Pitweiler - The Pitbull Rottweiler Mix Breed Profile
Have you heard about the Pitweiler?
This sturdy, loyal and powerful canine is actually not a purebred dog at all, rather, it’s a cross between a Pitbull and a Rottweiler.
Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa | Doctor Of Veterinary Medicine
Sara is Wileypup’s Veterinarian Adviser and helped compose this article to ensure the information is up to date and accurate. For more information on Sara click here
Did you know?
Since both of these breeds are quite popular in the United States, mixes of this type are fairly common in dog shelters across the country. If you are considering adopting a Pitweiler, kudos to you for doing your research first! This is definitely not the right choice for everyone.
Read on to learn more about the Pitbull and Rottweiler mix, including:
- Key characteristics of this designer dog breed
- History and characteristics of both parent dog breeds
- A guide to decide if the Pit Bull and Rottweiler mix is a good choice for you
- Tips for finding Pitbull and Rottweiler mix puppies
Rottweiler Pitbull Mix | Discover The Pitweiler
The parent breeds of the Pitweiler share many characteristics when it comes to their overall temperament. Both are well known to be loyal to their families with a strong desire to please and tireless work ethic. You can expect a dog that responds well to positive training techniques and a strong pack leader.
However, there are also some key differences between the Rottweiler and Pitbull which tend to lead to variability in the terms of the personality in the offspring.
For example, although Rottweilers are generally able to bond with other pets, the Pitbull breeds were crossed with terriers in a deliberate effort to increase their prey drive. As a result, your Pitweiler may be prone to chasing, and even killing, other pets such as cats or rabbits.
Another key difference is how these two different breeds tend to approach strangers. Pitties usually assume the best about someone unless they are acting suspiciously or aggressively, leading to a more open approach to new people. Rottweilers are fairly notorious for the opposite, using a wait and see attitude with newcomers.
Both parent breeds have a good reputation as being patient and affectionate with children, even protective. However, since the Pit Bull and Rotweiler mix is bound to be a powerful dog, supervision with children is a must.
Both Rottweilers and Pitbulls are large dogs with a stocky build. Expect a very powerful dog between 17-23” in height, 50-90 pounds, with males slightly larger than females.
Both dogs are prone to obesity if they are not well exercised and fed a high-quality dog food.
Coat and Appearance
Just about any color combination that you can imagine is possible when you cross a Pitbull with a Rottweiler, although by far the most common look is the black and tan features of the Rottweiler, with or without that traditional white chest flash and socks typical of Pitties.
Because of the addition of the Pitbull, it is possible that some of these mixes will have blue eyes, which is prized because it is so striking against the dark fur typical of the mix.
The coat is short, like both parent breeds, and grooming is generally easy.
Health and Life Expectancy
Since there is a great deal of diversity in terms of the life expectancy of the several breeds that make up the Pit Bull class, it is hard to give a precise estimate of how long members of this hybrid breed will live. A rough range would be 10-15 years.
They need plenty of exercise, ideally a minimum of two walks per day.
Both breeds have dense bones and they are susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia as well as a few degenerative joint conditions and bone cancer. Overall, however, this is a relatively healthy cross with few other congenital problems likely.
For more Rottweiler & Pitbull Mixes check out these articles:
The Rottweiler Breed
The ancestors of this breed go all the way back to the Roman Empire who selectively breed canines to herd and guard their livestock while their armies were on the move expanding the empire.
Their stock included ancient breeds, including heavy boned Asian mastiff types of dogs. The Roman breed stock became the foundation of many German breeds in the coming centuries.
One German town, Rottweil, was famous for their cattle and the early Rottweilers were developed to herd and guard the stock, both from predators and bandits along the roads to market. They had the nickname “Butcher’s dog” because they were also used to pull carts through the town carrying heavy supplies for their butcher masters.
In the 1800’s, the railroad replaced the need for dogs to drive cattle from the expansive pastures to the markets in Rottweil, however, the beloved dogs quickly found a new place working as police dogs and personal guard dogs.
The breed standard was fixed by German dog clubs dedicated to the breed in 1901. In the years to follow, these hardworking canines found plenty of work as messenger, draughting and ambulance dogs during the wars, and their reputation as useful working dogs continues to this day.
As of 2017, the Rottweiler is the 8th most popular dog in the United States. They have a very loyal following among those that have loved them, and responsible breeders of these noble dogs are relatively easy to find.
One of the most important reasons to work with a responsible breeder when it comes to choosing a Rottweiler puppy is that temperament will play an important role in choosing a breeding pair. Excellent specimens demonstrate confidence, courage and exhibit a calm and stable demeanor.
Guarding traits such as aloofness with strangers and a “wait and see” attitude in new environments are also typical of Rottweilers. Finally, a strong willingness to work is critical for this working group breed.
Backyard breeders often look for the most aggressive dogs to breed, which can and often does result in puppies that grow up to be somewhat unstable and, in some cases, dangerous dogs.
In addition, this is not a beginner’s dog, nor is it recommended that pushover-types get this breed. They require strong leadership and fair but firm boundaries, or they can become pushy. Abuse and/or neglect are likely to make Rottweilers defensive, fearfully aggressive, and dangerous.
In order to grow up to be confident and balanced, Rottweiler puppies must be diligently socialized with other dogs, people and a variety of environments.
The Rottweiler is a very dense and stocky canine with weight between 80-135 pounds, with males substantially larger than females on average. The AKC confirmation standard for this breed puts their height at the shoulder between 22-25” for females and 24-27” for males.
This is a breed that is prone to obesity if fed too much and allowed to get out of shape. However, if exercised regularly, they are very robust with well-developed musculature.
Coat and Appearance
There is only one color allowed for a Rottweiler to be shown, and that is the familiar black and tan. They are not allowed to have any white markings and tan sections should be clearly defined and less than 10% of the total color on the dog.
Rottweilers are a double coated breed, although they often have a soft undercoat only in the chest and thighs, and only when the weather is cold enough to trigger this protective coat. Grooming requirements are easy and the Rottweiler’s coat provides plenty of protection from most weather conditions.
Health and Life Expectancy
This large working group dog has an average life expectancy of 9-10 years. They are considered one of the healthier of the large breeds.
One of the most common problems for the breed is hip dysplasia, although responsible breeders keep detailed paperwork on x-ray screening for their lines, helping to reduce the incidence in healthy puppies.
Because of their rapid development, a few bone conditions are congenital in this breed. Osteochondritis dissecans which is a degeneration of the joints and Osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer are rare but none the less serious conditions endemic to the breed.
Rottweiler puppies are more sensitive than many other breeds when it comes to contracting the Parvo virus. Special care to limit their exposure to other dogs and puppies until they have received their full course of vaccines is strongly recommended.
The Pitbull Breed
Although many people think that “Pitbulls” are actually a breed of dog, the fact is that there is no actual recognized breed by this name. A more accurate understanding of the term “Pitbull” is any one of several Bully type breeds, or more likely, a combination of them.
The purebred dogs most associated with the term Pitbull include the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the Staffordshire Terrier, the American Bully, and to a lesser extent the American Bulldog.
For our breed profile, we will take a look at one of the most common purebred dogs used in the breeding of Pitbulls in American, the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier, followed by a quick look at the role Pitbulls as a group of mixed heritage are playing in contemporary America.
History (American Staffordshire Bull Terrier)
Prior to the standardization of this breed, there were a variety of bulldog terrier mixes that were used in a blood sport called bull baiting. Dogs were released into a pit with large bulls and people were entertained by the bloody torture of the bulls.
These dogs were incredibly powerful, thanks to the bully type breeds developed for this purpose, and they had a high prey drive thanks to the introduction of terrier breeds. Sometimes these dogs were also pitted against bears for the entertainment of large crowds.
By the early 1900’s, much more awareness of animal welfare had been raised, and several laws had been passed in Britain to outlaw the practice of bull and bear baiting. At this time, the blood sport was taken underground, where participants began fighting dog against dog because it was easier to set up quick matches that could evade law enforcement.
The Kennel Club (the British version of the AKC) first recognized the Staffordshire Bull Terrier in 1935. Key among the characteristics of this breed was that it had a temperament that was suitable as a companion dog, signaling a departure from breeding dogs to fight to the death.
Otherwise known as a “Staffy,” this dog was of a medium but very stocky build with a large and powerful head. Not long after, the AKC began to recognize the American Staffordshire Terrier (a.k.a. AmStaffs), and American Pit Bull Terrier, both much larger than the British dogs. It is these two breeds that look the most like what most people associate with Pitbulls today.
Pitbulls in America
Despite being illegal, the unfortunate reality is that dog fighting remains a popular underground sport that has made national headlines. Pitbull type breeds are the most popular for this unethical betting sport, although the dogs are often cross bred to develop the most vicious, aggressive, and fearless dogs with a strong profile for dog/dog aggression.
Dogs deemed not aggressive or powerful enough are often tortured as bait dogs, killed outright, given away, or make their way into the shelter system where they are often euthanized if they are deemed unadoptable.
In certain places in the United States, many rescue dogs are Pitbull mixes, showing the popularity of these types of dogs who are often left intact and lead to unwanted puppies of various mixes. They also have a terrible reputation and have been banned in some places as many people consider them to be dangerous animals.
However, this assumption has been the subject of some recent controversy. The ASPCA has issued statements against the banning of specific breeds, no doubt with Pitbulls in mind. And for good reason.
First, it is well known that dog/dog aggression is very different from dog/human aggression, and one does not imply the other. Pitbulls are not selectively bred to be aggressive with humans, in fact, generally the opposite is true.
Second, it is likely that selective breeding in fighting rings is based on surviving fights, not actual aggression. Fighting dogs are trained from puppy-hood to be aggressive in the fighting ring, always using abusive methods and torture.
Their aggression in these cases stems from abuse and conditioning and is a matter of survival in a situation they are powerless to control. Their strength and skill in the fighting ring are what allows them to survive and thus be bred for another litter of unfortunate dogs abused by heartless people.
Third, studies have shown that Pitbulls are actually less aggressive towards humans than many other popular breeds, with chihuahuas taking the lead in dog/human aggression.
However, it may well be that Pitbull dogs are simply more attractive to those that abuse animals, likely because people trying desperately to compensate for the sense of smallness and deep insecurity have a need to assert their dominance over helpless animals, and display “strength” with a powerful dog like a Pitbull by their side. Thus, perpetuating a cycle of abuse that has resulted in unprecedented numbers of euthanized Pitbulls in shelters across the country.
Luckily for Pitbulls, many lovers of the breed have developed a network of rescue organizations devoted to this persecuted breed. Before you decide to buy any Pitbull mix puppy, please check with the rescue groups in your area to check for dogs looking for their forever home.
Well socialized and responsibly bred American Staffys show a great deal of loyalty, zest for life, affection, biddability, and confidence. They are a favorite as a family pet as a result. They tend to be quite friendly, even with strangers, and are thus poor guard dogs despite their intimidating appearance.
Like most terrier breeds, they tend to have a strong prey drive which can mean trouble for owners that also have other pets, such as cats. This breed can become aggressive and even deadly with other animals. Caution is certainly recommended, particularly if introducing an adult to a multiple pet household.
In addition, it bears repeating that responsible breeding and excellent socialization as a puppy is central to a safe and balanced adult dog. Isolation, neglect, and abuse in this breed can result in a very powerful and dangerous dog that needs professional rehabilitation and may even need to be euthanized.
Despite having a great reputation as affectionate and tolerant with children, care must be taken to properly supervise these dogs with children as they are quite powerful canines.
The standard for AmStaffs regulates their height between 18-19” for males and 17-18” for females. They typically range between 55-70 pounds for males and 40-55 pounds for females.
It is important to remember that most dogs that are called Pit Bulls are actually a mix of this or another breed, and thus there is a fairly wide range of heights and weights for mixed breed Pitbulls.
In all cases, an AmStaff in good condition is positively stacked with muscle, particularly in the chest and forelegs. The head is large for the size of the dog, with a thick skull and a well-developed jaw.
Coat and Appearance
Although any color is allowed in the breed standard, white, black and tan, and liver are discouraged in the breed. Blue and brindles are particularly coveted for their striking good looks. Interesting patches of white add lots of visual interest to this beautiful breed.
Health and Life Expectancy
In terms of purebred AmStaffs, they are generally a fairly healthy breed, as long as responsible breeding practices are followed. They have an average life expectancy of 12-16 years.
They can be particularly prone to skin allergies and urinary tract infections. A high-quality diet is recommended. Additional health problems that can be associated with the breed are hip and elbow dysplasia, heart disease and disfunction of the thyroid.
Is the Rottweiler and Pitbull Mix Right for You?
The Pitweiler is a cross breed that could be ideal under the right conditions. However, this mix of two extremely powerful dogs can also lead to disaster if their behavioural needs are not met.
This hybrid might be right for you if
- You have experience training dogs and are able to provide basic obedience training and solid leadership
- You are looking for an intimidating and powerful personal companion who is loyal and dedicated
- You are prepared to return their lifetime loyalty with a significant investment of your time training and providing consistent leadership
- You have a securely fenced yard for regular off leash exercise
- You are looking for a hunting companion that can help keep you safe in the field in bear or wild boar country
This is not a good breed mix for you if
- You are inexperienced with dog ownership or unaware of basic principles of dog training
- You spend more than a few hours away from home daily
- You live in an area where access to secure, off-leash play zones is limited
- You have other pets such as cats, rabbits or ferrets
- You have trouble setting and maintaining firm boundaries
- You don’t have time to properly train and socialize the puppies
How to Find Pitbull and Rottweiler Mix Puppies
As with all designer dog breeds, unethical backyard breeding and the use of puppy mills is common. With this particular mix, the problem is even worse, since both breeds are often favored for their aggressive tendencies.
Not only do you probably not want to put money in the hands of a fighting dog operation responsible for the untold suffering of hundreds of dogs, you also do not want to have a dog specifically bred for aggression as a family pet.
Before you buy a Rottweiler Pitbull mix, it is absolutely imperative to make sure you are dealing with a responsible breeder who is interested in breeding temperamentally stable stock with careful attention paid to the health and well being of all of their breeding dogs and puppies.
Before you buy, check with local shelters and breed rescue organizations to find out if there are dogs that have been checked out in terms of health and behavior that are in need of homes like yours.
If you decide to go with a breeder, here are some tips to make sure you are getting your Pitbull and Rottweiler mix puppy from a responsible breeder:
- They openly offer the complete health records of the parents, complete with hip dysplasia screenings for both.
- They invite you to tour their breeding facility so that you can see for yourself that all of their canines get plenty of care, socialization, have room to play, and have clean and spacious living quarters.
- They have a return policy that requires you to return your puppy to them if things do not work out.
- They ask that you provide some kind of references and/or documentation of a history of responsible dog ownership.
- They assess that you have the adequate dog training skills to handle these powerful cross bred dogs.
Sharon Elber (M.S. in Science & Technology) - Professional Dog Trainer
Sharon is a professional dog trainer with over 10 years experience. She is also a professional writer that received her M.S. in Science & Technology Studies from Virginia Tech.
For more info on Sharon click here