“Bigger is better” is an adage that rings true for many when referring to the head size of certain dog breeds.
Those dogs in the Mastiff family and Bully group are often the targets of unreasonable comparisons and expectations because having a massive head is part of their breed standard.
If you have a Rottweiler, you know how impressive and majestic his head alone can be. How much can you influence Rottweiler’s head growth?
The mechanics behind how to make Rottweiler heads bigger begin long before a dog is born.
While you may have minimal influence on your dog’s musculature and conditioning, you have no ability to make a difference in your dog’s skull size.
Instead, you must rely on your dog’s genetics and gender to determine the size of its head. The only thing you can do is ensure optimal development through nutrition and be selective about where you acquire a pup.
How do you know how big your Rottie’s head is?
Rottweilers are one of the many animals where people consider a big head to be an attractive trait. But how do you determine your dog’s head size objectively?
Measuring your dog’s head size is straightforward because you only need its circumference. Of course, determining the circumference of your dog’s head is just like figuring out the distance around a circle.
Use a tape measure and fit it tightly around your Rottie’s head, just in front of the ears. Make sure your tape goes across the forehead and around your pet’s jaws. If you take your measurements behind your dog’s ears, you will find the circumference of your pet’s neck rather than the head.
If you do not have a tape measure, simply use string, yarn, or even ribbon. Mark where the material meets around your Rottie’s head, and then you can use a ruler or yardstick to get the final measurement.
Structure of Rottweiler’s Head
The circumference of your Rottweiler’s head is the simplest way to assess its size. However, other factors contribute to your overall impression of a Rottie’s head.
Your Rottie’s skull lays the foundation for how large its head can get.
A crucial anatomical feature of a dog’s skull is the pinion, which is the protuberance at the rear where a few neck muscles attach. It is also known as the occipital base of the dog’s skull. It is relevant because scientists measure from that point to the end of the muzzle to get the skull’s length.
On average, a male Rottie’s skull is 5.9 inches long, which is in the middle of the domestic dog’s typical range (2.3 to 11 inches long). A few breeds will put the Rottweiler’s head length in perspective.
- Wolf – 9 to 11.4 inches long
- Greyhound – 7.9 inches long
- Doberman – 10 inches long
- Great Dane – 11 inches long
- Mastiff – 10.7 inches long
A Rottie’s skull width combined with its muzzle to occipital ratio is one of the crucial factors that account for why the Rottweiler head seems so large. The ears are set wide apart, and the head is 6.3 inches at its widest point.
The occipital plate or round area towards the back of the skull is well-developed in Rottweilers, giving their head more mass and a rounder and heavier appearance.
On top of that, the muzzle and jaws are quite broad. According to the AKC breed standard, the preferred ratio of the snout length to the back skull should be 2:3.
The German standard calls for an even blockier head with a muzzle: head ratio of 40% to 60%.
Head Muscles of Rottie
A Rottweiler is muscular throughout its body. Well-developed muscles on Rottie’s head make it appear more massive.
If you look at a Rottweiler head-on, you will notice its prominent cheeks. This is from the strong muscles attached to an impressive zygomatic arch. Moreover, the large masseter muscles also connect to the cheekbone and continue to the lower jaw.
Finally, muscles at the Rottweiler’s temple and from the commissure of the lips to the ears are prominent. These and relatively tight skin give the Rottweiler a unique head and expression. A Rottie’s head usually looks bigger than it is.
Rottweiler Head Growth Should Not be Excessive
Rottweilers are sometimes giant-sized, and they have the same ancestors as Mastiffs. However, the Rottweiler breed standard does not call for a massive head. Instead, your Rottie’s head should be medium-sized and in balance with the rest of its body.
Nonetheless, a Rottweiler’s head-to-body proportions are among the largest of dogs. Some dogs where that ratio is larger are as follows:
- Dogue de Bordeaux – largest head relative to body size; extreme Mastiff type
- English Mastiff
- American Bulldog
- American Staffordshire Terrier and many American Pitbull Terriers
- English Bulldog, French Bulldog
- Tibetan Mastiff – although not a true Mastiff, the Tibetan has a massive head
- Neapolitan Mastiff
Many of the Pitbull varieties have cropped ears that once protected them in dogfights. The cosmetic ear trim has the added effect of showing off the dog’s large head.
There is no separation of Rottweilers in the breed registries based on type. However, Rotties have a few regional differences that affect their head size.
The main two types that people think of in the Rottie are the American and German varieties. Although both have approximately the same overall size range, American Rottweilers tend to be leaner with less broadness through the chest and not as much breadth across the ribs.
In keeping with the idea of harmony, the American Rottweiler has a lighter and more slender head than the German Rottie. The German Rottweiler’s muzzle is shorter, giving the dog a wider face and jaws than the American variety.
Another less-known type is the Roman Rottweiler. Not necessarily bred in Italy, the Roman Rottweiler is taller and slightly heavier than even the German Rottie.
Original breeders aimed to create a larger dog, perhaps to more closely resemble their drover ancestors. Their most notable characteristic is they have larger heads with more massive jaws. The muzzle is a bit longer than the German type.
If you are considering the addition of a Roman Rottweiler to your family, take care that you know its pedigree.
Some breeders cross their Rotties with Mastiffs to increase their bulk and make their heads bigger. Mastiffs have smaller ears than Rottweilers, a trait that will also make the head look larger.
How to Make Rottweiler Head Bigger
There is not much you can do to make your Rottweiler’s head larger than what nature has given it.
However, you can take measures to acquire a puppy with the potential to get the most optimal head possible.
Remember that a Rottweiler with the best head does not necessarily have the largest head. Everything about the Rottie revolves around balance.
Male versus Female
Male Rottweilers are typically 10% to 20% larger than females. They are more muscular, have more development through the jaws, and have bigger heads relative to their bodies.
Males are 24 to 27 inches tall and weigh 95 to 140 or more pounds. In contrast, female Rotties are 22 to 25 inches tall and range from 75 to 100 pounds.
Not only is a male’s head bigger than a female’s because of his size but also because of his masculinity. The AKC breed standard calls for clear sexual dimorphism between the genders, so the female will have a smaller and more refined head, even if the differences are not extreme.
By choosing a male Rottweiler, your dog should automatically have a larger head if bred in accordance with the standard.
Heavyweight and obese Rottweilers will have big heads or “fat faces,” but this is an ill-advised way to get a larger head size on your dog.
How does nutrition contribute to head size?
You cannot really influence your dog’s skull size, but proper nutrition develops the soft tissues that account for the fullness of your Rottweiler’s face and the weight of its head.
Rottweilers require a diet based on animal proteins and comprised of about 25% protein. Puppies have additional protein requirements.
Amino acids are the building foundation for lean muscle mass. Certain amino acids also inhibit muscle breakdown and help repair any damage, important in senior dogs and those recovering from illness or surgery.
Proper calcium: phosphorus levels ensure proper skeletal growth, including the skull.
Puppies and dogs also require a diet that contains about 10% to 15% fat. Diets that are over 20% fat interfere with the absorption of calcium, which is crucial for growth.
Rottweiler puppies do best with diets formulated for large-breed growing dogs. Since the head grows larger than the rest of the body, puppies always appear to have big heads. Your breeder can better tell you how big your dog’s head will be at maturity.
Genetics is key to head size
The single factor that affects the size of your Rottweiler’s head is its DNA.
When it comes to your dog’s conformation, nothing overrides genetics. If both of your dog’s parents have undersized heads, then your dog will likely never have a big head.
Fortunately, Rotties have undergone such a process of selection for function as well as appearance that small heads are uncommon. However, heads that are disproportionately massive are also rare as they detract from balance and function. When you select a dog, go through a reputable breeder.
This gives you the best chance to acquire a healthy puppy with an excellent conformation that includes an appropriately large head and structural soundness.
You can perform activities with your Rottweiler that will engage her facial and jaw muscles, thus giving volume to her head.
You should not do structured exercises on developing puppies. Instead, allow them to grow at their own rate through play.
Exercises that encourage muscle building in adult Rotties over two years old can help her head appear significantly larger.
- Tug of war games
- Chew toys – rawhide or its alternatives, durable rubber toys
- Bones – recreational bones (can be hazardous by breaking teeth), raw meaty bones
Chewing and biting strengthen the jaws, but if you watch your dog going through the exercise, you will see the entire head working. The temporal muscles on top of the head work as well as the cheeks.
This video shows how an American Bully’s head is larger relative to their body size than a Rottweiler.
The American Bully has a head that is about 85% of the size of the Rottweiler’s head although he is only half to three-quarters as big in the body.
Moreover, the Rottweiler’s head size might be slightly exaggerated because the dog is mildly overweight.