Rottweiler vs. Pit Bull: An In-Depth Comparison

Rottweiler vs. Pit Bull: An In-Depth Comparison

Are you in the throes of adopting a puppy and narrowed your options to a Rottweiler vs. Pit Bull? Typically we don’t talk about a Pit Bull as a single breed because several dogs are known as the Pit Bull type. But for our article, we are going to roll them into one breed and refer to them collectively as Pit Bull.

This article will discuss the main differences and points of interest of both the Pit Bull and Rottweiler, so you can decide which dog breed you think will be the best fit for your family’s lifestyle and circumstances.

After all, as I’m sure you are already aware, bringing a puppy into your home is no small thing. I’m sure you and your family have thought long and hard if it’s the right thing at the right time for your family. A new puppy will immediately change the family’s dynamics; in some ways, it’s the same when a new bay comes home; everything changes, and so it does when a puppy comes home.

But, let’s assume you have given this all the thought you should, and you’ve come down to a choice between a Rottweiler vs. Pit Bull.

Rottweiler And Pit Bull History

Not many prospective puppy parents consider the history and background of their chosen breed. But they should!

It’s a vital element in how to choose the most suitable dog breed for their family, as well as learning fascinating facts about the dog they will shortly be bringing home.

The most popular and well-known dog breeds all have a fantastic back story; some can stretch back centuries. Understanding how and why the breed came into being has a lot to do with the dog’s personality and temperament, even today.

We will consider the history of both the Rottweiler and the Pit Bull in this article.

Rottweiler History

The general belief is Roman soldiers had a type of Mastiff with them as they came through Europe. These dogs drove the cattle and were the eyes and ears of the camps. The Romans put down roots in Germany’s Wurttemberg region, and their giant Mastiffs bred with local dogs, producing big, strong dogs capable of controlling bulls.

Settling into their new home, the Romans built small villas with red tile roofs, and the locals nicknamed the town das rote wil ( the red tile). The name morphed into Rottweil, and the dog took his name from the town where his existence began and became known as the Rottweiler.


The Rottweiler still drove cattle and was put to work to guard the cattle and farms at night. However, with the railway’s advent, Rottweilers were no longer necessary to drive cattle, so the local butchers took to using them to pull meat carts. As a more practical means to do this work appeared, the reason for keeping Rottweilers declined, and the breed all but became extinct.

But fans of the breed formed the International Club for Leonbergers and Rottweiler dogs in 1899; within two years, the first breed standard appeared. By 1931 Rottweilers were accepted into the AKC (American Kennel Club), and their popularity has steadily grown in the USA. Germany and other European countries still employ the Rottweiler as rescue, police, and custom guard dogs.

Pit Bull History

The Pit Bull history is a sad affair and goes back to England in Queen Anne’s time in the early 1800. Common in both London and some larger towns throughout the country. During those times, the locals’ favorite sport was ‘bull-baiting,’ a horrific pastime that pitched dogs against bulls.

Handlers would tie bulls to stakes in the ground; they could move around, but the rope restricted their movement to about 30 feet. The dogs were let loose and harried the bull until he collapsed from blood loss and sheer exhaustion.

The bull’s handlers would blow pepper up his nose, so he would already be raging mad before the dogs attacked. Bull and bear-baiting arenas were explicitly built for the sport. One example of bull-baiting was for the dogs to attack the bull one at a time, with the dog attempting to grab hold of the bull’s snout with his teeth. Bull-baiting served a dual purpose; the first was a recreation, and second the meat’s tenderness when they later ate it.

American Pit Bull Terrier closeup

The British government finally outlawed Bull and Bear-baiting in England in 1835. However, this didn’t stop enterprising entrepreneurs from turning to other animals they could inflict pain on; they turned their dogs against rats. The organizers would throw rats into an enclosed area or ‘pit,’ and the dog set loose with the rats. The public would bet on which dog could kill more rats than the other dogs and in the quickest time.

Now, agility and speed became in-demand skills, so crossing the dogs with Terriers made sense, and the result was the ‘Pit Bull Terrier.’

Although the new ‘Pit Bull Terriers’ were highly aggressive dogs in the pit, they were not encouraged to show aggression towards humans; in fact, this was frowned on, and if a dog did bite any human, they were put down.

Rottweiler Vs. Pit Bull Appearance

We can’t help it; maybe it’s our vanity, and in fairness, why should it matter, but we all want everyone we meet to think our dog is the cutest.

But, every dog can’t be the cutest, so which one, Rottweiler or Pit Bull, comes out top of the good-looking stakes?

Are A Rottweiler And A Pit Bull Similar Looking?

Rottweiler Appearance

Rottweilers are large, solid, and robust dogs; they look powerful and are indeed as powerful as they look. Males grow to twenty-eight inches and one hundred and twenty pounds; female Rottweilers are always smaller than the males. The first feature you’ll always notice with a Rottweiler is the massive head. He has floppy ears that lay close to the head. His muzzle is broad and firm. They do tend to drool quite a bit.

Rottweiler appearance

His coat is always black with tan, short, thick, and dense, even perhaps leaning towards being harsh to the touch. Rotties are late maturers and don’t reach adulthood until they are almost three years. They attain their full height by the time they are just over one year old but will begin filling out and developing that big, broad chests that make them instantly recognizable.

Pit Bull Appearance

Because several breeds make up the term Pit Bull we can’t just talk about one particular dog. They all look somewhat different. One thing they all have in common and also with the Rottweiler is they are all muscular and powerful dogs.

1. American Pit Bull Terrier

The American Pit Bull Terrier is a little more agile than the Rottweiler but is still robust and sturdy. People often say this dog has more muscle for every pound of weight than any other dog breed. At first glance, this bred appears to be longer than they are tall with powerful neck and head muscles, small eyes, and either cropped or uncropped ears.

The American Pit Bull will grow to nineteen inches and weigh up to seventy pounds. Most coat colors are accepted, but if they have over 80% white, liver, or black and tan, it’s preferable; their coats are always short and smooth.

2. American Staffordshire Terriers

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a terrifically strong dog breed; they are still very light on their feet, though. They have a strong head and powerful-looking jaws; to counter this appearance, they possess very expressive features that can often look like they are smiling.

When they are happy, their medium-length tail whips into happy circles. Sometimes breeders may dock their ears, but it’s not a popular choice. This dog can be far heavier than he looks and can weigh up to seventy pounds. They grow up to nineteen inches and, similar to the other Pit Bull breeds, have a short, smooth coat.

3. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The third Pit Bull breed is the most recognizable because he’s quite a bit smaller than the others. They have shorter legs yet still possess that powerful-looking chest. They are spritely on their feet and a natural, fun-loving dog. The Staffy might be the smallest, but he still has that broad head and powerful-looking jaws. Staffies also weigh more than you might think; they seem to have a dense bone structure.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Because of their shorter legs and heavy bodies, it’s easy for Staffies to put on weight, especially when they get to middle age. Tails are medium length and curve downwards; breeders never crop the dog’s ears and are small and fold over.

Rottweiler Vs. Pit Bull Temperament

Rottweiler owners claim there isn’t a more affectionate and family-oriented dog in existence than their Rottie. This statement may well be very accurate, but they don’t feel that way to strangers; they can be aggressive, and even if they don’t go that far, they are still overtly suspicious. Probably not a good breed if you have very young children because the Rottie’s herding instincts usually take-over, and they can be pushy with young children; the Rottie does make an exceptional guard dog.

Rottweiler temperament

The Rottweiler is a large, powerful dog, and he must attend early socialization and training classes. Obedience training is a priority. Potential owners need to be aware that socialization never stops with the Rottie. The Rottie is a highly-intelligent dog and for him to be dominant is something that no owner can allow.

Rottweilers need putting to work; they become bored quickly, so they need something positive to do. It can be obedience classes, herding trials, whatever he enjoys that makes him think and at the same time exercises him.

The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) is a genuine people pleaser; even though they have engendered such a bad reputation, they are not the aggressive attack dog many people believe them to be. If they have any aggressive tendencies, the dog reserves them for other dogs and animals.

American Pit Bull Terrier temperament

Like any large and powerful dog training and socialization, it is critical to enable the dog to overcome aggressive habits. A Pit Bull’s owner must be confident, experienced dog handlers because it will take a calm demeanor and patience to train one correctly. Pit Bulls make an excellent family pet and are exceptionally loving towards adults and children alike. When well-trained, they are always obedient and have an almost desperate need to please.

Highly-intelligent, they make fantastic guard dogs and have a sixth-sense for any danger that might occur. Inexperienced owners should not have the responsibility of a Pit Bull; any dog can sense they have the upper hand and will do as they please. Having a Shih Tzu that behaves like he runs the house is one thing but having seventy pounds of powerful muscle and teeth believing he’s the boss is quite another.

Rottweiler Vs. Pit Bull Exercise

There’s not much to choose between them both when it comes to exercise. Pit Bulls and Rottweilers are both large dogs with plenty of powerful muscles. So they are going to require vigorous exercise every day.

Rottweilers were working dogs and enjoy doing something worthwhile. So along with the usual walks and jogging around, try to enroll them in obedience, herding, and tracking dog sports.

Pit Bulls will also benefit from daily exercise, allowing them to tire themselves out. Pit Bulls love to just be with and around their owners and love nothing more than exercising together.

They both have in common that they should be tired out at the end of each day and need to get as close to their owners as physically possible.

Rottweiler Vs. Pit Bull Final Thoughts

We have covered a lot of ground and information in this Rottweiler Vs. Pit Bull article, so have you made up your mind which you think is for you and your family? Or are you still on the fence?

I’m confident after reading this article; you can see for yourself that both of these breeds need a lot of care and attention. I’m not talking about how much you need to groom them, although, in both species, grooming is relatively minimal.

The Rottweiler and Pit Bull are family-oriented dogs and need to spend the maximum time with their families. Both dogs need a lot of exercise every day, and they must have sufficient levels of obedience training and socialization. In fact, this will be a feature of their entire lives.

Assuming that these provisos are met, there is absolutely no reason why both the Rottweiler and Pit Bull wouldn’t make incredible and loving family members.