The German Breeding System Part 1: BST-Breed Suitability Test
The United States Rottweiler Club strongly believes that these tests are vital to maintain the Rottweiler in type and temperament and should be the cornerstone of any breeding program.
What is the Ztp/BST The Breed Suitability Test is an evaluation of a dog's temperament, character and working ability.
The BST is designed to select those Rottweilers that are worthy of being bred and is modeled after the standards of the breed test used by the German Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub (ADRK), the Zuchttauglichkeitsprufung. The United States Rottweiler Club (USRC) calls the test the BST and the ADRK calls the test the Ztp. The Ztp and BST are basically the same breeding suitability test. The test evaluates the dog's conformation and character to determine if the dog is a suitable candidate in a breeding program in both type and temperament. In Germany, a litter may not be registered unless both the dam and the sire have passed the Ztp!
Only Qualified Dogs are Eligible for the BST There are several prerequisites prior to taking the test:
The dog must have passed the BH (Canine Good Citizen equivalent).
The dog must be tattooed and registered
The dog must not have any disqualifying faults according to the standard of a Rottweiler.
The dog must have a passing hip evaluation from The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).
The dog must have a 3-generation certified pedigree
Conformation & Stability: Part 1 of the BST In the first part, the dog is critiqued (judged on physical appearance) by a qualified international judge (usually an ADRK or FCI judge) and compared to the FCI Standard. The critique will be performed in much greater detail as compared a typical show critique. The color of the eyes are graded and the teeth are checked with an emphasis on full dentition and a scissors bite. Then everything on the dog is measured: height from the withers, body length, muzzle, chest depth, chest circumference and the skull. The judge inspects the dog's tattoo or microchip to ensure it matches with the paperwork submitted. The dog is then weighed. The dog is then required to do a short obedience routine such as heeling through a group of people, the group then converges on the dog (it must be stable) and then is heeled down the field. Gunshots are fired. If the dog shows a reaction, it must recover right away.
Character: Part 2 of the BST The second part of the test is similar to the SchH I protection routine. There is an attack out of the blind and a courage test. Many dogs fail the test at this point because they cannot take the threat is more ominous that in a typical SchH I routine. The helper hides in a blind, the dog is heeled towards the blind. The leash is taken off the dog. Upon the judge's signal, the helper comes out of the blind towards the dog when the dog is almost at the blind, at which point the handler releases the dog. The attack surprises the dog. The dog must bite the sleeve fully, is given two stick hits over the withers with a padded stick, the helper drives the dog until directed to stop by the judge. If the dog does not 'out' (release the sleeve) the dog fails. After outing, the dog must stay by the helper and guard him. Upon a signal from the judge, the handler returns to the dog and picks it up. The dog and handler then go into a blind.
The last part is the courage test. The judge directs the helper to come out of the blind at the opposite end of the field (approximately 100 yards) than the dog and handler. The handler is not permitted to encourage or agitate the dog. The helper runs half way across the back of the field and then runs directly at the dog and handler, threatening with the stick. The dog is released. The dog must run at the helper at a full run and bite the sleeve. The handler is not allowed to move from the position from where the dog was released. The dog is given the command to 'out' by the handler who is still at the original position. If the dog does not 'out', the dog fails. Once the dog has outed, the dog must stay with the helper and guard him. The judge signals the handler to return to the dog. The handler returns to the dog and a leash is put on. The test is ended. The handler and dog report to the judge. The dog's performance is then critiqued to the spectators. There is no score given. It is either a pass or fail.
Objectivity and Enforcement is Critical to Breed Maintenance If the dog is not within the FCI standard (i.e. too tall or too short etc.), or has a disqualifying fault, the dog may NEVER be retested and will NEVER be bred.
If the dog fails the second part of the test, it is allowed to attempt the test once more upon the judge's discretion, however, if the judge believes the dog is of faulty character, the dog can be banned from future testing. After failing twice the dog may NEVER be retested.
These penalties may seem harsh, but they enforce the confirmation breed standard better than any subjective judging opinion and most importantly, they assert that ONLY DOGS OF SOLID CHARACTER PASS and are used in breeding.
The German Breeding System Part 2: Schutzhund
Schutzhund (german for protection dog) is a dog sport that was developed in Germany in the early 1900s to test whether German Shepherd Dogs act and perform in the manner that the breed was intended, rather than simply evaluating a dog's appearance. Today, many breeds other than German Shepherds can compete in Schutzhund, but it is a demanding test for any dog and few of them can pass this kind of test.
Schutzhund originated in Germany as a breeding suitability test for the German Shepherd dog and was quickly adopted for use by other working breeds such as the Malinois and Rottweiler. It provided breeders with a method to evaluate temperament, character, trainability, willingness and mental and physical soundness and to select and use only the highest quality dogs for breeding programs. Today, German Shepherd dogs in Germany may not be bred without aquiring Schutzhund titles, a breed survey, a conformation rating, hip (spine and elbow) x-rays and a certificate of endurance.
Schutzhund (German for "protection dog") tests dogs of all breeds for the traits necessary for police-type work. Dogs that pass Schutzhund tests should be suitable for a wide variety of tasks: police work, specific odor detection, search and rescue, and many others. The purpose of Schutzhund is to identify dogs that have or do not have the character traits required for these demanding jobs. Some of those traits are:
* Strong desire to work
* Strong bond to the handler
* Protective Instinct
Schutzhund training tests these traits. It also tests physical traits such as strength, endurance, agility, and scenting ability. The goal of Schutzhund is to illuminate the character of a dog through training. Breeders can use this insight to determine how and whether to use the dog in producing the next generation of working dogs.
There are three schutzhund titles: Schutzhund 1 (SchH1), Schutzhund 2 (SchH2), and Schutzhund 3 (SchH3). SchH1 is the first title and SchH3 is the most advanced. Additionally, before a dog can compete for a SchH1, he must pass a temperament test called a B or BH (Begleithundprüfung, which translates as "traffic-sure companion dog test"). The B tests basic obedience and sureness around strange people, strange dogs, traffic, and loud noises. A dog that exhibits excessive fear, distractibility, or aggression cannot pass the B and so cannot go on to schutzhund.
The Schutzhund test has changed over the years. Modern Schutzhund consists of three phases: tracking, obedience, and protection. A dog must pass all three phases in one trial to be awarded a schutzhund title. Each phase is judged on a 100-point scale. The minimum passing score is 70 for the tracking and obedience phases and 80 for the protection phase. At any time the judge may dismiss a dog for showing poor temperament, including fear or aggression.
The tracking phase The tracking phase tests not only the dogs scenting ability, but also its mental soundness and physical endurance. In the tracking phase, a track layer walks across a field, dropping several small articles along the way. After a period of time, the dog is directed to follow the track while being followed by the handler on a 33 foot leash. When the dog finds each article he indicates it, usually by lying down with the article between his front paws. The dog is scored on how intently and carefully he follows the track and indicates the articles. The length, complexity, number of articles, and age of the track varies for each title.
The obedience phase The obedience phase is done in a large field, with the dogs working in pairs. One dog is placed in a down position on the side of the field and his handler leaves him while the other dog works in the field. Then the dogs switch places. In the field, there are several heeling exercises, including heeling through a group of people. There are two or three gunshots during the heeling to test the dog's reaction to loud noises. There are one or two recalls, three retrieves (flat, jump and A-frame), and a send out where the dog is directed to run away from the handler straight and fast and then lie down on command. Obedience is judged on the dog's accuracy and attitude. The dog must show enthusiasm. A dog that is uninterested or cowering scores poorly.
The protection phase In the protection phase, the judge has an assistant, called the "decoy", who helps him test the dog's courage to protect himself and his handler and his ability to be controlled while doing so. The decoy wears a heavily padded sleeve on one arm. There are several blinds, placed where the decoy can hide, on the field. The dog is directed to search the blinds for the decoy. When he finds the decoy, he indicates this by barking. The dog must guard the decoy to prevent him from moving until recalled by his handler. There follows a series of exercises similar to police work where the handler searches the decoy and transports him to the judge. At specified points, the decoy either attacks the dog or the handler or attempts to escape. The dog must stop the attack or the escape by biting the padded sleeve. When the attack or escape stops, the dog is commanded to "out," or release the sleeve. The dog must out or he is dismissed. At all times the dog must show the courage to engage the decoy and the temperament to obey his handler while in this high state of drive. Again, the dog must show enthusiasm. A dog that shows fear, lack of control, or inappropriate aggression is dismissed.
Schutzhund is a wonderful sport. It is fun for the dog and trainer, it's challenging and it's rewarding. But more than a sport, the schutzhund evaluation is the best way we have of testing a dog's temperament. There's plenty else we can tell about a dog off the trial field too — for instance, aversion to slick surfaces, dog aggression, gunshyness and other temperament and character faults that degrade working ability — but it's the best tool we have to evaluate breeding stock if we're honest with ourselves about what we see.
The true temperament test of Schutzhund isn't (or shouldn't be) about points or how tough or extreme the dog is — it's about how well the dog puts it all together.
The German Breeding System Part 3: Korung (Advanced Breed SuitabilityTest)
The ADRK calls the Korung, Gekort or Gek.b.Eza, The USRC calls the test ABST, it is similar to the ZTP but the working requirements are higher.It's not really necessary for breeding, it's optional. The meaning of Korung is to select the best breeding dogs out of all the dogs with a Ztp (Breed Suitability Test) It is written in the ADRK rules that we should utilize these few selected dogs in our future breeding since they display the strength in character, strong and powerful self confidence. Rottweilers whom have passed the Koerung are a selection of special dogs in their appearance, temperament and working ability.
Dogs to be entered must:
- Be at least 36 months for (males) & 30 months for (females) & not older than 6 years.
- Have passed the ZTP (BST)
- Have acheived 3 show ratings (two of them in adult classes) from 2 different ADRK judges, graded at least V (excellent).
- Have aquired a working title VPG 3 or IPO 3 (males) / VPG 1 or IPO 1 (females)
- Have passed an AD test (Ausdauerpruefung) endurance test.
- Have good enough hip/elbow ratings.
- Eye colour 3A or darker
- Dogs who pass are endorsed (Gekort) for 2yrs.The dog may take the Korung test again.
- If the dog passes the 2nd time + showing progeny of at least 4 offspring *2 different litters, the dog is endorsed Gek Bis EzA (lifetime)
The Konung, or Breeding Qualification tests are the most selective breeding tests for Rotteilers. According to the ADRK breeding regulations, the purpose of the Korung is..."to select the best from among the dogs suitable for breeding to be able to utilize them more intensively in the breeding program. The minimum age requirements for the Korung are thirty months for females and thirty-six months for males. Only the best of the best Rottweilers are permitted to try for the Korung. The dogs must have excelled in conformation by placing at least Very Good (Sehr Gut/SG) at three conformation shows under at least two different judges. The dogs must have achieved working titles - shutzhung titles or IPO titles. Males must have a schutzhund III and females must have at least a Schutzhund I title. The dogs myst have received their Breed Suitability Test with hip ratings in the highest categories. The dogs must have passed a twelve mile endurance test called an AD (Ausdaurprufung). Another important requirement is that the dogs must have very dark mouth pigmentation and eye color.
The Korung is offered in the Spring and Fall each year. The actual test is very similar to the Breed Suitability Test but more intensified. Generally, less than half of the dogs trying for the Korung actually pass it. Dogs which pass the Korung are awarded the title for two years, abbreviated Angekort. During this two-year period the dog’s offspring are examined and if the offspring are good then the parent may try to obtain the highest breeding rating - Breeding Qualified until the end of Breeding Utilization Age, abbreviated Gekort bis EzA. For males a minimum of three good litters are required and for females one good litter is required.
The breeding value of a Rottweiler is derived from its ancestors and reflected in the quality of its offspring. Rottweilers of value for breeding carry pedigrees that indicate the accomplishments of their ancestors.
The German Breeding System Part 4: Dogbase Software
by Anton Spindler
Dogbase was developed during my term as a member of the ADRK Board, and as an organizer, mainframe systems/applications programmer, and a breed specialist I brought my fair share into the completion of this project for the ADRK and our Rottweiler breed.
DOGBASE includes all of the ADRK-Rottweilers along with their standard breeding values.
We have 6 values, figures above 100 show an increase in the value, figures below 100 show a decrease.
1 = HD
2 = ED
3 = undershot
4 = skull size
5 = cheek bones
6 = bone strength
As an example: If a dog shows for its Value 1 (HD) the number 115, statistically there is a greater chance of hip dysplasia in offspring of that dog. If a dog has in Value 3 (skull size) also 115, this means that he has a high probability of being dominant for larger skull sizes.
Very Important! As with any statistical evaluation, the results are only as good as the data used. These values must be interpreted with that in mind. If a dog has only been used once at stud, there will still be a value available, the value of relatives contributes to the value of individual dogs, so even a dog who has not yet been used at stud will show projected values. But if a dog had been used at stud 100 times, the numbers will be much more accurate. However, breeding will never be an exact science. Don't forget, there are lots of very good old breeders, who had great success with a good understanding of, and instinct about Rotts and some good common sense. DOGBASE is very helpful and I'm glad that we haveit, but it's not everything. Conversely, these days I personally couldn't imagine breeding without the additional input of DOGBASE.
More.....from Dr. M. Herrmann (ADRK)
DOGBASE is both a database and a browser for all ADRK-Rottweilers born since the registration data was transferred to electronic processing in the mid 1980's. In addition the ancestors of these dogs, at least four generations back, are stored as well. All important information such as ancestors, name, stud book number, date of birth, breeder, hip and elbow score, stud tests (ZTP, Koerung), performance tests (SchH, IPO, AD, BH) and show titles are recorded. Dogs are indexed according to name or stud book number, and can be found easily. There are several ways to sort and extract data using keys such as time period, hip score, performance etc.
In order to improve breeding information there are six traits which are used for breeding value evaluation. Breeding values are given for informational purposes only, but you may be closer to the genetic truth. The breeding values given are no guarantee of the quality of future offspring, but may provide a better base from which to make breeding selections. To get an idea of inbreeding the index of inbreeding can be calculated for every dog. All ADRK-Kennels together with their breeding history are stored and can be found according to breeders' name, kennel's name or kennel's number.
The ADRK uses a computer database program called 'Dogbase'. Since July 1, 1999, ADRK breeders are required to use Dogbase as a tool for selecting the most suitable breeding partners. Dogbase is updated quarterly and is available on CD.
This database provides a numerical score in 5 categories: HD, ED, Head, Cheekbone, Bone strength . For every trait, "100" is neutral (average). A number higher than 100 means that a dog is more likely to exhibit that trait, a number lower than 100 decreases the likelihood of that trait. The first two categories (HD, ED) are the most important, they must not exceed 110 (if they are higher then the scheduled breeding is not allowed). The last three categories are "recommended". Optimally, for the first 2 categories the lower the number, the better. This means the dog is less likely to throw these traits. An example of a "good" HD number is around 95, a great one is around 85-90. It is not hard to find hips under 100, but good elbows (since they have only recently been examined) are more difficult to find. As a result, "100" is almost a good number for elbows, less than 100 is great and less than 90 is outstanding.
The numbers are dynamic, as the dog get its HD/ED ratings, its numbers will change and affect its parent's numbers (and further back), as well as its siblings. The numbers on a prospective (or already born) litter are simply the average of both parents until the offspring themselves get HD/ED ratings, Ztp / Koerung reports and show critiques.
Dogbase is a very interesting tool. It is no substitute for good research, but it is a huge step in the right direction. German bloodline dogs are superior because, in Germany, they take dog breeding seriously.
Bones Muscle Power
By Steve Wolfson If one were to take a survey asking, “Why did you purchase a Rottweiler ”, “Why this breed over others”, it would certainly elicit intriguing answers. I cannot say for sure what the attraction others had to the Rottweiler when first encountered, however for me, it was his raw masculine appeal, his unique head and the impressive musculature and power he exuded. From his appearance, one could easily understand that this was a serious dog! Not alone in this view, many other Rottweiler aficionados have recognized this hallmark of the breed and expressed a similar perspective as well. After all, is not the “look” of a dog that makes the first and lasting impression? Surely, his breed type is what makes the Rottweiler unique.
The Germans understood the Rottweilers distinction when they came together to codify the standard at Heidelburg, Germany in 1907. They were deliberate when articulating and fixing the appearance of the German Rottweiler, which is why the standard uses detailed language in its description of this essential aspect of breed type. The standard was modified since 1907, but the general appearance of the Rottweiler has not. Reading the current standard, one finds the word “powerful” written 6 times, “bone” mentioned 3 times and “muscle” mentioned 5 times. No other words have such repetition when describing the details.
Excerpts from the standard:
“The ideal Rottweiler is a medium large, robust and powerful dog - Dogs are characteristically more massive throughout with larger frame and heavier bone than bitches - His bone and muscle mass must be sufficient to balance his frame, giving a compact and very powerful appearance - Neck- Powerful, well muscled - Loin is short, deep and well muscled - Legs are strongly developed with straight, heavy bone - Upper thigh is fairly long, very broad and well muscled - Lower thigh is long, broad and powerful, with extensive muscling - His movement should be balanced, harmonious, sure, powerful and unhindered, with strong forereach and a powerful rear drive ”
Despite his distinctive breed type and the words used in the blueprint to describe it, a negative, subtle change has occurred over the years, which ultimately is disastrous to his appearance.
Currently in the US, which is observable both in the show-ring and out, is a great loss in the
general power of the breed’s masculine design. Now, a rarity and an oddity, the once major factor in the
breed’s appeal, its power and substance, were put on the “back burner” in many breeding programs. One must look carefully to find this trait; the breed has lost its distinction.
On the street, we encounter Rottweilers that are a poor representation of once was. They possess “pin heads”, narrow, snipey, muzzles, and spindly bones, no muscle mass and shallow frames. To the knowledgeable, these Rottweilers appear to be a mix breeding, although they are not. To the unknowledgeable, they appear to be correct!
In the show-ring, this problem has crossed the boundaries. One should expect poor examples of the breed on the street since they are comprised of non-show dogs. However, the show ring should be the exception. Presently, many exhibits share the same problem of their street cousins and are only a notch or two above. Many exhibits that enter the show-ring are constructed well but are also as weak in substance, spindly in bones and musculature as their pet counterparts are. Now, when a dog or bitch that is in the ring with correct breed type, exuding power and substance, it appears as the “odd man out”. A strong masculine dog or powerful bitch seems strange among exhibits with spindly frail bodies and Doberman-like heads. To the newbie's and unknowledgeable judges, it is untypical and put at the end of the line.
Often, I have heard that a female, which possesses strong bones, muscle and a powerful head, is now deemed “too strong” and considered a “doggy bitch”. What was once correct and typical is now abnormal. The dogs, which should embody power and masculinity, are now so weak in type they can be considered “beautiful females”!
WHAT ARE CORRECT BONES AND MUSCLES?
The standard does not give a numerical value for the appropriate bone mass or muscle, only a verbal guide. Therefore, to state a formula, “Dog x must have y amount of bone and muscle to be correct is not possible.” To understand what is appropriate for the correct amount for these attributes, one must refer to the blueprint. From the standard: “His bone and muscle mass must be sufficient to balance his frame, giving a compact and very powerful appearance.” A reasonable guide when assessing an exhibit, one should ask, “Does this exhibit exemplify a powerful appearance”? - “Is the bone and muscle mass substantial, so that its appearance exudes power”? One should be impressed with the overall appearance for power, muscle and bones.
A. BONE MASS
Bones mass should be thick enough in width so that it appears to support the frame of the dog in a substantial and powerful manner, without being refined, elegant, too massive or grotesque.
The place to visually assess the bone mass on a Rottweiler, correct or incorrect, is the thickness in the radius/ulna and humerus. When making an evaluation, the dog is presented “head on” so that the full width of the chest (from East to West) can be seen. If a numerical evaluation for the thickness of the bones is desired, it is measured by using a tape measure and wrapping it around the circumference of the pastern. Here is where the least amount of skin, muscle and tendon can be found.
Correct bone mass is correlated to the height. The taller the dog, the more bone mass it should possess, compared to dogs of lesser height. Additionally, bone mass should always be proportionate and balanced to the frame of the dog. “Out of balance” is not correct. Good examples of this are the extremes. They are exhibited when a tall dog possess long, fine bones of the radius/ulna and humerus, giving the appearance of spindles, or when a short dog possesses too strong bone mass appearing like “tree trunks”. These dogs are “out of balance”. The Rottweiler is not a St. Bernard or a Dobermann.
B. MUSCLE MASS
The general muscle mass should be substantial, well defined and in proportion to the frame of the dog so that it exudes strength, masculinity and athleticism. The muscles should be apparent, yet not overpowering, like the Bull and Pit Bull Terriers’. The muscle groups that comprise this “appearance” are the muscles of the front and rear assembly.
In the front assembly, the muscles of the shoulders, the upper arm and forearm should be well developed and obvious. These muscle groups are the Deltoids, Biceps, Triceps and the Extensor muscles of the radius/ulna. In the rear assembly, the muscles of the Gluteus and Biceps Femoris should be well developed and defined. Viewing the rear muscles from the back, the depth and width of the Biceps Femoris and Gluteus should be full, supporting the Femur (see Fig.2). Here is where all forward locomotion begins.
C. THE CORRELATION OF MUSCLE AND BONE
With human body-building, the muscles can be developed, shaped and improved, with discipline, hard work, good nutrition and much sweat. However, improvement has limits, since body-building is dependent upon the size, mass of the muscle groups and bone substance. In essence, “you are what you
inherited”. The thin framed, fine boned man or woman will always work harder and strain longer to build bulk and definition in the muscle tissue. With this body type, a major factor is bone mass! Strong bone mass is supported by thick muscles. The same principles hold true for the Rottweiler.
Dogs and bitches that are fine boned possess muscles, which are light in their mass and often show little or no definition. This type, will always work very hard to make strides improving and developing what it inherited from the pedigree. Conversely, there are those dogs/bitches, which impress us with their natural well-developed musculature and powerful bone mass. Their musculature is correlated
to their robust bone mass.
BREED TYPE IS A STEPCHILD
Why is the great majority of Rottweilers here in the states, (especially in the show ring), not uniformly masculine in type with powerful muscle and bones, which is specified in the standard? Why have they become slight in bone, shallow in substance, and soft in appearance? The answer is breed type has become a stepchild.
In the US, the accent is on the best possible construction demonstrated by superior gait. Those dogs, which display this attribute, are the ones that win in the show-ring. Placing the accent on this attribute is both good and problematic. It is good since all concerned breeders have this as one of their goals in mind when planning their next litter. Sound construction, in accordance with the breed standard is essential. All exhibitors want to win in the show-ring; therefore, many breeders make superior gait their only goal. With this as their prime directive, many breeders have made a detrimental detour; they traded breed type for locomotion. This is problematic.
Often, at ringside, one can hear spectators and breeders alike say, “Oh that dog moved beautifully with great reach and drive”, “It was well put together.” Yes, that could be said however, the dog looked more like a Doberman than a Rottweiler. Excellent construction with outstanding gait is not breed type. These two attributes are separate entities in a breeding program and are not mutually interchangeable or should be misconstrued for breed type.
Over the years, the masculinity of the Rottweiler, here in the states, has slowly eroded. Its masculine power and substance, clearly specified in the standard, has been oozing away. Spindly, fine bones with narrow long muzzles and smooth body lines have replaced broad top skulls, wide, short muzzles and powerful bones and muscles. Working character has also eroded and replaced with many Rottweilers that are shy and lack confidence in their temperament. This is a negative and detrimental trend. Once set in motion, it is extremely difficult to reverse. One only has to see our European and International counterparts by comparison to understand the differences in breed type and working temperament. In the international community, the accent is placed on breed type and working temperament.
Some would argue there is nothing to improve. All is well within the Rottweiler and breed type is where it should be. That is a myopic view. It is valuable and healthy for all concerned to step “out of the trenches” and obtain an international perspective by making comparisons with our domestic breeding program and our international counterparts. Exchanging ideas and methods to improve genetics and techniques will benefit all. Additionally, it is extremely important to promote and make available more breed seminars in all Rottweiler clubs. There, is where real progress is achievable in an open dialog exchanging opinions and ideas. The benefactor of this is the Rottweiler.
Fiftieth Anniversary of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub, Powerhorn Press, 1978
American Rottweiler Club Standard, May 1990
Dog Anatomy-Illustrated, Way Robert VMD, MS Dreenan Press 1974
Rottweiler Breed Standard
USRC Breed Standard
F.C.I.-Standard Nr. 147 / 19.06.2000 / D Rottweiler
Translator: Mrs. Chris Seidler
Brief historical summary
Behavior / Temperament
Size and weight
Utilization: Companion, service and working dog
Group 2 (Pinscher and Schnauzer type, Molossian type and Swiss Mountain- and Cattle Dogs and other breeds)
Section 2.1 Molossian type, Mastiff type with working trial
Brief historical summary:
The Rottweiler is considered to be one of the oldest dog breeds. Its origin goes back to Roman times. These dogs were kept as herder or driving dogs. They marched over the Alps with the Roman legions, protecting the humans and driving their cattle. In the region of Rottweil, these dogs met and mixed with the native dogs in a natural crossing. The main task of the Rottweiler now became the driving and guarding of the herds of cattle and the defense of their masters and their property. This breed acquired its name from the old free city of Rottweil and was known as the "Rottweil butcher's dog".
The butchers bred this type of dog purely for performance and usefulness. In due course, a first rate watch and driving dog evolved which could also be used as a draught dog. When, at the beginning of the twentieth century, various breeds were needed for police service, the Rottweiler was amongst those tested. It soon became evident that the breed was highly suitable for the tasks set by police service and therefore they were officially recognized as police dogs in 1910.
Rottweiler breeders aim at a dog of abundant strength, black coated with clearly defined rich tan markings, whose powerful appearance does not lack nobility and which is exceptionally well suited to being a companion, service and working dog.
The Rottweiler is a medium to large size, stalwart dog, neither heavy nor light and neither leggy nor weedy. His correctly proportioned, compact and powerful build leads to the conclusion of great strength, agility and endurance.
The length of the body, measured from the sternum (breast-bone) to the ischiatic tuberosity, should not exceed the height at the withers by, at most, 15 %.
Behavior / Temperament:
Good natured, placid in basic disposition and fond of children, very devoted, obedient, biddable and eager to work. His appearance is natural and rustic, his behavior self assured, steady and fearless. He reacts to his surroundings with great alertness.
Skull: Of medium length, broad between the ears. Forehead line moderately arched as seen from the side. Occipital bone well developed without being conspicuous
Stop: Well defined
Nose: Nose well developed, more broad than round with relatively large nostrils, always black
Muzzle: The foreface should appear neither elongated nor shortened in relation to the cranial region. Straight nasal bridge, broad at base, moderately tapered. Lips: Black, close fitting, corner of the mouth not visible, gum as dark as possible.
Jaws / Teeth: Upper and lower jaw strong and broad. Strong complete dentition (42 teeth) with scissor bite, the upper incisors closely overlapping the lower incisors.
Cheeks: Zygomatic arches pronounced.
Eyes: Of medium size, almond shaped, dark brown in color. Eyelids close fitting.
Ears: Medium-sized, pendant, triangular, wide apart, set on high. With the ears laid forward close to the head the skull appears to be broadened.
Neck: Strong, of fair length, well muscled, slightly arched, free from throatiness, without dewlap.
Back: Straight, strong, firm.
Loins: Short, strong and deep.
Croup: Broad, of medium length, slightly rounded. Neither flat nor falling away.
Chest: Roomy, broad and deep (approximately 50 % of the shoulder height) with well developed forechest and well sprung ribs.
Belly: Flanks not tucked up.
Tail: In natural condition, level in extension of the upper line; at ease may be hanging. USRC Adopted Exception: Docked at the first or second joint within 7 days of birth or left in its natural state.
Forequarters: Seen from the front, the front legs are straight and not placed too closely to each other. The forearm, seen from the side, stands straight. The slope of the shoulder blade is about 45 degrees to the horizontal.
Shoulders: Well laid back.
Upper arm: Close fitting to the body.
Forearm: Strongly developed and muscular.
Pasterns: Slightly springy, strong, not steep.
Front feet: Round, tight and well arched; pads hard; nails short, black and strong.
Hindquarters: Seen from behind, legs straight and not too close together. When standing free, obtuse angles are formed between the dog's upper thigh and the hip bone, the upper thigh and the lower thigh and the metatarsal.
Upper thigh: Moderately long, broad and strongly muscled.
Lower thigh: Lower thigh: Long, strongly and broadly muscled at top, sinewy.
Hocks: Sturdy well angulated hocks; not steep.
Hind feet: Slightly longer than the front feet. Toes strong, arched, as tight as front feet.
Gait: The Rottweiler is a trotting dog. In movement the back remains firm and relatively stable. Movement harmonious, steady, full of energy and unrestricted, with good stride.
Skin on the head: Overall tight fitting. When the dog is alert, the forehead may be slightly wrinkled.
Hair: The coat consists of a top coat and an undercoat. The top coat is of medium length, coarse, dense and flat. The undercoat must not show through the top coat. The hair is a little longer on the hindlegs.
Color: Black with clearly defined markings of a rich tan on the cheeks, muzzle, throat, chest and legs, as well as over both eyes and under the base of the tail.
Size and weight Males Females
Height at withers: 61 - 68 cm 56 - 63 cm
61 - 62 cm is small 56 - 57 cm is small
63 - 64 cm is medium height 58 - 59 cm is medium height
65 - 66 cm is large - correct height 60 - 61 cm is large - correct height
67 - 68 cm is very large 62 - 63 cm is very large
Weight: approximately 50 kg approximately 42 kg
Faults Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.
General appearance: Light, weedy, leggy appearance. Light in bone and muscle.
Head: Hound-type head. Narrow, light, too short, long or coarse head. Flat forehead (lack of stop or too little stop).
Foreface: Long or pointed muzzle; split nose; Roman nose (convex nasal bridge) or dish-faced (concave nasal bridge); aquiline nose; pale or spotted nose (butterfly nose).
Lips: Pendulous, pink or patchy; corner of lips visible.
Jaws: Narrow lower jaw.
Bite: Pincer bite. (level bite)
Cheeks: Strongly protruding.
Eyes: Light, deep set. Also too full and round eyes; loose eye-lids.
Ears: Set on too low, heavy, long, slack or turned backwards. Also flying ears or ears not carried symmetrically.
Neck: Too long, thin, lacking muscle. Showing dewlap or throaty.
Body: Too long, too short or too narrow.
Back: Too long, weak; sway-back or roach back.
Croup: Too sloping, too short, too flat or too long.
Chest: Flat ribbed or barrel shaped. Too narrow behind.
Tail: Set on too high or too low.
Forequarters: Narrow or crooked front legs. Steep shoulder placement. Loose or out at elbow. Too long, too short or too straight in upper arm. Weak or steep pastern. Splayed feet. Too flat or too arched toes. Deformed toes. Light colored nails.
Hindquarters: Flat thighs, hocks too close, cow hocks or barrel hocks. Joints with too little or too much angulation. Dewclaws.
Skin: Wrinkles on head.
Coat: Soft, too short or too long. Wavy coat; lack of undercoat.
Color: Markings of incorrect color, not clearly defined. Markings which are too spread out.
General: Distinct reversal of sexual type, i.e. feminine dogs or masculine bitches.
Teeth: Overshot or undershot bite, wry mouth; lack of one incisive tooth, one canine, one premolar and one molar.
Eyes: Entropion, ectropion, yellow eyes, different coloured eyes.
Tail: Kink tail, ring tail, with strong lateral deviation
Hair: Definitely long or wavy coat.
Color: Dogs which do not show the typical Rottweiler coloring of black with tan markings. White markings.
All AHBA titles are recognized. For a list of titles, please visit http://www.ahba-herding.org
Herding Capability Test
Junior Herding Dog
HTD 1, 2, 3
Herding trial Dog (three levels)
All ARC titles are recognized. For a list of titles, please visit http://www.amrottclub.org
Canine Good Citizen - Awarded by AKC
Herding Instinct Certificate
Herding Instinct Tested (sheep, goats or ducks)
Registered Therapy Dog
Therapy Dog International
HD- or +/-
ADRK Hip Rating
Recognized only in conjunction with an ADRK Breed Survey
A or B and HD- or HD+/-
FCI Recognized Country Kennel Clubs Hip Ratings
GDC Elbow Certification Number
GDC Hip Certification Number
OFA Eye Certification Number (CERF)
OFA Hip Certification Number
OFA Cardiac Certification Number
OFA Elbow Certification Number
OFA Patellar Certification Number
OFA Thyroid Certification Number
WHY CRATE TRAIN?
Crate training is an excellent way to housebreak your puppy and control it's sometimes destructive puppy behavior, like chewing on your furniture! Crate training assists in housebreaking by using a dog's natural instinct to not soil it's den. Some people may think crate training is "cruel", when in fact, crate trained dogs enjoy their crate as a safe, quiet place to retreat when they are tired or want to be left alone. Further, crate training assists you in training your puppy to avoid undesirable behaviors when your puppy can't be watched and ensures that your puppy gets the rest it needs.
Probably the most compelling reason for crate training your puppy is in the event your rottweiler requires care from a veterinarian. Having your dog at ease with being restrained to a crate may someday make the difference in your dog's well being, or even its survival.
WHAT SIZE AND STYLE OF CRATE SHOULD I BUY?
Select a crate that is large enough for the puppy or dog to turn around in and comfortably lie down. A crate that is too large will allow a young puppy to eliminate in a corner, while remaining comfortable lying elsewhere. With most wire crates and some plastic crates, you can purchase divider panels which can be adjusted or removed as the puppy grows. A puppy may require more than one crate to accommodate it while it grows.
For puppies under one year of age, it is much safer for your pup to be crated in a plastic airline style kennel (i.e. Vari-Kennel) or aluminum dog box. With this type of crate, your pup is less likely to injure itself by getting a paw, leg or jaw stuck. For older dogs, wire crates provide better air circulation and are roomier. Fold-down, suitcase-style wire cages (i.e. Midwest, Precision) are also portable and easy to set up and take down. These types of cages generally work best for dogs that are already crate trained. Soft crates are made out of denier nylon, nylong mesh and aluminum, and are lightweight and portable for travel. They are not; however, recommended until your dog is thoroughly crate trained, and should be used only when you are in close proximity to your dog as they can be easily broken out of or chewed through.
For most full-grown adult rottweilers, an extra-large crate will accommodate most males, and a large or extra-large crate will accommodate most females.
WHAT IS SAFE TO PUT IN A CRATE?
Don't be tempted to buy blankets, pads or beds for inside the crate if you have a young puppy. Not only will they usually become expensive chew toys and present a choking hazard, but they interfere with effectively housebreaking your pup. Puppies do not want to lay in their urine, and using absorbent material in a puppy's cage allows your pup to eliminate, while staying dry and comfortable.
Nothing should be placed in the crate with a puppy or dog except a safe chew toy, such as a nylabone or kong. Stuffed kong toys provide enjoyment for your dog while contained to a crate and prevent boredom.
Water and food can be placed in your puppy's crate when you are close by to supervise. Keep in mind that young puppies need to eliminate immediately after eating and drinking, as a puppy can only "hold it" for very short periods of time. A good rule of thumb is that a puppy will need to eliminate every x number of hours, with x being the age of the puppy in months, plus 1. (i.e. a 2 month old puppy will need to eliminate every 3 hours, a 7 month old puppy will need to go at least every 8 hours).
NEVER EVER leave your puppy or dog in a crate with it's collar on! If your dog catches it's collar on the crate, it can seriously injure or choke your dog!
HOW TO CRATE TRAIN YOUR PUPPY
The goal in crate training your puppy is to make it's crate a safe and enjoyable place. A crate should never be used for discipline or bad behavior.
1. Feed your puppy in it's crate with the door open. Initially, don't disturb or distract your pup while it is eating and learning to experience being in the crate.
2. After the puppy has eaten confidently with the door open for a few meals, quietly close the door while it eats.
3. Once you are sure the pup is confident eating in it's crate, place the pup in it at non-feeding times for a few minutes with a safe chew toy, gradually increasing the time left in the crate. Never let your puppy out when it is crying or barking. Only let it out when it has been quiet for at least one minute. This is critical so it will not associate acting "bad" with being rewarded by being let out of it's crate! You may use pieces of dry food or treats as a reward for being in the crate and being quiet.
4. Time in the crate should be gradually increased, keeping in mind that young pups can only "hold-it" for a few hours. A good rule of thumb is one hour for each month of age, plus one, when given the chance to eliminate just before going in the crate.
5. Crate your puppy any time you can't watch it closely. Puppies can get into trouble very quickly when not keenly supervised, and using a crate for this purpose will assist you in teaching your puppy what behavior is acceptable and what is not. It will also keep your puppy safe from household dangers that could possibly injure or endanger it's life.
Again, never discipline your puppy by placing it in it's crate or your pup will associate it's crate with punishment. You want the crate to be a happy, safe and peaceful place for your puppy.
It bears repeating, NEVER EVER leave your puppy or dog unattended in any crate with a collar on! If your dog catches it's collar on the crate, it can seriously injure or choke your dog!
Inbreeding and Linebreeding
What are inbreeding and linebreeding, and what effect do they have?
In genetic terminology, inbreeding is the breeding of two animals who are related to each other. In its opposite, outcrossing, the two parents are totally unrelated. Since all pure breeds of animal trace back to a relatively limited number of foundation dogs, all pure breeding is by this definition inbreeding, although the term is not generally used to refer to matings where a common ancestor does not occur behind sire and dam in a four or five generation pedigree.
Breeders of purebred livestock have introduced a term, linebreeding, to cover the milder forms of inbreeding. Exactly what the difference is between linebreeding and inbreeding tends to be defined differently for each species and often for each breed within the species. On this definition, inbreeding at its most restrictive applies to what would be considered unquestioned incest in human beings - parent to offspring or a mating between full siblings. Uncle-niece, aunt-nephew, half sibling matings, and first cousin matings are called inbreeding by some people and linebreeding by others.
What does inbreeding (in the genetic sense) do? Basically, it increase the probability that the two copies of any given gene will be identical and derived from the same ancestor. Technically, the animal is homozygous for that gene. The heterozygous animal has some differences in the two copies of the gene Remember that each animal (or plant, for that matter) has two copies of any given gene (two alleles at each locus, if you want to get technical), one derived from the father and one from the mother. If the father and mother are related, there is a chance that the two genes in the offspring are both identical copies contributed by the common ancestor. This is neither good nor bad in itself. Consider, for instance, the gene for PRA (progressive retinal atrophy), which causes progressive blindness. Carriers have normal vision, but if one is mated to another carrier, one in four of the puppies will have PRA and go blind. Inbreeding will increase both the number of affected dogs (bad) and the number of genetically normal dogs (good) at the expense of carriers. Inbreeding can thus bring these undesirable recessive genes to the surface, where they can be removed from the breeding pool.
Unfortunately, we cannot breed animals based on a single gene - the genes come as a package. We may inbreed and rigorously remove pups with PRA or even their parents and littermates from the breeding pool. But remember inbreeding tends to make all genes more homozygous. In at least one breed, an effort to remove the PRA-causing gene resulted in the surfacing of a completely different and previously unsuspected health problem. It is easier and faster to lose genes (sometimes very desirable genes) from the breeding pool when inbreeding is practiced than when a more open breeding system is used. In other words, inbreeding will tend to produce more nearly homozygous animals, but generally some of the homozygous pairs will be "good" and others will be "bad".
Furthermore, there may be genes where heterozygosity is an advantage. There are several variant hemoglobin types in human beings, for instance, where one homozygote suffers from some type of illness, the other homozygote is vulnerable to malaria, and the heterozygote is generally malaria-resistant with little or no negative health impacts from a single copy of the non-standard hemoglobin gene. A more widespread case is the so-called major histocompatibility complex (MHC), a group of genes where heterozygosity seems to improve disease resistance.
Is there a way of measuring inbreeding? Wright developed what is called the inbreeding coefficient. This is related to the probability that both copies of any given gene are derived from the same ancestor. A cold outcross (in dogs, probably a first-generation cross between two purebreds of different, unrelated breeds would be the best approximation) would have an inbreeding coefficient of 0. Note that this dog would not be heterozygous at every locus. There are genes shared with every multicellular organism, genes shared with all animals, genes shared with all animals with backbones, genes shared with all four-limbed animals (including most fish and all amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) and with all mammals. Although the DNA might differ slightly, the proteins produced would be functionally the same. Further, the chances are that our dogs with inbreeding coefficient = 0 would still be homozygous for some genes shared by all dogs. The inbreeding coefficient thus specifically refers to those genes that are variable (more than one possible form) in the species and even the breed being considered.
An inbreeding coefficient of 1 (rare in mammals) would result if the only matings practiced over many generations were between full brother and full sister.
The figure shows how the inbreeding coefficient chages with generations of brother-sister matings. As a general rule, this type of mating in domestic animals cannot be kept up beyond 8-10 generations, as by that time the rate of breeding success is very low. However, the rare survivors may go on to found genetically uniform populations.
This has been done in laboratory rodents, producing inbred strains of mice and rats so similar genetically that they easily tolerate skin or organ grafts from other animals from the same inbred strain. However, the process of inbreeding used to create these strains generally results in loss of fertility (first seen in these mammals as a reduction in litter size) which actually kills off the majority of the strains between 8 and 12 generations of this extent of inbreeding. A handful of the initial strains survive this bottleneck, and these are the inbred laboratory strains. However, very little selection other than for viability and fertility is possible during this process. You wind up with animals homozygous for a more or less random selection of whatever genes happened to be in the strains that survived, all of which derive from the parents of the initial pair.
Note that two very inbred parents can produce offspring that have very low inbreeding coefficients if the inbred parents do not have ancestors in common. This, however, assumes that mates are available who are not strongly inbred on a common ancestor. If the parents are related to each other, their own inbreeding coefficients will indeed increase the inbreeding coefficients of their offspring. The critical factor is the coefficient of kinship, which is the inbreeding coefficient of a hypothetical offspring of the two individuals.
Inbreeding has become an important consideration for wildlife conservationists. Many wild populations are in danger of extinction due to some combination of habitat destruction and hunting of the animals, either to protect humans or because the animal parts are considered valuable. (Examples are ivory, rhinorcerus horn, and infant apes for the pet trade, as well as meat hunting.) For some of these animals the only real hope of survival is captive breeding programs. But the number of animals available in such captive breeding programs, especially at a single zoo, is often limited. Biologists are concerned that the resulting inbred populations would not have all of the genes found in the wild populations, and thus lose some flexibility in responding to change. In reaction to this threat they have developed networks such that animals can be exchanged among captive breeding poplulations in such a way as to minimize the overall inbreeding of the captive population. The idea is to select pairs in such a way that the inbreeding coefficient of the offspring is kept as low as possible.
Most elementary genetics books have instructions for calculating the inbreeding coefficient from the pedigree. (For more information, see Dr. Armstrong's site, Significant Relationships.) However, these procedures have two major limitations. First, they are not really designed for cases where there are multiple common ancestors, though they can be used separately for each common ancestor and the results added. Second, they become impossibly complex as the length of the pedigree increases. It is by no means uncommon in dogs, for instance, to have pedigrees which can be researched in the AKC stud book and the KC Gazette and which go back to foundation dogs born around the turn of the century - perhaps 30 or even 40 generations earlier. With this type of long pedigree, foundation animals may appear a million times or more in the pedigree.
With this in mind, a computer program called GENES was developed by Dr. Robert Lacy for the calculation of the inbreeding coefficient, kinship coefficients among animals in the breeding pool, percent contributions of varying founding ancestors, and related output, assuming full pedigrees to the foundation stock were available for all animals currently in the breeding population. For captive breeding populations, the less inbreeding the better, and this is the way the program is used.
In purebred livestock the situtation is a little different - we want homozygosity for those genes which create a desirable similarity to the breed standard. Wright's defense of inbreeding was based on this fact. However, inbreeding tends to remove those heterozygotes which are beneficial (e.g., the MHC) as well as increasing undesirable as well as desirable homozygotes. The practice is most dangerous in the potential increase of homozygous health problems which are not obvious on inspection, but which shorten the life span or decrease the quality of life for the animal.
I do not at the present time have other dog breeds for comparison, but I recently submitted a Shetland Sheepdog pedigree database to Dr. Armstrong for calculation of true inbreeding coefficients. This database was based on full pedigrees of all AKC Shetland Sheepdogs that had sired 10 or more breed champions (males) or produced 5 or more (females.) These top producing animals were set up as the current living population (a somewhat artifial assumption, as the dogs involved where whelped from 1930 to after 1990.) I would love to see some comparisons with other breeds.
The Rottweiler Pyramid
by Steve Wolfson Correct breed type is disappearing!
The powerful bone substance and definitive masculinity of the Rottweiler we once apprized is now hard to find. Replacing these traits are pinheads, fine bones, distilled facsimiles. Not only is breed type on the decline, so is correct working Rottweiler temperament. In its place we now have, shy, soft, little to no “willingness to work” temperaments. Few Rottweilers in the show-ring and outside it could make the transition from that to the working arena. At the conformation/working spectrum, with rare exception, what we encounter are the extremes; they are beautiful show specimens either with no working temperament or on the working side, great working temperaments with poor structure and marginal breed type. How did this happen?
When enthusiasts decide to purchase a new puppy or a breeder selects breeding partners for their future litters, they draw conclusions and evaluate their choice from a narrow perspective using only a specific aspect of the breed as their criteria. For example, some breeders only seek to use the construction of the Rottweiler as their mark of excellence. They demand only the best angulated, the most correct fronts and rears as their guide for breeding partners omitting other important aspects that comprise the whole picture. Some only use health certifications as their guide. They will only breed or keep dogs that have attained all the necessary certifications such as OFA, heart and CERF clearances, dismissing from the formula, breed type, construction and gait. From a long-term breed viewpoint, this single-aspect criterion is myopic and disastrous. Is there a guide to facilitate a comprehensive approach to the breed without sacrificing one aspect for another?
The answer is yes.
Euclid, the Greek mathematician, stated in his axiom, “the whole is equal to the sum of its parts.” Despite this being of mathematical relevancy, we can apply this statement to help guide us in a more complete understanding and evaluation of the Rottweiler. By using a “Rottweiler Pyramid”, where each element of the Rottweiler is prioritized in a hierarchal order of importance, Breed Type, Temperament, Construction, Locomotion, one can view each part on its own merits. Once a thorough understanding of these related elements is achieved, a complete and balanced picture results. It should be the goal of every breeder to incorporate all of these aspects into a breeding program.
(Note: For this essay, I have distilled the topics down to their basic, large block ideas. I also have omitted health clearances from the pyramid, since they are a prerequisite for breeding, showing and training. It would be foolish to pursue a show/sport career with a dog that possessed dysplasia or other serious health issues further than as a personal companion)
1. Breed Type
Number one in the pyramid is Breed Type. The description of it comprises 85% of the standard, its major and defining aspect. Its correct understanding is the foundation of any breeding program, evaluation for judgments in the conformation ring and the first rung on the ladder for the complete understanding of the Rottweiler.
In this area, some prefer to take shortcuts by reinterpreting the standard and taking liberties with its translation, instead of traveling the more difficult path by reading and completely understanding its blueprint. Without a thorough and broad perspective about breed type (or any other segment of the standard), one can only build a house of understanding that is incomplete. This argument, that many do not understand or know what “correct” breed type is, can easily be proofed with the fine boned, narrow muzzles, pinhead, absence of masculinity exhibits we now encounter in the show ring and obviously on the street. An excellent and easy test for “knowledge of breed type” is asking the simple question, “What is Breed Type?” Many have great difficulty with the answer. When asked this question exhibitors and owners have articulated breed type as “excellent gait”. Some say it is “correct temperament”.
Yet others define it as “performance on the working field”. None are correct. Breed Type should be defined as “the essence of characteristics that distinguishes it from others."(1) In simpler terms, it is the appearance of the breed, which separates it from others. Is that not what first attracts us to the Rottweiler?
In the show ring, where we should see only the best examples of type, save for a small percentage that is not, we see the lack of correct breed type abundantly demonstrated. Currently here in the states, many exhibits do not possess the minimum essentials in head and body type. In fact, many heads and bodies are at best, only sufficiently correct and do not possess the implied masculinity of the breed. The most defining aspect of correct breed type, the Rottweiler head, the breed’s icon, should have great prominence. The standard devotes detail to its description with its “Broad between the ears, broad muzzle at the base, moderate arch of the topskull, pronounced stop, zygomatic arch and specified 3 to 2 skull to muzzle ratio.” In essence, the head is powerful, substantial and impressive. Yet, so many exhibits now possess the opposite of what is correct, a long, soft in appearance narrow muzzle, shallow zygomatic arch and stops. This creates a head type, which recedes in to the body having no prominence. The power and strength specified in the standard for the muzzles and topskull is not there; the heads are hound-like.
In correlation with the details of correct head type, are the details of correct body type. The standard specifies, "His bone and muscle mass must be sufficient to balance his frame, giving a compact and very powerful appearance." The standard is direct with its specifications on body type with the key words of compact, powerful and muscle mass. The bone should be ample in proportion to the size of the body, the muscles mass should be strong and well defined and the body length should appear to be short and compact. There should be not doubt in appearance concerning the amount of bone mass, muscle mass and compactness of the body. However, what we encounter are fine and spindly bones, long bodies, little to no muscle mass and definition.
The underlying theme in the standard for the Rottweiler is masculinity. Correct breed type requires it. The standard does not specifically mention this word; it is implied. Even the bitches should possess power and substance without weakness. Softness, slight in build, refined, feminine are not words to use when describing or having a mental picture of the breed.
The second tier on the pyramid and essential aspect of the standard is temperament. Without correct temperament, all other aspects or traits, even if they are of superior quality, have little value! It is important to understand what correct temperament is and how to evaluate it. From the standard, “The Rottweiler is basically a calm, confident, courageous dog… A Rottweiler is self-confident and responds quietly and with a wait-and-see attitude to influences in his environment.
He has an inherent desire to protect home and family, and is an intelligent dog of extreme hardness and adaptability with a strong willingness to work, making him especially suited as a companion, guardian and general all purpose dog.”
What is correct temperament? How can we recognize it?
We must take our template from the standard. Ideally, he is a calm, confident, courageous dog of extreme hardness and adaptability with a strong willingness to work. Few Rottweilers fit the ideal of the standard, which can demonstrate all of its positives. More likely, they measure up or down in differing levels. Because he is working dog, we must test and evaluate these differing levels of temperament through his work.
Albeit, the show ring is largely popular here in the states and in the international community, many rely solely on a dog’s behavior within the show ring as a demonstration of temperament. This is dangerous because it does not give us any keen insights to the complete spectrum of temperament; its main purpose is to evaluate conformation. Some would say that the show ring does give us a window into the dog’s nature. However, exhibiting and gaiting in the conformation ring can only demonstrate the extreme problems in a dog’s temperament, such as the inability to stand for an examination, shy, nervousness or viciousness. It has extremely limited value when assessing the complexity of temperament.
The Germans use the term “Belastbarkeit”, a dog’s capacity, whether high, medium or low, to sustain its drive, tractability and nerve under the conditions and pressures of work. In Germany, they place a high value in the dog’s level of courage and its ability to deal with stress. There, the minimum test is the Zuchttauglichkeitsprufung (breed suitability test where the dog is tested for its courage and stress level); one cannot breed their Rottweiler unless it has passed the “Ztp”. They also believe that the attainment of a working title is a demonstration of Belastbarkeit.
By putting a Rottweiler through its paces in its attainment of a working title, be it a CD, CDX, Tracking, Sch, etc., we gain valuable information about the strengths and weakness of its temperament. In some countries, the attainment of a working title is so highly prized, that a conformation championship title is only awarded when a working title has been previously achieved. Assessing character, the dog’s ability to deal with corrections, stress, and its level of enthusiasm while working, tells us much about its mind-set. Without this knowledge of temperament, one cannot have a complete picture for a breeding program.
Third in the pyramid is construction, a balanced, harmonious musculo/skeletal system in accordance with the blueprint of the standard. Understanding the construction of a Rottweiler is analogous to the building of a house. The builder (breeder) must adhere to the architect’s design (the standard), maintain a stable foundation and alignment of walls (the skeletal system), while creating continuity so that all the segmented parts of the house work together harmoniously (the locomotion of the dog).
As a breeder, owner or exhibitor, it is important in the complete understanding of Rottweiler construction, to acquaint oneself with the skeletal anatomy of the dog.
The standard dictates how the proportions and ratios, angles and layout of the skeleton should be so that the Rottweiler can gait with the highest efficiency in harmony with its breed type. This insures that its architectural design will best suit the Rottweiler for its task as a multi-purpose working/guard dog.
A house must have structural integrity. Walls must be plumb, materials used in the construction must have strength to withstand ware and tear, and parts must work. This applies to the Rottweiler as well. Front and rear legs must be balanced, strong and straight, the back must be firm but flexible, angulations must be ample enough to support proper reach of the front and drive of the rear. There should be symmetry and harmony of the working parts as well as a defined amount of muscle mass to support the skeletal frame.
Like temperament, correct construction is the by-product of a thoughtful, careful, breeding program. A Rottweiler cannot develop good construction from within. With the exception of building stronger or larger muscle mass via a weight gaining and conditioning program, when a dog possesses an incongruity or imbalance in the skeletal system, it cannot be corrected. A short upper arm, long in the back, shallow sternum, east-west feet, low pastern, poorly angulated croup, etc. impedes efficiency. These problems are inherited from the pedigree. We have often heard exhibitors and breeders say, “Don’t worry, he’ll out grow this or grow into that.” Unfortunately, ugly ducklings do not become swans! Problems related to the skeletal structure are indelible and take many generations to improve or correct. The most direct path for correct construction is to breed with pedigrees that possess it.
Fourth in the pyramid is locomotion. Because the Rottweiler was used for driving cattle, its modality for locomotion is demonstrated in the trot. Unlike the other aspects in this pyramid, construction and locomotion have inexorable linkage in that; exemplary gait is the result of outstanding structure. When a Rottweiler is correct in construction, according to the blueprint of the standard, this balanced skeletal architecture produces an unrestricted, harmoniously flowing powerful gait.
Unfortunately, few Rottweilers possess construction with such a high degree of balance and harmony that they move with this ideal effortless grace. Similar to the levels of temperament, locomotion has differing levels of efficiency dependent upon the correctness of construction or conversely, the amount of imbalances within the dog. The more “imbalances” or incorrect construction the dog possess in its angulations and ratios, the more impedance occurs to free flowing gait.
The best perspective to assess locomotion is to view the dog, going away, coming towards and in the side gait. When the dog moves going and coming, we assess its lateral displacement, which has influence on the lateral center of gravity. A correct front and rear assembly stabilizes the dog and prevents him from excessive side-to-side movement, similar to the effect of torsion bars in a car. Incorrect construction such as, out at the elbow, east–west feet, crossing over, moving wide and fiddle fronts etc., destabilizes the center of gravity. These incongruities produce impedance, which requires more energy, puts stress on the bones and muscles and leads to fatigue.
In the side gait, we assess all the moving parts working together. Once in the trot and at a reasonable speed, not to fast or slow, the mechanics of the musculo/skeletal structure is set in motion. Here, we can observe the reach, the drive of the rear, spring of step, amount of ground covered, and temperament in the dog’s “willingness to perform,” an important element. Within the side gait, we observe many examples of locomotion from exemplary to the unharmonious.
Occasionally, we encounter a dog that appears to be sound in structure when standing still, but during the examination of the side gait, they show a short stride of the front legs and rear legs, or a mix of this with a correct front stride, but short rear drive. Here, a problem may exist that does not easily reveal itself. That is why gaiting in a small ring or by moving the exhibits once around does not do justice for the complete assessment. Adding to this mixture is the exhibit that is pushed or cajoled around the ring. Outwardly, the dog appears good in construction and theoretically should gait correctly but for some reason it has “no willingness to perform.” This is one example of how temperament plays a factor in gait.
The field of canine gait is complex and requires a good knowledge of anatomy, mechanics, breed type and purpose. It is important for the concerned breeder and student of the breed to gain at least a proficient knowledge of these topics to understand Rottweiler locomotion.
1. The Priority of Breed Type in the Rottweiler, Wolfson, Steve, Steve Wolfson publisher, 2003
2. The Dog in Action, Lyon, MacDowell, Howell Book House publisher, 1982
I am sure you are thinking, "...what is Green Tripe and why devote a whole website to it?". The answer to that is simple, because it is the best, most natural food you could feed your K9 friend. It has been a well known secret of top breeders/kennels of performance dogs for years. The following excerpt from Juliette de Bairacli Levy's book, The Complete Herbal Book for the Dog, says it best:
"I would suggest breeders make good use of such flesh foods as the following:...paunches of all animals (the raw, uncleaned paunches of healthy grass-fed animals can be fed with much benefit to all breeds of dogs). I learned this from a gypsy in the Forest of Dean: this man had bred many famous greyhounds, and he told me that such fare was the finest of natural food tonics."
Tripe is the stomach of ruminating animals. These animals (i.e. cattle, buffalo, sheep, deer, goats, antelope, etc.) are classified as being four-footed, hooved, cud chewing mamals with a stomach that consists of four chambers. The four chambers of such a stomach are known as the rumen, reticulum, omasum and the abomasum. The food the animal eats (i.e. grass, hay) is swallowed unchewed and passes into the rumen and reticulum where it is then regurgitated, chewed and mixed with saliva. It is again swallowed and then passed through the reticulum and omasum into the abomasum, where it is then further broken down by the gastric juices, amino acids and other digestive enzymes. Yummy!
So how can something so disgusting, be so good? These same gastric juices and enzymes not only aid the animal in digestion, but also aid the dog in digesting and efficiently utilizing his food. The amino acids are necessary for muscular development and, the other gastric juices, I believe, are the best cleaner for their teeth!
In an analysis of a sample of green tripe by a Woodson-Tenant Lab in Atlanta, Georgia, it was discovered that the calcium:phosphorous ratio is 1:1, the overall pH is on the acidic side which is better for digestion, protein is 15.1, fat 11.7 and it contained the essential fatty acids, Linoleic and Linolenic, in their recommended proportions. Also discovered, was the presence of Lactic Acid Bacteria. Lactic Acid Bacteria, also known as Lactobacillus Acidophilus, is the good intestinal bacteria. It is the main ingredient in probiotics.
Finally, because of it’s rubbery texture, serving it in large chunks also aids the canine in strengthening it’s jaw muscles and has an added benefit as a form of canine dental floss.
The white tripe that you find in the grocery store has been cleaned, scalded and bleached. It has almost no nutritional value for the canine. This tripe is usually found in dishes such as menudo.
Green tripe does not necessarily refer to it's color. In this instance it refers to the fact that it has not been touched - not cleaned, not bleached and not scalded. It's actual color is brown, however, sometimes there will be a greenish tint due to the grass or hay the animal ate just before slaughtering.
Nothing beats the "green" tripe from a freshly slaughtered animal, but in an effort to make our lives easier, we now have available green tripe that has been ground and frozen, packaged in different size packs and it looks something like this:
Our sources are from GRASSFED and ORGANIC animals that are USDA inspected and passed for Human Consumption. They are antibiotic free and no hormones have been added.
No Guts, No Glory... another chapter in feeding green tripe!
By Mary C. Voss
Please Note: This is a modified and updated version of an Article written for the Afghan Hound Review in 1997 titled, "No Guts, No Glory!".
Everyone has to admit, there is nothing more upsetting than finding a flea or tick on your dog. Country life, as romantic as it may sound, is the perfect breeding ground for these parasites.
Several years ago I started looking into natural methods of reducing the flea & tick population. Chemicals may help control a small area, but anything larger than one acre is a problem. The most effective chemicals are also environmentally dangerous and toxic to both humans and animals.
So the Search began for the perfect natural way of keeping these pests under control. Many of the books I read suggested certain plants and grasses that helped repel fleas or ticks. There were also many herbal sprays that would help. The philosophy here was to keep the problem under control…not to annihilate them, although I don’t think you will find anyone heartbroken to see fleas or ticks on the endangered species list!
What I found interesting, in almost all of the books I read, was the belief that a truly healthy dog will not be bothered by these parasites. So what did this mean? Natural Rearing. Almost all of the books recommended feeding raw meats, vegetables and grains, raw bones, herbal supplements, fasting one day per week, fresh water supply and plenty of fresh air and exercise.
Our dogs always have plenty of fresh water, fresh air and exercise…a "run with a view", what more could an afghan ask for? Raw meats were the next thing to try. At first, I would buy meat from the grocery store…ground beef, beef heart, lamb and chicken. With the chicken, I would soak it in a grapefruit seed extract and water mixture to kill any salmonella. I did see some improvement over the cooked meat I had been feeding.
Not long after switching to raw meats I heard about feeding green tripe. In Europe it had been used for years and many of the old time breeders swore by it. Problem was finding green (raw, uncleaned) tripe here in the US. The USDA has strict rules about that sort of stuff. One slaughter house, several hours away, required I sign a USDA release form before I could buy it from them. Luckily, I found a local "butcher" that did custom slaughtering. If they did a cow that day, I got the phone call in the evening to come get my tripe…one could not help but feel like Dr. Frankenstein awaiting phone calls for new body parts! In retrospect, I was very thankful. There is no way I would have survived a 2-3 hour trip, especially in the middle of summer, with several cow stomachs in the back of the truck…no matter how they packaged them!
I always heard people talk about how bad the smell was, but until you experience it, you could never imagine how bad it actually is. The first tripe we brought home was in an old cooler in the back of the truck. Even with windows open, in the back of an open truck, it was still horrible. Ten seconds after we pulled into the driveway, the howling began. I have never seen my dogs in such a frenzy.
When I first started using the tripe, I had to open, drain and rinse the excess hay and grass out myself and then of course, cut it up. It was really disgusting, but the dogs loved it and thrived on it. My attire and equipment usually consisted of a heavy duty butcher’s apron, latex gloves, several buckets, a hose and one of the biggest knives I could find. I looked like something out of a horror movie!
There are suppliers now that do provide green tripe ground and frozen in small packages. It can, however, be expensive. The advantage, of course, is the convenience and the fact that you don’t even need gloves to handle it…just a good hand soap! I have found that Dial antibacterial hand soap works the best.
I have tried the frozen/ground form, but I’m back to the "real thing" - fresh from the cow. I prefer to cut it myself because I like to give bigger pieces to the dogs so they can really work those jaw muscles and it also allows me distribute the fat better to those dogs that need it more. Fat is a concentrated energy source and very important in the diet of hard working and sporting dogs.
Was all of this torture worth it? YES. Within a couple of weeks of when I first started feeding green tripe, I noticed drastic improvements in coat, skin, energy, teeth and stools…less in number, small and hard…a good sign that the canine is efficiently utilizing his food.
The most noticeable improvement was on a very old rescue afghan. When she was turned into the shelter, her age was given as 6yrs old. It wasn’t until I was shaving down her mats, that I found a collar with a rabies tag. When I called the vet clinic, they informed me she was 12. Her teeth were terrible. She could not eat kibble and she could barely walk across the backyard. On January 12th, 2000 she turned 17! She has been eating tripe for almost 5 years and can still run with the pack, discipline the "young and restless" and has the most beautiful set of white teeth without ever having dental cleaning done.
We have not been the only ones to notice the benefits of the green tripe diet. In the past couple of years, several other people have been trying it with very pleasant results. They have all noticed better coats…more luster and shine, no more flaky skin, richer colors, etc. Many comments have been made regarding how white their dogs teeth have become…without dental work! Everyone seems happier about the better stools, but they are more impressed by the increased energy level. Many of the older sighthounds have been revitalizing their running careers and have been very successful in competition over the younger dogs. As an example, a few years ago at the ASFA Region 2 Invitational our then 7 ½ year old veteran, sire of our first litter, beat his 2 year old sons for the BOB (his second BOB title at the Region 2 Invitational) and then ran very competitively in the Best In Field run. He had been eating green tripe for at least 1 year at that point in time.
I’m not quite sure if it is related, but we also noticed a change in the two litters we bred. The first litter was before we were using the tripe. As a matter of fact, we started using a muscle meat/tripe mix when the pups from that litter were 3 months old. With the second litter, both sire and dam had been on the tripe for at least 2 years before the breeding. It was a more robust litter than the first. The pups had been on tripe essentially since conception and are far superior, in many ways, to the first litter.
So what makes green tripe the perfect food for the canine. Recently, an analysis of a sample of the packaged frozen tripe was performed by Woodson-Tenant Laboratories, Inc. in Georgia. The results were what many people had speculated but never proven with scientific fact.
The calcium:phosphorous ratio is indeed 1:1, the overall pH is on the acidic side which is better for digestion, protein is 15.1, fat 11.7 and of course it contained the essential fatty acids, Linoleic and Linolenic, in their recommended proportions.
What was surprising to find, was the presence of Lactic Acid Bacteria. Lactic Acid Bacteria, also known as Lactobacillus Acidophilus, is the good intestinal bacteria. It is the main ingredient in probiotics.
Green tripe is also loaded with gastric enzymes, amino acids, and other gastric "juices". The gastric enzymes not only help the cow in digestion, but also aid the canine in digesting and efficiently utilizing his food. The amino acids are necessary for muscular development and, the other gastric juices, I believe, are the best cleaner for their teeth! Because of it’s rubbery texture, serving it in large chunks also aids the canine in strengthening it’s jaw muscles and has an added benefit as a form of canine dental floss.
Cooking, bleaching or scalding the tripe destroys almost all of the enzymes and amino acids. Freezing destroys some too, but certainly not as many and still manages to keep most of the nutritional content intact. It is also more convenient than burying raw meat underground.
It has been my observation that people, in general, are afraid to feed their dogs raw meat, especially green tripe, because of the ecoli scare. Don’t forget, a canine’s system can handle much more than we can. After all, when they bring down prey, they usually go for the innards first. If you don’t care to think about the hunt scenario, picture the loose neighborhood dog rummaging through everyone’s garbage pails.
I know this is all really "hard to stomach", but they really do thrive on it. From couch potato to sport and working dogs, they all will benefit from green tripe.
In conclusion, there is nothing tripe about tripe!
Afghan Hound Review, Sept/Oct 1997
Dogs In Review, Volume 2 Issue 2, Feb 1998
Woodson-Tenent Lab Report # G97-16346, Woodson-Tenent Laboratories, Inc., Gainesville, GA
Feed Them Well, Test Them Hard, Martin J. Lieberman
Owning An Irish Wolfhound, A Guide to Rearing and Training, published by the Irish Wolfhound Club of Ireland
Natural Insect Repellents, Janette Grainger & Connie Moore
The Complete Herbal Book for the Dog, Juliette de Bairacli Lev