The Rottweiler German Shepherd mix is the best of two exceptional dog breeds! As the name suggests, it is a mix between the Rottweiler and the German Shepherd. The Rottweiler German shepherd mix may have existed naturally over the years, but breeders started deliberately mixing Rottweilers and German Shepherds in the late 1990s.
They did this because they wanted to pass on the remarkable traits of the two parent breeds, which were in high demand.
Vital Statistics on the German Shepherd Rottweiler Mix
The German Shepherd Rottweiler mix is an intelligent and powerful designer breed that can be an excellent family pet with the proper training. In terms of height, they are 22 to 28 inches in height (55 to 71 centimeters), and they generally weigh 75 to 115 pounds (34 to 52 kilograms).
Rottweiler and German shepherd mix dogs have a lifespan of 9 to 13 years. They fall under the category of mixed breed dogs in the dog breed group because they come from two different dog breeds.
Shepweiler Breed Highlights
- As mentioned earlier, the German Shepherd Rottweiler mix, also known as the Shepweiler or the Rottweiler Shepherd, are not purebreds. They are mixed breed dogs, unlike their parents.
- The main colors of Rottweiler German Shepherd mixes range from gray, black, sable, white, cream, tan, silver, and red. Some Shepweilers may have coats of only one color, while others may have a mix of two or three colors.
- Shepweilers can make excellent and fun playmates for children of all ages, however, they could accidentally hurt smaller children with what was meant to be a playful romp because of their size. Training your dog not to jump up early on helps mitigate this risk.
- Both Rottweilers and German shepherds are prone to shedding, which might make these mixed breed dogs a poor choice for those who suffer from various allergies.
- The rottweiler shepherd mix is quite sociable with other dogs, as long as their owners introduce them gradually and slowly. Cats, on the hand, are a different matter; your Shepweiler may have the instinct to chase them.
- Shepweilers have energy levels. Ensure that your dog gets at least an hour-long walk per day with a few good, active play sessions and shorter walks mixed in.
The History of the Rottweiler German Shepherd Mix
The Rottweiler German Shepherd mix may have existed naturally over the years, but it has not been around long enough to have its own history. It is therefore necessary to look at the backgrounds of the German Shepherd and the Rottweiler since they are the parent stock of the Rottweiler German shepherd mix.
The German Shepherd was developed in Germany in the late 1800s by a man named Max von Stephanitz, a captain in the German Cavalry. He was a breeder with a keen interest and a particular fondness for the breed and helped to create the perfect standard of German Shepherd by mating local shepherd dogs with different types of haircoat.
One of the main uses for the German Shepherd at the time was herding, but they were later employed by the military to make food deliveries, and other supply runs because of their intelligence and resilience. After the First World War, their name went through some changes since it was believed that associating the breed with Germany would adversely affect the popularity of the breed.
They were known for a time as the Alsatian Wolf Dog in England, named after the French region of Alsace bordering Germany. The American Kennel Club changed its name in 1908 when the German Shepherd became popular in the United States. They are currently the third most popular dog in the United States.
The Rottweiler, a German dog breed named after the old free city of Rottweil, is one of the oldest dog breeds in existence. Its origin goes back to Roman times. In times past, soldiers from the Roman Empire developed the Rottweiler to guard their camps and herd cattle.
Since the early 1900s, Rottweilers have been solid workers working as guide dogs for the blind, protectors, guard dogs, and, more recently, search and rescue dogs in many disasters. They have even made it as therapy dogs. The Rottweiler was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1931. As of 2021, the American Kennel Club ranked the Rottweiler as the eighth-most popular purebred dog in the United States.
In the late 1990s, designer breeders started intentionally mixing Rottweilers and German Shepherd Dogs. Breeders wanted to mix the two parent breeds, both of German descent, to combine their intelligence, strength, and loyalty. They continued to create German Shepherd Rottweiler Mixes as demand for the pups climbed.
How Big Does the Rottweiler German Shepherd Mix Get?
Due to the fact that the German Shepherd Rottweiler Mix is a relatively new mixed breed, there are a few standards in relation to size. However because the German Shepherd Rottweiler mix is a result of a cross between a German Shepherd dog and Rottweiler parents, it is easy to expect them to be on the large and stocky side.
In terms of weight, most full grown german shepherd rottweiler mixes weigh approximately 75 to 115 pounds (34 to 52 kilograms) and range in height from 22 to 28 inches (55 to 71 centimeters) at the shoulder. It should also be noted that many of these dogs can be smaller or larger than average.
What Does the German Shepherd Rottweiler Mix Look Like?
The most common coat color often found in Shepweilers is the black and tan patterning of their Rottweiler parent. However, there can also be a mix of the German Shepherd patterning in there too. The coat of the German Shepherd Rottweiler mix is often dense and short like a German Shepherd, but smooth coats in these dogs are not unheard of.
Also, because both parent breeds are medium to heavy shedders, expect your Shepweiler to shed as much as their parent breeds do. The German Shepherd, mixed with the Rottweiler, naturally has a muscular physique, a characteristic that is common to both parent breeds. Read our article and find out 10 Dog Breeds That Shed The Most.
Shepweilers have powerful jaws, a muscular body, long legs, and large feet. They have a black nose and blue or brown eyes. It is not uncommon for them to exhibit heterochromia. Most of these hybrids have floppy ears. Rottweiler German Shepherd mix puppies usually grow into their features by their 18th month.
The Shepweiler Personality
Both parent breeds of the Shepweiler are working dogs, and because of this, the Shepweiler likes to stay active both physically and mentally. Rottweiler German shepherd mixes have a lot of energy. Proper and patient training coupled with positive reinforcement can nip your German Shepherd Rottweiler Mix’s excited jumping and other unwanted habits in the bud.
As big dogs, this mixed breed thrives in family homes, preferably with a yard or other spacious areas to run around. Still, a German Shepherd Rottweiler Mix can do just fine living in an urban setting, as long as their human is active and dedicated to exercising them frequently. If you’re looking for a big cuddly dog who loves to play and protect, you can’t do much better than a German Shepherd Rottweiler Mix.
Despite their large size, many German Shepherd Rottweiler Mixes tend to think that they’re lap dogs. They love to snuggle with their humans, and they tend to stick closest to whoever their main caretaker is. They can sometimes become a little too protective of their humans if they feel threatened.
The Shepweiler’s parent breeds both have an unfortunate reputation for exhibiting some aggressive behavior, but this is only the case when the dog is mistreated or not properly trained by a bad owner.
Although the Shepweiler can be an intimidating guard dog, they are easy to train and will follow commands when given.
The German Shepherd Rottweiler mix is not a vicious attack dog like some claim unless their training demands it. Proper socialization can help keep your German Shepherd Rottweiler Mix’s guarding tendencies from getting out of control.
If the Shepweiler has undergone proper socialization and obedience training, then it will be well-behaved and friendly. They can be hard-working, diligent and loving. Their naturally protective personality makes them excellent guard dogs, and they also have the ability to do all kinds of complex work.
Rottweiler German Shepherd Mix – Health Concerns
The Rottweiler German Shepherd Mix is prone to some of the same health conditions that the German Shepherd and the Rottweiler also face. Most Rottweiler German Shepherd mixes are generally healthy, while some may be predisposed to a few health issues.
Frequent veterinary checkups and a good care system at home go a long way to mitigate some of these health issues. Some of the more common health problems Rottweiler German Shepherd mixes face include:
Eyelid Issues (Entropion and Ectropion)
Entropion is considered a hereditary disorder. While the exact genetics are unknown, many dog breeds have this problem, the Rottweiler and Rottweiler German Shepherd mix being some of them.
Entropion is a disorder that causes the eyelids to roll inward toward the eye. Entropion can affect the lower and upper lids in one or both eyes. This inward rolling often causes the hair on the surface of the eyelid to rub against the eye resulting in pain, perforations, scarring, or pigment developing on the eye, which can interfere with vision. Over time, this damage can become severe, compromising your dog’s eyes and eyesight.
Some signs of entropion in Shepweilers include tearing, discomfort, mucoid discharge, pawing or rubbing at the eyes and scratches and cuts to the eyes. Excessive blinking, eye tics, redness or squinting can also be an indication of entropion.
In most instances entropion in Shepweilers can be treated. Using eye drops or ointment prescribed by your vet can protect your Shepweiler eye’s from pain and discomfort. The eye drops also keep your dog’s eyes moist to prevent chafing. “In puppies (less than 3 to 4 months), temporary tacking of the eyelids may relieve discomfort and secondary spastic components.
Most often the treatment for entropion is surgical correction. A part of skin is taken from the affected eyelid to stop its inward rolling. Usually, a primary, major surgical correction will be performed, and will be followed by a second, minor corrective surgery later. These two surgeries are often performed to reduce the risk of over-correcting the entropion. Kindly note that most dogs will not undergo surgery until they have reached their adult size at six to twelve months of age.
While several surgeries may be required, most Shepweilers with this condition enjoy a pain-free normal life. However, delaying treatment can cause permanent, irreversible visual deficits, especially if there is evidence of corneal scarring .
Ectropion, on the other hand, is an eyelid-related condition that causes the eyelids to roll outward. Unlike entropion, it doesn’t cause hair or eyelashes to rub against the eye, which causes irritation or scarring. Ectropion rather leaves too much of the eye exposed. This makes the eye vulnerable to injury and irritation from dust and debris finding their way into the eye.
Treatment for ectropion isn’t necessarily required if the eye remains healthy and the condition is mild. However, applying lubricating eye drops or ointments can to help prevent the eyes from becoming dried up and losing moisture. In Rottweiler German Shepherd mixes with severe cases of ectropion, surgery to correct the condition may be recommended.
Hip dysplasia is a skeletal condition that occurs during the growth stage in dogs. It is often seen in large dogs, although it can occur in smaller breeds as well. The hip joint serves as a ball and socket in all canines. In dogs with this condition, the ball and socket do not fit, are loose, or do not develop properly.
This causes the ball and socket to rub and grind against each other instead of sliding together smoothly, which in turn causes dysfunction and pain. As the dog grows, the cartilage and bone of the hip begin to wear down. Over time, the hip joint deteriorates and results in the eventual loss of function of the joint itself.
Several factors lead to the development of hip dysplasia in dogs, beginning with genetics. Research shows that this skeletal condition is hereditary. Factors such as types of exercise, excessive growth rate, improper weight, and an unbalanced nutrition can amplify this genetic predisposition.
In some cases, some puppies have special nutrition requirements and need food specially made for large-breed puppies. These foods help prevent excessive growth, which can lead to skeletal disorders such as hip dysplasia, along with elbow dysplasia, and other joint conditions. Delaying the growth of these breeds’ allows joint development without putting too much strain on them, thereby helping to prevent problems down the line.
Although hip dysplasia in dogs may sometimes go undetected, some common signs can be easily identified that can help point out this disease.These symptoms may vary depending on the severity of the disease, the level of inflammation in the joint, the degree of looseness in the joint, and how long the dog has suffered from hip dysplasia. These symptoms include but are not limited to the following;
- Stiffness or Limping with no previous trauma or injury
- Difficulty or reluctance rising, jumping, running, or climbing stairs
- Popping and cracking sounds from joints
- Abnormal sitting positions
- “Bunny hopping” when running
- Grating in the joint whenever they move
- Loss of thigh muscle mass
- Decreased activity
- Lameness in the hind end
- Noticeable development of the shoulder muscles as they compensate for the hind end
There are various treatment options for hip dysplasia in dogs, ranging from lifestyle modifications to surgery. Your vet will consider many factors before recommending the proper treatment for your dog. Note, however, that early diagnosis of the disease can decrease or even prevent long-term arthritis in Rottweiler German Shepherd mixes.
Depending on your dog’s case, the vet may suggest a weight reduction to take the stress off the hips or exercise restriction, especially on hard surfaces. Your vet may also recommend physical therapy, joint supplements, anti-inflammatory medications (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids), joint fluid modifiers, and other non-surgical options.
If surgery is required, there are many factors to take into consideration and in many cases, surgical intervention has a good prognosis and can return dogs to normal function for a normal life.
Remember that not all cases of hip dysplasia can be prevented. That said, there are some steps you can take to reduce your dog’s risk of developing this disease. Keeping your dog’s skeletal system healthy should start when your dog is young. Ensuring your puppy has an appropriate diet will give them a head start on healthy bone and joint development and help prevent the excessive growth that results in this disease.
Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a fatal, chronic, progressive, degenerative disease of the spinal cord of several breeds of dogs. The exact cause of the degenerative myelopathy is unknown. The condition is most common in middle-aged to older dogs, with a range from 4-14 years.
Degenerative Myelopathy is extremely rare in young dogs. In the early stages of this disease, the symptoms resemble those of osteoarthritis (arthritis), which often occurs secondary to hip dysplasia in many large breed dogs, making diagnosis challenging.
In later stages of the disease, gradual and increasing weakness coupled with wobbling or stumbling distinguish it from osteoarthritis of the hip joints.
Some early clinical signs include the following:
- The dog has difficulty getting up from a lying position.
- The dog falls over easily when pushed from the side.
- The dog’s hindquarters appear to sway when standing still.
- The hind limbs seem to scrape the ground when walking and sometimes the top surface of the feet become hairless and irritated from repeated trauma.
There is no treatment for this disease at the moment and in time it leads to complete paralysis in all limbs. Treatment of other concurrent problems such as hip dysplasia may provide some relief from pain or discomfort.
Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)
Osteochondritis dissecans is an inflammatory condition that occurs when diseased cartilage separates from the underlying bone. Cartilage is connective tissue that provides cushioning on the joint surface to soften the impact when walking and running. This disease commonly affects the shoulder joint, but in various instances it affects the elbow, ankle, and hip joints as well.
Osteochondritis Dissecans is a developmental disease that occurs in rapidly growing large breed dogs like the Rottweiler German Shepherd mix, typically between 6 and 9 months of age. It tends to occur more often in male dogs. The cause of OCD is unknown. However, this disease is more common in dogs receiving too much energy and calcium in the diet.
Normally, dogs that are affected with OCD limp or are lame in the affected leg or legs. During an orthopedic examination, putting pressure on the affected joint or manipulating the joint, will cause the dog to cry out in pain. The affected joint may be warm to touch and swollen. In some instances, the lameness may be mild and intermittent while in other cases, the dog may be in chronic pain and avoid bearing weight on the affected leg.
Treatment of OCD depends mostly on the severity of the OCD lesion. The OCD lesion may vary in severity, from a crack in the cartilage to a cartilage flap to a completely detached fragment of cartilage that is floating around in the joint.
If the OCD lesion is not severe, i.e., a crack in the cartilage, your dog may heal if it has strict rest and little activity for several weeks. To relieve inflammation and promote joint health, your vet will prescribe the necessary medication for your dog. However, If the lameness does not improve following this conservative approach, if the cartilage flap becomes folded in the joint, if the cartilage defect is large, or if a piece of cartilage breaks free, your vet may have to perform surgery to remove the defective flap or the floating piece of cartilage.
Removal of the diseased cartilage will get rid of the inflammation and pain, allow the joint surface to remodel, and minimize the development of degenerative joint disease.
Aortic stenosis is the narrowing of the aortic valve of the heart. The aortic valve is the valve through which blood leaves the heart. When this narrowing occurs in the valve, the heart must work harder to force blood through the valve and to other parts of the body.
This extra work has a number of harmful side effects on the heart, most of the time leading to muscle failure and other heart complications. This heart disease is more common in certain dog breeds. It is a hereditary condition that affects breeds like the Rottweiler, the German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and the Rottweiler German Shepherd Mix.
Affected dogs do not show any symptoms in most cases. Aortic stenosis is often detected on routine physical checkups when the vet notices a heart murmur. In moderate to severe cases, signs may be noted at birth.
In severe cases, signs of heart failure may be observed. These signs include
- An increased breathing effort and open-mouth breathing.
Heart failure is more common in dogs that have other heart valve problems occurring at the same time. However Rottweiler German Shepherd mixes with only aortic stenosis can also have heart failure.
Aortic stenosis, in some cases, can lead to changes in the structure of the heart muscle. These changes can influence how the heart conducts electrical signals. If the heart muscle is unable to adequately conduct the electrical impulses that cause the heart to beat, this can result in sudden death.
Treatment is usually not necessary in mild cases of aortic stenosis. Your dog may be kept under close observation to monitor the progress of the disease, although medication is rarely required.
Long-term medication may be required in mild to severe cases. Beta-blockers can help the heart perform more efficiently by lowering the heart rate. Surgery is not usually an option for Aortic stenosis but it may be an option depending on the severity of the case.
Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV), commonly known as bloat, is a serious and life-threatening condition of large breed dogs like the Rottweiler German Shepherd mix. Bloat occurs when a dog’s stomach fills with gas, food, or fluid and subsequently twists. Bloat develops without warning and can progress rapidly.
Bloat can occur with or without twisting. As the stomach swells, it may turn at various angles ( 90° to 360°), twisting between its fixed attachments at the food tube and the upper intestine. The twisting stomach traps air, food, and water in the stomach.
The bloated stomach blocks veins in the abdomen, leading to low blood pressure, shock, and damage to internal organs. The combined effect can quickly kill your dog. Bloat can happen at any age. However, middle-aged dogs are more at risk. The specific cause of bloat is still not known but risk factors that increase the chances of your dog getting bloat include;
- Raised food bowls
- Drinking a large quantity of water in a short period of time
- Genetic factors
- Increased age
- Eating very quickly
- Exercising after eating
Since bloat develops without warning and can progress rapidly, recognizing the symptoms early on is vital to increasing the chances of your dog’s survival. Some of the symptoms in the early stages of bloat include but are not limited to :
- An overall look of distress
- Swollen or distended abdomen
- Retching or attempts to vomit with no success (which may occur every 5-20 minutes)
- Panting or rapid breathing
- Bloated abdomen that may feel tight
- Excessive drooling
- Unproductive attempts to defecate
- Apparent weakness (unable to stand)
- Accelerated heartbeat.
- Foamy mucus around the lips
It is of utmost importance to seek medical attention as soon as possible to increase the chance of your dog’s survival. The severity of the case usually determines the type of treatment your dog will undergo.
Surgery is required to untwist the stomach and return it to its proper position.
The surgery also allows the vet to conclusively assess the amount of damage caused by the lack of blood flow due to the twisted stomach. If there is any tissue damage, the vet will take it off. In extreme cases where the condition has been left untreated for a longer time period, there may be too little live tissue to salvage.
To prevent the bloat from recurring, a surgical procedure called a gastropexy is also performed. In this procedure, the stomach is attached to the abdominal wall. This is done to fix the stomach in place and prevent the twisting of the stomach if bloat occurs again.
Dogs’ eyes have pupils, corneas, lenses, rods, and cones that work similar to ours, although they see things a little differently. In this regard, they can develop some of the same eye conditions that we do, one of which is cataracts.
A cataract develops when the lens of the eye clouds. This clouding is usually due to changes in the water balance in the lens or changes to the proteins(clumping together) within the lens. When the lens becomes cloudy or opaque, the light can’t reach the retina, causing blindness. A mature cataract looks like a white disk behind your dog’s iris.
There are two common causes of cataracts, namely, diabetes and genetics. Cataracts are an inheritable trait, so if a dog is one of the breeds known for cataracts, there is a good chance they might develop them. Both parents of the Rottweiler German Shepherd mix are predisposed to cataracts, so there is a high probability that your Shepweiler may also suffer from cataracts.
Rottweilers are one of the breeds predisposed to developing insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, and German Shepherds dogs have an above average incidence of diabetes. This also raises the probability of the German Shepherd Rottweiler mixes to get diabetes.
Almost all diabetic dogs develop cataracts within a year of diagnosis. High blood sugar levels change the balance of water in the lens, and cataracts form. Often, diabetic cataracts appear very rapidly, with a dog losing sight within a day or two of having any trouble at all.
Visit your vet if you are worried your dog may have cataracts. Your vet will be able to determine, through examination, cataracts that are just forming or immature. Your vet will also be able to detect other eye problems that can occur with cataracts. Eye problems such as the inflammation of the eye (anterior uveitis) and glaucoma.
As stated above, cataracts can develop slowly or almost overnight. You may not notice any changes in your dog during the early stages. However, once the cataracts are mature, the likelihood of your pet going blind is extremely high.
Your dog may have trouble with its sight, bumping into walls, having trouble finding its food and water bowls, or having difficulty locating the stairs. Note that dogs are adaptable and can soon learn to adjust to living without sight, and if the cataracts are slowly developing, you may not notice your dog has lost its sight.
There are no known remedies that can reverse cataracts once it’s formed except surgery. Removing cataracts is usually done under general anesthesia. During this procedure, the veterinarian takes out the lens and replaces it with a lens made from plastic or acrylic. Veterinarians also run tests to look for underlying conditions that are known to cause cataracts.
Treating any conditions that can cause cataracts to form is essential because it reduces the chances that those conditions might cause further health issues.
Caring for the German Shepherd Rottweiler Mix
Frequently scheduled checkups to the vet will ensure that you can detect any health conditions or concerns early. You can develop a care routine together with your vet to maintain good health practices at home and ensure the well-being of your German Shepherd Rottweiler mix.
As with some dog breeds, German Shepherd Rottweiler Mixes are prone to weight gain, and they have high energy levels. Make sure your dog gets at least one good half-hour- to hour-long walks per day with a few good, active play sessions and shorter walks mixed in.
Your dog may also excel at some tasks, complex tricks and spots when given the chance. If your dog’s daily exercise needs are neglected, then it might resort to destructive behavior such as chewing, digging and soiling in the house
Maintaining your Shepweiler’s weight in a healthy range is extremely necessary since it can help prevent your dog from diseases associated with weight like hip and elbow dysplasia or heart issues.
Remember to check your dog’s ears for pests and debris frequently or daily if possible.
Clean your Rottweiler German Shepherd as recommended by your vet. Trim your dog’s nails before they get too long, usually once or twice per month. Keep your German Shepherd Rottweiler mixes mouth healthy by brushing their teeth daily. Your vet can instruct you on how to brush your dog’s teeth properly.
Shepweiler Feeding and Grooming Requirements
As with all dogs, the Shepweiler’s nutritional needs will change across its stages of life, from when it’s a puppy to adult and especially in its senior years. An ideal Rottweiler German Shepherd mix diet should take into account the size and energy requirements of the breed.
You should ask your vet for recommendations about your Rottweiler German Shepherd Mixes diet since there are far too many variations among individual dogs–including weight, energy, and health–to make a specific recommendation.
Rottweiler German Shepherd Mixes have a tendency to gain weight if they are overfed; therefore, ensure a regular feeding schedule and do not leave food out during the day. Remember to limit their amount of treats as well.
Since Shepweilers are a mixed breed, their coats are often a mix of their Rottweiler and German Shepherd parents’ coats and colors. The common coat colors Shepweilers have range from black, gray, sable, white, red, tan, and cream. They sometimes have a mix of two or three colors.
In terms of coat length and shedding, Shepweilers take after their parent breeds. German shepherd have medium-length fur while Rottweilers have a short-double coat. Both parent breeds are heavy shedders which makes Shepweilers heavy to moderate shedders. This might make Rottweiler German Shepherd mixes a poor choice for those with pet allergies.
Regular brushing to keep their coat from getting matted or dirty is necessary. The Shepweiler needs to be brushed on a weekly basis to keep their coat shiny and healthy but you should also give them a light brushing every day to control the shedding. Bathing your Rottweiler and German Shepherd mix three to four times a year may be required if they like to get messy. It’s also recommended to brush their teeth multiple times a week, and check behind their ears.
The coats of German Shepherd Rottweiler mixes provide the necessary insulation that helps this breed withstand colder weather. That said, it would be impractical and dangerous to leave them outside in any extreme weather, cold or hot. When necessary, you may need to apply dog sunscreen to the ears, nose, and sensitive areas where there’s less fur coverage in the summer months.
How are Shepweilers With Kids and Other Pets?
With children, Rottweiler German Shepherd mixes can make excellent and fun playmates. However, it is still important to teach your kids how to safely interact with your mixed breed dog. It’s also important to train your Shepweiler not to jump, as this big dog could accidentally hurt children with what it considers a playful romp..
In relation to other dogs, German Shepherd Rottweiler Mixes are pretty friendly, as long as they are introduced to other pups slowly and properly. When it comes to cats, your Shepweiler may have the instinct to chase. Consistent training and a slow introduction to your cat can help your German Shepherd Rottweiler Mix and cat coexist peacefully.
In some instances, Shepweilers may not be as immediately welcoming or friendly to kids or other animals. In the end, it really comes down to training, socialization, and the luck of the draw.