TRC: Well, Mrs. Wade, why don�t you start by telling the readers about your Rottweiler history. How and when you came to "be owned by the breed"?
DW: My passion for dogs began as a child and accelerated in my early teens after reading all of the Albert Payson Terhune books. I graduated to devouring every issue of Dog World magazine that I could obtain which opened my eyes to the world of dog shows. When I went out on my own, I acquired my first show dog - a Collie from Patricia Starkweather's Glen Hill kennel in
In 1963, after my marriage and as my family grew, I began my search for a companion dog and one that I could also show. We wanted a large breed with a short coat - not as large as a Great Dane or Mastiff and not prone to jowls like the Bull Mastiff or Boxer. The Doberman and Rottweiler were the obvious choices. At that time, the literature on the Rottweiler indicated that this was an intelligent, protective breed that could distinguish between a real threat and normal everyday activity. It also indicated that the Rottweiler was a wonderful family dog. Who could ask for more? The literature was not wrong! Over the years, we raised five children among many different Rottweilers without any hint of a problem.
Who were some of the well-known people and/or kennels that were active in the breed when you first started?
DW: Though my search began in 1963, it was not until 1965 that I obtained my first puppy. There were only a few people involved with the Rottweiler at that time. The waiting lists for a puppy were long and breedings did not always work out. Some of the prominent breeders listed in Dog World were Joan Klem and Pat and Marthajo Rademacher of Rodsden; Srigo, with Felicia Luberich at the helm; Barbara Hoard of Panamint; Herman Heid in Ohio, and, I believe, Von Hohenzollern, also in Ohio. In New Jersey, Bill and Pat Stahl, who were among the early forces in the formation of the Colonial Rottweiler Club, also did some breeding.
TRC: What are some of your accomplishments in the breed that you are most proud of?
DW: My most memorable accomplishments over these last 40 years are probably too many to list. But I believe three might be considered very special. The first was in 1970, when I handled Dago v d Ammerquelle to Best of Breed at the Colonial Rottweiler Specialty. This
win was from the Open Dog class over 11 specials in an entry of between 60-70 dogs which was a record at the time.
The next extremely exciting day was in 1983. Ch. Doroh's Just Grand, TD became the FIRST bitch to win Best of Breed at the American Rottweiler Club National Specialty in an entry of approximately 165 dogs. What made this win even more memorable was that Just Grand was handled by my 16 year old daughter Veronica (Ronnie). Ronnie and Just Grand were awarded Best Junior Handler in the morning and went on to take the breed later that same day!
Another "priceless" moment came in 1992, when Oakbrook's Caliber v Doroh won Best of Breed from the Bred By Exhibitor class at the Colonial Rottweiler Club specialty in an entry of 355 class dogs and 55 specials. He was just 18 months old and handled by his co-breeder/co-owner Dr. Eric Jimenez. Bullet (who was owned by Art Twiss and always handled by Eric) then went to the MRC specialty that same year and was awarded BOW. In 1993, he was awarded BOB at the American Rottweiler Club National Specialty in Ohio.
Those are great accomplishments, to say the least. Besides judging, what is your Rottweiler involvement presently? Are you still breeding?
DW: Currently, I am not in a position to raise puppies. When I got to my "Z" litter, I thought that would be a good time to fold up the whelping box. Happily, my daughter, Monica Kline, has picked up the reins and continues a breeding program under the Bel Canto prefix. She recently whelped the 10th generation from a direct line of Doroh bitches.
TRC: Interesting, how does it feels to have your daughter carry on the family rottweiler tradition?
DW: It is especially gratifying to see the efforts of my 40 years in the
breed used as a stepping stone by Monica. She has produced just five Bel Canto litters. The latest babies are three months old and two other breedings resulted in one puppy each. One of those singletons is just 10 months of age. So from a total of 11 pups from the three other litters, Monica has produced three CDs, two TDs, two major pointed bitches - one just 3 points from her championship and two specialty winning dogs - Ch. Bel Canto Blues. HIC and Ch. Bel Canto's Beach Boy, HIC (an ARC Top 10 and Canine Chronicle Top 20 Rottweiler in 2002). Am I proud? You bet!
TRC: Have you ever come across her dogs while in the ring judging? How did that work out?
DW: I have very strong feelings about what constitutes a conflict of interest in judging. It is made clear to anyone who owns a Bel Canto dog that they should not enter a show where I am judging. The same is true for any co-owners, close friends, and those with whom I have had more than a passing business relationship. By that I mean, if I have bought a dog(s) from them, or used their stud dogs, or they mine in a continuing back and forth arrangement.
TRC: Can you comment about the current state of the breed from your experienced perspective?
DW: There are a number of problems prevalent in the breed today, namely, the trend to large, light markings and pink mouths. And it seems almost impossible to find the beautiful dark, almond eye that gives the Rottweiler its wonderfully intelligent expression. But there are two structural problems that I fear will be extremely difficult to eradicate. One is the sloping croup and the other, that is seen more and more, is the sickle hock. The correct Rottweiler should get from point A to point B in a few strides - not in a dozen mincing steps. Racing around the ring is the usual method of concealing a dog's inability to properly cover ground.
The German Shepherd Dog and the Doberman Pinscher (which I believe have been in the US longer then Rottweilers) seem to have developed into at least two different "styles/types" here in the US, are we at that point in the Rottweiler yet?
DW: Not really. The pendulum moves back and forth, usually depending on the popular stud of the day. For a while lovely heads and rich color were the norm, regardless of how the dog moved. Now it seems that large, light markings accompanied by a relatively level topline are in vogue, in spite of straight shoulders and sickle hocks. I am always astounded that judges disregard serious structural faults simply because a dog is "flashy."
What, to you, makes a Rottweiler the "total Rottweiler" that is a great representative of the breed?
DW: That's a tough question but it really shouldn't be. The standard tells us what the total Rottweiler should be. Males should definitely look like
males. It is a bit disconcerting when you can't tell at a glance whether it is a dog or a bitch. Too often we see that Winners Bitch is larger than Winners Dog. There is something wrong with that picture! Once you have your "stallion" of a male and a bitch with substance (not blubber), to me the expression is paramount. Rottweilers should give the impression that they are always thinking (because they are!) and this can only come from the beautiful dark almond eye. Temperament should also be at the top of the list. A Rottweiler should never shy away or appear fearful in or out of the ring. Judges who give placements to such dogs do a great disservice to the breed and future generations of breeders who believe such behavior is acceptable.
It seems like the issue of dealing with "tailed Rottweilers" is becoming a big issue here in the United States. What is your opinion about undocked Rottweilers in the ring? And have you or would you judge one or excuse it?
DW: I believe most folks know how I feel about this subject. The Rottweiler standard says "the tail is docked close to the body." It doesn't say "it MAY be� or �it is preferred�, or any other subjective term. It says "IS docked close to the body." But to answer your question. I would not judge a Rottweiler with a tail - it would be excused. You cannot judge the total dog if you have no idea what constitutes the correct tail. Many judges say there is nothing in the standard that indicates a dog can't have a full tail. Therefore, they just envision the dog with a docked tail and judge it on its other merits. Well, I wonder what would happen if I entered the ring with a "cropped" Rottweiler? There is nothing in the standard that says the ears should not be cropped. I assume the judge would just have to imagine what my dog would look like with pendant ears and judge it on its other merits. Tell me honestly, do you think I would be allowed to remain in the ring?
TRC: And finally, what advice would you give the new Rottweiler enthusiast?
DW: Read, read, read everythingI Not just about the Rottweiler as there is a wealth of knowledge that can be obtained from material written about/for other breeds. However, a good place to start is the Rottweiler Standard. Join a Rottweiler club, most have excellent newsletters. Talk to as many long-time reputable breeders as possible and watch the judging at large entries, especially specialties.
TRC: Thank you very much for your contributions to the breed and for taking the time for this interview.
DW: Thank you. It is my pleasure.