Over the past couple of decades, mix breed dogs have become increasingly popular. The breed we’ll be discussing today, the Rottweiler Mastiff mix, is no exception.
While it’s hard to say exactly how many Bullmastiff Rottweiler mixes there are, we do know that both the Bullmastiff and Rottweiler are among the United States’ most popular breeds.
Of the 190 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Rottweiler ranks 8th, while the less popular Bullmastiff still just cracks the top quarter, ranked 48th.
But is the rising popularity of so-called “designer dogs” a good thing?
A common refrain from purebred dog enthusiasts is that breeding dogs “pure” is the best way to ensure healthy dogs and that cross-breeding dogs is unethical because it leads to dogs with health problems.
Unfortunately, the reality is that the opposite is true.
Because pedigree breeding severely limits the number of potential breeding partners available for any given purebred dog, inbreeding and the resulting health problems are common among purebred dogs.
Crossbreeding mixes dogs from two genetically distinct populations, introducing much needed genetic diversity and minimizing the risk that puppies inherit dangerous health problems.
That said, because crossbreeds can inherit traits from either of two genetically different parents, the traits that any given puppy will get can be unpredictable.
Of course, if the two parent breeds have a particular trait in common, then the crossbreed will most likely also have the trait.
Now let’s get back to the mix we’re talking about today, the Bullmastiff and Rottweiler mix.
Rottweiler Mastiff Mix History
Like with many mixed breeds, it’s not entirely clear when the first instance of a Bullmastiff crossed with Rottweiler occurred.
Regardless, intentional Bullmastiff Rottweiler crosses most likely became more popular in the last two decades, at the same time as other designer mix-breeds.
The history of both Bullmastiff and Rottweiler breeds, however, is clear.
History of the Rottweiler
The Rottweiler, sometimes affectionately called the Rottie, is one of the oldest herding breeds, with possible predecessors dating as far back as the Roman Empire. The modern Rottweiler developed in southern Germany where they drove cattle to market and acted as guard dogs.
The introduction of the locomotive as a way to move cattle led to a decline in the breed, but prior to World War I, the Rottweiler regained popularity as a police and military dog. Breeding stopped during World War II due to the rationing of meat, but picked up again in the 1950s.
History of the Bullmastiff
The Bullmastiff has a considerably shorter, but no less interesting, history.
Bullmastiffs were first bred by gamekeepers in Britain in the mid-nineteenth century by crossing English Bulldogs and English Mastiffs.
The goal was to create a breed of guard dog that was stronger, faster, and larger than either the Bulldog or the Mastiff.
The dogs were primarily used to guard game preserves and large estates from would-be hunters.
(One note before we continue: the Bullmastiff is just one of several different Mastiff breeds.
Going forward, any time we use “Mastiff,” we’re referring to the Bullmastiff in particular.)
Of course, the history of a breed can hint at what one can expect that breed’s physical characteristics and temperament to be like, but we still need to look at specifics.
Rottweiler Mastiff Mix Size
A mixed breed dog can inherit traits from either parent, so to know what to expect from a Bull mastiff and Rottweiler mix, we first have to look at the traits of both the Bullmastiff and Rottweiler.
A male Rottweiler can be 24 to 27 inches in height, while a male Bullmastiff generally falls between 25 and 27 inches.
Female Rottweilers are typically 22 to 25 inches tall, and female Bullmastiffs are between 24 and 26 inches tall.
Therefore we can expect a male Rottweiler Mastiff mix to be between 24 and 27 inches tall, while a female can fall anywhere from 22 to 26 inches tall.
Fortunately, since the breeds have fairly similar heights, the possible size range is pretty small and it’s much easier to predict how tall Bullmastiff Rottweiler mix puppies will grow up to be.
Weight is where things get a bit trickier.
Both male Rottweilers and male Bullmastiffs weigh in between 110 and 130 lbs, so we can obviously expect a male Rottweiler Mastiff mix to grow up to weigh between 110 and 130 lbs.
It gets trickier, though. While female Rottweilers can weigh between 77 and 110 lbs, female Bullmastiffs are heftier, with a possible weight range from 100 to 120 lbs.
That means a female Bullmastiff and Rottweiler mix has a range of possible weights of more than 40 lbs, anywhere from 77 to 120 lbs!
See what we mean by unpredictable?
Rottweiler Cross Mastiff Coat
Another major physical characteristic for any dog breed is its coat. Once again, to know what to expect from a Mastiff and Rottweiler mix, we have to look at the two parent breeds.
Both the Mastiff and Rottweiler have dense, flat coats, but the Rottweiler’s coat is medium length, longer than that of the Bullmastiff. Both breeds shed seasonally.
The Rottweiler also has an undercoat around the neck and thighs, while the Bullmastiff does not. A Rottie Mastiff mix may or may not inherit the undercoat.
A Rottweiler’s coat is black and mahogany, rust, or tan, while the Bullmastiff’s coat can be red, fawn, or brindle. A Rottweiler Mastiff mix can show any of these colors and patterns.
Bullmastiff Cross Rottweiler Temperament & Behavior
Both of these guard dog breeds can play it tough, but they also have a sweet side when around family.
While the Rottweiler can be shy around strangers, the Bullmastiff tends to be very confident.
Both are highly protective of their family and territory.
It is therefore essential for healthy Mastiff Rottweiler mix temperament that owners carefully socialize puppies and facilitate friendly introductions between their Bullmastiff Rottweiler mix and any strangers they encounter.
With that said, like that of the Mastiff and Rottweiler, Rottweiler Mastiff mix temperament with their people is best described as calm, affectionate, and even cuddly.
Both parent breeds are social, so expect your Rottweiler Mastiff mix to want to be wherever you are – even in your lap!
It may be tempting to corral the Mastiff and Rottweiler mix in a kennel, but kenneled Rottie Mastiffs feel isolated and anxious, and may engage in self harming behavior.
Despite its “tough guy” exterior, the Rottweiler Mastiff mix is very sensitive.
Positive reinforcement training is essential, and we can’t overstate the importance of thorough socialization to lots of different people, pets and places.
Rottweiler Mastiff Mix Training
Both the Bullmastiff and Rottweiler were bred as guard dogs, so starting training and socialization early is a must to prevent aggression and behavior problems.
Starting puppy obedience training and socialization classes is recommended as soon as Rottweiler Mastiff puppies meet the minimum age requirement and are fully vaccinated.
Bullmastiff Rottweiler puppies should also be exposed to a variety of people and places as early as possible.
Obedience training and socialization needs to continue over the course of the dog’s life.
Rottweilers tend to be people pleasers, but Bullmastiffs are more independent, so obedience training may be tricky.
Rottie x Mastiff Exercise Requirements
Rottweilers require at least two 30 minute workouts a day, but Bullmastiffs tend to be much less active.
A vet can help determine the right amount of exercise for an individual Bullmastiff and Rottweiler mix, but unless there are health problems that limit the dog’s activity, aim for as much activity as possible!
Both parent breeds are sociable, so exercise presents a great opportunity to shower your Mastiff and Rottweiler mix with attention.
A couple of walks each day keep both you and your Rottie Mastiff mix healthy, and if the whole family comes that’s even better.
Both the Bullmastiff and Rottweiler tend to excel in obedience, carting, agility, and tracking competitions and therapy work.
These activities can provide a direction for training, stimulation, and socialization for the dog, and a means for dog and owner to bond.
An under-stimulated or anxious Bullmastiff Rottweiler mix may decide to entertain itself in very destructive ways.
Rottweiler x Mastiff Grooming
Now that we’ve talked about what can be expected from a Bullmastiff and Rottweiler mix, let’s move on to caring for one!
Fortunately, both the Bullmastiff and Rottweiler have only minimal grooming needs.
On top of the weekly oral care and as-needed nail trimmings that are necessary for all breeds, the Rottweiler and Bullmastiff only require weekly brushing, so the same goes for a Rottweiler cross Mastiff.
Baths are only necessary if the Bullmastiff and Rottweiler mix gets dirty or begins to smell.
Rottweiler Mastiff Mix Health
As we’ve said, purebred dogs are often prone to certain health issues and crossbreeds can inherit traits from either parent.
It should therefore come as no surprise that crossbreeds can also inherit health issues from either parent.
With that in mind, it’s important to consider the common health issues among both parent breeds when considering any mixed breed dog.
Rottweilers have a life expectancy of 8 to 10 years, typical for a large dog breed.
Also like most large dog breeds, Rottweilers commonly experience joint problems, particularly hip and elbow dysplasia.
Dysplasia is one of the most common health issues among dogs and simply refers to the malformation of a joint. It is congenital and can be detected through x-ray.
Dysplasia can be treated through medication, but more severe cases may require surgery.
According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), more than 20 percent of tested Rottweilers had hip dysplasia and almost 40 percent experienced elbow dysplasia.
Another common illness among large breeds that Rottweilers experience is dilated cardiomyopathy.
This disease is characterized by the thinning of the walls of the heart, resulting in the gradual loss of heart function.
An affected dog may show no external signs of health problems, then suddenly succumb to congestive heart failure. Electrocardiographic (ECG) monitoring can be used to detect dilated cardiomyopathy in its early stages.
Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) is one of the most common causes of early death for Rottweilers.
Like the Rottweiler, the Bullmastiff has a lifespan of 8 to 10 years.
Also like the Rottweiler, hip and elbow dysplasia are two of the most common health issues among Bullmastiffs. According to OFA, 25.5 % of Bullmastiffs experience hip dysplasia and 16.1 % experience elbow dysplasia.
Bullmastiffs are also among several breeds particularly prone to lymphoma, according to the National Canine Cancer Foundation. Lymphoma is a type of cancer that primarily affects the lymph nodes, spleen, and bone marrow, though it can affect any tissue in the body.
A 2016 study asserts that Bullmastiffs’ predisposition is likely genetic and made even more common by low genetic diversity in the breed.
Bullmastiffs are also particularly likely to suffer from bloat, which occurs when the stomach fills with food, air, or liquid and begins to expand.
This can lead to a tear in the stomach, as well as put pressure on surrounding organs including the heart and respiratory system, endangering the function of vital organ systems.
Bloat can be deadly if medical intervention doesn’t occur quickly enough, but can be prevented by making sure the dog eats slowly, feeding the dog several small meals throughout the day rather than one or two larger ones, ensuring the dog stays hydrated, and by limiting rambunctious activity after meals.
Rottie x Mastiff Health
Of course, a Rottweiler Mastiff mix can suffer from any of the above health problems, but, with the exception of hip and elbow dysplasia, they are less likely to suffer from any one of them than a purebred Bullmastiff or Rottweiler.
Hip and elbow dysplasia, however, can be a particular concern for a Mastiff and Rottweiler mix, since it’s a common health problem for both parent breeds.
Furthermore, dysplasia can lead to early arthritis in the affected joints, so even with corrective surgery, dysplasia can have lifelong effects.
Finding and Choosing Bullmastiff Rottweiler Puppies
It’s always important to choose your breeder carefully, but it’s especially important when choosing one for breeds that are often stereotyped as aggressive or were historically bred for blood sports.
This is especially true for a related cross breed, the Bullmastiff Rottweiler Pitbull mix.
Many breeders choose to mix in Pitbull for added genetic diversity and to reduce the chance of health problems.
Others, however, believe that the Pitbull is the quintessential aggressive dog, and breed the Mastiff Rottweiler Pitbull mix because they think the mix will perform better in blood sports – or at least will seem that way to those looking for dogs to force into these activities.
Ensuring the Health of Your Puppy
Fortunately, breeders like these are few and far between. So how can you know if a Mastiff and Rottweiler mix puppy is healthy?
By looking at the health of the parents!
OFA recommends that Rottweilers undergo exams to detect hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, vision problems, and cardiac problems.
OFA recommends that Bullmastiffs also undergo these exams, as well as exams for kidney disease and autoimmune thyroiditis.
Your breeder should be able to provide you with the results of these tests, but they should also be registered with an organization like OFA. Eye exam results may also be registered with the Canine Eye Registry Foundation.
Dogs must be a minimum of 24 months old for an accurate eye or cardiac exam, so both parents should be at least this old.
You should be able to meet the mother and all puppies in the litter still available, and they should all appear happy and healthy. The mother should be a working dog or valued pet, not treated as a business asset.
Is the Bullmastiff x Rottweiler Right for Your Family?
Now that you know a little bit more about the Rottweiler Mastiff mix, are you wondering if it’s the right breed for you?
The Rottie Mastiff mix is a great family dog, but it requires strong leadership, lots of activity, and even more affection.
The Bullmastiff Rottweiler mix thrives in a family home where there’s plenty of attention, activity, and room to play.
The Bullmastiff Rottweiler mix does well with children, but young children should always be supervised around this breed due to its large size.
The breed typically also does well with other dogs, but its size and energy level may intimidate or annoy some dogs.
Another breed would be a better choice for apartment dwellers or those who are gone most of the day, and homes that frequently host new people may be better suited towards a breed less wary of strangers.
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References & Further Reading
- Evans, K., Adams, J. ‘Mortality and morbidity due to gastric dilatation-volvulus syndrome in pedigree dogs in the UK.’ Journal of Small Animal Practice, 2010.
- Malm, S., et al. ‘Genetic variation and genetic trends in hip and elbow dysplasia in Swedish Rottweiler and Bernese Mountain Dog.’ Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics, 2008.
- Martin, M., Johnson, M., Celona, B. ‘Canine dilated cardiomyopathy: a retrospective study of signalment, presentation and clinical findings in 369 cases.’ Journal of Small Animal Practice, 2008.
- Mele, E. ‘Epidemiology of Osteoarthritis.’ Veterinary Focus, 2007.
- Mortlock, S. ‘Genomic diversity and lymphoma predisposition in bullmastiffs.’ Sydney Digital Theses, 2016.
- Rosenberger, J., Pablo, N., Crawford, C. ‘Prevalence of and intrinsic risk factors for appendicular osteosarcoma in dogs: 179 cases (1996–2005).’ Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2007.
- The American Kennel Club
- The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
- The National Canine Cancer Foundation