Rottweilers and Pitbulls are both muscular, intelligent, impressive dogs. Many people admire both breeds. If you want to have both a Rottweiler and a Pitbull in your life, you need to know whether they will coexist peacefully.
Do Rottweilers and Pitbulls get along? Rottweilers and Pitbulls can get along thanks to their similar playstyle, loyalty, and self-control. They may not get along because of a Pitbull’s tendency towards dog aggression and because both breeds are brave and bold. A younger Rottweiler and older Pitbull may be the best combination.
If you’d like to have both a Rottweiler and a Pitbull, there’s a very good chance that you can have both dogs and they’ll get along well, but it doesn’t always work. Here’s what you need to know about the circumstances under which Rottweilers and Pitbulls tend to get along and when you may run into problems, as well as some tips on introducing these two breeds.
Reasons Rottweilers and Pitbulls May Get Along Well
Similar Play Style
Both Rottweilers and Pitbulls tend to play in similar ways. Different breeds of dogs tend to have different ways of playing. Some dogs like to run around together, some dogs are very bouncy and jumpy, and some dogs enjoy wrestling.
Both Rottweilers and Pitbulls tend to enjoy play wrestling and play fighting together. In fact, Rottweilers and Pitbulls who are great friends may seem like they are in the midst of a dogfight when they’re actually just playing. They both like to jump on each other, roll each other over, and bite at one another. This kind of playstyle can be overwhelming for other breeds of dog, but Rottweilers and Pitbulls often play very well together even if they don’t play well with other dogs.
Pitbulls and Rottweilers are both known for being extremely loyal dogs. Both have served as livestock guardians over the years and both are extremely good all-around farm dogs.
Because Rottweilers and Pitbulls both tend to be highly devoted to their families, as long as they see one another as being a part of that family unit, the chances are that they will not only get along well but be extremely loyal to one another.
It’s not unusual to see a Rottweiler and Pitbull who consider themselves to be family members protect each other from potential danger and show a lot of affection with one another.
Eager-to-Please and Trainable
Both Rottweilers and Pitbulls are dedicated to their people and willing to do just about anything to please their families. While Rottweilers may be a bit easier to train, on average, than Pitbulls, both of these breeds have a high drive to please their families.
Therefore, even if your Rottweiler and Pitbull may have some disagreements or hesitancy about getting along, they may be willing to learn to get along together if you train them to do so, just because they want to please you.
Both Rottweilers and Pitbulls tend to have very stable temperaments. Of hundreds of dogs tested, Rottweilers and Pitbulls both scored in the high 80s on the test. Pitbulls did the best, with an 87% success score of 930 dogs tested.
Compare that to the Akita, which had 598 dogs tested for 77% success rate and Basenjis, which had 177 tested at only a 68.9% success rate. A stable temperament doesn’t mean that a dog won’t show aggression, it just means that they are unlikely to do so unpredictably.
Since both Pitbulls and Rottweilers are brave, bold dogs that are unlikely to back down from a fight if they decide to bite, these scores indicate that these dogs rarely make the decision to bite. Self-control has been important in the history of both breeds.
Pitbull Terriers bred to fight with other dogs had to have the control to resist biting their handler. Later, when Pitbulls were used to hunt hogs, drive livestock, and protect property, they had to have the self-control to avoid biting anyone they weren’t supposed to, even when provoked.
As long-time home guardians and personal protection dogs, Rottweilers need to be able to be on the threshold of fighting and show aggressive behavior without actually fighting until told to do so, which requires superb self-control.
Rottweilers and Pitbulls can get along great, here are a couple of Rottie and Pittie besties:
Why Rottweilers and Pitbulls May Not Get Along
A Tendency Towards Dog Aggression
Unfortunately, both Rottweilers and Pitbulls can be prone to dog aggression. Aggression tends to come up more likely with same-gender dogs in Rotties, but it may occur with any dog.
Pitbulls were bred for many years to fight other dogs, and although it is illegal, they are still bred to fight other dogs in underground circles today. Rottweilers were bred to protect livestock and property, which meant that when another dog entered their circle, they were more likely to need to protect their home against it than make friends with it.
That means that both Rottweilers and Pitbulls can have a tendency towards dog aggression, even when they are well socialized. The tendency for dog aggression to come up in a well-socialized dog is much more likely for Pitbulls than it is for Rottweilers, but if a Pitbull starts a fight with a Rottweiler, it is very unlikely that the Rottweiler would back down.
High Prey Drive
Both Rottweilers and Pitbulls can be prone to a very strong prey drive. A Rottweilers herding instincts are rooted in prey drive, as is a Pitbull’s instinct to attack other dogs. Prey drive can come out in all sorts of different ways.
Typically, dogs with prey drive do not experience the instinct around other dogs of their same size, but there are absolutely exceptions. Some dogs who experience a high prey drive feel the instinct to chase and attack anything that moves, even something as big as a car.
If prey drive comes out in a Rottweiler or Pitbull that get along well most of the time, it may cause an attack when the dogs are running and chasing one another. Again, if a fight is instigated on either side, the other unlikely to back down.
Bold and Brave
Both Rottweilers and Pitbulls have been bred to not back down from anything. Whether they are facing a dangerous wild animal, a home invader, or another dog that’s trying to start a fight with them, the chances are that they will engage in the fight rather than showing submissive behavior or running away.
Not all dogs seek to assert themselves over other dogs, but some do. If either your Rottweiler or Pitbull tries to assert themselves over the other dog and derive submissive behavior from them, the chances are that a fight will occur.
How to Set Your Rottweiler and Pitbull Up For Success
One of the most important characteristics for any dog to get along well with other dogs is self-control. There will inevitably be times when your Pitbull and Rottweiler annoy one another, and you want both dogs to have enough self-control to resist the urge to start a fight in these cases.
You can train your dog to have self-control by teaching them to stay in various positions and in multiple situations. Playing give and take games in which you ask your dog to give you a high-value item can also help to develop their self-control.
A flirt stick can also be a great builder of self-control since dogs enjoy playing with it so much that they can be asked to stop playing and stay to wait for it multiple times in a play session. My favorite is this one on Amazon.
Consider Adopting an Older Pitbull
Unfortunately, dog aggression is a characteristic common in Pitbulls, thanks to their history and current breeding as fighting dogs. In fact, even the breed standard for Pitbulls describes a tendency towards some level of dog aggression.
That doesn’t mean that every Pitbull will display dog aggression, but it does mean that a Pitbull that is prone to dog aggression may display it no matter how carefully you train and socialize them. It won’t matter whether your Pitbull grew up with your Rottweiler or not. When dog aggression comes out in the Pitbull breed, it tends to be indiscriminate, although there are certainly exceptions.
Pitbulls, like Rottweilers, tend to be a breed that matures late. That means that behavioral characteristics like dog aggression may not come out until your Pitbull is two or even three years old.
There are few things more heartbreaking than having to separate your dogs or re-home your Pitbull after having them for three years when dog aggression begins to erupt.
Don’t assume that because a Rottweiler may be more likely to win the fight that the Pitbull will stop attacking. Pitbulls were bred to fight other dogs irrelevant of their possibility of winning the fight. They are deeply brave and will fight even when it means they are likely to die as a result.
It May be Best to Start With a Rottweiler Puppy
Rottweilers also begin to display primary breed characteristics at about 2 or 3 years old, but dog aggression is not a part of the Rottweiler’s breed standard, and the average Rottweiler does not begin showing severe dog aggression with other dogs in the home when they reach maturity.
It’s a very different story for dogs outside of the family unit. The average Rottweiler will begin guarding the home and possibly the owner on walks by the time they reach maturity.
With the right training and handling, this guarding state will be reserved for situations in which your dog really does need to guard you, but without the right training, it often generalizes to anyone who tries to approach, including other dogs.
However, a Rottweiler that grows up with another dog will very likely internalize that dog as being a member of their family and never show aggression towards them like they do towards other dogs.
Aggression towards the same gender may begin to come out at this time, especially if your Rottweiler is not fixed. Same-gender aggression may be slightly more likely in females, although it often affects males as well.
That said, Rottweilers are highly trainable dogs. It is perfectly possible to acclimate an adult Rottweiler to another dog later in life, but it might take a little bit more time and work, and it’s important that you realize it may not work at all.
How to Introduce an Adult Rottweiler and Pitbull
It may take a little bit more work to introduce an adult Rottweiler and Pitbull together than starting with a mature Pitbull and a Rottweiler puppy, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try. Adult Pitbulls and Rottweilers are acclimated together all the time and become the best of friends. Here are some steps to take to introduce them:
Start On Neutral Ground
Rottweilers have strong instincts to protect their homes, and a Pitbull also may feel the need to protect their property from a strange Rottweiler, so it’s best to do the introduction on neutral ground. Typically somewhere in the neighborhood is fine, but for Rottweilers that have very strong protection instincts, you may want to drive somewhere they don’t know.
Take a Walk
The best way to let your Rottweiler and Pitbull start getting a sense of one another and give you an opportunity to see how they’re reacting while the stakes are low is to go for a walk. One person should walk the Rottweiler and the other person the Pitbull on opposite sides of a street. Use martingale collars like this one Amazon attached to harnesses so that you can have perfect confidence that neither dog will escape.
It is perfectly normal for both dogs to be very excited to see each other. Barking and lunging and other behavior that may seem aggressive is not abnormal and does not mean that the dogs won’t get along. What you’re looking for is how dogs react to each other as the walk progresses.
What You Want to See
- Loose, relaxed body language and a normal gait
- Relaxed ears and eyes and a lolling tongue with relaxed lips
- Interest in the environment and the handlers, including sniffing, checking in with the people, etc
- Play bows, excited yips, and glancing back and forth between other dog and the handler
What You Don’t Want to See
- Stiff body, particularly with a raised ruff and a tail sticking straight out behind or straight up.
- Focused attention on the other dog in which you can’t get their attention even with high-value treats
- Growling, lunging, and snarling without play bows
Even if you see some behavior that you’d rather not, keep walking. Both Pitbulls and Rottweilers have protection instincts that can be triggered when first meeting a dog but may let up once they have spent some time within sight and smell of one another.
Walk for at least a couple of hours to give the dogs a chance to acclimate to one another. If after this time you’re still seeing this kind of behavior, it’s probably not going to work.
Baby Gate Separation
Once dogs seem to be getting along alright on the walk, it’s time to try letting them get to know each other through a baby gate. Make sure the gate is very secure.
If you’re worried about dogs fighting through it, consider using two gates a slight distance apart so dogs can see and smell without actually making contact through the gate. Let dogs switch spots frequently so that they can smell each other’s smells and explore the entire house without actually sharing space.
Supervised and Leashed Interaction
If dogs are showing positive signals through the baby gate and you haven’t seen any issues in several days or a couple of weeks of separation, it’s time to begin letting them mingle. If there is a reason for you to be concerned, such as if either dog has ever had a fight with another dog before, it may be best to muzzle train before this step so that a negative interaction does not become dangerous.
However, if dogs have been getting along well so far and neither has a history of fighting, keeping them on leash should be sufficient. Hold leashes but do not let them become tight.
Tight leather leashes increase intensity and can cause aggression even when there might not otherwise have been. It can be very hard to keep yourself from putting tension on the lead, so be conscious of maintaining a loose, relaxed leash at all times.
Move Towards Supervised Interactions
If dogs have gotten along well on lead, you can start letting them mingle freely while you supervise. Arguably it may never be completely safe to leave a Pitbull and a Rottweiler alone.
Even if dog aggression instincts don’t come out in the Pitbull and the Pitbull doesn’t start the fight, a minor disagreement between dogs can quickly escalate into a serious fight with two bold, brave dogs like these.
That said, many people do leave their Rottweiler and Pitbull home alone without any trouble at all throughout their lives. It is up to you and your dogs and the level of risk you’re comfortable with whether to stay with supervised interactions or allow dogs to be alone together.
Enjoy the Friendship Between Your Pitbull and Rottweiler
Rottweilers and Pitbulls can get along, and they can even be best friends. By setting yourself up for success with the dogs you choose and using proper training and acclimation, you have a very good chance of having a Pitbull and Rottweiler that get along well.