HOW WE HERE AT WEST COAST ROTTWEILERS CHOOSE OUR STUD DOGS
We get a lot, and I mean A LOT of phone calls and emails inquiring on how we choose our studs and if we can help them in their selection(s). We have been quite successful in our breeding program and we have never turned away anyone seeking information or knowledge; as breeders we feel it is imperative to share if the breed is to progress.
The first and most important item we feel is knowing and accepting that your bitch and her pedigree has faults; failure to admit this is in our opinion pure arrogance or ignorance of what is and your program will suffer and you shall compound your faults further, every bitch and every line has some form of fault/issue(s). We get many breeders new and old that are hell bent on changing their bitches line or type 100% and that is not going to happen in this generation, the next or the next generation. The bitch carries the majority of the gene's and for us, the stud selection is just icing on the cake of what we already know that we can produce; we are adding details, not an entire overhaul.
(Our world famous bitch Petra Earl Antonius and our own bred beauty WCR's Dallas vd Tal)
Once we have identified our fault(s) in our bitch and lines, then we start to seek out potential males that are strong in the area(s) in which we are weak. Example: eye color is an issue in which many Rotts are failing in, so a line that would have a strong presence of Bickesheim would be in order so as to garner those beautiful black eyes they are so famous for and bred exclusively for. To take that even further, the Bickesheim line used Noris v Gruntenblick, which if you line breed on him, you stand a strong chance of not fixing your problem at all. Knowledge of your blood lines in yours and others pedigrees is absolutely 100% paramount.
(It all starts with great bitches L-R Naja Earl Antonius, WCR's Britta vd Tal and WCR's Hera vd Tal)
When you start taking into account the item(s) you are trying to correct, you find it narrows the selection down to a very small number of males, and even then the ones that can fix your faults may have faults of their own that you find very undesirable and for us that is wetness (too loose of skin). It can come down to what you are willing to take as a "hit" on your breeding -vs- getting what you are seeking and then deal with the hit later. Plain and simple, there is no 100% perfection and when you look at a pedigree, it is more than just 3 generations to be concerned about, we look at the first 10 generations and all of their siblings as we where taught to look at almost 3 decades ago.
(The beautiful black eyes of Enzo v Bickesheim and our Stablemate's Cora vd Tal)
Another significant issue to take into account is whether you wish to inbreed, line breed or out cross. Given your selection, this can cut you selection even further to the point you may have to settle for other options to work on, this all goes back to what is your #1 priority and the knowledge of your lines and the faults it can and will bring forward.
(The brothers Timo vd Scherau and Tim vd Scherau are products of the powerful Akino lines)
At this early point of the decision making process, you can start to see that your selections can be easily made for you if you know what your lines and the studs lines are about, it can also generate a massive headache in which many breeders just throw up their hands and say "screw it" and just go and breed to whatever. This is where I feel that WCR shows its commitment to excellence by not giving up and is totally relentless in finding what we want and securing the breeding (I will cover shortly why this is true).
As you can already see, trying to fix a fault ridden line or bitch reigns down problems and it is always best to start with a bitch that fulfills all of your needs as does her pedigree. It is so much easier to just try and maintain what your line makes or to fix subtle items like ear length, shorten the coat, toe length -vs- a whole new head piece, missing teeth, bad movement crashing top line. As simple as it sounds, breeders fail to recognize this and are under the opinion it is easily fixed which the Rottweiler Shows will show you that they are very wrong. Every breeding will bring a new item to fix, it is what it is.
What really separates the breeders is the one's that can find great studs regardless of where they are. What I mean by this is that the best Rottweilers are not necessarily in the show arena, in fact I will argue to my last breath that some of the very best have never set paw into the show arena. Many, many owners want nothing to do with the show forums for various reasons, many of which I can and will agree with. They do however recognize and appreciate a great Rottweiler and ownership alone is more than any blue ribbon can ever provide in happiness. So where am I going with this? Too many breeders are title fanatics and wrongfully so; just because a dog has won in the ring has absolutely, positively, unequivocally no bearing on it as a producer, period. I find it absolutely sad to see breeders use a male solely because it won XYZ show and they will tell you the only reason they bred to the dog is because they want that title in the pedigree...why is our breed in trouble???
(Cora's brother Ulrick never saw a show ring yet, he is one of the very best Rotts I have ever seen, Left picture at almost 7)
Just look at the male above, Ulrick: 125lbs, 26 inches and an absolute world class Rottweiler and one of the finest I have ever seen complete with 1A eye and black mouth. Would you breed to this dog? Just take a good hard look at him and what is in the ring today. What if he has never been shown because the owner no longer cares to show? Sadly enough, the majority of breeders would say "NO" for no other stupid reason than "he has no Champion or V-rating." Wow. So, one can suffice to say that titles are more important than type and producing because we know every Rottweiler with a title is an excellent example of what the breed should be, am I correct? The true and sad answer is "incorrect" and again our show arenas are more than enough proof. I have seen the lowest rated Rotts with a "G" obtain the highest rating "V" and even win their class under certain judges, never to win or garner that high ranking again. I have seen Rotts that I would deem "Pet Quality" win the AKC arena, just because they moved nicely but the rest was an absolute muted train wreck. The number of Rotts in shows today are paltry compared to the 80s and 90s and when you ask people as to why they no longer show, they all say the same thing "crooked judges", "uneducated judges", "political judges" and "we cannot stand to see what has happened to our breed." Yes, we have been witness to all the above and this is without any of our dogs in the ring and some of it is so blatant. Now given that, there are a great many good to excellent judges but the bad ones are what kills the spirit of the competition. One must be very thick skinned to show dogs, very thick skinned.
(Backyard Rottweiler, hard pressed to find a better male at 1.75 years of age anywhere in the ring..proof the best are not in the ring)
OK, back on point....smart breeders will use a dog that is excellent regardless of whether it is titled or not, shown or not. Now, people will say that is suicide to use an untitled male because titles sell puppies and well, that is fine if you are a puppy mill or professional breeder making a living off the backs of puppies. For the breeders that actually care about progressing the breed and their lines, it is a moot point. I will take this even further to prove this point with the very best example in today's Rottweiler world. Arguably the hottest Rottweiler in Europe is Astor v Junipera, he belongs to our long time friends vd Alten Festung in Croatia and one of the most famous kennels in our breed (we are proud to have introduced him to North America when he was just a pup, we know quality). Astor is
Young Champion of Croatia, Vice Young Champion of Europe 2008, Central Eastern European Junior Winner 2008, Italian Klub Sieger 2008 -Auslandjugendsieger, Lechscheau Jugendsieger 2008 (ADRK) Zagreb Junior Winner 2008, many Best of Breeds, and so on before he is even two years of age. The dog was found in a backyard....Vlad and Lidija turned down $70,000 euro for him which is approx $110,000 U.S.and this is before Astor is two. Astor's parents have no titles, none, zip, nada, nope. Never saw a show ring, ever.What Astor has is a great pedigree of Rotts that produced their pedigrees and anyone knowing their history knows this pedigree can and will produce. His pups are in incredible demand and his stud services are booked until the end of time. He is beyond living proof that the very best there is does not exist in the show arenas, they exist in loving homes and breeders are unwilling to look for or at those without show titles and that is plain old narrow mindedness. Vlad saw greatness and for his calculated risk he now has one of the very best Rottweilers in the world
(The Great Astor v Junipera)
So what does this all mean? What it means is that we here at WCR are very broad in thought and are willing to go to whatever means to breed to males that will enhance our program, even if this means digging through backyards; titles mean nothing over type and producing. Many of these males though are not available to stud, fortunately we have been allowed access to a large number of these outstanding Rottweilers and we will be taking our girls to them over the course of the next few years.
Another item of contention is expense or the unwillingness to spend money on a great breeding, this makes absolutely no sense. Breeders have become so notoriously cheap; unwilling to travel, unwilling to fly, unwilling to pay anything for stud fee and rightfully so their producing's dictate that cheapness. When finances dictate your pairings, we are of the opinion it is time to quit, period. It is obvious that the priority is to maximize profits, therefore it is obvious that quality, health, all aspects of a respect to the breed and to clients does not exist; argue that it does. Let's face it, I know of no area in North America that has enough studs to suit us where we will not need to hunt down other males or fly out of country, especially males that fit our criteria in quality, temperament and type and the only one that has numerous top males that produce excellence is Carrabba Haus in New Jersey. Vince has bought some the best males from around the world in shows and producing but unfortunately for many, Vince will not allow access to his males, fortunately for us we have unlimited access. It takes money to breed correctly and there is no other way of getting around this and you will need to get out of your backyard, neighborhood, state and country at some point in order to continue successes.
(Great prospect for a young age WCR's Diego vd Tal, huge bone and power)
You need to see the male of your choosing; the day of the internet has allowed the liars and cheats yet another avenue to bilk trusting individuals of their hard earned monies. I received a phone call from NYabout a west coast stud dog and when I inquired as to what they know about the male, he was given wrongful information as to what the real facts where and are. He was told the dog was 66cm which the dog is more like 63-64cm and that the male was 120lbs, he is more towards 95lbs. There is nothing wrong at all with this male, he is in fact very typey but to have erroneous information like this when trying to base your breeding from is very harmful. To base your selection solely from modified, distorted web site images is taking a huge risk and you should investigate the male heavily, especially with calls to those whom may have used that male or have offspring from them. It takes a lot of detective work to find out what is or is not and 99% of the breeders out there will give you nothing in information.
Size of males really have little factor in our choices, if any at all: our clients do not dictate as to how we shall breed, we breed for us first and foremost otherwise we do not breed. What we seek is overall balance of the male and what he is bringing to the table or taking away from the breeding. Males overall are shrinking in size, no longer are the 120 lb males abundant, they have been replaced with 100-110 lb males and so a breeder needs to be flexible and not narrow minded. A small male is not indicative of what you are going to get out of him, in fact we have had the opposite effect in our choices. Case in point is the great Timo vd Scherau, he is pictured above with his brother Tim. Timo by all accounts is a small male at around 100lbs and though his type is incredible and he has the most outrageous head and beauty, people turn away from him based on size. What they fail to know is that Timo throws not only that beauty and wild head piece but he make size, a lot of size and even more is incredible bone. Nothing ventured is nothing gained and that is their loss. We are of the opinion that Timo is one of the very best studs in North America, hands down. This brings in another item we look: studs that come from highly successful litters like Timo's, it just makes genetic sense -vs- the one hit wonder from a crappy litter. The "T" litter consisted of Timo, Tim, Tinka, Tash, Tano, Tara, Tess and all are exceptional and all are making excellence, common sense breeding which many breeders fail to recognize or realize.
(Never base quality on a stud dogs size, no finer pups than these from Timo vd Scherau)
We have covered a number of areas that goes into our process of choosing our males and there is so much more that takes this even further before we even make our final cuts. None of this is achievable if you do not or are unwilling to know your bitches faults, their pedigree and to look at the stud in his entirety before looking at titles.
Lastly, we have a listing of what will never give up:
Bone strength is gone, gone, gone in the show arena. We have very powerful bone strength as you can see on our site and our young male above WCR's Diego vd Tal. We will not waiver on bone strength.
Head type must meet the criteria(s) of powerful cheek, very strong and well pronounced eye fill, very broad muzzles, eye shape. Ear set must either be correct or slightly high, preference to correct and length medium to long and tightly set to the cheek. Muzzle length must not be too short to cause teeth and over heating issues. Lip pigment must be black and flews not blown out. Eye color black but will accept dark brown, nothing less. Stops must be very pronounced or the stud known to produce a very pronounced stop...there is a difference. Case in point is the great Balou v Silberblick son Carlos vd Golan-Hohen, his wide is very wide but his stop is not huge yet his offspring carry a very strong stop. Breeders have opted to not use him based upon "him" and that is always a cardinal mistake by not doing your homework. Back skull is the last item and is yet another distinguishing head feature going away.
(WCR's Teemu sired by Carlos vd Golan-Hohen at 20 months and his brother WCR's Kane, great breeding programs make uniformity)
Body type can vary with us from medium length of back to more compact dependant on what we want to achieve. We only will us males that are very broad in chest to obtain that wide front set that is sorely missing. All males must posses a very deep and broad rib cage which is one our hallmarks here. Along with this wide front half MUST be a wide rear end, we are very well know for this aspect of very wide and heavily muscled. Back lengths are getting shorter, too short to the point it effects overall balance of the dog (height -vs- length) and movement. Breeders feel they can shorten the back to eleviate a poor top line, that is a sad theory. Granted, it is harder to find a great top line producer in the mid to longer back but they do exist, such as the USRC U.S. National Champion Arzadons Zato and he makes that iron clad top line all day long. What is even more impressive he has one the best top lines in movement at 135 lbs! Below you can see Zato defeating one of the best movement dogs ever, the legendary Djuke v Vilstaler Land...both are high quality examples of great bodies.
(Arzadons Zato defeating the top Rottweiler in the World)
Movement is somewhat a given though we do not place a giant amount of emphasis on it. Breed to great dogs and you will get some great movement, base your program around movement as a priority and watch your overall Rottweiler go down the drain and I know this will upset quite a few people with this comment but, we place overall type far and above movment and this includes great top lines for type, movement will come. The Rottweiler is a working dog, period. It is a trotter, yes and it is a draught dog also. Most often movement will beat type, that is where we are at in this breed in the USA, and I will take a great looking, powerful, heavy boned and solid temperament over a great mover any day, any year, any time. I may loose from time to time on movement but my dogs in the ring don't look like bitches, poor bitches at that and my bitches exceed the males in type more often than not. It is who we are and maybe we will never win at Westminster but when my dogs exit their crates, they get respect for what they are. Maybe at some point we will bring in a top AKC male to use or one from England but, until we find one that meets our criteria and has the temperament of the true Rottweiler, it shall not happen. Having been around thoroughbred racing horses for over 28 years I always likened that animal to the Rottweiler in movement and to this day use that model in our program. When movement became the priority of the American Rottweiler, it killed our breed because no longer was type the priority and that is just not right in our book.
Conclusion is that there is quite a bit of homework, knowledge, history and old fashioned detective work and utilizing our friends and contacts from around the world into each and every pairing we do. It takes a tremendous amount of time, a tremendous amount of information and gathering which can only come from a true passion for our breed and to see it excel, not decline as it has been in the hands of those much less caring or concerned. We take tremendous pride in our choices and we must be doing something very right because our stud selections are heavily replicated, which is fine because they will always get something nice from the males we have chosen.
I would like to finish this article with a comment given to me by a well known breeder that has done their fare share of winning, " I will never breed to a dog that everyone else is breeding to." Silliness, absurd. When a dog is making great things, then by all means use that male if he fits your criteria, why spite yourself in the efforts to be different? Timm v Mummler comes to mind as one of the greatest in producing and was the foundation dog to the early great Jenecks line when Maureen Wilkinson of Trollegens Rottweilers bought him. I remember being at the very first German-Style Shows and seeing nothing but mini Timm's every where and the breed was better because of that. Even today, those Timm puppies would be head and shoulders above the rest.
(One of the greatest producers I ever saw, Timm v Mummler)
Success is built up on knowledge, unwillingness to compromise and the relentless persuit of excellence. The ride is never without bumps in the road but, staying true to your beliefs and opening your eyes and mind and disbelieving the hype and lies and doing your detective work will bring you to your selection, which will in turn bring you wonderful puppies, this we truly believe and adhere to. Never ever compromise, the first time you do will lead to subsequent compromises. Think of our breed first, your pocket last.
The above comments are solely that of WCR/Bob Flynn and all contents belong to WCR and are not allowed for replication without written consent from Bob Flynn/WCR
"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
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