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Serbian Rottweiler – Controversy, Health, and Breeders

Whether you’re looking into the Rottweiler as your potential next dog breed or you’ve just heard about the different types, the labeling can surely be confusing.

Serbian Rottweiler, German Rottweiler, you’ll probably also hear about the American or even Russian Rottweiler.

Let’s stick to the two main types and see how it influences breeding across Europe and the US.

I own a Rottweiler myself and might have found an interesting thing or two in regards to her bloodline, I’ll get back to that below.

What exactly is the difference between the Serbian Rottweiler and the German Rottweiler – this is the question your research will ultimately arrive at.

Truthfully, most articles will simply state that the Serbian Rottweiler was born in Serbia while the German one was born in Germany.

Well, technically this isn’t even the truth.

Bringing two Serbian Rottweilers to the US and then breeding them doesn’t make the resulting pup less of a Serbian Rottweiler.

Similarly, the German Rottweiler is very desired among American breeders and there had to be a time (and it still happens) when real German bloodlines were transported to the US.

Two pictures of my female Rottweiler.

But let’s take a step back and check why dogs look different in different locations at all.

Most of the time, it has nothing to do with the environment or location in and of itself but rather what appearance people desire.

If a certain appearance dominates that location, they’ll keep breeding the dogs who display that specific trait.

Over time, that type of dog type can make its way across continents.

Even if a certain Rottweiler type settles in a different location, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s desired by people interested in the dog.

Potential buyers might just think that is how the Rottweiler looks or if enough breeders decide to accept that new line, there just wouldn’t be any other option.

Also, distinguishing the exact Rottie type isn’t exactly a piece of cake either.

To supplement my personal experience, I’ve done some research and found an interesting controversy surrounding the Serbian Rottweiler.

Let’s dive a bit deeper.

Serbian Rottweiler – What’s Special About Them

The Serbian Rottweiler features more of a blockhead with a shorter snout, more wrinkles, and deep-set eyes in contrast to the well-formed German Rottweiler’s head.

The Serbian Rottweiler is often heavier with a body resembling a tube and can have a slightly sloping back.

Basically, this appearance is what Serbia and Croatia established as their type to the liking of some and the absolute disgust of others.

According to the ADRK (the German Rottweiler club), this type of Rottweiler often constitutes a fault.

However, you’ll still find plenty of Serbian and Croatian Rottweiler lines in German competitions.

Not all Serbian Rottweilers look like the stereotypical ones with extreme blockheads and small faces, there’s a spectrum.

But it’s not always entirely clear-cut what type of Rottie you have.

Serbian Rottweiler Breeders

Breeders of the Serbian Rottweiler often mingle their dogs’ bloodlines with German Rottweiler to achieve the desired look while other Serbian Rottweiler breeders commit to breeding controversial dogs.

As mentioned above, some Serbian Rotties can still compete, even in the German show ring.

Why do Serbian Rottweilers differ so wildly in appearance?

Since some breeders seem to generally like the Serbian Rottie type but not exactly the idealized version of them, they just temper that down with a softer-looking line which can very well be a German Rottie.

The truth is, you’ll find many purebred Rottweilers on German marketplaces that are not at all advertised to be of foreign bloodlines but in fact, they quite often trace back to Eastern Europe.

You might buy a Rottweiler in their birthplace and it turns out that dog isn’t even a purebred German line.

In fact, it’s not always easy to tell the difference just because of the appearance.

That’s why pedigree is so important so you know what you’ll get (plus all the health testing which is essential).

What about the other end of the spectrum?

Breeders of extreme bloodlines featured on Social Media are exposed to a lot of criticism.

While this criticism isn’t always packaged in a constructive way, the reality is that many people are concerned about how these dogs are bred.

Many of these breeds act like others are “jealous” of their dogs and defend themselves, stating that they are “just trying to advance the breed as a whole”.

But is it really true? What about the Serbian Rottweiler’s health?

Serbian Rottweiler Health

The Serbian Rottweiler is exposed to the same issues as the German Rottweiler such as HD, ED, JLPP, and heart issues but their appearance might introduce respiratory issues, faults in gait, or genetic issues due to inbreeding.

Despite the understandable criticism in regards to dogs who seemingly have a malformed head, many Serbian lines do have health testing.

But do they really?

For example, if you check out #Serbianrottweiler on Instagram, you’ll stumble over many potential breeders.

Researching them reveals that quite a lot of them do health testing.

Essential health testing includes hip and elbow x-rays, JLPP tests, heart and eye exams, and perhaps more to rule out hereditary conditions.

These Serbian Rottweiler breeders seem to do these so far so good.

Even with the most controversial individuals, most of them are HD/ED-free.

But that leads us to the question of how trustworthy these tests really are.

Remember to always ask your Serbian Rottweiler breeder (or any breeder) to see the actual x-rays and which vet it was taken at and if in doubt, consult an independent vet on the results!

It’s hard to imagine the most extreme Rotties don’t suffer from any issues such as respiratory issues due to their short muzzle alone.

However, so far I’ve couldn’t find any proof since documentation is sparse.

If you’re looking into buying a Rottweiler pup, make sure to trace back their ancestry which also often reveals inbreeding or linebreeding.

Consult your breeder or perhaps even a knowledgeable vet if something seems unclear to you.

In terms of temperament, many Rotties are featured with children but that’s really just a tiny part of daily life and even then, it’s just a snippet.

Always ask to see the parents, interact with them, ask for certificates or videos.

Serbian Rottweiler Size

Serbian Rottweilers are generally on the large side of the breed standard and often heavier than their German or American counterparts with up to 65-69kg for males instead of 50-59kg.

Rottweiler puppies are growing pretty quickly and while large German males do exist, they’ll almost always have a different build.

Size shouldn’t matter so much and at some point, a Rottie will lose their athletic power that propels their muscular body.

A healthy weight is essential to avoid many obesity-related issues in canines.

Also, feeding your dog a healthy diet will decrease chances of issues such as hip or elbow dysplasia as well as heart-related issues or presumably loss of cognitive function.

Serbian Rottweiler vs. German Rottweiler

Serbian Rottweilers are bred to have short muzzles and blockheads as well as an overall stocky build in many cases while German Rottweilers are still bred somewhat true to their original type.

Whether the best type is the original or the Serbian type or a mixture thereof is left for each potential dog owner to decide.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of any breeding that introduces health issues as discussed above.

As long as there’s no definitive proof showing that a specific bloodline is 100% healthy, I’d err on the side of caution and go with a well-bred type instead.

According to the ADRK (German Rottweiler club), many Serbian Rottweilers would be disqualified, or at the very least score many faults.

Here’s a little except on traits the ADRK considers “faults”:

  • Head: (…) Narrow, light, too short, long, coarse or excessively molossoid head; excessively broad skull, (lack of stop, too little stop or too strong stop). Very deep frontal groove.
  • Foreface: Long, pointed or too short muzzle (any muzzle shorter than 40 percent of the length of the head is too short); split nose; Roman nose (convex nasal bridge) or dish-faced (concave nasal bridge); acquiline nose (…)
  • Skin: Wrinkles on head.

Many of the “severe faults” could’ve been aimed just as well at some of the extreme Serbian Rottweilers out there:

  • General appearance: Too molossoid type and heavy general appearance.
  • Skin: Skin at the head strongly wrinkled, strong wrinkles in the area of the forehead, the muzzle and the cheeks, strong dewlap.
  • Gait: Sluggish action while trotting.

At the end of the day, it’s important to do your research.

When buying a puppy, ask for health testing, interacting with the parents, and spend time with each puppy.

Checking out their bloodlines takes a couple of minutes nowadays and can save you a lot of headaches, especially if inbreeding is involved (as can be the case with any dog breed and breeder).

Disclaimer: This blog post does not substitute veterinary attention and does not intend to do so. I am not a veterinarian or pet nutritionist. If your dog shows any sign of illness, call your vet.

About Danielle

Equipped with 5+ years of expertise as a Rottweiler owner, I partner with licensed veterinarians and trainers to share research-backed and actionable advice for you and your furry friend.

David Burns

Thursday 20th of October 2022

I have imported both types and can absolutely say my Serbian Rotts come from International champions that have also been judged by top German judges. No matter Serbian or German the most important thing is breeding the very best Rottweilers to the breed standard.

Joe Cannon

Friday 28th of October 2022

@David Burns, I live in Houston Texas. Where do I find a reputable breeder of either Serbian or German Rotweillers.