Showsight Presents The Rottweiler

Rottweiler Q& A

Since tail docking was banned in 1998 in Europe, the num- ber of imports have risen, but “we” don’t get to see them. If we— code of ethics club members and those that show—don’t see them, then we usually don’t breed to them. Hence, many of our AKC show dogs are of the same pedigrees, and this is to the detriment of our breed. We need what Europe has to offer—bone, depth of color, head type, fuller temperament (that is, if they can pass all our health requirements). The imports need what we have to offer: better angles, better top lines, better front ends, and better feet and perhaps not-quite-so-high-in-drive all the time. The best people on the breed are those that started with pets. They worked hard in performance sports as their entry, or perhaps endured heartache of failed health clearances, and they understand what it feels like to be dismissed by those around them if they’re not successful. Plus it forces them to be in the breed for several years before breeding, and not merely months. If you want to breed, help in rescue first—see what happens when people can’t, or won’t, keep their dogs. Help euthanize when needed. Make hard decisions. Advice to new judges: do not award what is popular or what you see most of in the ring. Think “Is this correct? Would I take this home? Am I harming the breed in the long run by awarding this dog?” Don’t be afraid to award the best dog, and not just the best of the ones that looks like the others. The most common fault I see when traveling around the coun- try: over angulated in the rear, with straight angulation in the front. Looks flashy but totally inefficient for a long day’s work (which we are meant to do). Also, markings are becoming overly large and light. We are still in the Top Ten in numbers with AKC, which frank- ly always concerns me. Our breed is not suited for most homes and I still hear from people who are interested inn setting up “breeding farms” of Rottweilers for profit. Makes my skin crawl. The problem with giving people the idea of “improving” a breed is that it opens up the possibility of people deciding on what they feel needs to be “improved,” i.e., different. The standard is just fine—breed to stay in accordance. Stop “improving,” and keep true to the compass. My greatest hope is that new judges are accustomed to seeing tails on historically docked breeds and they will be more welcoming and embracing of them in the ring. That all judges understand how important it is to judge the entire dog, and not the caudal vertebrae or the head shape. Everything in between is what works all day, and the brain inside that comports the dog. Has the current wave of “dangerous dog” legislation affected me or my dogs? I don’t know about “current wave,” we started suffering from it in the mid-1990s. Homeowner’s liability options are severely limited. That’s been the hardest for most folks. We’ve gotten a lot of dogs in rescue because of insurance policies that were cancelled due to breed and nothing the dog did. Much to the chagrin of my fellow parent-club members I am an advocate of the docking ban in Europe. I spent a few years research- ing the topic and went from the stance of “it’s a benign procedure” I was taught those who mentored me to a position of it’s an unnec- essary act of animal cruelty. Yes, I know that statement is going to have people up in arms, but so be it. There is no reason to dock a dog except for cosmetic affect and the repercussions for the dog are numerous. I believe if we, the parent club members, don’t get on board with changing the standard and include natural tails the gen- eral public/voters will create legislation and do it for us. The AVMA is stance is already quite strong against it. My favorite dog show memory: my dog “Abel” (mulit-V-1 multi BIS/multi BISS GCHG Haines Abel For Queans, CD, RA, BN, TKA, TT, CGC) winning the ARC Top 20 competition in 2017. That, and when he won Winners Dog at our National in 2013. Amazing moments for me and my friend/co-owner Yolanda Gal- lardo and our handler, Jeannie Tappan.

Has the current wave of “dangerous dog” legislation affected me? I have never thought of this in this way; it is my position that the breeding, placement and handling of my dogs by me or those to whom I extend their care should in all ways impact legislation in the most positive way. Does the docking and cropping ban in other parts of the world impact me? Given the headlines today documenting the extraordi- nary berth and authority man affords himself in so many ethical, medical and agricultural arenas, it is difficult for me to comprehend that his decision to dock the tail of a three day old puppy (or a three year old dog) even makes the short list. It is and can be nothing more than a matter of control. That said, our own politics will deter- mine the future of docking. I probably summed up my thoughts on this question best years ago in my letter to AKC judges of docked/ cropped breeds: Beware the Serpent http://www.cammcastle.com/ uploads/2/3/5/8/23585758/beware_the_serpent_2013.pdf My favorite dog show memory: I have too many to count—most definitely the manner in which my ringside conduct and volume found their way into my children’s youth soccer games. Trust me when I tell you that most of those parents have never heard real cheering! But seriously, the best memories are those of the time spent with friends. Those are the ones I will remember. JILL KESSLER-MILLER I am on the Board of Directors for the American Rottweiler Club, a mentor for new judges, I have had a few top ten dogs, have participated in rescue 30 out of my 32 years in Rottweilers, and have titled dogs in obedience, agility, nosework, scentwork, schutz- hund, barnhunt, am a CGC evaluator and Chief Tester for ATTS. I live in the Santa Cruz area, in a small town called Aptos in California, with my non-dog loving husband and our two dogs. I work as an expert witness in dogs (my specialties include dog bites, temperament evaluations, service dogs and animal cruelty). I am also a certified trainer and taught until fairly recently, and still do some behavior consulting. I procured my first Rottweiler in 1987. I started in obedience, moved in to schutzhund and conformation, and participation in other dog sports such as agility, nosework, barnhunt, scentwork. I have done some breeding, but not a lot, mostly because I have also been active in rescue 30 of my 32 years in the breed ( www.rottres- cuela.org ), of which I am very proud. Everyone who breeds should also do rescue, to see what happens to dogs after they leave. Work- ing with rescue has tremendously formed my sensibilities about dogs. people and the Rottweiler. For example, wealthy people are often not the best homes. Examine the person, not their exterior, material things. I have judged several Sweepstakes and keep talking about putting in my application, but haven’t done it yet. The secret to a successful breeding program: you must start with an outstanding brood bitch. You can never compensate for a poor- quality bitch. With a good foundation bitch you can use almost any stud dog. Keep looking outside your breedings to fold in new blood. I also frequently remind folks that its easier to buy a good dog than breed it yourself. Unless you’re willing to commit the next few decades to dogs you produce, please don’t breed. There will always be some that need to come back—will you be able to take them in? If not, don’t breed. My biggest concern is, and will always be, temperament. When I do the temperament section of Judges Education, I always begin with “You can live with an ugly dog that has good temperament, but no one can live with a beautiful dog with bad temperament.” Our breed should never lack in deductive reasoning or the ability to judicious, discerning, and even kind and tolerant. They must love children—I will not accept any excuses for a dog that does not. I remind people (much to their chagrin) that no breed standard in the world says “Not good with children.”

248 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J UNE 2019

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