Showsight Presents The Rottweiler

CELEBRATING THE ROTTWEILER . . . IN PICTURES ! (Yes, This is For You Judges, Too!)

By Jeff Shaver

I f you turned to this page expect- ing another dog magazine article on “how to judge the Rottwei- ler” you have not come to the right place. Whether 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 serious about the Rottweiler. However, “parts is parts”, and the Rottweiler Breed Standard uses much of the same general language regard- ing structure, angles, proportion, and other phrases that can be found in many breed Standards. 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 upcom- ing assignment. In addition to reading the breed Standard try looking at the Rottwei- ler from a di ff erent perspective. Namely, look at the various functions the dog serves then ask yourself, “do the dogs I’m looking at represent animals that have qualities the Rottweiler should possess?” It is a marvelous Breed, in my opinion, the best! To know the Rottweiler is to love them. Th e 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 Rottweiler 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 Confident, Quiet and Self-assured, Intel- ligent, Agile and E ffi cient with Endurance.

Th ese attributes are as much a part of the Rottweiler as height to length ratios and counting 42 teeth! For those who have been around the breed, the stories of the Rottweiler’s roots are varied depending upon whom you ask. Two Hundred years ago it would have been very di ffi cult to find a dog in South Central Germany that resembled anything close to the modern day Rottweiler. Th e breeds’ her- itage of course derives from ancient Masti ff - 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 lov- ers of the breed adore. We will keep the his- tory lesson short. Su ffi ce it to say that where people have had a need for working animals they have developed dogs in their area to suit those needs then called them their own. It is no di ff erent with the Rottweiler. Hail- ing from and around the town of Rottweil in Southern Germany, the modern Rott- weiler’s ancestors area 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. If you ever have a chance to visit the town of Rottweil I highly recommend it. It’s a quaint town in a beau- tiful location complete with two (2) muse- ums featuring the Rottweiler and bearing historical artifacts showing drawings and artwork of various types of “dogs”, our dogs’ likely ancestors. From these ancestors, the local population developed 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 Rottweiler’s older jobs of driving

Fig. 1: Strength

Fig. 2: Powerful

cattle, made it an all-around dog suitable for farm work and later adapted for police, military, and other uses. Enough history for now. Th ere 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 di ff erent about this article, you ask? Well, how many times can you or do you want to read articles about how to judge the breed, what to look for, and what are faults, penalties, and disqualifi- cations? Probably enough that you already know those things or if new to the breed you can learn them easily in various writ- ten printed materials provided by the par- ent club or the American Kennel Club. However, sometimes we lose sight of the forest for the trees. What really makes a Rottweiler a Rottweiler? Is it general lan- guage of build and overall construction or is it the heart and soul of the breed in the

230 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A UGUST 2014

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