Let’s Talk Breed Education!
Genetics and Dog Shows Share Centuries of History
A s you know, genetic research didn’t start at Embark Veterinary. It started with the fathers of evolution and genetics. During the 19th century, an era of curios- ity about nature, animals, and scientific discoveries blossomed. In 1859, Charles Darwin published Origins of Species about his theory of evolution using natural selection. A few years later, Augustinian monk Gregor Mendel discovered through his experimentation with pea plants that characteristics can be passed down through generations. Mendel, considered by many to be the father of genetics, also defined t he words “recessive” a nd “ domi- nant” in his 1866 paper explaining how invisible factors (geno- types) can predictably produce visible traits (phenotypes). Following Mendel’s discoveries, Friedrich Miescher, a Swiss physiological chemist, discovered what he called “nuclein” or the nuclei of human white blood cells. What he actually discovered became known as deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA. Despite these revolutionary discoveries, the scientific community took decades to embrace them. Meanwhile, for centuries, dog breeders had been selectively breeding purpose-bred dogs. But around the 1850s, breeding programs (starting with English Foxhound packs) began to be recorded. In 1873, the Kennel Club in England started the first purebred dog registry and published official breed studbooks. Across the Atlantic, American dog fanciers were just as keen as their British Isle counterparts in holding field trials and dog shows. By 1877, the Westminster Kennel Club held its first dog show. In 1884, the American Kennel Club became the governing body of the sport of purebred dogs through its dog show rules, registry, and breed studbooks. Westminster was its first member club. Around 1900, British biologist William Bateson brought Mendel’s theories back to the forefront of the scientific community. Savvy dog breed- ers began to follow Mendelian inheritance when planning their breeding programs, with a new understanding of visible and invis- ible traits. Selective breeding of purebred dogs with closed gene pools would advance canine genetic research in the future. As more dog breeds emerged at the turn of the 20th century, dog shows began classifying them by type into Sporting, Non- Sporting, Terrier, Toy, and Working Groups. In 1944, Oswald Avery identified DNA as the substance responsible for heredity and, in 1950, Erwin Chargaff continued that research with his discovery that DNA was species specific. Genetic discoveries con- tinued with Rosalind Franklin’s work in 1951 on X-ray diffraction studies, which set the groundwork for the discovery of DNA’s dou- ble helix structure by James Watson and Francis Clark in 1953. By 1983, not only did the Herding Group debut at Westminster but Huntington’s became the first mapped human genetic disease. In 1999, Narcolepsy became the first mapped canine genetic disease by a team of researchers at Stanford University. During the 21st century, the human genome was sequenced in 2003, followed by the canine genome in 2005 with “Tasha” the Boxer. In 2008, “Uno” the Beagle became the first Westminster Kennel Club Best in Show winner to donate DNA to research. His contribution helped to launch the first ever canine SNP array.
Courtesy of The Westminster Kennel Club.
By 2015, Embark Veterinary founders Ryan and Adam Boyko’s DNA research contributed to the understanding of the origins of the domestic dog. Their love of dogs and science, guided by their mission to improve the life and longevity of all dogs and end pre- ventable diseases, evolved into the founding of Embark Veterinary. In 2019, Embark Veterinary was selected as the official Dog DNA Test of the Westminster Kennel Club. In 2021, Embark scientists published their roan gene discovery. This was followed by the red intensity gene research article in May. Embark Veterinary may have a short history compared to that of the Westminster Kennel Club. However, the contributions of Embark’s founders, Ryan and Adam Boyko, have been felt across the canine world thanks to their research into the origin, over 15,000 years ago, of domesticated dogs. Ryan and Adam have spent the last decade learning everything they can about dogs and genetics. Meanwhile, The Westminster Kennel Club is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the sport of dogs. The West- minster Kennel Club Dog Show is the second longest continu- ously held sporting event in the US and, since 1948, is the longest nationally televised live dog show. The club has spent more than a century enhancing the lives of all dogs. A partnership between the two organizations was simply a natural fit. In June 2021, Embark and Westminster will team up again at the 145th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, held at Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, New York, on June 11th-13th. Embark will have an on-site swabbing station for exhibitors and award every Best of Breed winner an Embark for Breeders DNA Kit. Embark will also donate $10,000 toward canine health research in honor of the Best in Show winner. It’s evident that genetics and dog shows have shared a long history over the centuries, coming together today with a shared love of purebred dogs.
Rottweiler Breed Type &Movement BOTH ARE VALUED BY THE BREEDER-JUDGE BY LEW OLSON
I am often asked if I value breed type or movement when judg- ing Rottweilers. My answer is—both. The two important characteristics of the Rottweiler are its essential breed type, and its athletic, powerful, and balanced movement. This is a breed that needs to be athletic enough to have the endurance to trot all day in the field. When I am judging Rottweilers in the ring, the first thing I do is move them around the ring; twice, if possible. This gives the dogs a chance to relax, and to notice me and the other dogs, while giving me the ability to assess their movement. The individual exams allow a closer inspection of each dog, to assess breed type. The Rottweiler is 9-to-10 in proportion, which should look square when standing. The front and rear angulation should be equal. All this equates to balance and strength, which provides balanced and strong movement. When I examine the head, I look for the correct proportion of 60/40 head-to-muzzle, with a well-developed stop. The muzzle should be strong and only slightly tapering to the tip. The eyes should be dark and almond-shaped. The ears are level with the top of the head and lay close to the head. The characteristic expression comes from the dark, almond eyes, well-developed zygomatic arch, and the correctly proportioned skull and muzzle, which denote strength and power. The appearance is of a medium-large dog that is compact, athletic, and robust. It is each of these attributes, put together, that gives the Rottweiler the appearance of nobility and strength. Most of the questions asked about examining the Rottweiler are about checking dentition. This includes checking for a scissors bite and counting the teeth. I generally recommend looking at the teeth first in the exam as Rottweilers can be aloof, and examining the bite is easier at the beginning. I check the front for a scissors bite (level is a fault, over and undershot are a DQ), then look at P1-P3, the larger molars, and the M3 (or the tiny set of teeth in the lower back) last. Rottweilers can have no more than one missing tooth. One missing tooth is a severe fault, two or more is a DQ. Remember, proper den- tition and teeth are what helps to keep the head type and strength! The rest of the exam requires a light hand on the dog, with- out bending over or crowding the dog. After I check the bite, I simply run my hand down the back, look OVER the back from the rear (to check for rib spring), and check the testicles. It is not easy to hide structural faults on this breed; most can be observed during movement.
Now that the dogs have been observed moving, then again on individual exams with gaiting, it is time to look at the class one more time. At this point, I have determined which dogs in the class are the best moving and in balance, with reach and drive and level toplines. From this group, I will select those that exhibit the best type, in proportion 9/10 height-to-length (or almost square), with the breed-specific attributes of the head as described in the standard, along with appearing athletic, robust, and powerful. At this point, I often walk down the line to check head and structure one more time, and then move them again to assess side gait and how the toplines hold up during movement. ONCE AGAIN, TO RECAP, THE IMPORTANT ROTTWEILER BREED CHARACTERISTICS ARE:
• Overall Proportion, 9/10 Height-to-Length • Athletic, Strong and Robust, While Compact • Balanced Side Gait with a Strong Topline • Head Proportion 60/40, Skull-to-Muzzle • Skull Broad Between the Ears • Eyes Almond-Shaped and Dark Brown
• Ears Medium-Sized and Carried Level with Top of Skull The Rottweiler is a trotter. His movement should be balanced, harmonious, sure, powerful, and unhindered, with strong fore- reach and a powerful rear drive. The motion is effortless, efficient, and ground-covering. Watch the Rottweilers move, and select the best movers. From these, use the breed-specific descriptions to select from the best movers. In that light, you WILL be choosing the best dogs! DISQUALIFYING FAULTS: • Entropion, Ectropion; • Overshot, Undershot (When Incisors Do Not Touch or
Mesh); Wry Mouth; Two or More Missing Teeth; • Unilateral Cryptorchid or Cryptorchid Males; • Long Coat;
• Any Base Color Other than Black; Absence of All Markings; • A dog that in the Opinion of the Judge Attacks Any Person in the Ring. Please REWARD soundness and balance! Please AVOID dogs that are unbalanced or straight in the front and over-angulated in the rear. This does not make for balance or strength.
Heads of a Dog and Bitch (All images provided by the author.)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Lew Olson has owned and shown Rottweilers since 1978, She has bred over 100 AKC Champions under the Blackwood Kennel name. She has been an AKC judge since 2001 and judges the Working, Toy and Non-Sporting breeds. She has judged Rottweilers in Finland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Trinidad, and Jamaica and has had the honor of judging at the American Rottweiler Club National twice. Next year she will judge a Rottweiler Specialty in Adelaide, Australia. She has been a member of the American Rottweiler Club for 41 years and is the ARC Judges Education Chair. She has a PhD in Nutrition, has written two books on canine nutrition and has presented seminars on Canine Nutrition. Besides judging, she is still active in showing in conformation and performance events.
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GESTALT ROTTWEILER THE KEEPING THE ‘BIG PICTURE’
WHILE REMAINING FAITHFUL TO THE SMALL ATTRIBUTES
BY JILL KESSLER-MILLER & JEFF SHAVER (Photos provided by the authors.)
M ost articles written about a breed go over the same “big picture” points you hear over and over again… balance, pleasing, proportion. It’s unlikely anyone reading this article—in a show dog-centric magazine with a dedicated section on the Rottwei- ler—needs to hear about the “big points” again. Principles such as a 9-to-10 ratio are known. A well-angulated front and rear, scissors bite, and almond eye are a given. Easy. Learned it. Got it. But being faithful to small attributes is more difficult; dif- ficult to remember if you judge multiple breeds (for example, a light eye in a hunting dog may be normal, but it is unacceptable in the Rottweiler), and difficult to pay attention to those seem- ingly “cosmetic” aspects that are truly important to breeders and to breeding programs. So, rather than once again talk about the usual over-arching points, this article will expound upon the small, perhaps even dull, features that, when put together, truly add up to a superior specimen of the Rottweiler. (Adherence to small details won’t be bad for your judging reputation either.) DARK AND STEALTHY To begin with, remember this one word: Dark. Dark brown, almond-shaped eyes; dark black mouth, including gums and lips; dark mahogany markings (not straw or tan); dark body, not overtaken by excessively large or light-colored markings. (If the markings on the front legs go up and reach the underside, and connect with the chest markings and reach across the undercar- riage, touching the markings on the rear legs to form one large blot, the markings are too large. They are markings—separate markings on the legs, cheeks, muzzle, chest, and buttocks.) We are a dark and stealthy breed—not bright and noticeable. Hav- ing said that, markings are to be defined; markings that are miss- ing, difficult to discern or overly muddy are to be faulted. SCISSORS BITE AND FULL DENTITION Speaking of mouths, if the best dog you can find has missing teeth or malocclusion, look again. While our standard allows for one missing tooth, it is a serious fault. There was a time when missing teeth were more of the norm, but a lot of work has been done in favor of full dentition. Watch for wry bites too. A scissors bite with full dentition in a dark mouth, both lips and gums, is desired. (If you really want to see people sweat, ask the handler of a dog you like to lift the lips to look at gum color!)
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THE ROTTWEILER GESTALT
ROUGH & READY The Rottweiler should not exude ele- gance or refinement. We are a rough and ready, working farm dog, cattle drover, predator aware, stranger questioning, child- loving, handler compliant, cart pulling, no-nonsense type of dog. We are called the “Noble Breed” for a reason—the Rottweiler doesn’t have to make a show of being pres- ent because he is better, smarter, and stron- ger than the others around him. The Rott- weiler is dignified, circumspect, and keeps close council. While Rottweilers are known for silliness and pranks with their families, they are never— never —to come across as stupid. Quiet confidence is the preferred mode. They should always appear as if they
are thinking—because they are. ATTENTIVE AND OBEDIENT
If an entry is making a big show with barking, lunging, spinning, or outward bel- ligerence, please excuse it. The Rottweiler is not to display behaviors that speak of inse- curity, being stimulated over its threshold or outright aggression towards humans (even if it’s displaced). The Rottweiler is attentive to his handler and obedient to direction, unless threatened. GROUND-COVERING AND EFFICIENT Difficulty in discerning correctness pres- ents itself when the Rottweiler moves. There are two common errors; 1.) being taken in by flashy movement or, 2.) a dog that is too long and elegant. “Flashy” movement refers to movement that is eye-catching and heart-quickening. These are usually dogs
that are straight in their front and rear angulation, causing the front legs to reach up rather than out from the shoulder, and the rear legs to cycle quickly underneath. This gives a lot of motion and it looks exciting—but it doesn’t cover ground efficiently, all the while burning a lot of energy while going nowhere. It’s understandable how thrill- ing it is to watch; after all, it’s a dog show, and it is showy! Crowds may love it, but it is, unfortunately, incorrect. There is no argument that smooth, elegant movement is awe-inspiring. Watching a beautiful Afghan or Setter go around the ring can cause you to catch your breath. Elegant movement usually equates to a longer back, and the Rottweiler standard specifically calls for a short, strong back. When presented with a graceful-moving dog, check yourself. Is everything else there as well? Is the back short? Are the body proportions correct and is the dog almost square? Are the rear feet reaching to the midline of the back, but not crossing over or to the side? Is the rear angulation harmonious with the front? Ground-covering, efficient movement (correct) can easily be confused with elegant movement (incorrect). STRONG, THICK, AND GROUNDED When you do see a dog that is straight in the front, you might also have a dog lacking in chest depth and width. Without shoulder layback, the dog is often narrow and shallow. This is a dog that will tire quickly, both from burning more energy to cover ground and from insufficient room for the heart and lungs. Speaking of narrow, our breed must have bone strength. Without it, the Rottweiler becomes weak-looking and spindly. We are strong, thick, and grounded. Weedy, spindly dogs are not to be awarded. MODERATE AND NOBLE The Rottweiler is moderate in head type. We are not short-muzzled like Bullmas- tiffs or Boxers. The Rottweiler must be able to breathe freely, without labor. The head is smooth all around, without excessive wrinkling, dewlaps, or open flews. Too large an ear or too high or low an ear set can make a Rottweiler look houndy, and frankly, clownish. (See photo left—demeanor and appearance is “Noble.”)
Outstanding example of beautiful, dark, almond- shaped eyes, black pigment in mouth, full dentition, deep mahogany color with appropriately sized and defined markings, with powerful bone, stance, and substance. Photo by Jill Wagner.
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THE ROTTWEILER GESTALT
NATURAL TAILS Now a brief mention of an issue that really is no longer much of an issue for most people—tails. Please don’t be afraid of tails on a Rottweiler—they are born with them. Contrary to the belief of many, the cropping and docking ban in Europe was not instigated by “animal rights” people. It was decided by the World Veterinary Organization, based on the science of pain, doing no harm to animals, and only performing surgical intervention (yes, tail docking is a surgical procedure) when medically necessary. The American Veterinary Medical Association stands in agreement with the WVO. For more infor- mation, see https: //www.avma.org/resources-tools /literature-reviews /welfare- implications-tail-docking-dogs or https: //www.academia.edu/38043016/Tail_ Docking_in_Dogs_Historical_Precedence_and_Modern_Views. Our standard may say “docked short,” but it does not state “must be docked.” It also states the set of the tail is more important than the length, which gives judges the option to put up the best dog, not the best docked dog. In 2017, 17% of all class entries at the American Rottweiler Club National were natural tailed. If you are presented with a tailed entry, ignore the tail and look at the overall dog—proportion, angulation, movement, muscling, condition, temperament, color and pigment. The Rottweiler has come a long way over the decades, with many admi- rable changes for the better. Help us keep the Rottweiler a working dog, one that loves to wake up every day to new tasks and challenges, always present with good nature and enthusiasm. By recognizing and awarding the best of our breed, you are part of our dedication to excellence. BY RECOGNIZING AND AWARDING THE BEST OF OUR BREED, YOU ARE PART OF OUR DEDICATION TO EXCELLENCE.
The best part of this photo? You might think it’s the clean head, beautiful dark eyes and mouth, strong feet, or color and size of markings, but IMO it’s the ribbon for his tracking title. WORK is our most important breed trait!
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Jeff Shaver has owned Rottweilers for the last 37 years and has belonged to the American Rottweiler Club for 35 of those 37 years. He has served 14 years total as a director or officer of the American Rottweiler Club, including five years as President, and is currently the Vice President of the Parent Club. Having been on the 1990 American Rottweiler Club Standard Revision Committee as well as having co- bred numerous AKC champions, he has years of experience in the breed. Knowledgeable in conformation and performance events, his dogs have multiple advanced Obedience titles through Utility Dog level, as well as nine Champion Tracker dogs. He regularly judges tracking events for AKC. This year, Mr. Shaver judged the American Rottweiler Club Top 20 event at its National Specialty, and has judged numerous American Rottweiler Club approved Sweepstakes, including at the National Specialty on multiple occasions. He also currently serves as an officer for the Rottweiler Health Foundation and Rottweiler Rescue Foundation. Jill Kessler-Miller has been in Rottweilers for 35 years, being a Golden State Rottweiler Club member for the same number of years and an American Rottweiler Club member for 25 years. She was President of GSRC and Show Chair for approximately 20 years and has been on the Board of ARC since 2017. Jill started in Obedience, is a CCPDT certified trainer, and is active in Conformation, Agility, Rally, Scent Work, Nose Work and Barn Hunt. She is also a Chief Tester for ATTS, a recently minted Scent Work AKC judge, has judged the Rottweiler Sweepstakes, judges the breed for National Independent Rottweiler Klub, and often assists Jeff Shaver in Judge’s Education. Her website is www.QueansRottweilers.com.
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1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs? 2. In popularity, the Rottweiler is currently ranked #8 out of 195 AKC-recognized breeds. Do you hope this will change or are you comfortable with his placement? 3. Do these numbers help or hurt the breed? 4. Can you speak to masculinity and femininity in the Rottweiler? 5. How much emphasis should be placed on head characteristics? 6. What is the biggest misconception about the Rottweiler? 7. Does the average person on the street recognize him for what he is? 8. What special challenges do breeders face in our current eco- nomic and social climate? 9. At what age do you start to see definite signs of show-worthi- ness (or lack thereof)? 10. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? 11. What’s the best way to attract newcomers to your breed and to the sport? 12. What is your ultimate goal for the breed? 13. What is your favorite dog show memory? 14. Is there anything else you’ d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. PAMELA BOLES My husband, Drew Schroeder, and I breed under the “Raven- screst” prefix. I am an AKC Bronze Breeder of Merit and member of the ARC Club. To date, from limited breeding, I have bred or co- bred 21 AKC titled dogs, including 17 AKC Champions. A number of those dogs are BIS, BISS, HIT winners and/or attained top-ten rankings in conformation and/or performance. We purchased our first Rottweiler, “Khan,” in 1999. He was titled by us to become ’01 WCLG Sieger Multi V-1 Am. Can. UCI Nat’l and Int’l Ch. Ghengis Khan vom Eaglehaus HT TT CGC (CHIC). He was a multi AKC Specialty Best Veteran. MRC, RCC and CRRC Hall of Fame designate. #5 Top producing Rottweiler male in Canadian history. We purchased our foundation female, “Paris,” from George and Betty Chamberlin (Ironwoods) in 2001 and we titled her to become Jan and Sept. ’02 ARC Top Ten Multi V-1 Am. Can UCI Nat’l and Int’l Ch Ironwoods Paris of Diorr HT TT CGC (CHIC) ARC Bronze Producer, Kennel Review Top Producer, 2007 RCC National Specialty Best brood bitch. MRC, RCC and CRRC Hall of Fame, and we later acquired her littermate, “Timmy,” who was titled to become Multi V-1 Am and Can Ch Ironwoods Primetime RTD CD TT CGC. Dogs we’ve bred include; “Burton” aka 2007 AKC #2 Rottwei- ler all systems #13 AKC working dog, Multi BIS and Multi BISS Am Gr Ch and Can Ch Ravenscrest The Alchemist CD RE CA, CHIC, ARC Silver producer, National Specialty BISS, (co-owned by us) Westminster and Eukanuba AOM; and “Kobe” aka CRRC Sieger, Multi V-1 Select 1 Am and Can Ch Ravenscrest The Tal- isman CDX RE TD CX CGC TT HCT TDI ARC VX. Kobe was handled by me to Select and Best of Winners at the 2005 ARC National Specialty; and “Radar” aka BISS Am and Can Ch Ravenscrest The Navigator CDC TDI ARC Heroism Award recipi- ent, also #2 Rottweiler in Canada.
I am working towards my AKC permit status and have been fortunate to have judged Sweepstakes at the following AKC/ARC sanctioned Rottweiler specialties: 2017 ARC National Specialty, Carson City, Nevada (Puppy Dogs, Veterans Bitches and Best Vet- eran); 2019 ARC Specialty, hosted by Pacific Coast Rottweiler Per- formance Club; 2005 Rottweiler Club of Alaska Specialty, Palmer, Arkansas; Mile High Rottweiler Specialty, Greeley, Colorado; and 2007 AKC sanctioned Specialty Match, Columbia River Rottweiler Club at Canby, Oregon. In addition, I have judged the Rottweiler Club of Canada Spe- cialty Sweepstakes for both the Prairies Region and Ontario. I live in Vancouver, BC, Canada, working as a trial lawyer. The Rottweiler is currently ranked #8, do I hope this will change? I have been tracking the popularity since 1999. It has declined a little, but they remain in the “Top Ten” from AKC which bases it on puppies registered in a given year, not import registra- tions or unregistered litters, so I suspect the number is higher. With this ranking there is a consistent need for owner education from puppyhood and beyond making ARC and all Rottweiler clubs piv- otal. In the 1980s, I started in Vizslas whose numbers were then modest, but have since grown in popularity tremendously, and have observed the remarkable transformation of that breed accordingly. Do these numbers help or hurt my breed? I am confident that many responsible breeders and owners say the numbers hurt the breed, and without the popularity perhaps we would not have disas- ters like the “Texas 200” and so many of our breed needing foster care and ending up in shelters. Can I speak to masculinity and femininity in my breed? Person- ally, I am attracted to what is referred to as the “doggy bitch,” but there is definitely a line that cannot be crossed in that regard. Gen- der character is not a facet of our breed that I would like to see lost. How much emphasis should be placed on head characteristics Unfortunately, various elements seem to change as a “style” almost as if in fashion. There have been individuals/lines with what I con- sider to be extreme and incorrect heads that have seen success and have developed a following. Muzzle length, when shortened, and proportion in some of the dogs cannot help but negatively impact the room for teeth and correct bites. What is the biggest misconception about my breed? Undoubt- edly that aggression is a hallmark of the breed’s temperament. Does the average person recognize my breed? Generally speak- ing I agree with this statement. Perhaps, and rightly so, due to sheer size there is a hesitancy on behalf of some members of the public to interact initially [with the breed]. This is soon put aside with positive interaction. What special challenges do breeders face currently? At present with COVID-19, we are facing challenges with access to reproduc- tive technology and face to face evaluations of prospective puppy owners. This will pass in time, but other challenges remain like the high costs of production of puppies and high costs of exhibiting. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? From my perspective, at six weeks. What is the most important thing about my breed for a new judge to keep in mind? To be respectful of the dogs and handlers, and to be gentle when examining the bite. What’s the best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? For our breed to be “out and about,” and for knowledgeable breeders, owners and handlers to be inviting and non-judgmental when addressing inquiries from newcomers, and to follow-up with
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What is the biggest misconception about the Rottweiler? In my experience the misconception that the Rottweiler is basically a guard dog that may bite an intruder is not what I have found. In Wheaton, our Rottweilers always won the Junior Fourth of July Parade Trophy with our cart pulling Rottweiler teams. Then there was the time I left the painter in the house and forgot to put Izzy in her dog room. When I returned an hour later the painter was sitting down quietly in the room he was supposed to be painting, with Izzy lying down in front of him staring at him. Does the average person recognize my breed? In Wheaton, I think the average person recognizes the Rottweiler for what he is; a great addition to the family. What special challenges do breeders face? The breedings have lessened and so entries have lessened lately. Our Clubs have kept up with and added to the Working Titles possible. Our ultimate Working Dog can do them all, but our show entries are down. I think we all in the sport of purebred dogs realize the hardship our sport faces. Two Major Specialties, the Colonial Rottweiler Club and the American Rottweiler Club have canceled their Specialties. The Medallion Rottweiler Club Specialty still is scheduled as usual in October at the Kane County Fairgrounds in Illinois. My favorite dog show memory? In 1984, our Ch. Rodsden Tristan v Forstwald CD, TD had won the MRC Specialty. In 1988, he entered the class as winning Veteran Dog, so his handler handed him back to my nephew, Peter Rademacher, who had been getting Tris’ Working Titles. The handler had a younger Specials Cham- pion to handle. The MRC was held in the lovely big building at the DuPage County Fairgrounds in Wheaton. (Across Manchester Rd. from Rodsden.) I was always on the stage with the microphone whether I was Show Chair, President, or had any official capacity. The breed judging had started and I could see that something rath- er extraordinary was happening. Judge Mayfield had narrowed it down to two dogs, one of which was Tris. Tris was a natural “show” dog and always stood in perfect show stance, and he could move no matter who was handling. Around that big ring the two dogs went. Around and around they went. The crowd watching were clapping harder and harder. I had made it down from the stage in time to see our Tris with Pete handling win Breed. DAVIANNMITCHELL In 1982, I acquired my first
positive interactions and support of newcomers. My husband and I were very fortunate to have strong mentorship and support from so many ARC members and breed enthusiasts that we persisted and, as a result, we advanced with developing breed knowledge and participation. What is my ultimate goal for my breed? To increase longevity and improve health integrity attributable to hereditary conditions of JLPP, hip and elbow displaysia, cardiac and eye issues. My favorite dog show memory? There are two that I cannot dif- ferentiate. The first was handling “Kobe,” who was owned by Dr. Bob and Rosemary Lenigan from our first litter, to Select and Best of Winners at the 2005 ARC National. Kobe was Sieger, Multi V-1 Am and Can Ch Ravenscrest The Talisman CDX RE TD CX CGC TT HCT TDI ARC V. Tied for “favorite” was definitely seeing his littermate, “Burton,” known as 2007 AKC #2 Rottweiler all sys- tems, AKC #13 Working Dog, Multi BISS Multi BIS Am Gr CH and Can Ch Ravenscrest The Alchemist CD RE CGC CA, coming out after two years of retirement, and from Veterans with his han- dler, Tony Carter, winning both the Rottweiler specialty and the Mt. Ranier Working Dog Specialty. In doing so, he defeated a num- ber of that year’s Top Twenty Working Dogs under Angela Porpora. I’d also like to share that the enthusiasm for our breed and depth of knowledge of many fanciers is, from my perspective, unique and will serve our breed for years to come. Fads, and “styles” come and go, but diversity in breeding practices to avoid dominant sire issues can only be to the betterment and strength of all. JOAN KLEM In my judging career I have judged in 17 different countries, some of them several times. I arrive with movie camera and still camera as they always ask me to give a talk after the club dinner. I always wondered if the translater could translate the dog words correctly. In this day and age, I would not accept an assignment in some of those countries. My last judging assignment was the Best in Show MRC 50th Anniversary Specialty. And so, I retire as Ameri- can Kennel Club Judge Emeritus and Medallion Rottweiler Club President Emeritus. I have lived all my life in the city my forefathers founded, Whea- ton, Illinois. Graduated from Northwestern in Speech Therapy. Taught in local schools until my husband and I started having chil- dren. Since we lived near the ten acres of my Rademacher families homes, Rodsden, they took care of our three boys while we started taking our yearly trips to Germany and the ADRK Klubsieger Show. Well, we did tour Europe visiting Rottweiler Breeders. I did play a pretty good hand of Bridge too. Do I hope my breed’s ranking will change? In the Golden Age of our breed, I think we were #3 in the ‘90s. In 1992, at the MRC Specialty, there were 98 competing in the ring for Breed. In order to keep going AKC has to find ways to make money, so I guess adding breeds is one way to do it. Can I speak to masculinity and femininity in my breed? The Standard for both dogs and bitches calls for a well-muscled working dog and bitch. There is difference in size, of course, but you look for those characteristics that make either a good Working Dog. How much emphasis should be placed on head characteristics? One would like the head on dog and bitch to be the same in propor- tions, but could always be easily recognized proportionately. The head proportions have changed a bit over the years. Still with a dis- tinct “stop,” they both have a bit shorter and deeper muzzle it seems to me. You always look for that well-balanced body, that ground covering gait, you hope. Just a perfect head may not be enough—at least in my ring.
Rottweiler, Michener’s Michael CD, Certified Police Service Dog (“Mick”) and established Night- hawk Rottweilers. While Mick met all of my hopes and expectations, his hips unfortunately did not, and right then, I was introduced to the harsh realities of the breed. I neu- tered Mick and proceeded to pur- chase seven-week-old CH Einmin
Lanneret v Rottdan CD, AD, TDI, Police Service Dog Mountain View PD, MRC Honor Roll (“Hawk”). This dog, Hawk, later became the basis for the kennel name “Nighthawk Rottweilers.” My philosophy on dog breeding is embodied in the term “integ- rity.” I believe that although a dog may not have any disqualifying faults and has a CHIC number, this alone does not mean that it is breeding quality. We must breed the total dog, which is type, tem- perament, and structure. I feel that we should not only strive to be successful with our dogs in the conformation ring, but to be equally successful with our dogs in the working arena whether it be agility, obedience, rally, herding, tracking, schutzhund, barn hunt, dock diving, or therapy—or any other working activity!
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To date, I have bred over 90 conformation champions and over 125 titled dogs. I have been recognized by AKC as a Platinum Rott- weiler Breeder of Merit and Bronze Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breeder of Merit. In Rottweilers, I have bred and/or owned numer- ous Top Ten conformation as well and Top Ten Working Dogs. I have either bred, owned—or owned the stud dog to—several #1 American Rottweiler Club breed dogs and bitches. I have also personally bred/trained/handled several National, Regional and/ or local specialty winners, bred/trained/handled several obedience and agility dogs as well as bred/trained/handled several Schutzhund dogs, up to and including Schutzhund 3. Over 35 years of breeding Rottweilers, I have only personally bred approximately 27 litters; however, Nighthawk has co-bred approximately 35. In Cavaliers, I have bred ten champions as well as several specialty winners and bred only seven litters. I am currently a member of the following clubs: American Rott- weiler Club, Medallion Rottweiler Club, Colonial Rottweiler Club, Western Rottweiler Owners, and The Rottweiler Health Founda- tion—Past President and Director, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club USA, Cavaliers of the West, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club of Southern California and American King Charles Spaniel Club. I am a past member of the following organizations: Associated Rottweiler Fanciers of Northern California—Past Director, United States Rottweiler Club—Past Breed Warden and Past Apprentice Judge Applicant, The American Rottweiler Verein, United Schutz- hund Club of America and the Los Angeles Rottweiler Club— Past President. I have judged Rottweilers in conformation Sweepstakes at the National, Regional and local Specialty levels. I currently live in Santa Clarita, California, with my husband, Brent Braun, and my daughter, Mary Ann, and my Rottweiler and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel family. Outside of our passion for dogs, I am a full-time Los Angeles County Superior Court judge and I currently preside over a felony long-cause criminal calendar. Prior to that, I was a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney assigned to the Hardcore Gang Unit and a Police Officer working patrol for the Sacramento Police Department. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Zoology from University of California at Berkeley and Juris Doctorate degree from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? It is my hope over time our popularity con- tinues to decline. Purposefully bred Rottweilers make wonderful companions and are well-suited to be performance dogs as well as family members, but are not for all. Structured environment, social- ization, exercise and training as well as proper housing and facilities are a must. Not everyone can provide this type of environment and for those who cannot, this is not a breed for you. Well-bred animals whose breeders follow well-accepted breed- ing requirements, including hips, elbow, eye, heart ideally with Cardiologist Echocardiogram clearance, and JLPP certifications are less likely to suffer the potential health issues our breed can possess, but poorly bred Rottweilers cannot only be potentially very danger- ous, they can suffer or succumb to the various physical ailments that plague our breed, some of which are fatal. While I have seen our numbers shoot through the ceiling back in the ‘80s and more recently greatly decrease, our breed still suf- fers from backyard breeders as well as puppy mills due to their sus- tained popularity. These poorly bred animals do not possess the proper temperament, structure, and health. They are bred for profit and still flood the market. Until the popularity diminishes, buyers will unknowingly purchase these animals and the public suffers. Greater education about purposefully bred dogs, health, the breed
standard and teaching the public what to look for in a breeder as well as a potential pet will help them not fall prey to these unethical and unprofessional dog dealers. Until the popularity diminishes to where breeding is no longer profitable for these types of backyard bred or puppy mill breeders, our breed will continue to suffer. It is our job to educate the public about the benefit to buying purpose- fully bred Rottweilers from ethical breeders. So, for the aforemen- tioned reasons, I hope our breed continues to decline in popularity. Can I speak to masculinity and femininity in the Rottweiler? Our breed should possess clearly distinctive masculine and femi- nine characteristics without forgoing overall breed type. Our stan- dard states, “Dogs are characteristically more massive throughout with larger frame and heavier bone than bitches. Bitches are dis- tinctly feminine, but without weakness of substance or structure.” I do not think bitches should be overdone or too masculine, that is improper, no matter the flavor of the moment. How much emphasis should be placed on head characteristics? A Rottweiler’s head is what helps define proper breed type. A large, well-proportioned head that is clean and dry with dark almond eyes is what makes the Rottweiler distinct. The Rottweiler should have a noble and self-assured expression, not the “pig like” overdone, extreme type that has become popular is some European countries and here in America all too often. These dogs are not bred to work, but for their extreme type, huge heads, turned-up noses, extremely short muzzles and broad heads with lots of wrinkles. This type is not a Rottweiler, but more like a Mastiff-like animal on steroids, and due to its improper structure, cannot perform working tasks due to their inability to breathe properly. Heads are important, but not the end-all of our breed. Emphasis should be given to producing Rottweilers with proper breed type, but in my opinion, there needs to be equal, if not more, emphasis on health and structure so that the dog can live a long life and physi- cally perform as the breed was intended over many years. The biggest misconception in our breed is that they are aggres- sive and dangerous. Yes, any dog can be aggressive under certain cir- cumstances, but the Rottweiler by nature is neither aggressive nor dangerous. They are wonderful family dogs, and when well bred, are good with children and other animals, appropriately friendly and self-assured as well as possessing protective instincts of their families and territory. They are very loyal and trainable, but because of their size, without proper training and socialization, they can be inappropriate and sometimes aggressive and, as a result, tragedies happen. Most often, it is their size and exuberance and lack of train- ing that gets them in trouble, like knocking a person or child over because they are not aware of their size and over enthusiastic when they see people. This can be mischaracterized by the media and publicity that the Rottweiler “attacked,” when in reality, no such thing ever happened. The story has much more sensationalism if they can identify the dog as a “Rottweiler who attacked” someone, accurate or not, rather than a Poodle who knocked someone over. Often the paper reads “Rottweiler Attacks,” only later to determine it was not a Rottweiler at all. Rottweilers take responsible dog owners who are willing to take the time to properly train and socialize their puppies and give them mental as well as physical exercise. If they cannot provide this envi- ronment, they should not have Rottweilers. They are not the breed to put outside, with no training or socialization, and expect to be a trusted loving family pet. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? I have never had anyone not recognize one of my Rottweilers as anything other than a Rottweiler. I have not had this experience. The biggest challenge breeders face right now is a huge influx of puppy buying inquiries because so many people are home right
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now because of COVID-19, and they might not be asking for the right reasons. We really need to vet the potential owners as to their suitability for our puppies and consider if the financial crisis will affect the puppy buyer’s ability to financially care for the puppy in the future. We also have the issue of limitation of veterinary care in some areas due to COVID-19. Lastly, a huge challenge all breeders will face is socializing your puppies while complying with social dis- tancing measures. For some, this will be impossible, for others with big families or living in an area where it is less restrictive, maybe not as much. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? Because I have been in Rottweilers nearly 40 years and have bred over 90 champions, BIS, BISS, as well as #1 dogs, I feel like I can accurately assess a puppy for show potential at seven to eight weeks. At what point do I say, yes, for sure, this puppy is going to be a win- ner? I would say at four to six months. That is for me. I can’t say as to others. I know my lines. I know how they mature and I have seen many litters born over the years, develop and mature into adults, pet and show alike. Now, to say will this dog be a candidate to be a top winner? Well that takes more time because, to be at the top, it is so much more than structure. It is attitude, environment, and the whole package, and that evaluation takes much more time. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? The Rottweiler is a distinctive breed that is a strong, powerful animal that has a particular breed type, but it is also a working breed that must possess proper structure with sound move- ment. Look at the overall dog, do not judge its parts. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Education and continuing to offer opportunities for newcomers to be successful like the OH and Novice Classes. My ultimate goal for the breed? To breed healthy, well-struc- tured animals with proper breed type and correct temperament. My favorite dog show memory? I would say there are two. First, handling a male out of my stud dog, 7x BISS/Multi Group Win- ning CH Shel-Kon’s A Coll Java Blend CD, AD, CGC, HIT, TT, B, to Best of Breed at Westminster over an entry of 50 under the esteemed Mrs. Dorothy Collier, and also winning Best of Breed at Eukanuba with the same dog. Entering with Java on the green carpet of the Westminster Kennel Club Groups will be a night I will never forget. And second, handling my own third generation owner/breeder/ trained and handled Rottweiler to win the United States Rottweiler Club National Sieger Show to title of National Sieger. This dog was an American/Canadian/Mexican Champion, placed V-1 at the World Show in Mexico, High Scoring Schutzhund 3, CD, Herding Instinct Test, and Breed Suitability Test. All titles except the Ameri- can championship were done exclusively by me. KATHERINE E. PLAYER DVM
My family got our first Rottweiler in 1987. I was four years old. From then on, we always had at least three Rottweilers. I got my very own to raise and train at nine years old. I was ten years old when I decided I wanted to breed and show Rottweilers. The dream was delayed while I went through school and became a veterinar- ian. I have practiced in general practice and also emphasized canine theriogenology. I am now a high volume spay/neuter veterinarian working with a variety of rescues and shelters. I got my first show dog in 2005, I bred my first litter in 2013. I strongly believe in pro- moting healthy, classically beautiful dogs of sound temperament. I believe in facilitating research for the genetic improvement of the Rottweiler; my 2013 litter was elemental in creating the JLPP test now commercially available. My husband was introduced to Rott- weilers when we started dating and his passion for the breed and preserving these wonderful dogs matches my own. We own a home in a southwest suburb of Chicago. Between my parents’ home and ours, we own seven Rottweilers, a black Lab, and a rescue Hound mix. We are active in many varieties of dog sports, but we also take public outreach and public education about the breed seriously, and participate in whatever venue possible. I live with my husband in a small town about 50 miles southwest of Chicago, Illinois. My husband and I work around our home and love to travel when possible. We also enjoy spending time with our families. We have a small menagerie of animals that occupies our time and passion. Do I hope my breed’s ranking will change? I love the breed, so I love seeing other people recognize the Rottweiler for how spec- tacular it is. The only problem with popularity is people are drawn to these powerful, intelligent, independent dogs without doing the proper research before adding them to their family. While I believe the Rottweiler is the best breed out there, it is definitely not the best breed for every home or every family. The other major problem with popularity is the perception that money can be made from sales of Rottweiler puppies by unscrupulous breeders. Being in the top ten for popularity is a huge honor for the Rottweiler, and well deserved! It is our job as responsible breeders and guardians of this magnifi- cent breed to help the general public get educated before bringing these dogs into their lives and homes. Conversely, a major advantage of popularity is population size. We are lucky enough our breed is not at risk of extinction like so many breeds are; we are also lucky to have the genetic diversity to make good decisions when breeding the next generation. Everything is a balance. I am happy for the popularity, but educating the public is so important. How much emphasis should be placed on head characteristics? The conformation of the whole dog needs to be considered when making breeding decisions, as well as temperament. That said, this is a “head breed” in that the head is the trademark of the Rottweiler. It would be a shame to ignore the head characteristics, or propagate a Bulldog or Greyhound head on the ideal Rottweiler body. This is a Working breed. As such, the facial conformation must allow proper respiration without overheating. So many Rottweilers are being selected to have a more brachycephalic head conformation yielding them useless in any venue outside of the conformation ring. We must keep the powerful, impressive Rottweiler trademark with- out losing what is behind the head. If we continually breed for only a desirable headpiece, we will lose a good shoulder, proper topline, appropriate length, balance, and movement. The Rottweiler is such a great dog because it can laze about in the house with the family, and then get up and go hiking all day, carrying its own pack; or herd cattle, sheep, or ducks; or it can keep up with horseback riders on a trail ride; or it can swim and retrieve a toy. The versatility of this breed exists because people bred for a dog who could do it all. But we must never forget that these dogs are beautiful to look at too, and this is a part of the package not to be ignored.
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What is the biggest misconception about my breed? Unfortu- nately, most people think the Rottweiler is inherently aggressive: they are man-eaters, killers, and dog aggressive. So many people also think these dogs were originally bred for personal protection. True, Rottweilers require training and proper socialization. Rott- weilers are intelligent and generally more independent than other breeds. They are also impressive in appearance and they possess a lot of power. However, when bred and raised correctly, the Rott- weiler is slow to aggression, able to make self sufficient decisions about encounters with people and animals alike. Any dog can be bred and trained to be aggressive. Even a Rottweiler with the most stable, gregarious in-born temperament can be raised improperly, even accidentally by an uneducated owner, and grow into an aggres- sive dog. But the Rottweiler is not inherently aggressive. Does the average person recognize my breed? Surprisingly, yes! Before the Internet made interaction between strangers so easy, people relied on the media for information about the breed, and the media, seeing a very cool looking, impressive and powerful dog, slipped the breed into the role they could easily fit into. Of course they did! Rottweilers are trainable, big, impressive, and they gener- ally get along well with a variety of people in a public setting when trained to do so! They are perfect for movie sets! The media and movies depicting Rottweilers being aggressive dogs were the pri- mary source of information for people about the breed. Then the Rottweiler got more popular. People got more educated about them. The Internet opened up an avenue for people to communicate more freely and made it easier for the general population to find events like dog shows to get out and see the reality of the breed. And the Rottweiler fell out of favor with the media. All of these forces com- bined to allow the average individual to see the Rottweiler as a large, powerful dog, which is not always aggressive. That said, there is still a large percentage of the population who do not seek out edification on the breed. Those are the people who are stuck seeing the Rott- weiler as the media chooses to portray it. What special challenges do breeders face? The mental, emotion- al, and financial cost of breeding properly, compounded by the stig- ma of breeding propagated by animal rights extremists, and general lack of support from most veterinary professionals concerning keep- ing dogs in tact and being used for breeding purposes. We breeders need to show rescue groups, animal welfare advocates, and veteri- narians inundated with unwanted dogs that our goals are the same and we all dislike unscrupulous breeders. We need to show that our breeding dogs do not add to an overpopulation problem. Whether every dog in a pedigree has titles or not, we need to be breeding with a purpose. We need to show the purpose behind our breeding deci- sions. The best way to show purpose behind our breeding decisions is to work towards titles. If we never prove our dogs are worthy of being bred, prove these dogs possess the characteristics we purport to emphasize, we are merely adding to the overpopulation problem, not actually preserving the characteristics of this breed we so love, and proving the naysayers correct. However, proving the worthiness of breeding is expensive both monetarily and in the time invested in training and traveling to the show venues. These costs are incurred because we love our dogs, we love the breed, but also because we are trying to preserve the breed and continue these characteristics into the next generation. We incur significant costs of health clear- ances to make sure these dogs we so love and propagate will not produce a puppy with health problems that will cause heartbreak to the owners. Then there are the costs incurred by actually breeding and raising a litter. The average owner has no concept of the blood, sweat, tears, and emotional and financial investment of each and every litter produced. It is very frustrating to fight with everyone on all sides, and then have a puppy person say they only want a pet, so none of what I do to prove worthiness of breeding is significant.
But that is our job: we educate and show anyone who will listen why we do what we do; why we charge what we charge; how we help prevent dogs from ending up in shelters; why we are needed to keep these majestic dogs true to their history. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? This really depends on the line. Some lines of Rottweilers mature quickly and can show well by six months of age while others will not be competitive in a show ring until three or four years of age. This is also extremely dependent on which venue a dog is meant to show in: herding, shutzhund, competition obedience, agility, and conforma- tion will all show characteristics at different times. Some of these venues must have an inborn behavioral component that can never be taught, while some can be finessed with some time and training. The most important thing about my breed for a new judge to keep in mind? This is a Working breed and form follows function. A dog who makes a pretty picture when stacked, but cannot move properly should never be rewarded. Breed type is so important, but not the only thing to judge. What’s the best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Through inclusion, kindness, education, and encourage- ment; allow an enthusiastic newcomer to take pick or second pick puppy and mentor them along to help them achieve success! Success allows a newcomer to get bitten by the bug. Also, realizing not all newcomers will enjoy this crazy world, and that is okay too! My ultimate goal for my breed? To maintain the awesome ver- satility of this wonderful breed without sacrificing the powerful beauty and grace of the dog. I love that my dogs are all game to do whatever I want, and they are all physically and mentally capable of keeping up with me! Be it hiking in the mountains, swimming in the lake, trail riding with the horses, rollerblading or bicycling, jogging with me, or laying at my feet for weeks on end as I studied in school, my Rottweilers have always been there. I hope we do not lose that ability to fit into life so well. My favorite dog show memory? I am fairly new to the competi- tion obedience world. I started in Novice A in February 2016. By the Medallion Rottweiler Club Specialty in October 2016, we were competing for a Utility title. We had tried and NQ’ed at several trials prior to the MRC. We NQ’ed out of the Utility class on the first day of the MRC. When we finally Q’ed in Utility on the sec- ond day, everyone ringside erupted in cheers! We didn’t even score very well! But man, it was so nice to have people rooting for us as neophytes to such a difficult sport! I felt like I belonged. I felt like everyone who celebrated such a small success with me was a friend who understood how hard it was to get to that point. JOAN ROSEMIER I was born in Oregon and lived all over the states, from Oregon to Washington, to Utah, to Texas, to Pennsylvania, to Kentucky, to South Carolina, and will probably be in Arkansas from now on. I’ve been grooming for 35 years and still enjoy going to work. I’ve been married to my best friend, Richard, for 36 years. I started barn hunting with my dogs in 2015 and this past winter became a barn hunt judge. I’m anxiously waiting to start my newest puppy soon. I have four Rottweilers now. I’m also the obedience show chair for the Hot Springs Kennel Club’s annual all-breed/obedience show. I live in Hot Springs, Arkansas. I don’t really do much “outside of dogs.” I’ve been a groomer for 35 years and going strong. Do I hope my breed’s ranking will change? I actually would like to see our AKC popularity ranking drop. They became so popular that their health and temperaments have suffered.
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