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English Mastiff vs. Rottweiler: Breed Differences & Similarities

If you are looking for an extra-large canine companion, both the Rottweiler and English Mastiff are excellent choices. Find out what's similar about these two different dog breeds, and what's different about them.

Kelly Wilson

Last Updated: March 30, 2021 | 8 min read

English Mastiff Vs Rottweiler

Are you thinking about an English Mastiff or a Rottweiler as your next pet? Here are a few things you should know about these two distinct breeds. Find out if a Mastiff or a Rottweiler is the right dog for you.

Both English Mastiffs and Rottweilers give the impression of a big, working dog. If you find yourself drawn to larger breeds with solid strength, it’s natural to gravitate towards these two kinds of pups. While these two breeds are similar in size, history, and breed origins, there are many differences to consider.

Before jumping into the life of a large-breed dog owner, consider the time required for training and socialization. When properly trained and socialized, large dog breeds can be extremely family-friendly and gentle. Whether you’re looking for a family pet or a canine partner in crime, both of these long-term companions have many wonderful qualities and characteristics to offer. Let’s take a look at these two distinct and unique breeds!

Breed Comparison

English Mastiff

  • Height 27-32 Inches
  • Weight 130-220 Pounds
  • Temperament Docile, Good-Natured, Protective, Calm
  • Energy Medium
  • Health Average
  • Lifespan 6-10 Years
  • Puppy Prices $1,200 and Up

Rottweiler

  • Height 22-27 Inches
  • Weight 80-135 Pounds
  • Temperament Obedient, Fearless, Good-natured, Devoted
  • Energy High
  • Health Average
  • Lifespan 8-10 Years
  • Puppy Prices $1,500 and Up

Breed History

We can trace the similarities and differences between these two breeds through history. Both dog breeds are large dogs from the mastiff family. However, their historical purposes differ slightly. Read about these breeds’ histories to help you better understand where they come from and know which breed is right for you.

English Mastiff

Large Fawn Dog Standing Outdoors
These massive, good-natured dogs have been around for nearly 5,000 years.

English Mastiffs are one of the most ancient dog breeds and date back nearly 5,000 years. In ancient times, mastiffs were war dogs. In battle, they were trained to fight against wild animals and other fighting dogs. English Mastiffs are sometimes referred to as Old English Mastiffs. The word “mastiff” comes from the Latin “manseutus,” which means tame and domesticated.

Today, the breed is known for its large, friendly demeanor. They are no longer the aggressive battle animals of ancient days. These gentle giants are a kind and dignified breed.

Rottweiler

Black and Brown Dog Standing Outdoors
Rottweilers almost became instinct at one point, but they are now one of the most popular breeds in the US.

Rottweilers are considered an ancient dog breed. The breed was the canine company to the ancient Romans during military campaigns. The dogs would help guard the outposts and drive cattle as they crossed the land to battle in Germany. The roman soldiers left many dogs behind after the battles. The breed as we know it today was bred in a southern German town called Rottweil.

From the beginning of their breeding, Rottweilers were working dogs. Rottweilers are skilled at herding, pulling carts, driving cattle, and protecting farmland and homes. More recently, Rottweilers are popular for herding and security.

At the end of the 1800s, Rottweilers almost became extinct when smaller dogs were bred and trained to perform the tasks traditionally given to Rottweilers. Smaller dogs were easier to keep and maintain. However, breeders revived them for their high-energy work ethic and ability to haul and herd. Today, Rottweilers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States.

Appearance

Large Dogs Standing Outdoors
The first impression of each of these breeds is of strong and sturdy muscle.

When you hear “English Mastiff,” you may mistake the latter part of the breed’s name for “massive.” And you’d be right. This breed is well at the large end of the scale. Mastiffs can weigh more than 200 lbs and are recorded at more than 300 lbs.

The Mastiff is recognizable by its rectangular body and thick muscles. They have a short coat that is fawn-colored, sometimes with brindle stripes. They boast a broad, massive head and a wrinkled forehead that gives them a gentle and calm expression.

Also, a large dog breed, Rottweilers have various differences in appearance from Mastiffs. Rottweilers have naturally floppy ears and medium-size, square-shaped muzzles. Although the Rottweiler’s muzzle is strong, they are known to drool thanks to their floppy lips.

They range in size from 22 inches to 27 inches, depending on gender. Rottweilers can weigh anywhere between 80 and 120+ lbs. They become fully mature in size between 1 and 3 years of age.

Rottweilers are bulky dogs with broad chests and have a distinct block-like shape to their massive heads. They are recognizable by their short coat, usually of black, flat hair with tan markings. The Rottweiler’s coat is dense and harsh to the touch. Rottweilers naturally have a long, powerful tail, but any pure-bred Rottweiler puppies endure tail cutting to 1-2 vertebrae long.

Temperament

Close Up Images of Two Brown and Black Dogs
English Mastiffs have a more friendly demeanor whereas Rottweilers have a protective disposition.

The Mastiff is full of love – and drool. As a large breed dog, owners must always consider the risks and understand the amount of training required. However, if you’re open to their size, Mastiffs make a great family pet and companion.

While their massive size may appear imposing and fierce, the Mastiff is known for its docile temperament. This large breed is gentle and good-natured, making it an excellent pet for a family with children. The Breed is also known for its kind disposition. They are dignified and courageous thanks to their ancient war origins. As puppies, the Mastiff is full of energy. But as they mature, this breed grows into a calm dog who enjoys quiet days, cuddling, and being around its family.

Mastiffs famously love children and are great family protectors. While docile and calm by nature, they will use their size to protect their loved ones if needed.

It’s important to remember that Rottweilers tend to be aggressive and dominant in their territory. Since Rottweilers are bred to work for protecting and guarding, their temperament reflects this instinctual occupation. Rottweilers can, however, be trained to be well-socialized and to play nicely with humans and other dogs.

Rottweilers may bark and dig excessively when not adequately trained, causing damage to your home or yard. Because they are protective by nature, Rottweilers require close monitoring when interacting with children or large groups of people who they may construe as threats to their family of humans.

Rottweilers can be incredibly protective of children from their homes. Rottweilers need to stay active to remain obedient. With patient and gentle attention, Rottweilers are great companions.

Exercise

Young Dogs Playing Outside
Without adequate exercise and playtime, both breeds can develop detrimental habits.

Due to their large size, Mastiffs require more exercise than smaller or toy-breed dogs. Some experts do not recommend the breed for apartment dwellers or owners who don’t have outdoor space. However, given proper outdoor exercise, they can feel at home in nearly any environment. This includes an apartment or city home.

Professional trainers recommend giving the Mastiff an extra large and spacious crate where they can relax and feel safe. The Mastiff appreciates a cozy space. The breed is likely to find its way to your lap, much like smaller breeds.

Rottweilers require a high-energy and active lifestyle. They are not recommended for owners living in small apartments or without private outdoor free-run space. Due to their high energy levels and aptitude for physical activity, Rottweilers will be ready and willing for any sport that involves running, jumping, playing, and pulling.

Without adequate exercise, both breeds are prone to destructive behaviors. To avoid destroyed couch cushions and scratches in your door frames, make sure these large-breed dogs have at least 40 minutes of exercise daily. Due to their size, Mastiffs tend to overheat when overexerted.

Training

Well-Trained Dogs Sitting Outdoors
Rottweilers demand consistent and rigorous training, making English Mastiffs easier to train out of the two breeds.

If you’re open to a massive dog with a tendency to drool all over your house, the English Mastiff may be the right breed for you. They are relatively easier to train than other large-breed dogs due to their intelligence and docile temperament.

Mastiffs require socialization and obedience training. Luckily, they are eager to please and catch on to commands quickly. This gentle giant will respond well to eye contact, positive body language, and a calm, even tone of voice.

Rottweilers are not recommended for first-time dog owners or trainers. To be a good and well-behaved family companion, Rottweilers require continuous and extensive training, as well as constant socialization. Rottweilers need a lot of socialization to be obedient and gentle family dogs. With the right owner or trainer, Rottweilers are easy to keep due to their confidence and intelligence.

Health

Dogs in the Snow With Tongues Out
Both breeds are of moderate health with few issues that can arise.

Both dog breeds are of average health with low cause for concern. However, like any long-standing pure-breed, issues with less-than-ethical breeders have caused some underlying health concerns. For example, breeding by non-reputable breeders due to the Rottweiler’s popularity has led to some health issues.

Rottweilers can be susceptible to conditions of the joints such as hip dysplasia and eye or heart conditions. Speak with your vet about ensuring proper vaccinations and health regimens to avoid these conditions as your dog ages.

Mastiffs often have issues with hips and elbows as they age. They are also more prone to experience bloat, which can become life-threatening when left untreated. Sadly, the Mastiff does not live as long as owners would like and has a 6-10 year lifespan.

Nutrition

Large Dogs Licking Their Lips
A proper diet is crucial for rapidly growing breeds like the Mastiff, and for the unpicky Rottweiler.

When fed an improper diet, Mastiffs can produce a pungent odor due to increased flatulence. Owners must find the right diet and balance to help them stay healthy from the inside. An appropriate English Mastiff diet will also curb the stink.

Rottweilers thrive on any high-quality dog food. Unlike some picky eaters, Rottweilers will chow down on whatever you put in their bowl. Speak with your vet about choosing the right diet based on your Rottweiler’s age, size, and exercise level. Treats are an important tool for training for any breeds. Both of these breeds do respond well to healthy snack rewards during training.

Grooming

Large Dogs With Beautiful Coats
Because of their short fur, both breeds are low maintenance and only require weekly brushings.

Grooming needs for the Mastiff are low maintenance. Their coat care does not extend beyond weekly brushing and occasional nail care. That is of course unless you adopt one that has long hair. However, they shed heavily, so be ready to have the vacuum out daily.

Due to their short and flat-haired coats, Rottweilers are relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming. Coat care for Rottweilers is minimal, and they require weekly grooming using a soft brush. The only thing that needs a little more attention is their tendency to drool excessively!

Puppy Prices

Cute Puppy Dogs Sitting Outdoors
Expect to pay at least $1,000 for either breed as a puppy from a reputable breeder.

The price for both of these large-breed dogs can vary depending on your location and the breeder’s credibility. When looking for a puppy of either breed, keep these tips in mind.

First, as with any purebred dog, you can often find them at shelters as often as with breeders. If you have the opportunity, be sure to adopt before you shop! Secondly, research your breeder and ensure that they are a safe and reputable source. A telltale sign that a breeder is not following breeder regulations is a price that seems too low. Unlicensed breeders will undercut the prices of reputable breeders – so watch out!

Mastiff puppies cost around $1,200. Rottweiler puppies from a reputable source will range in price from $1,200 to $1,500 and above. Keep in mind that the cost of keeping a large-breed dog can range from $1,000 to $2,000 yearly.

Final Thoughts

That’s everything you need to know about the English Mastiff and the Rottweiler. Two large-breed, high-energy dogs with similar ancient histories and very different personalities! When trained with patience and care, any large dog can make great family pets and companions.

If you’re looking for a calmer, more docile large breed who can adapt to city-living, the Mastiff may be for you. Experienced dog owners with the time to spend on training and constant socialization may gravitate towards the Rottweiler. Take your time to decide which large breed dog is the perfect match for you.

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