Showsight Presents The Rottweiler

dedicated fanciers realize that when three of their members emigrated to the United States in 1928, the history and for- tunes of the Rottweiler breed would be forever changed... Otto Denny, Fred Kolb and August Knecht all settled on the East Coast of the United States. Denny’s bitch, Zilly v.d. Steinlach, whelped a litter in 1930, but because the breed was not yet rec- ognized by the American Kennel Club, the litter was registered in Germany with the ADRK. It is interesting that an American-born litter was allowed to be registered by the ADRK. It is good to remember that throughout the breed’s infancy in the United States and, in fact, through what we feel was the “Golden Age of Rottweilers,” the ADRK and its fellow European fanciers were a source of invaluable guidance for American enthusiasts. The first Rottweiler registered by the AKC was Stina vom Felsenmeer, owned by August Knecht, in 1931. The AKC apparently had confidence in the ADRK as it allowed Stina and her contempo- raries to be registered four years before adopting a breed Standard in 1935. On January 26th, 1931, Stina whelped the first litter of Rottweilers registered by the AKC. This litter was also registered with the ADRK... The first Rottweiler to be published as having earned an Obedience degree was Gero v. Rabenhorst. Gero earned his Companion Dog (CD) degree in 1939, his Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) degree in 1940 and his Utility Dog (DD) title in 1941. It is especially appropriate that the first titles award- ed to a Rottweiler were working titles because, even today, more Rottweilers earn working titles each year than earn championships. Ours is still a breed of function! By the mid and late 1940s, Rottwei- lers were found across the country. Our family, of course, is most familiar with the early dogs of the Midwest. In 1945, Perrin G. (Pat) Rademacher (the late brother of Author Joan Klem) acquired his first Rottweiler, August der Grosse, from a first-generation breeding. In looking for a bitch to be bred to August der Gross, Pat brought home (along with two bitches, a male Erwin,) a splendid example of the breed at that time (who) had an indomitable character. A favorite family story tells how Erwin and some members of the

Rademacher family were visiting a sta- ble when a stallion broke out of his stall and came charging down the aisle of the barn straight for the family. Erwin stood his ground, and the horse veered off into a stall just yards before reaching the startled people. You could say that, but for Erwin, you wouldn’t be reading this [book] for one of the authors was a startled, small child in that horse’s path. If we hadn’t understood what indomi- table spirit meant before this incident, we did afterward. There were impressive imports to follow, and their contribution to the American Rottweiler gene pool illustrat- ed how close we still were to the bosom of the ADRK. But the 1950s were a tran- sitional period, as American dogs with American kennel names were begin- ning to gain notice. Along with Town- view, Panamint, Srigo and Rodsden, we include “von Stahl.” The von Stahl list of champions included Ch. Gerhardt von Stahl. Gerhardt, the twentieth AKC champion, would have been famous if for no other reason than he was the first Rottweiler champion owned by Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Freeman and was the beginning of Freeger Rottweilers. The late Muriel Freeman, a foremost AKC breeder-judge and our first American Rottweiler Club delegate to the AKC, was a vital force in the breed since the early 60s. She tried, perhaps harder than anyone, to educate American fan- ciers on the responsibilities of owning and breeding a dog that the Germans had so carefully developed. We feel that the years between 1960-1980 were the Golden Age of Rottweilers. So what defines a Golden Age? To begin, it was a period in which outstanding dogs made their appear- ance, a time of many “firsts” for the breed and an era of tremendous opti- mism about the future of the breed. All this against the backdrop of the establishment and growth of American Rottweiler clubs. Without the American clubs, the “firsts” would not have been possible. The first American club, organized

under the AKC, was the Rottweiler Club of America—an ambitious name for a club mostly on the West Coast that lasted from 1948 to the late 1960s and which really predates the Golden Age. One notable accomplishment was that using the name made it impos- sible for any later National club to use the same name! More importantly, it held the first AKC-sanctioned matches in 1948-49 and the first Rottweiler Spe- cialty in conjunction with the Oakland Kennel Club in 1950. The first Golden Age American Rottweiler club was the Colonial Rottweiler Club (CRC), formed in 1956 with a membership on the East Coast, primarily centered in the Philadelphia area. Within the framework of the Spe- cialty clubs and their members, the Golden Age saw the importation of dogs whose influence on the breed dur- ing that era was undeniable. One such dog was Int. Ch. Harras vom Sofien- busch, SchH I, Bundessieger. In 1963, Rodsden Kennels (kennel of author Joan Klem), through the help of ADRK Head Breed Warden Friedrich Berger, imported Harras. “The great dog,” as he was being called with some fondness by the Germans, was almost seven years old and beyond his prime, but was still being trotted around to German shows on exhibition. Harras should be remem- bered as one of the truly great Rottwei- ler phenotypes. There were many, many notable dogs (that arrived in the United States during this period): Harras, Dux (Ch. Dux v. Hungerbuhl, SchH I), Falco (Ch. Falco V.H. Brabantpark) and Eppo (Ch. Eppo vd Keizerslanden, CDX, BH, Canadian CD) whose achievements, descendents, and owners defined (the Rottweiler experience) during the Golden Age. As we have learned, it was the ADRK in Germany that developed, nurtured and wrote the first “modern” Standard for the Rottweiler. You might call it the original parent club. Through wisdom and discipline, a marvelous working dog was developed for the world to enjoy.— The Rottweiler Experience

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