The Anatolian shepherd and the Rottweiler originally guarded livestock. The same traits that gave them the ability to protect valuable animals make them potentially wonderful additions to the homes of experienced dog owners today -- but both of these powerful and intelligent breeds can cause problems if not properly trained and socialized.
Similar Backgrounds, Different Locations
Both the Anatolian shepherd and the Rottweiler are working dogs. The Anatolian shepherd started guarding livestock 6,000 years ago in Asia Minor -- also known as the Anatolia Peninsula -- which includes most of Turkey and part of Armenia. The Anatolian did not come into the United States until the middle of the 20th century. The Rottweiler, on the other hand, guarded and herded livestock for the ancient Romans as they pushed their way through Europe two millennia ago. Eventually, the dogs' guarding and herding skills gained attention in Germany, where they were selectively bred to enhance their protective instincts. Despite that breeding program, the Rottweiler breed almost became extinct until a new club and breed standard emerged in the early 20th century.
Similar Personalities & Challenges
Because of their similar backgrounds, the Anatolian shepherd and the Rottweiler share similar personalities that can also pose similar challenges for their owners. As with many working dogs, these breeds are both highly intelligent. The Anatolian shepherd, in particular, is known as an independent thinker, which can cause problems in the home. Likewise, their protective and loyal natures make them ideal for guarding livestock and property but can also make them potentially dangerous in an urban or suburban environment. For these reasons, owners need to properly socialize and train these breeds both Rottweilers and Anatolian shepherds. Rottweilers can be fun-loving and playful clowns around the family, but the Anatolian shepherd is less likely to drop his serious demeanor.
Two Distinct Looking Breeds
The most noticeable difference between the Anatolian shepherd and the Rottweiler is appearance. Anatolian shepherds tend to be taller, females being at least 27 inches at the shoulder and males being at least 29 inches; the Rottweiler's height ranges from 22 to 27 inches. The average Rottweiler weighs between 75 and 110 pounds while the Anatolian shepherd weighs between 80 and 150 pounds. Anatolian shepherds are lighter colored, helping them to blend in with their native environment and with the livestock there. The Rottweiler has a distinctive black-and-tan coloration.
Choosing the Right Protective Breed
Choosing between the breeds comes down to a few key issues. First, Anatolian shepherds tend to bark a great deal, so people who have nearby neighbors may have fewer issues with a Rottweiler. Families with young children may also be better off choosing a Rottweiler: Because of their large size and protective personality, Anatolians can accidentally injure children, especially children who are not well-behaved around them or who do not know how to safely interact with dogs. However, a poorly trained or unsocialized Rottweiler can also be dangerous around children. The Rottweiler may be the better choice for families living in small homes or apartments. Although both breeds need regular exercise, the Anatolian shepherd is more comfortable with a large yard since he came from the rural areas of Turkey where he had plenty of room to run.