ROTTWEILER VS BULLMASTIFF
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HISTORICAL DIFFERENCES Originally utilized as personal protection dog and herding dog for cattle, the Rottweiler is one of the oldest German breeds. Its ancestors were the drover dogs of the Roman Empire, whose role was to drive the cattle brought along by the Roman army during their conquest of today’s Germany. In essence, the modern Rottweiler is a cross between those Roman dogs and local breeds. In the second World War, Rottweilers served as messenger- and guard dogs, and since then, the breed has gained worldwide recognition as protection- and police service dog. Compared to the Rottweiler, the Bullmastiff is a very young breed which originated in mid-19th century England. This dog was created by gamekeepers who crossed the Old English Bulldog with the English Mastiff. In this way, they created the perfect dog for their needs. Which were to prevent poachers from hunting game. For that purpose, those gamekeepers needed a dog able to track down and hold those poachers - until they themselves could capture them. Soon, the Bullmastiff’s guarding skills made these dogs popular guardians and protectors far beyond their native England, and in 1934, the breed was recognized by the AKC. DIFFERENCES IN LOOKS Whilst not a Mastiff as such, the Rottweiler is a very sturdy and compact dog with rectangular frame and a big blocky head. Like Bullmastiffs, Rotties have a marked stop, but they lack the facial folds and the excessive jowls typical for Mastiff breeds. Traditionally, Rotties have docked tails, but the practise of cropping has become illegal in many countries. Adult male Rottweilers can reach heights of 69 cm, which amounts to 27 inches. Their weight can be up to 60 kilos, which is about 100 pounds. Female Rottweilers are slightly smaller and lighter. Bullmastiffs are almost exactly as tall and heavy as Rotties, but they come with the massive heads and the deep facial folds characteristic for brachycephalic breeds. Both breeds have floppy ears and short, tight-fitting coats that can come in a variety of colours. For the Rottie, breed standards dictate black with tan markings. The Bullmastiff can come in brindle, fawn or red – with a mask of black hairs around the face. INTELLIGENCE & TRAINABILITY DIFFERENCES Both the Bullmastiff and the Rottweiler come with high levels of intelligence, but the Rottie is far more trainable. But what the rather stubborn and independent Mastiff lacks in trainability, it more than makes up for in reliability: Contrary to the Rottie, a Bullmastiff turning on their owners is almost unheard of. As Rottweilers are quite strong-willed and are a serious working breed, they need the leadership of an experienced handler. Of course, raised, trained and socialized well, Rottweilers make superb working dogs, guardians and sports dogs. Which is why police and military forces employ the versatile Rottweiler for many different roles, such as search & rescue work, apprehension and tracking. The Bullmastiff’s stubborn streak is typical for Mastiff-type breeds, which is why training these giants can be quite a challenge: When given the chance, they will make their own decisions, whilst Rotties will usually look to their handler for guidance and direction. TEMPERAMENT DIFFERENCES In temperament, the Bullmastiff is definitely calmer and more laid-back than the ever keen Rottweiler: Whilst both of these amazing guardian breeds are quite similar when it comes to their alertness to anything going on outside of the home, Bullmastiffs are much more relaxed inside. In fact, they are so quiet and settled indoors that they even make good apartment dogs. In my personal opinion, Bullmastiffs are one of the best natural family guardians in the world. They absolutely love children and are amazingly patient with them. Bullmastiffs from very strong emotional bonds with their owners and are deeply devoted to them. And whilst Rottweilers CAN make good family guardians, caution is advised due to a certain level of natural aggression and a high prey drive that runs in the breed. Which makes them not the best choice for families with small children. Both breeds are born with an extremely strong guarding instinct. They are true naturals who do not require any training to defend their own. Also, they are wary of strangers, which is a desirable trait in a guard dog. EXERCISE AND GROOMING DIFFERENCES Having been bred as quite active working dogs for centuries, Rottweilers need a lot of exercise on a daily basis. In addition, they should be put through regular obedience drills, combined with walks and play sessions. In this way, they get both the physical and the mental stimulation they need. Also, regular obedience work helps to keep these powerful and energetic dogs on track. It is very important to keep Rotties socialised throughout their lives, and to allow them to meet plenty of other dogs and humans on a regular basis. Being more laid-back in general, Bullmastiffs are quite low in their energy levels and exercise requirements. They are true gentle giants in the house and quite happy with two nice walks a day of around 30 minutes each. Of course, they still enjoy their walks and playtimes – they just do not need as much of them as the energetic Rottweiler. On the grooming front, both of these short-haired guardian breeds do not need lots of work: Outside of shedding season in spring and autumn, they hardly loose hairs. To keep their short coats clean, one or two brushes per week with a rubber grooming mitt or soft bristle brush are quite sufficient. And if they get themselves really dirty, a spray-down with a garden hose is usually enough to clean them up. And this wraps up our discussion of the differences between two of the most powerful and capable guardian breeds – the Rottweiler and the Bullmastiffs. Both are absolutely incredible dogs, very intelligent, strong-willed and born with an extremely keen guarding instinct.
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