Showsight Presents The Rottweiler

ӕoVVYeiNeӕ Q&A WITH PETER GAETA, SUZAN GUYNN, ERIC LIEBES, NANCY LIEBES, LEW OLSON, FAYE STRAUSS & LIZ WERTZ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 286

reducing chances that particular undesirable traits might occur. EL: There is a point where the dogs become too heavy bodied causing them to lumber and leading to loss of bal- anced and effortless gait. Many dogs are far longer than the desired 9:10 ratio. NL: As in many breeds, extreme rear angulation is a problem. Dogs that cannot drive off their rears, whose toplines roll going around and that are not solid and clean on the down and back are all too often presented in the ring. LO: Areas that need improvement in the Rottweiler would include proportion and angulation. Too many of our dogs in the ring appear ‘long and low’, due to over angulation in the rear and too long of loin. These dogs will often appear to be sickle hocked, in that they have trouble extending the rear leg in a trot and often have trouble standing for extended periods on all four feet. Since the Rottweiler is considered a Working dog that is athletic, robust and powerful, they need to be balanced and with a short loin. Their promotion is 9:10, so they should never appear long, and should have good spring to their ribs. FS: Overdone rears are a problem in this and many breeds. LW: Pronounced foreheads; lack of balance—over angulated rears with straight fronts; lack of fill under the eye; lack of presence/intelligence giving way to lifeless eyes. 4. What three things do you prioritize as most important? SG: 1) The most important advice I have is for judges: know the breed standard and find the best dogs; that will be your contribution to the sport. Whether the handler is experienced or new and nervous, know the quality of the dog you are seeking and be able to articulate—for the owner exhibitor as well as the professional handler—why you place them as you do. 2) In judging to the breed standard, remember the overall image that it conveys and work toward the best overall representative of that standard. 3) Understand that the balance conveyed in the standard is intended to compute in movement to a rhythm and harmony of gait. Good structure can’t be faked while on the move. EL: 1) Good topline carried well in the balanced and ground- covering gait. 2) Proper 9:10 proportion, not low on leg. 3) Noble and strong head matching the good body of the dog. NL: 1) Balance on the trot is my heavy hitter. 2) I need to see a dog that can work all day. 3) I also need to have good muscle tone and condition, and soundness. LO: I prioritize balance in the Rottweiler, which in turn produces good side movement. Rottweilers trot at a medium speed and the build is important for endurance and stamina. They should have a deep chest to just below the elbow for room to breath. This, in turn, needs the proper head proportions. Some heads are becoming too exaggerated with a shorter, wider muzzle, which makes it more difficult to breath and allows less room for the full complement of teeth required. This is a Working breed first—that should denote strength, soundness and an athletic build. FS: 1) A good head, 2) strong gait with a sturdy body and 3) sound mind.

LW: 1) Balance/type, 2) structure and 3) temperament.

5. What three things do recommend avoiding or not rewarding? SG: 1) AKC judges, by their actions, should not rewrite the standard (including, but not limited to, awarding undocked dogs); the AKC standard is the final authority in the AKC ring and should be honored as written. 2) Avoid power struggles with dogs that do not submit to the tooth exam; allow the handler to work with the dog while another is judged and come back. 3) Be patient with new handlers and by all means put up the best dog, even if presented poorly. EL: 1) Poor toplines on the move, 2) long and low dogs and 3) relatively light bone. NL: 1) I don’t reward sloppy toplines, 2) soft muscle or 3) narrow heads and muzzles. I also want my males to look masculine and strong. I think substance and conditioning is very important. LO: I would avoid rewarding a dog that is shy, but our breed is aloof and not prone to warm up to strangers. I would also avoid rewarding a dog that is not in good condition (too fat or thin), and most importantly, avoid rewarding dogs that are not balanced. The front angulation should complement the rear angulation. FS: 1) A narrow head, 2) long, soft back or a weak dog with- out muscle and 3) a dog that isn’t sound. LW: 1) Lack of balance, 2) poor structure and 3) shyness or aggressiveness. 6. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? PG: The first time I handled a Rottweiler was in the late 60s for a friend. Over the years I have handled a number of them. A good one 50 years ago, or at any time along the way, would still be a good one today. The one thing that has seemed to change over the years is their disposition. Today, they are more disposed to be cooperative and ami- able in the conformation ring. SG: Some are, and some are not; there has always been a continuum of quality in the ring. I do perceive that the temperament of Rottweilers in the AKC ring has shifted over the last 25 years; I have observed far less dog-to-dog aggression than I observed in the 80s. EL: At the high end there have been great Rottweilers around since I began to love them in the 80s. Berte and his son Oil Tanker were the first great dogs I knew, and competed against with our Komondors. Shaka was out there when I first judged the breed and I loved him. There are great dogs out there now as well. I do think there are more dogs that are too low on leg in the classes now, but good ones are there as well. NL: I think it’s mixed. There were good dogs when I started and there are good dogs now. LO: I think the Rottweiler has improved on type considerably over the years, at least in breed characteristics. But on the other hand, I think the breed is falling behind on struc- ture. I am seeing longer loins, exaggerated over angulation in the rear, both which contribute to a long appearance and lack of athletic conditioning and muscling.

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