Today’s media portrayal of the Rottweiler breed has the public believing this is a menacing, vicious breed in serious need of extinction. Just saying the word Rottweiler conjures up immediate reactions in peoples minds; anything from intense fear, rage, rejection, recoiling, and deep concern.
If you happen to own a Rottweiler, odds are your family, friends, and neighbors aren’t too happy about it. Even if your Rottweiler has never done anything to cause alarm. Very few people will think of the breeds majestic beauty, calm and quirky nature, and it’s love to be around people of all ages and sizes. Those who own the Rottweiler breed behold it’s loving, comforting, and protective nature. It begs to question, if the Rottweiler breed is considered to be such a danger to animals and humans alike, why then are there so many reputable breeders still breeding this violent canine?
Who better to answer these questions and more than Rottweiler breeders themselves. I first met Tasha Podratz of Vom Hause Noble Rottweilers when I began looking for my second Rottweiler puppy. As any good reputable breeder will do, I was questioned as to why I was looking for a Rottweiler puppy rather than another breed. After an extensive interview of who, what, why, when,where, and how, I was approved as a prospective Rottie owner. Not having what I was looking for, Tasha introduced me to another breeder and friend, Alyssa Simon of Windego Rottweilers. I was looking for a female and Alyssa just happened to have a litter of new pups with four females. The puppies were just a few weeks old so it gave us plenty of time to talk and to get to know one another. When I explained that I was a freelance writer and was interested in interviewing them, both Tasha and Alyssa agreed in the hope that they could help educate the public on the true nature of the Rottweiler breed. I wanted to understand what their process was from choosing the dogs they breed through having the puppies adopted to loving homes. The following is that interview.
How long have you been breeding Rottweilers? We have been breeding, loving, raising, and training Rottweilers for just over 15 years combined. We are huge advocates for the breed and love to educate people on these beautiful animals and show how wonderful they truly are. We take them to schools, county fairs, the local jail, nursing homes, local sporting events, and more.
With all the negativity about the breed, why do you choose to breed Rottweilers? This is of course the most upsetting for both Alyssa and Tasha. Alyssa states, “We choose to breed Rottweilers because overall we just love the breed and what they stand for-the nobility, presence, and beauty that they hold. They are wonderful dogs and they make great family pets. The negativity is due to the lack of the media’s willingness to educate themselves on the breed before reporting news to the public. The media has tagged the Rottweiler for news ratings. If they would research the breed before reporting on a news story they would find that there are far more bites from small dogs than bigger ones. They would also uncover the fact that the owner of the Rottweiler was most likely irresponsible in some way leading to the bite and/or death in some rare cases. If buyers would research the breed before purchasing, there would be a lot less Rottweiler news to report on. Buyers wanting to purchase the Rottweiler breed specifically for guarding and aggression are to blame for many of the deaths that are reported each year. The media should do more research on this, rather than blaming the breed itself.”
Tasha further adds, “While the media can be blamed for a lot of the bad publicity for Rottweilers, the general public has no less blame. It is not offending anyone when it is the truth. I don’t think we should always worry about stepping on the toes of those who are responsible, or rather irresponsible when it comes to their dogs. Of any breed. It bothers me when I am reading articles in a magazine and they are always so sweet and nice. I think that is where we in todays society have lost the word responsibility and it’s meaning. We are always worried about being politically correct. It is the media and many everyday people I come across that assume Rottweilers are bad just because they only listen to what is stated on TV or they heard a story of a friend of a friend that was hurt by a Rottweiler. Blown up stories being told and retold about people who do not care for their animals as they should. They don’t socialize them and instead leave them out in the backyard on a chain. People have just as much responsibility as the next guy when they refuse to research and educate themselves instead of just taking the everyday Joe’s word for it. But more so than the bad, there are more so wonderful Rottweilers owned by wonderful family people that we sell to. There are great canine citizens that are making changes to our world!”
How do you pick the dogs you want to breed? We look for good sound bloodlines, meaning clear of hip, elbow, and eye issues and are all certified clear/excellent. Breed standard is very important to us. Intelligence, temperament (beyond what is taught to the pup), structure of the dog (meaning thick boned, well muscled, big heads, deep mahogany/rust color, dark eyes and dark mouth pigment), and with excellent movement.
How much work is involved in breeding Rottweilers? Like any “job” or “hobby” there is a lot of work involved, but to us it’s a passion and that supersedes the work involved. We take great care with all of our dogs/puppies beginning with good nutrition. We feed top of the line dog food with no preservatives, bi-products, corns, or colorings. We supplement with meat, eggs, and yogurt. We condition our dogs to keep them in the best possible physical and mental shape. They are working dogs and love to be given a task as well as showing their owners that they can complete it. We take them swimming, running, walking, and through obstacle courses. We also do group play with other dogs to keep them well socialized with other people and animals alike.
What do you do once the dams are pregnant? As we said before, we keep them mentally and physically healthy and nutritionally fit before, during, and after pregnancy. What we put into our dogs is what we are going to get out of our pups. They need the best in order to produce the best. When it comes to delivery, each female has their own room in our home that they whelp in privately. This ensures they stay relaxed and have nothing else to worry about during the delivery and after. We are with our females when they deliver in order to help with any issues they may have or if they are first time moms. We help keep them calm and they know we are there to help them. They do have instincts that kick in, but like anything if they have not had puppies before they are going to be nervous and unsure of what is happening. We believe they do sense that we are there to help them.
Once the puppies are delivered do you have to worry about the the dam or sire hurting the puppies? Well not on purpose! The dam is good to the puppies, but if she has 10 little babies moving around her feet one might get stepped on. It can be hard for any parent to keep an eye on all of them at once. We check on them continuously to make sure they are doing good and she is handling the puppies fine. The sire is not around the puppies or dam after they are born, however they may be allowed to see the puppies after they are weaned. They are not like us humans; they really have no attachment to their puppies.
What kind of care do you put into your puppies once they’re born and until they are adopted?Like our adults, we put the best care possible into them. When they are starting to get teeth and begin the weaning process we use real meat, eggs, and softened quality puppy food and let them begin to eat it. We keep the mom in with the pups for 4-5 weeks and then when she is ready she will automatically start the process of weaning the pups on her own. We de-worm several times before the puppies go to their new homes and change their bedding continuously to make sure that they are growing and thriving as best they possibly can. We personally choose to do 2 puppy shots before they go to their new homes because this breed is prone to parvo. This is an added preventative for our puppies and our families who adopt our puppies. We also microchip all of our puppies at 6 weeks old to ensure they have a permanent identification. If for any reason they would become separated, they can get back to their family. This is a service that we choose to give to our new puppy owners at no additional cost.
How can you tell at such a young age whether a pup is show quality or pet quality? We judge them the best that we can according to the breed standard and personality. We use our years of experience to do this and help make sure that each family is getting what they want as best we can. This is a living breathing animal and we cannot guarantee what they will look like full grown, but we do our best with our experience.
Do you have a hard time letting go of the puppies once they are born? To an extent that we aren’t going to be taking care of them anymore, but we are very comfortable and happy with the families that we choose to continue to love and care for them in the best possible way. We trust and know that we are placing them with good families. In our contract, any puppy that we sell has to come back to us and cannot be sold outright or taken to the humane society or shelter. We take any or all of them back as we are responsible breeders, as are the families that we sell to but we do know that things happen in life that we do not have control of and we want to be there for our puppies and our families we sell to. We want other people to experience what we breed in our Rottweilers.
Once all the puppies have been adopted to new homes, do you like to stay on top of what is happening with the pups through emails, pictures, cards, etc. Yes!!! We always love to hear from our families who contact us and share their joys, experiences, and love for our Rottweilers. We do send out Christmas cards and we call periodically to check and make sure everything is going good and see if they have any questions for us. Our phone is always on and they are always able to contact us for any questions they may have.
Are all of your Rottweilers that you breed used for showing? Yes, we feel that having several judges tell us in his/her opinion on how well our dogs fit the breed standard is important to us. We understand this is an opinion but it helps us in deciding what to keep back for breeding and what to breed our females and males to.
Where do you show your dogs at? We show in several different registries and styles. We personally prefer in German style shows as that is where the breed originated from and we like the look of the built german/european style Rottweiler. Each breeder will breed differently and you need to look at what your breeder is breeding to see what you like and what you want. We do also show in UKC and UCI All breed shows because they judge our dogs and not us the handlers.
Would you say that Rottweilers are an easy breed to raise or harder because of their ‘stubborn’ nature? I don’t know if I really would say they are stubborn, but they are a very free spirited breed that needs a good owner who will spend time with them, socialize them, and teach them how to be good canine citizens. As with any breed, they need guidance throughout their life to make wonderful family pets. Guidance, training, and socializing is needed no matter what the breed is. What makes them a good guardian breed is that because they love their family so much, they will protect you with their life.
If someone was considering breeding Rottweilers, what advice would you give to them? The first thing would be to tell them to do their homework and get a good mentor who knows the breed (there aren’t enough of them). Make sure you get good bloodlines. Meaning all their genetic clearances along with temperament, intelligence and breed standard. Remember, the puppies will be the product of your breeding. If your heart is truly in it, you are going to better the breed. Do a lot of research. It takes more than just putting two dogs together. It’s about promoting the breed in a good light.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to purchase a Rottweiler? This breed like any breed may not be for everyone, but always do your research. Go and look at several different kennels and meet the breeders. Go to several different reputable clubs. All puppies are cute, but in doing this you will see more and have a better idea on what you’re looking for and you will gain more reputable mentors to help you out.
Tips on raising the breed as a pet? It is extremely important that you take your new puppy to professional training classes to teach not only the puppy, but yourself as well. This will also help in socializing the puppy at a young age by being around other people and different dogs. The socialization of your puppy should continue throughout the life of your dog, not just at the puppy age.
Where should you purchase a Rottweiler puppy? Windego Rottweilers and Vom Hause Noble Rottweilers!!! Any other reputable, quality breeder who goes above and beyond the care and love that is required with being a reputable and responsible breeder.
How can someone protect themselves from breeders that aren’t up to par? Questions! Questions! Questions! If they don’t spend the time with you to answer your questions, that should be a huge red flag. You need to do your homework first and if the breeder you’re talking to doesn’t have knowledge on the breed, run!!! Make sure your breeder has proof of Hip/Elbow Certifications from Germany, OFA, PennHip, or OVC, Eye Certifications from CERF, and offer a minimum of a two year health guarantee on the puppy your going to be purchasing as we do. Look at the facility that they keep there dogs in. Are they tied to a tree or have huge clean dry kennels to move around in? Get references of previous customers and other breeders who know the breeder your talking to. If the breeder owns both parents be sure that you can meet them and that they are well socialized as that will tell you how well the puppies will be socialized. Do know that good reputable breeders do use stud dogs outside their kennel to further better what they are producing as they should, but they will still be able to show proof of his quality and genetics. Any breeder who does not do any or all of the above is a junk breeder, mom/pop breeder, or just a family who has two dogs. These are not quality breeders and do not do the breed any good or the families who are purchasing a lifelong puppy. Without guarantees please know that hip/elbow replacements as of 2010 is $8000 plus at the U of M in Minnesota. That can set a family back immensely financially when it all could have been prevented and guaranteed. With this guarantee, all though you won’t get your puppy back, at least you know you will get another pup and the peace of mind that your money wasn’t wasted when going through a quality breeder. You get what you pay for, even when buying a Rottweiler. You may spend more in the beginning, but the lack of vet bills will be way less in the end. “A Quality Rottweiler is NOT Expensive; it is Priceless.”
What advice would you give to someone about training their Rottweiler puppy? Go to a professional trainer and/or classes with your puppy as a team. They, or your breeder, will be your best guide if you have any questions. Puppy Kindergarten is a great place to start socializing your puppy to be around other people and different breeds of dogs. You will want to immediately start obedience training. Rottweiler puppies are cute, but they grow up to be 100 plus pound dogs. Early training is strongly encouraged. They are very intelligent and pick up new things quite easy. If you don’t train your dog, it will train you!
Alyssa and Tasha were kind enough to show me around their kennels where I had the privilege to meet not only both of the parents to my new puppy, but several other Rottweilers they have imported from Germany, Yugoslavia, and Australia. If you are looking for a well raised, quality bred, healthy Rottweiler puppy, please check out their websites at: Alyssa Simon’s at www.wrotts.com and Tasha Podratz’s at www.vhnrotts.com
Once leaving the breeder’s home and care, the responsibility transfers to the new owners. While the Rottweiler breed is not a breed for everyone, there should be some restrictions on those wishing to own one rather than putting the restrictions on the breed itself. If you do not have the time or money that it takes to raise one of these majestic dogs, don’t purchase one. These are not dogs who do well when left alone. They do not thrive being chained to a pole or tree and left outside alone in the elements. They want to be with their family. Please do not use the dog as a weapon in your defense. Get an alarm system put in your house or business if you are worried about someone breaking in. Rottweilers are family dogs. Rottweilers guard by nature. They don’t need any training to ensure this. If you are a Rottweiler owner then you already know that you are one of the lucky ones who gets to live with this incredible breed.
Rottweilers are not in need of extinction, nor are they in need of . Puppy mills, backyard breeders, and irresponsible owners are what have made this calm and collected breed into the ravishing canines you see reported in the news. Hollywood exploits this breed to show it as an aggressive, dangerous, over-protective animal that needs to be drugged in order for the star in the show to get into someone’s yard, house, or business. It makes one wonder why they never show the breed for what it’s true standard is. According to the
AKC: The Rottweiler temperament is basically a calm, confident, and courageous dog with a self-assured aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. A Rottweiler is self-confident and responds quietly and with a wait-and-see attitude 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.