Traits of a Mastweiler
Well, simply put it's a cross between a Rottweiler and a Mastiff type dog. The most popular cross we have found is the Rottweiler/English Mastiff. I started breeding these crosses back in 2005. Why breed these two dogs? Because you really do get a dog that is best of both worlds. They are more aware and agile than the purebred mastiffs. They follow you around like a mastiff; they generally don't have the herding instinct of the Rottweiler and are also less likely to wander off your property. Most mastiffs will not leave home, Rottweiler on the hand are more likely to wander and get into mischief. The cross helps length the lifespan of the mastiff - most crosses from what I have heard generally tend to live 9 years to 13 years. While I am personally trying to breed these dogs bigger (generally my females run around 110 lbs, my males upwards of 130, they do have potential for another 30 to 40 lbs and more height if we can find purebreds to bring into the mix). I do NOT want to compromise athletic ability for size though. They generally drool less than their mastiff counterparts – the Rottweiler contributes to a tighter lip.
These dogs are modern day family dogs - and not in the pint sized package. While they are not likely sharp enough to be Schutzhund dogs, they are very good watch dogs and protectors of the kids, house, and car. Their sheer size is usually intimidating on it's on. They seem to have the natural mastiff ability to discern between a child and an adult - and they are gentler on the kids; the worst you usually have to worry about is a rambunctious mastweiler playing outside knocking over a toddler. They are not generally mouthy unless you play with them from pups that way. They have the built in mastiff guilt complex - so if you are upset, they are upset. They are more resilient than a mastiff when it comes to getting disciplined but more sensitive than a Rottweiler.
Outside they play fetch, they are able swimmers, they can pull carts if you put them in harness. At a drop of a hat these guys can walk/trot for miles by your side. They are naturally more focused on you and much easier to train off leash, less dominate and demanding. Inside, they settle down quickly, and they are just as happy in a small apartment as long as they are walked daily as they would be on a farm with acres and acres to run on. They are social animals and generally get along well with all breeds as long as you spend some time socializing them when they are pups. They are not generally aggressive with smaller creatures, though like any big dog, you need to know your animals. Like a mastiff they just want to be near you at all times. And yes, like both Rottweilers and Mastiffs - they still think they are lap dogs even when full grown. They will also gladly take over your bed, your couch and any place warm and comfortable you want to share with them.
Most Mastweilers are very smart creatures - much smarter than the male Rottweilers I have happened to know. But then again, that is the intelligent mastiff; I find mastiffs to be incredibly smart dogs - because they are calmer than the Rottweiler and less likely to get caught up in the intense focus a Rottweiler might when playing a game, chasing a bug, etc.
The negatives - Mastweilers can be climbers - or even jumpers. They love to climb and jump on things. I have had a number that can easily scale 4 foot fences and a few that learned how to scale 6 foot ones. They will sometimes dig; sometimes to lay in a hole to cool off like a rottweiler would, but less rarely to dig under a fence. They are more like, as a mastiff would - try to go right THROUGH the fence. They also like to chew if they are bored – much like a mastiff. For some reason they drawn to wood.
Mastweilers use their paws as mastiff's do - it is not usually a dominant habit. It is simply I am here. All of my mastiffs and most of my mastweilers use their paws very readily and as as my one friend used to say, "knight you" on your shoulder or your arm if you sit with them long enough. Both purebreds like to sleep on their backs at times and it is prevalent in the mastweilers as well. OH, and they can snore sometimes, but not nearly as bad as the mastiffs do.
They come in many colors - basically all the rottweiler shades and all the mastiff colors and then a mix of the both - you have brindles and solids. Black and various shades of tan. Brown and various shades of tan. Solid colored dogs with black masks. You see saddles markings a lot, which are a lightening of the coat over the shoulders. You have Brindles with Brindle Points (they are marked like the rottweiler, with often a lighter color brindle where the tan points with be). You also get black dogs with brindle points where the tan points would be.
For me these dogs are a lifetime commitment. I would like to see them established a breed eventually, but I'm still trying to perfect exactly what I'm looking for... it will take many years and building up the knowledge on the cross itself. I'm taking it bit by bit, but I have big plans for these amazing dogs.
The Italian Mastweiler…..
I was the first breeders to start breeding the English Mastweiler cross formally in the United States. Prior to that, the only other concentrated effort took place in the UK - and they, like I have chosen to do, brought in other types of mastiffs to the cross. At this point we are making still making a distinction between the two - but as we evaluate the dogs through breeding that may change. I personally really like the Corso/Mastweiler cross and do not like the idea of directly crossing the Corso with the Rottweiler. The English Mastiff softens the cross just enough as well as brings in the larger size. What I have noticed in my first Corso Cross is that Audrey is stouter and has shorter legs - and doesn't have the ground covering trot I value in the mastweiler (and the rottweiler for that matter). She is currently bred back to another mastweiler and genetically speaking the pups will be 25% Corso, 37.5% Rottweiler, and 37.5% English Mastiff. I’m very excited about this litter – personality wise, they should be great, and genetically speaking they are much closer to the ideal that I’m looking for if we chose to keep the Italian and English lines separate. There is a difference physically and mentally in Audrey from the other mastweilers, but it really suits her and it suits the cross. I am looking forward to getting more corsos in the future and continuing perfecting that cross or deciding to fold them both into a single cross.
I don’t like the idea of crossing certain mastiffs with Rottweilers – Boerboel's for example – I don’t see the positive in it structurally or temperamentally. The Neapolitan Mastiff maybe in something to look into though. They are bigger than Corso’s usually, but have a lot of the same personality traits. I would discourage any outlandish Rottweiler/Mastiff crosses, such as the Great Dane with a Rottweiler - the body structures are way too different between the two and you are likely to end up with some very wonky looking puppies. One of the things I really like about my dogs is they are very soild and well put together. I think the bull mastiff/Rottweiler cross also has it’s positives, but I do worry about potential birthing issues and bull mastiffs sometimes need c-sections do to large skulls. I would also discourage Rottweiler cross with any Molasser type breeds with extreme temperaments – such as African Boerboel’s, Tosa Inus’s, Presa Canarios or Fila Brasilerio’s. Those dogs have VERY INTENSE personalities and would not do well crossed haphazardly with a Rottweiler. Now don’t get me wrong, I like those breeds all on their own, but I see the different traits working against each other, rather than for the cross and I will not be promoting those crosses as for most people that is just too much dog to handle. I will say outside of the mastiff/rot cross, the one rot cross I that I like is the Rottweiler/American Bull Dog Mix. They generally have a lot of the same attributes as the mastweilers.