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The German Shepherd Rottweiler Mix: Your Complete Guide to the Rotten Shepherd

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

The German Shepherd Rottweiler Mix

The Rottweiler German Shepherd Rottweiler mix goes by many names, including the Rottie Shepherd, Shepweiler, and even the Rotten Shepherd (which, let’s face it, doesn’t sound very flattering).

These are large mixed breed dogs that are prone to hip and joint issues so lifelong canine mobility supplements are essential for their care. 

Of course, nothing is rotten about the Shepweiler, which usually makes a great family dog and a decent guard dog. Both parents are working dogs and are far more trainable than other GSD designer breeds, like the more independent German Shar Pei or the Alaskan Shepherd. They are also more likely to bred by accident or backyard breeders, as they are not purebred dogs, or an emerging breed like the North American Mastiff. However, these are still powerful dogs that can come with challenges, so read on to ensure this large breed is right for you.

Other highlights include:

  • The Rottie Shepherd is typically black and tan in color or entirely black. They are not hypoallergenic, so they are not suited to people with allergies.
  • They are known for their trainability and intelligence, making them great candidates for obedience training and other dog sports.
  • They are fiercely loyal to their families and make excellent guard dogs, but they are also very loving and affectionate.
  • They require plenty of socialization and training from a young age to ensure they become well-adjusted and happy dogs.
  • They may be prone to some health issues, such as hip dysplasia and arthritis, so regular vet check-ups and exercise are important.

But to understand what this dog needs from us as an owner, we need to look at the history of the Rottweiler parent and the German Shepherd parent. After all, parent breeds provide the genetic blueprint for any cross.

History of the German Shepherd Rottweiler Mix

History of the German Shepherd Rottweiler Mix

The German Shepherd, previously known as the Alsatian, originated in Germany in the late 19th century. These dogs were bred for their intelligence and loyalty and were originally used as herding dogs. However, their versatility quickly became apparent, and they were soon used for various purposes, including as police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and even as guide dogs for the blind.

On the other hand, the Rottweiler is a much older breed that dates back to the Roman Empire. These dogs were used as herding and guard dogs and to pull carts of meat to market. Their name comes from the town of Rottweil in Germany, where the breed originated. Both dogs are tremendously popular as companions and as trusted guard and work dog breeds.

Shepweiler Appearance

  • Height: 22 – 27 inches (56 – 69 cm) 
  • Weight: 75 – 115 pounds (34 – 52 kg)
  • Lifespan: 8-12 years 
  • Color: Black, black and tan, black and mahogany, red or red and tan
  • Nose: Black
  • Eye: Amber to dark brown

As you might expect, these dogs take on traits from both breeds. They are usually black and tan or black and mahogany, with some dogs being entirely black. They tend to have shorter noses than German shepherds and a bulkier appearance. But they are more athletic than the average Rottweiler.

These powerful and athletic dogs need lots of training and exercise to keep them from becoming difficult to manage. 

Trainability and Temperament of the Rotten Shepherd

Trainability and temperament of the Rotten Shepherd

GSDs and Rottweilers are known for their intelligence and obedience, so it’s no surprise that their mixed-breed offspring are also. These dogs thrive on learning new things and are always eager to please their owners, which makes them great candidates for obedience training, agility, and other dog sports. 

According to Dr. Stanley Coren, who studies the Intelligence of Dogs, the German Shepherd is the third most intelligent dog in the world, and the Rottweiler is 9th. So both of the Shepweiler’s parents are in the top 10 most intelligent and most trainable breeds in the world. They are also fearless and intimidating guardian breeds that are exceptionally loyal. 

However, it’s important to remember that both the Rottweiler and the GSD have suffered from backyard breeding. While their original working lines are bred to be bold, trainable, and fearless, increasingly, both breeds have been watered down through unethical breeding practices. 

This means you will see more dogs with significant health problems and behavioral issues like anxiety or fear-based aggression. So, one needs to be careful when getting a Rotten Shepherd, as only some breeders will reliably test their dogs for health and temperament before breeding.

So, in general, the Rottie Shepherd is fiercely loyal to their families and makes excellent guard dogs, but they’re also incredibly loving and affectionate. They’re great with kids and other pets and known for being patient and gentle. But if their parents have behavioral or health issues, they will likely pass this down to Rottie Shepherd.

This dog also comes from a line of dogs with strong personalities. The Rottweiler, in particular, can be a dominant dog that does not always get along well with other dogs. While many of these dogs are extremely sweet and biddable, they are not always suited to an inexperienced owner. They need plenty of socialization and training throughout their lives to prevent any potential problems with aggression. 

General Care of the German Shepherd Rottweiler Mix

General care of the German Shepherd Rottweiler mix

Energy Levels & Exercise Needs

The Rottweiler German Shepherd mix is a moderate-to-high-energy dog that needs plenty of exercise to stay healthy and happy. As a mixed breed, the exact energy levels and exercise needs can vary from dog to dog, but in general, they will need at least 30-60 minutes of moderate to high-intensity exercise every day.

These dogs love to play and run, so activities such as jogging, hiking, playing fetch, and agility training are great ways to keep them active and stimulated. They also enjoy walking and exploring new environments, so taking them to new places or switching up their routine can help prevent boredom. 

Do not let them jump much, especially while puppies, as these dogs are very prone to ligament and joint problems, and we do not want to place any unnecessary stress on their growing joints.

Dietary Needs

Regarding dietary needs, the Rottweiler German Shepherd mix requires a high-quality, balanced diet rich in protein and nutrients to support their active lifestyle. It’s essential to choose a dog food appropriate for their age, weight, and activity level and to avoid overfeeding or underfeeding them. 

These dogs often have sensitive stomachs, so they need lots of insoluble fiber (too much soluble fiber can make their tummies run) and highly digestible proteins and carbohydrates.

Grooming the German Shepherd Rottweiler Mix

A Rotten Shepherd typically needs to be washed about once every six weeks with a soothing oatmeal shampoo, as they are prone to skin problems. Use a dog nail clipper to trim their nails at least once a month. 

Tooth problems can lead to issues like diabetes and heart disease, so clean their teeth daily and use a dog dental water additive in their water bowl. Dog ear wipes are needed to clean out their ears as these dogs are incredibly prone to ear infections.

These dogs can be brushed at least once a week to remove the dead hair from their undercoat and distribute the oils in their coat. They are prone to heavy seasonal shedding when you can take them to a groomer for a full blowout. 

How Much Does a Rottweiler German Shepherd Cross Puppy Cost?

On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $1500 for a German Shepherd Rottweiler mix puppy. However, very few reputable breeders will mix these two dogs on purpose. So looking for this dog in shelters or rescues online is better.

Health of the German Shepherd Rottweiler Mix

Unfortunately, the Shepweiler is prone to many health problems. Both parent breeds are large dogs that are famous for the number of genetic health issues, especially in American lines ( European working line Rottweilers and GSDS have more stringent health testing). In theory, by being a mixed breed, this dog could be healthy due to “hybrid vigor”; however, they are still vulnerable to many severe health problems. 

Here are some of the most common health problems that may affect this mix:

  1. Hip & Elbow Dysplasia: Both hip and elbow dysplasia are conditions where the joints develop abnormally, leading to discomfort and mobility issues.
  2. Eye Problems: Glaucoma and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) are examples of eye problems that can occur in this mix, potentially leading to vision loss or other complications.
  3. Obesity: Due to their size and potential for overeating, the German Shepherd Rottweiler mix may be prone to obesity, which can contribute to various health problems.
  4. Diabetes: This metabolic disorder can affect dogs of any breed, including the German Shepherd Rottweiler mix, and may require careful management of diet, exercise, and medication.
  5. Cruciate Ligament Tears: These injuries to the knee ligaments can cause lameness and require surgical intervention for proper healing.
  6. Various Cancers: Just like the parent breeds, the German Shepherd Rottweiler mix may be susceptible to different types of cancer, including bone, skin, and lymphoma.
  7. Stomach Problems: Frequent or chronic diarrhea from inflammatory bowel syndrome can occur, causing digestive issues and discomfort.
  8. Ear Infections: Dogs with floppy ears, such as the Rottweiler, can be prone to ear infections, which can also affect the German Shepherd Rottweiler mix.
  9. Skin Infections: Skin infections, such as bacterial or fungal infections, may occur due to allergies, poor grooming, or other factors.
  10. Urinary Tract Infections: This common condition can affect dogs of all breeds, including the German Shepherd Rottweiler mix, causing discomfort and frequent urination.
  11. Bloat (Gastric Dilation and Volvulus): Bloat is a life-threatening condition where the stomach fills with gas and twists. Large, deep-chested breeds like the German Shepherd Rottweiler mix are at higher risk.
  12. Degenerative Myelopathy: This neurological disorder affects the spinal cord, leading to gradual weakness and paralysis of the hind limbs.
  13. Allergies: Allergies, such as food or environmental allergies, can cause skin irritations, itching, and other allergic reactions.
  14. Heart Disease: Various heart conditions, including valve diseases and cardiomyopathy, can affect the German Shepherd Rottweiler mix.
  15. Epilepsy: Epilepsy, characterized by recurrent seizures, can occur in this mix and require appropriate medical management.

It’s important to note that not all German Shepherd Rottweiler mixes will experience these health issues, and proper care, regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, exercise, and early intervention can help mitigate the risks and ensure a healthier and happier life for the dog.

How Long Does the Rottweiler German Shepherd Cross Live?

In terms of lifespan, the Rottweiler German Shepherd mix can live for around 8-13 years with proper care and attention. 

Is the Rottweiler German Shepherd Mix Good with Kids and Other Animals?

When properly socialized and trained, the Rottweiler German Shepherd mix can be a great family pet. These dogs are known for their loyalty and affection towards their owners and can be protective of their families. However, it’s important to supervise them around small children and to teach them how to interact with other pets to prevent any aggressive behavior.

Proper socialization and training from a young age can help prevent any behavioral issues and help your dog develop into a well-adjusted and happy companion. It’s also important to note that every dog is an individual, and behavior can vary depending on genetics and environment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much is a Rottweiler German Shepherd mix puppy worth? 

The price of a Rottweiler German Shepherd mix puppy can vary depending on factors such as lineage, breeder reputation, and location. Generally, they can range from $500 to $1,500 or more.

Is the Rottweiler German Shepherd mix a good dog? 

Yes, the Rottweiler German Shepherd mix can make a good dog. They are often intelligent, loyal, protective, and can excel in various roles such as a family companion, working dog, or service animal. However, they do not typically work as police dogs. Instead, they make better family dogs with a bit of guarding instincts.

Is the Rottweiler German Shepherd mix aggressive? 

The temperament of a Rottweiler German Shepherd mix can vary based on individual genetics and upbringing. While both parent breeds can exhibit protective instincts, early socialization and training are essential to ensure a well-behaved and balanced dog.

Is the Rottweiler German Shepherd mix a good guard dog? 

Yes, the Rottweiler German Shepherd mix has the potential to be a good guard dog. With their protective nature and strong instincts, they can be effective at guarding property and their families when properly trained and socialized.

What do you call a German Shepherd Rottweiler mix? 

A German Shepherd Rottweiler mix is commonly referred to as a “Shepweiler” or “Rottie Shepherd.”

Does the German Shepherd Rottweiler mix shed? 

Yes, the German Shepherd Rottweiler mix is likely to shed. Both parent breeds are known for their shedding tendencies, so regular grooming and maintenance are necessary to manage their coat.

Does the German Shepherd Rottweiler mix drool?

The German Shepherd Rottweiler mix may drool, but the amount can vary from dog to dog. It is not a characteristic specific to this mix, but individual variations and genetics play a role.

Is the German Shepherd Rottweiler mix hypoallergenic?

 No, the German Shepherd Rottweiler mix is not hypoallergenic. They are not considered a suitable choice for individuals with allergies, as they shed and produce dander like most other dog breeds.

Final Thoughts

The German Shepherd Rottweiler mix is a fantastic breed that combines the best traits of two beloved breeds. The Rottweiler German Shepherd mix is a high-energy breed that requires plenty of exercise and a balanced diet to stay healthy and happy. With proper care and attention, they make wonderful and loyal companions. If you’re looking for a loyal, intelligent, and affectionate companion, this breed might be the perfect fit.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe

Author

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.