By Steve Wolfson
Pictures added into by West Coast Rottweilers/Bob Flynn
Notes added in bold type by West Coast Rottweilers/Bob Flynn and is not Steve Wolfsons opinion(s)
"This is what all Rottweiler Breeders should strive to make."
Rottweiler Judge Joe Hedl mid ring talking about WCR's Athena vd Tal at the ARV Nationals 2007
ARV Nationals Critique by Judge Joe Hedl
10 month old female, very well built; good bone and substance; good confidence calm and friendly; beautiful pronounced breed type feminine head with medium size ears; good stop, deep set dark brown eyes; beautiful short full muzzle; straight front legs with very good tight feet; very good depth and width of chest; good muzzle; sufficient front and rear angulation; good top and bottom line with medium croup; good short coat with very good markings; good fluid movement with scissor bit. Rating VP1
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.
(Real Rottweiler Type, our Petra Earl Antonius)
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 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 Rottweiler 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 oddity, the once major factor in the breed’s appeal, its power and
substance, is on the “back burner” in many breeding programs. One must look carefully to find this trait; the breed
has lost its distinction.
WCR's Note: The difference between Europe Rottweilers and the U.S. AKC Rottweiler Arena is very obvious. The tailed Rottweiler is basically disallowed to compete in the AKC Show Arena, but can compete in the Canadian Rottweiler Show Arena, why is this? I am of the opinion that the AKC Show Arena does not want to compete against the European bred Rotts, because the difference is too obvious. If one feels that they are making a quality of Rott that is comparable or better than their European counterparts, then why hide behind the "because Rottweilers are not supposed to have a tail" issue. My opinion.
(One of the most incredible Rottweiler males ever Ghemon)
On the street, we encounter Rottweilers that are a poor representation of once was. They possess pin
heads, narrow, snipey muzzles, 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, 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 like their pet counterparts. 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”!
(A very typical West Coast Rottweilers pup at 6 weeks of age, it all starts with an excellent pup and this is a perfect example of perfection)
WCR's Note: Powerful, well bred, heavy boned Rotts have been given the "odd man out" treatment in the AKC ring since the late 80's, this I know personally. The problem is that a very well made Rottweiler looks like nothing else that is currently being shown, hence the perception of being "over done" or "too masculine" when in fact is what the bred is supposed to be per the Standard. Frustrating.
(Exceptional Type in a 10 month old Bitch, WCR's Athena vd Tal )
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
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.
(This is 14 month old female MiMi, show me a male from other kennels in the USA like my girl here)
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 (see Fig.1). 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 proportion-ate 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 Doberman.
(Powerful, muscled, broad, huge head piece of West Coast Rottweiler Diego vd Tal at 10 months of age )
B. MUSCLE MASS
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, Bi-cps, Triceps and the Extensor muscles of the radius/ulna.
In the rear assembly, the muscles of
the Gluteus and Biceps Femurous should be
well developed and defined. Viewing the rear
muscles from the back, the depth and width
of the Biceps Femurous and Gluteus should be full, supporting the Femur.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
Here is where all forward locomotion begins.
(Powerful body, strong bones, powerful chest and head piece at 10 months WCR's Dallas vd Tal)
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.
WCR's Note: This goes back to what we have saying for decades: "You cannot make mediocre stock into great stock, the genetics are flawed and will always be flawed. Buy the best, breed to the best, and never cheat yourself from trying your hardest. It takes a lot of time, effort, money and resources to achieve this goal, but the rewards of making TRUE Rottweilers is worth it. Be part of the solution, not the problem."
(Real Rottweiler Bone, Muscle and Type our Naja Earl Antonius)
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.
WCR's Note: Why? Because Rottweiler Breeders are unwilling to look outside of their own backyards to breed to high quality. It costs 4x as much to go to Europe to breed, plus the risk of damage or death to the bitch, plus the risk of stress to the bitch and the loss of the litter. All too often I hear, "but it costs so much more to breed outside of the country." When you put a dollar value on your breeding program, then just quite and do the breed a favor; quality is PRICELESS. Laziness, ignorance and the quick buck is my opinion on this matter.
In the US, the accent is on the best possible construction demonstrated by superior gait. Those dogs, which becomes 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.
(A true Rottweiler Breeder uses all available resources from ALL OVER THE WORLD, this pup shows why at 6 weeks)
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 display this attribute, are the ones that win in the show-ring. Placing the accent on this attribute is both good and
attributes are separate entities in a breeding program and are not mutually interchangeable or should be misconstrued for breed type.
(Just because you want movement does not mean you cannot have REAL ROTTWEILER TYPE ALSO! We make the total Rott)
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.
WCR's Note: The Rottweilers in today's show rings are not what they where even 10 years ago. The unwillingness to learn, the unwillingness to go outside of their backyards or the AKC to find the most suitable male, the unwillingness to truly strive to progress or at least maintain the Rottweiler is becoming epidemic, in my opinion.
(The incredible, beautiful, correct and powerful head piece at 14 months of WCR's Athena vd Tal)
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.
WCR's Note: We have recognized this long ago, West Coast Rottweilers breeds only to the finest males in or from Europe, the only exception was Cidel's Hogan Hero whom is an incredible male with powerful type and temperament. In today's AKC arena, Rotts that have big, strong drive are now deemed "aggressive," where in the European community a dog without drive is deemed "worthless and unshowable." The breed is a "Working Breed."
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.
WCR's Note: The above paragraph is so very true, everything is not ok in the AKC ring, in fact it is very far from ok. Weak to no temperament, light bone, pin heads, light eyes, pink mouths, flat sided is all the norm. Movement reigns supreme for them and that is a huge mistake, the total Rottweiler reigns supreme, not a black and mahogany Whippet.
"West Coast Rottweilers is HEAVILY COMMITTED to the preservation of the Rottweiler as it was intended. Using only the finest males in the world to our outstanding females, we will settle for nothing less than to exceed the Standards of the breed; we have proven that over and over." -Bob Flynn/West Coast Rottweilers
Steve Wolfson sits on the board of the American Rottweiler Club (ARC) and is actively judging, lecturing and writing articles on Rottweilers
The above comments are solely that of West Coast Rottweilers/Bob Flynn
Fiftieth Anniversary of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub, Powderhorn Press, 1978
American Rottweiler Club Standard, May 1990
Dog Anatomy-Illustrated, Way Robert VMD, MS Dreenan Press 1974
Der Rottweiler, Korn Hans 1939
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