What Are the Differences Between a Rottweiler and a Pit Bull?

Rottweilers and pit bulls are both highly prized for their effectiveness as guard dogs. Though not particularly large, they are imposing, powerful dogs that can be counted on to protect their owners.

The Rottweiler is a favorite dog for personal protection. Males grow to between 24 and 27 inches tall at the shoulders, and they weigh between 95 and 130 pounds. "Rots" are highly intelligent and muscular.

While they are loyal to their human companions, Rottweilers are always on alert and ready to confront intruders. To prevent aggressive behavior from developing, owners must be strong pack leaders. Obedience training and early socialization are vital. These dogs need lots of physical activity, so they are recommended only for active owners who like to get outside and exercise.

The average life expectancy for a Rottweiler is 10 to 12 years. Rottweiler litters can consist of as many as a dozen puppies. Rots don't need frequent bathing and are average shedders.

While it is aggressive toward other animals, the American pit bull terrier is not a threat to humans if properly trained and socialized. Unlike the Rottweiler, the pit bull is recommended for families with young children. Due to their terrier traits, pit bulls are more clownish and playful than rots. They also tend to be more obedient, though in a perceived crisis, pit bulls can be aggressive.

Pit bulls are shorter and lighter than Rottweilers, with males reaching a height of 14 to 24 inches and generally weighing 22 to 78 pounds. They live for about 12 years and generally have somewhat smaller litters than Rottweilers.