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.
178 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, MAY 2020
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