Showsight Presents The Rottweiler

ROTTWEILER Q&A

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

176 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, MAY 2020

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