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Labrador Retriever vs. Rottweiler

Photos of a yellow lab and a Rottweiler meeting on the diagonal in the middle with the letters vs in the center

Labradors have been the most popular one among the 193 recognized dog breeds of AKC, for the past 30 years. On the other hand, Rottweiler is in the 8th position in terms of popularity in the US. However, these stats are not enough to tell which breed will be better for you.

Rottweilers and Labradors are two completely different breeds with different personalities and purposes. Labradors are amiable, charming, and sociable sporting dogs while Rottweilers are obedient, alert, and audacious guard dogs. So, you should think functionally while choosing a dog as your pet. Read on to get a detailed comparison of these two canines.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever standing in tall weeds and underbrush

Labrador Retrievers were developed by mixing St. Jones Water dogs and several British Hunting dogs around the 1830s. The European settlers of Newfoundland were responsible for this cross-breeding.

The muscular body and well-balanced structure of Labs make them exponents of agility, sturdiness, and athleticism. A fully grown Labrador stands at 21.5-24.5 inches and weighs around 50-80 pounds. These dogs usually come in three coat colors (chocolate brown, yellow, and black).


Rottweiler sitting in a field outdoors

Rottweiler is a German breed of working dogs and is considered a successor of Roman drover (cattle-driving) dogs. They were left in Rottweil, a town in Germany, by the Roman squadron in the 2nd century CE. This breed was bred in 1901 by International Club for Leonbergers and Rottweiler Dogs in Germany. It was recognized by AKC in 1931.

Rottweilers have a large muscular body that is well designed for tasks requiring sprightliness, strength, and stamina. These dogs were used to herd cattle to the market. Similarly, they were also used to transport the carts full of meat for butchers. This is why they were known as ‘Rottweil Butcher’s dog’, during the early period.

These dogs are about 24-27 inches tall and weigh between 110 and 135 pounds. These dogs only come in black with Tan or Mahogany patches on the chest, legs, and face.

Differences Between Labrador Retrievers and Rottweilers

The following table shows some of the biggest differences between these breeds.

CharacteristicsRottweilerLabrador Retriever
Weight110-135 pounds50-80 pounds
Lifespan8-10 years10-12 years
CoatDenseShort and hard
ColorsBlack with Tan or Mahogany patchesYellow, Chocolate, Black
Prey DriveModerate-highLow
Exercise RequirementsModerateVery high
Kid and Pet FriendlyNoYes

Similarities Between Labrador Retrievers and Rottweilers

a head shot photo of a Labrador Retriever and a Rottweiler

Below are some of the major similarities between Labs and Rottweilers.

Trainability – Both breeds are quick and obedient learners that can be trained quite conveniently.

Intellect – These dogs are quite smart and can learn new tricks and commands very quickly. This characteristic comes in handy while training your pooch.

Health Issues – Both breeds are generally healthy but can have some common health issues, like bloating, elbow dysplasia, and Hip Dysplasia.

Strength – Both these large dogs possess exemplary strength and stamina. They are bred to do energy-extensive tasks and live up to those expectations.

Obesity – The problem of gaining weight is common with both these dog breeds. Hence, their diet and exercise schedule should be strictly followed to keep them healthy.

Separation Anxiety – Both breeds are highly prone to separation anxiety. You can’t leave them alone for long spells during the day.

What is Better About Labrador Retrievers?

A yellow Labrador Retrievers sitting on a large boulder

If you are looking for a charming, cheerful, and friendly pet, Labs should be your first choice. They are highly energetic and will love to play with you and your kids for hours and hours. These dogs have a very polite and welcoming demeanor. They behave well in front of neighbors and interact with them in a friendly manner.

Labs also get along well with other dogs if you want to have more than one pet. Just make sure that you can give sufficient attention to them. This breed is also a great choice for those owners who have an interest in dog sports and contests. This is because they can sprint, jump, swim, and even do well in intellectual games.

What is Better About Rottweilers?

a Rottweiler sitting outdoors

Rottweilers are exemplary guard dogs. They are always ready to showcase their heroics at the time of need. They are very loyal dogs who will follow their masters’ commands without any doubt. Labs can be stubborn at times but rottweilers always string along with their masters.

If you are looking for a pet that won’t bother you for exercise, a rottweiler is a safe choice. They require less exercise than Labs and won’t be as finicky about it as the Labrador. Their calmer nature also allows them to adapt to apartment life if they are taken out for regular walks.

Who Should Get a Labrador Retriever?

Head and shoulders portrait of a chocolate lab on a peach colored background

It will not be false to say that Labradors are designed for socially active families. You can take them to all sorts of parties and events arranged in your social circle. Similarly, labs are great contestants of dog games or shows. They will always stand out among all other breeds with the vast display of qualities they have.

These canines are also great companions for families that have small kids or other dogs and pets. However, it is worthwhile to mention that Labs require plenty of space to live and play. Hence, they can’t be kept in apartments or cottages.

Labrador Retrievers can’t be left alone or kept at home for long hours. They crave exercise and can develop negative habits if sufficient stimulation is not provided. Therefore, they are better for younger owners who can take the pain of fulfilling their exercise requirements.

Who Should Get a Rottweiler?

Rottweiler sitting outdoors

Rottweiler is an excellent choice for those people who are searching for an active working pet. They are confident and dominating, so it’s important to keep an upper hand on them to assert your authority. Due to this feature, this breed is not recommended for first-time owners.

You should only go for a Rottweiler if you can understand its behavior and fulfill socialization and training requirements. Although they require early socialization and consistent training, these dogs make ideal companions for service professionals, like police and rescue.

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