Showsight Presents The Rottweiler

GESTALT ROTTWEILER THE KEEPING THE ‘BIG PICTURE’

WHILE REMAINING FAITHFUL TO THE SMALL ATTRIBUTES

BY JILL KESSLER-MILLER & JEFF SHAVER (Photos provided by the authors.)

M ost articles written about a breed go over the same “big picture” points you hear over and over again… balance, pleasing, proportion. It’s unlikely anyone reading this article—in a show dog-centric magazine with a dedicated section on the Rottwei- ler—needs to hear about the “big points” again. Principles such as a 9-to-10 ratio are known. A well-angulated front and rear, scissors bite, and almond eye are a given. Easy. Learned it. Got it. But being faithful to small attributes is more difficult; dif- ficult to remember if you judge multiple breeds (for example, a light eye in a hunting dog may be normal, but it is unacceptable in the Rottweiler), and difficult to pay attention to those seem- ingly “cosmetic” aspects that are truly important to breeders and to breeding programs. So, rather than once again talk about the usual over-arching points, this article will expound upon the small, perhaps even dull, features that, when put together, truly add up to a superior specimen of the Rottweiler. (Adherence to small details won’t be bad for your judging reputation either.) DARK AND STEALTHY To begin with, remember this one word: Dark. Dark brown, almond-shaped eyes; dark black mouth, including gums and lips; dark mahogany markings (not straw or tan); dark body, not overtaken by excessively large or light-colored markings. (If the markings on the front legs go up and reach the underside, and connect with the chest markings and reach across the undercar- riage, touching the markings on the rear legs to form one large blot, the markings are too large. They are markings—separate markings on the legs, cheeks, muzzle, chest, and buttocks.) We are a dark and stealthy breed—not bright and noticeable. Hav- ing said that, markings are to be defined; markings that are miss- ing, difficult to discern or overly muddy are to be faulted. SCISSORS BITE AND FULL DENTITION Speaking of mouths, if the best dog you can find has missing teeth or malocclusion, look again. While our standard allows for one missing tooth, it is a serious fault. There was a time when missing teeth were more of the norm, but a lot of work has been done in favor of full dentition. Watch for wry bites too. A scissors bite with full dentition in a dark mouth, both lips and gums, is desired. (If you really want to see people sweat, ask the handler of a dog you like to lift the lips to look at gum color!)

280 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JULY 2021

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