Sylvester Stallone tells TMZ his Rottweiler Dwight was not the reason Jennifer Flavin filed to end their 25-year marriage ... he says they have just taken different paths and he still has love for her.
TMZ reported sources directly connected to the couple told us Sly wanted to get a Rottweiler for protection for the family but Jennifer didn't want the canine, and that triggered an argument that unearthed other issues that led to Flavin's filing.
Sly says it's not true ... they did have issues over how to care for the dog, given that they travel coast-to-coast with homes in L.A. and Palm Beach, and he is often away shooting film projects, but he adds, "We did not end the relationship on such a trivial argument."
The "Rocky" star says, "We just went in different directions," adding, "I have the highest respect for Jennifer. I will always love her. She's an amazing woman. She's the nicest human being I've ever met."
As for the tattoo on his arm -- covering up a tat of Jennifer with a tat of the Rottweiler -- Sly tells us he's had the Jennifer tattoo for 14 years and wanted to freshen it up, but it got messed up and the dog was just a fix with no ill intention. He adds he still has a big tattoo of Jennifer on his back.
As we reported, Jennifer filed for divorce last Friday ... even accusing Sly of mishandling marital assets, something we're told he denies. She also wants an order to keep him out of their Palm Beach home.