We have been breeding Rottweilers for almost 30 years. Our breed has had so much progression and change over the years since we first started in this special breed. These 30 years have been such a learning process. Experience is the most informative way to decide what you would like to import for improving your breeding program. I will tell you here how we decide who to import for our breeding program, what we are looking for in a dog, and what information you look at when looking at pedigrees.
You must start somewhere in selecting what you would like to start breeding. When we go to shows, we see so many newcomers to our breed. They have puppies and adults and when you ask about the pedigree, they cannot give you any clue of who is in their pedigree except the most recent ancestors. It is so important to know what is back in the pedigree. Every dog in the past will help determine if your choice is the correct one. When I evaluate dogs today and research the dogs in their pedigrees, it tells me a lot about why this specific dog progressed to accomplish all they have done, the conformation, and what he or she has developed into.
In the late ’80s, we visited the Klubsieger show in Germany and purchased a handsome young male Rottweiler. He was a very attractive young dog and most of all, his pedigree contained the dogs we had been admiring since we started in the breed. The people we were with had more experience than we did in the breed and they assisted us in the selection of this male. We never knew that he would be one of the most important males in the European bloodline and other countries throughout the world. Everything came into place for us with this very special dog. Taking the advice of others, we decided to keep this male in Germany for his titles and breeding. We were traveling to and from Germany often, so we were comfortable leaving him there where we could visit and spend time with him. This is what made him the dog he was, and possibly your dog you now have in your home. If you look at your pedigree, you will probably see this dog at least once and up to four or more times in your bloodline. Benno von der Schwarzen Heide was the special one! However, it is not just him, but all the other Rottweilers in his pedigree, who made the perfect match to produce a male like him.
The best way to determine which dog to bring into your breeding program is to study the ancestors that are in the pedigree. I explain to people it is like baking a cake. You must have just the right ingredients to make the perfect winning cake. Then you strive to make an even better cake and start searching for ingredients to put into it to make it even better than it was.
When we started out in this breed, the Internet was not available to help us to gather all the information that is available today.
The Internet can be a great help and a great hindrance. The helpful part is you can research every dog in the pedigree if that country has kept records of them. The ADRK has kept records of their dogs from probably before most of us were born. Other countries may not have records due to being a very poor nation or from not breeding Rottweilers until just recently. The hindrance is that there is so much advertising available on the Internet that newcomers determine who to choose for their new dog by how much they have been exposed to data and advertising. I question how these breeders have become so well-known so fast when their country has been in poverty and turmoil for so many years and they did not have popular dogs until just recently.
On our recent trip to Europe, we traveled into some of these distressed countries and we were told that some of the breeders were breeding 40 to 50 litters a year. This is a very large number to breed each year, but when you breed this many litters, you would have at least a few dogs good enough to excel at shows. Those few dogs from the large amount of breeding and advertising will make the kennel popular enough for a novice person to decide to purchase their dog from that breeder.
What I look for is the breeder who breeds only a few litters a year and their dogs excel far beyond others. Germany and the other countries who follow their breed standard, such as Austria, are limited to the number of litters they and their females can have per year. If their dogs excel, then you know they are good breeders. I look at these breeders and their dogs, and look at the pedigree to make sure they have Benno multiple times in their lines, and then study the other dogs in the pedigree. I know that from Benno back, all his pedigree is the desirable bloodline for our expectation. Then I look for health and genetics. There is a problem gathering data on this since most countries have not and still do not test their dogs for the many genetic defects that will complete the information needed to help choose the best dog.
Download the PDF: Importing for a Breeding Program – Part 1
Article written by Evie Lynn
Published in Total Rottweiler Magazine, Issue 2 of 2012