Whether you’re considering the Rottweiler as your next potential dog breed or you’ve just heard about the different types, labeling can sure be confusing.
Serbian Rottweiler, German Rottweiler, you will probably also hear about the American Rottweiler or even the Russian one.
Let’s focus on the two main types and see how it influences reproduction in Europe and the US.
I own a Rottweiler myself and might have found a thing or two interesting regarding his bloodline, I’ll come back to that below.
What exactly is the difference between the Serbian Rottweiler and the German Rottweiler? This is the question that your research will ultimately come to.
Truthfully, most articles will simply state that the Serbian Rottweiler was born in Serbia while the German was born in Germany.
Well, technically this isn’t even the truth.
Bringing two Serbian Rottweilers to the US and then breeding them does not make the resulting puppy any less of a Serbian Rottweiler.
Likewise, the German Rottweiler is highly desired among American breeders and there had to be (and still does) a time when real German bloodlines were transported to the US.
But let’s take a step back and see why dogs look different in different places.
Most of the time, it has nothing to do with the environment or location itself, but with the look that people want.
If a certain appearance dominates that place, they will continue to breed dogs that display that specific trait.
In time, that type of dog can cross continents.
Even if a certain type of Rottweiler settles in a different location, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is desired by people interested in the dog.
Potential buyers might think that this is what the Rottweiler looks like or if enough breeders decide to accept that new line, there simply wouldn’t be a choice.
Plus, distinguishing the exact type of Rottie isn’t exactly a piece of cake, either.
To supplement my personal experience, I did some research and found an interesting controversy surrounding the Serbian Rottweiler.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
Serbian Rottweiler: what’s so special about them?
The Serbian Rottweiler is more air-headed with a shorter muzzle, more wrinkles, and deep-set eyes in contrast to the shapely head of the German Rottweiler.
The Serbian Rottweiler is usually heavier with a body that resembles a tube and may have a slightly sloping back.
Basically, this appearance is what Serbia and Croatia established as their type to the liking of some and the absolute disgust of others.
According to the ADRK (German Rottweiler Club), this type of Rottweiler is usually a foul.
However, you will still find many Serbian and Croatian Rottweiler lines in German competitions.
Not all Serbian Rottweilers look like the stereotypical ones with extreme blocky heads and small faces, there is a spectrum.
But it’s not always entirely clear what type of Rottie you have.
Serbian Rottweiler breeders
Serbian Rottweiler breeders often mix their dogs’ bloodlines with the German Rottweiler to achieve the desired look, while other Serbian Rottweiler breeders engage in breeding controversial dogs.
As mentioned above, some Serbian Rotties are still able to compete, even in the German ring.
Why do Serbian Rottweilers differ so much in appearance?
Since some breeders seem to generally like the Serbian Rottie type but not exactly the idealized version of them, they just smooth it out with a softer looking line that may very well be a German Rottie.
The truth is that you will find many purebred Rottweilers in the German markets that do not advertise themselves as being of foreign bloodlines at all, but in fact often trace back to Eastern Europe.
You can buy a Rottweiler at its birthplace and it turns out the dog isn’t even a purebred German line.
In fact, it’s not always easy to tell the difference by appearance alone.
That’s why the pedigree is so important so you know what you’re getting (in addition to all the health tests that are essential).
What about the other end of the spectrum?
Extreme bloodline breeders who appear on social media are exposed to a lot of criticism.
While this criticism is not always presented in a constructive manner, the reality is that many people are concerned with how these dogs are bred.
Many of these breeds act as if others are “jealous” of their dogs and fight back, stating that they are “just trying to advance the breed as a whole.”
But is it really true? What about the health of the Serbian Rottweiler?
Serbian Rottweiler Health
The Serbian Rottweiler is exposed to the same problems as the German Rottweiler, such as HD, ED, JLPP, and heart problems, but their appearance may present with respiratory problems, gait failure, or genetic problems due to inbreeding.
Despite understandable criticism regarding dogs apparently having a malformed head, many Serbian lines have health tests.
But do they really?
For example, if you look at #Serbianrottweiler on Instagram, you will come across many potential breeders.
Investigating them reveals that many of them do health tests.
Essential health tests include hip and elbow X-rays, JLPP tests, heart and eye exams, and perhaps more to rule out hereditary conditions.
These Serbian Rottweiler breeders seem to do very well so far.
Even with the most controversial people, most of them are HD/ED free.
But that brings us to the question of how reliable these tests really are.
Always remember to ask your Serbian Rottweiler breeder (or any breeder) to see the actual x-rays and which vet they were taken at and if in doubt consult an independent vet about the results.
It’s hard to imagine the more extreme Rotties not suffering from any problems, such as respiratory problems, just because of their short muzzle.
However, so far I haven’t been able to find any proof as the documentation is sparse.
If you’re thinking of buying a Rottweiler puppy, be sure to trace its ancestry, which often reveals inbreeding or inbreeding as well.
Consult your breeder or maybe even a knowledgeable vet if something seems unclear to you.
In terms of temperament, many Rotties appear with children, but that is only a small part of daily life and even then, it is only a fragment.
Always ask to see the parents, interact with them, ask for certificates or videos.
Serbian Rottweiler Size
Serbian Rottweilers are generally on the large side of the breed standard and are often heavier than their German or American counterparts, at up to 65-69kg for males instead of 50-59kg.
Rottweiler puppies grow quite quickly and although large German males do exist, they will almost always have a different build.
Size shouldn’t matter as much, and at some point, a Rottie will lose the athletic power that drives his muscular frame.
A healthy weight is essential to avoid many obesity-related problems in canines.
Additionally, feeding your dog a healthy diet will decrease the chances of problems like hip or elbow dysplasia, as well as heart-related problems, or presumably loss of cognitive function.
Serbian Rottweiler vs. german rottweiler
Serbian Rottweilers are bred to have short muzzles and airy heads, as well as stocky builds in many cases, while German Rottweilers are still bred somewhat true to their original type.
Whether the best type is the original or the Serbian type or a mix thereof is left to each potential dog owner to decide.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of any breed that exhibits health issues as discussed above.
As long as there’s no definitive test proving a specific bloodline is 100% healthy, I’d err on the side of caution and choose a well-bred guy.
According to the ADRK (German Rottweiler Club), many Serbian Rottweilers would be disqualified or at the very least commit a lot of fouls.
Here’s a bit, except for the traits that ADRK considers “flaws”:
- Head: (…) Head narrow, light, too short, long, coarse or excessively molossoid; excessively wide skull, (lack of stop, stop too small or stop too strong). Very deep frontal furrow.
- Forehead: snout long, pointed, or too short (any snout shorter than 40 percent of head length is too short); split nose; Roman nose (convex nasal bridge) or plate-shaped (concave nasal bridge); Aquiline nose (…)
- Skin: Wrinkles on the head.
Many of the “serious flaws” could have been directed at some of the extreme Serbian Rottweilers as well:
- General appearance: Too molossoid in type and heavy overall appearance.
- Skin: Strongly wrinkled skin on the head, strong wrinkles on the forehead, muzzle and cheeks, strong dewlaps.
- Step: Slow action when jogging.
At the end of the day, it’s important to do your research.
When you buy a puppy, ask for health tests, interact with the parents, and spend time with each puppy.
Checking your bloodlines takes a couple of minutes nowadays and can save you a lot of heartache, especially if you are dealing with inbreeding (as can be the case with any breed and breeder of dogs).
Disclaimer: This blog post is not a substitute for veterinary care and is not intended to be. I am not a veterinarian or a pet nutritionist. If your dog shows any signs of illness, call your vet.
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