I strive to create a platform that is accessible and useful to everyone who loves dogs.

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