CELEBRATING THE ROTTWEILER (YES, THIS IS FOR JUDGES!)
by JEFF SHAVER
W hether a newcomer to the breed or a Best-In- Show Judge, reading the breed Standard and attending breed seminars is something that of course is a must for anyone seri- ous about the Rottweiler. However, “parts is parts”, and the Rottweiler Breed Standard uses much of the same general language regarding structure, angles, proportion, and other phrases that can be found in many breed Stan- dards. Despite similarity in language used, the Rottweiler and many of those breeds share very little in common in real life. To truly understand the breed you need to get to know the Rottweiler in person, up close and personal so-to- speak, whether you are adding a new puppy to your home or brushing up on the breed for an upcoming assignment. In addition to reading the breed Stan- dard try looking at the Rottweiler from a different perspective. Namely, look at the various functions the dog serves then ask yourself, “do the dogs I’m look- ing at represent animals that have quali- ties the Rottweiler should possess?” To know the Rottweiler is to love them! The focus of the next few pages will not be on charts and diagrams, angles and lines, but the adjectives used in the breed Standard and what those really mean if you want to know the Rott- weiler for what it really is – the best all-around companion and working dog on the planet. Our focus will be on some key words in the Standard such as: Strength, Powerful, Calm and Confi- dent, Quiet and Self-assured, Intelligent, Agile and Efficient with Endurance. These attributes are as much a part of the Rottweiler as height to length ratios and counting 42 teeth! In addition to a brief discussion of these attributes in the Standard, this article will also include some discus- sion of recent Standard changes abroad
and how the American Rottweiler Club, Standard, for the most part, already addresses those and the concerns raised, particularly with “overdone” heads or any extremes in exhibits you might see. BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BREED For those who have been around the breed, the stories of the Rottwei- ler’s roots are varied depending upon whom you ask. Two Hundred years ago it would have been very difficult to find a dog in South Central Germany that resembled anything close to the modern day Rottweiler. The breed’S heritage of course derives from ancient Mastiff-type drover and working dogs, but the dogs in the Rottweiler pedigree in ancient times would not have been recognizable to us today as the black and tan athlete that lovers of the breed adore. Where people have had a need for working animals, they have devel- oped dogs in their area to suit those needs then called them their own. It is no different with the Rottweiler. Hail- ing from and around the town of Rott- weil in Southern Germany, the mod- ern Rottweiler’s ancestors are likely remnants of dogs left by the Roman legions and others crossing the Alps who used their four-legged “friends” as draft dogs, cattle drovers, and for other working tasks on their travels and conquests across Europe. From these ancestors, the local population devel- oped dogs for draft purposes to pull butcher carts, milk carts, and anything else that would be needed around the farm to substitute for horses or cattle as draft animals. Draft work, along with the Rottweilers’ older jobs of driving cattle, made it an all-around dog suit- able for farm work. Enough history for now. There are numerous well-written books discussing at length the origins
of the breed and the development of the modern day Rottweiler. So what’s so different about this article, you ask? What really makes a Rottweiler a Rottweiler? Is it gen- eral language of build and overall con- struction or is it the heart and soul of the breed in the package described in the Standard? All one needs to do is witness the Breed in action to under- stand what functions create the form we desire! STRENGTH The Rottweiler Breed Standard goes into great detail using descriptive lan- guage of the dogs’ overall appearance, attitude, temperament, and function. One word repeated numerous times in the Standard is “strength”. The impres- sion you get when seeing a Rottweiler built for correct function will make you think, “That is a strong dog!” The breed can even excel at weight pulling (over 2000 pounds as pictured above) given the proper training and motivation. Strength means the physical attributes and correct structure so that the dog can function, whatever task it is giv- en—completing the task without hesita- tion. A dog that is too slight or too bulky in appearance certainly doesn’t give the impression of “strength” which has a great deal of emphasis in the breed Standard description.
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , D ECEMBER 2018 • 335
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