rottweiler Q&A WITH KAREN BANG, DAVIANN MITCHELL, LEW OLSON, TOM WOODWARD PHA, & DIANE VOSS
I always keep my ideal Rottweiler in mind and continue to try and breed towards that standard. Be honest in your puppy evaluations, and always remem- ber, a championship or working title and hip clearances do not make every dog a breeding dog. There are many champions that should not be bred and not every dog being shown as a “special” aka in Best of Breed competi- tion, is truly special. Those dogs are few and far between. Advice for new judges: Please study the breed standard and understand the purpose of the standard and that our breed is a working breed. Please find a mentor with those who are well respected in our breed and remember with every person with whom you speak, you will learn something, whether it be good or bad, you will always learn something. Put in your mind what you believe to be the “ideal Rott- weiler” and look for dogs in the ring that fit that overall picture. When you look at each animal, do you think to yourself, “Now that is a Rottweiler!” While there are big, small, more athletic, less athletic, tails, no tails, all in one ring, your winners should all exude overall Rott- weiler type, be strong powerful movers with purpose, possess proper structure and have correct Rottweiler temperament. For me, since our breed is a working breed that was originally bred to drive cattle, strong powerful purpose- ful movement is very important. This does not mean the flashy dog on the end of the lead showing like a Sporting dog. It is a dog who has powerful drive with a converging gait where they do not overdrive in the rear because they over angulated in the rear with sickle hocks or hackney in the front because they lack upper arm or balanced angulation. Balance is critical. Showmanship is always desired and keep focused on proper head type. There are many good educational videos done by some very excellent Euro- peans such as Anton Spindler and Gerard O’Shea where they talk about type and structure. Our own American Rottweiler Club has some excellent presentations on the breed as well. Don’t be moved by the “fad” unless that dog meets your ideal of the Rottweiler standard. Always be patient and kind to the exhibitors and most importantly, to the dogs themselves. LO: To new breeders, I would tell them to start with the BEST female they can find. Both in structure, breed char- acteristics and pedigree. Don’t start with second best! That only produces the same. For judges, I ask them to remember this is a working breed. They needs to look as though they could trot and work in the fields all day. That means balanced front to rear, that shows strength and endurance along with conditioning and muscling. At a medium trot, not a flying trot! Fastest isn’t best. TW: To a new breeder: begin studying dogs of the past and what they have produced before making decisions to move forward. Find a mentor who can help you attain this information.
doesn’t bring correct angles, only some of each. While there are a lot of Rottweilers in America, it is hard to find good diversity in pedigrees. TW: Finding worthy stud dogs who have been fully health tested according to the code of ethics set by the Ameri- can Rottweiler Club. 4. Advice to a new breeder? Advice to a new judge of your breed? KB: As a relatively new breeder myself, I can suggest the best thing to do when first starting out is to find a mentor who has a history and experience with the breed who will candidly provide sound advice. Never assume you can know everything, there is always something to be learned from each other. Judges should learn and study the breed standard and participate in hands-on judges education briefings and seminars where possible. When learning about a new breed, go to the specialty shows such as American Rottweiler Club National, Colonial Rottweiler Club, Medallion Rottweiler Club, Seminole Rottweiler Club, Associated Rottweiler Fanciers of Northern California, Golden State Rottweiler Club, Mile High Rottweiler Club, etc and reach out to the clubs to connect with members who have volunteered to be ringside mentors. In addition to knowing the breed standard, learn to examine for dentition, to recognize lameness and never be afraid to withhold a ribbon or award if what you see in the ring is disparate to breed standards. DM: Advice to new breeder: Find a great mentor! Try and find a person in our breed who has proven themselves as a breeder over time, not a flash in the pan, and who has proven herself/himself to be a responsible breeder, all the while keeping in mind our breed standard, health and temperament. Follow our breed clubs breeding practices and always place every dog on a contract where the terms protect you as a breeder and the public as the consumer. Outline all the terms of the agreement so there is no confusion later, even with your best friend. If you do not make the terms of the agreement clear, pet or show, spay or breed, ownership or co-ownership, there will be hard feelings later. Study our standard, be open to the opinions of others and always be a good sport and supportive of our breed. Understand your dog’s strengths and weaknesses and always breed to improve. Focus on long term goals, health being a top priority. When looking at health clearances, don’t stop at the particular dog’s clearances, look at the vertical as well as horizontal health clearances—Ask yourself: What are parents and grandparents’ clearances? What health clear- ances have they produced? What are the clearances of siblings and half siblings of the dog and the same for two generations back? For me personally, I start with pedigree supporting com- plimentary genotype and health clearances, and then I look to see if they are phenotypically complimentary.
330 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , D ECEMBER 2018
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