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or American Rotti?

by Audrey Pavia

Although the American public has embraced the Rottweiler to the extent that they now outnumber their German cousins, the European lines continue to be highly revered.   In part, this is due to the German's decades-old rigorous program of testing dogs for soundness, type, trainability and temperament before they are approved as breeding stock.

This government-instituted quality control, which would make American breeders howl, has resulted in a certain reverence for the system overseas. In the United States, German-style testing is emulated by the American Rottweiler Verein (ARV), a club that tests the dogs' instincts to guard, attack, bite and obey commands.   Dogs that won't bite during a staged attack on their owners are eliminated from the program, as are dogs who won't release their bites on command.

While the standards for the German and American Rotties as written are nearly identical, the differences are apparent in the subjective qualities seen in each breed type.   German dogs are more imposing and solidly built and they radiate self-assurance bordering on malevolence.

By comparison, judges say American dogs are lighter in frame, more refined with much less attitude.   According to Joe Hedl, international judge, breeder and co-founder of the United States Rottweiler Club. (USRC) and the ARV, indiscriminate breeding on the part of Americans has done harm to the breed's temperament and conformation.   "There is no way this dog should have gotten as popular as it did" says Hedl.   "No way in a million years.  It isn't a dog for everyone".

Simi Valley, California, American Kennel Club (AKC) judge and trainer Dairy Canino agrees, "A lot of people out there are not equipped mentally or physically to own these dogs," says Canino, who has also been a breeder for 20 years.

Hedl adds that while the American dogs have improved substantially over the last 10 years, he can still identify a German -breed Rotti nearly every time.  He attributes this to AKC show judges being lenient over the years in penalizing light -colored eyes, pink mouth pigment and light frames.  "American dogs are more refined by comparison," says Hedl.   "They are a little rangier and more elegant.   German dogs are more compact and powerfully built.   They are robust and more chunky.   "While elegance and refinement might be desirable in a Doberman Pinscher, it is not what judges should be looking for in Rottweilers.   "You want a compact dog with substance, muscle and power" says Hedl.

He says AKC judges also put a lot of emphasis on movement and are much less tolerant of aggressive behavior in the ring than German-style judges.   It is perhaps in the area of temperament that the two types diverge most widely.   Cultural differences and negative media coverage have prompted American breeders to select more user-friendly animals.   German judges tend to favor more aggressive, almost threatening individuals that would be dismissed from the ring at American shows.  "Americans love teddy bears," says Hedl "Rottweilers are definitely not teddy bears."   On the other prominent breeder and judge Eckart Salquist cautions against import fever   "A lot of people think just because it's European, it's a good dog," says Salquist.   "That's not so.   It's the same with judges, just because a judge has an accent doesn't mean he knows more than an American judge.:

SHOW   DIFFERENCES  AT   A   GLANCE    by Audrey Pavia


* Judges rate one or two breeds

* Judge does not touch the dog

* Rings are 40 to 50 yards around

* Dog stacks naturally (stands with it's legs four-square without the handler touching it)

* Judge critiques each dog aloud and takes continual notes

* dogs are run 5-30 minutes and judge has no time limit for evaluation

* Judge announces his or her reasoning for each placement.


* Judge rates from two to all breeds

* Judge physically examines the dog's structure

* Rings are 10-40 yards around

* Dogs are hand stacked (the handler physically places the dog's legs in the proper position)

* Judge rarely critiques dogs aloud or takes notes.

* Dogs are run one to three minutes and judge is expected to evaluate dog in this time frame

* Judge announces his or her placement with no explanation

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Powerful and Firm- All the Rottweileeeeer's impressive power to run, jump and climb comes from the hindquarters.

The gait of a football player-  the Rotti is a trotter "You wouldn't expect a football player to win a marathon. His movement is deliberate, and he pounds the ground with power."

A Rich Mahogany Pattern- Soft coats don't insulate as well and require more maintenance; they are inappropriate for a true working animal

Temperament is Vital- The standard calls for aloofness and self-confidence with an inherent desire to protect home and family.    It refers to the Rottwiler as a "courageous dog that does not lend itself to immediate and indescrimante friendships.  This breed standard behavior is mistakingly labeled as dangerous or aggressive at most humane societies and used as a pretext to slaughter Rottweilers.

Goofy Roxi!  Who can resist a face like this?  If you don't know Rotts, you might be surprised to learn that most are quite goofy around their bonded families...not strangers or a new family.   That takes time.

While it's interesting to know differences between German or American Rotties, it shouldn't effect your choice in a life long, family member and companion.   After all, Americans come from a long line of various nationalities, but if we're born on American soil, we are Americans regardless of our heritage.  The same holds true for your Rotti;  it would be hard to imagine that you would love him more only because his ancestors, from 20 years ago, had unpronouncable names from Stuttgart?

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   Donate Online, please will you help fill our bucket?     If everyone that visited our site and was moved by it or the stories of the Rotts, your spare change can literally help save lives.  Most people don't give because of a lack of generosity, but because they feel their gift is insufficient.  Every little drop of even $1.00 or $2.00 is very important would help fill and eventually over flow our bucket.  Our growth has been overwhelming, we NEED to build a 80 x 120 foot enclosure for the Rotts with large outdoor runs, will you help?  

We promise not to  "hound"  you for greater donations, but thank you for your participation.

  Housebreak your dog in 7 days

 The Four Secrets Of Becoming A Super Trainer

 Bake A Dog A Bone

 How to Liter Box Train Your Dog

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Happy Tails Newsletter will be offering exciting training tips, educational, natural health information and specials on our WildCrafted & Natural Farmacy collections, formulated for Mutts & Men, Nags & Hags, Fillies & Friends & Ewe Too!

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Find out what your dog might really be saying to you?   Can he trust and believe your body language?  If you were a dog, would you pass a  "temperament test' ?   Does your dog respect you or treat you more like a chew toy?   Can you really share your Mango Orange Extreme Body Butter with your pooch?   Will be share  ( or resource guard )  his Yuppy Puppy Coat Spritz with you?

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Happy Tails until we meet again!

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