How long have you been a Rottweiler hobbyist?
JH: I saw my first Rottweiler in
1979, in the back of a pick-up truck at Dania Beach, Florida. He was the
most beautiful and noble looking dog I have ever seen in my whole life, and
a very stable temperament to boot. How else could he stay in the back of
that pick-up truck!!!!!!!!! My fianc�e (my husband now) had a friend whose
mother was a breeder in Alabama. She sent us a six-month-old puppy that had
never been out of the kennel. From the moment out of the vari kennel he
taught me about stable temperament. I believe that is why I am such a
stickler about temperament. I started with the best! I have owned
Rottweilers since 1982. I began actively showing around 1988 when I started
showing my first show dog, Calvin von Valiant Bismark, and I bred my first
litter in 1989 under the kennel name Hobson's Choice.
How did you come to be a professional handler?
JH: I started handling my first
Rottweiler, Calvin, around 1985 at match shows. At that time the obsession
hit me, my search was on for a bitch. I purchased two females from Judy
Uggiano, who bred under the kennel name Razdy's. She took me under her wing
and taught me about showing. At the same time I was taking handling classes
from my handling mentor Mickey Cooke, who taught at Schooley Mountain Kennel
Club. At that time I was showing my own dog, Calvin, and a few of Judy's
show females. Judy also gave me the opportunity to start spot specialing her
dog, Champion Razdy's Abraham. I was always able to help other handler's
covering dogs. Around 1989 a large Bullmastiff kennel owner approached me to
handle her dogs. The kennel was Allstar bullmastiff and the breeder was Mimi
Einstein. The rest is history.
You seem to have a wide range of Rottweiler activities and are one of the
very few people in the United States who shows your own dogs in conformation
and trains your own dogs on the Schutzhund field. How did you end up
becoming a Schutzhund enthusiast?
JH: In 1992 I went to North
Carolina with a friend who was breeding a bitch to a working Schutzhund III
dog. There happened to be a Schutzhund seminar at the kennel that weekend
led by Gary Hanrahan. I attended the seminar and was just awe-struck by the
tracking which was the first part of the seminar. I watched a Rottweiler
track with such accuracy and work ethic. It was at that point that I was hooked
on the sport. Next were the obedience and protection phases and I knew this
was a sport for me.
And where did your Schutzhund interest go from there?
JH: Wayne Simanovich, who is a
well-known Schutzhund trainer referred me to T. Floyd and recommended him as
a trainer. It was T. Floyd who taught me all my basics for the sport. My
theory on training in any sport is to learn from the best. Since that first
seminar I have titled multiple dogs to Schutzhund titles. I still enjoy it
thoroughly and it�s still an active part of my life.
Felicia Luburich speaks about the need for breeders to establish priorities
and often says, �if you don�t choose it, you lose it�. What things do
you chose to emphasize in your breeding program?
JH: I bred for the proper
Rottweiler head, bone and substance, a dog that is balanced in terms of
proportion and that has excellent movement. And my major emphasis to breed
the best stable temperaments, to produce the best overall companion with
good drives to accomplish whatever their owners ask of them -- loyal
companions, champions, obedience, or Schutzhund. The dog's only limits would
be owner-defined. Since my
handling has expanded, I usually breed every two to three years, primarily
when I am looking for a new dog. I can only hope that new enthusiasts in the
breed can represent the breed with the nobility, intelligence and love of
raising, showing, competing and living with a breed that is truly the
greatest of friends, companions, and work partners.
You have quite the tenure with
the breed. How have you seen the breed develop or not develop over the
Since being in the breed I have
seen a decline in overall breed type, especially head types and body
proportion. No more do we see compact and correct body proportions. The nine
to ten in the standard is now nine to twelve if not longer.
And what about temperament?
One of the changes I have seen
are actually in temperaments. I don�t see as many of the strong, confident
dogs of the past. Now I am seeing, shy, nervy flight dogs. These dogs when
pushed will either bite out of fear or flee in fear.
What dogs of the past come to mind that epitomized what a Rottweiler should
JH: Felicia Luburich�s import
Bronco von Rauberfeld had great body proportions and unbelievable topline.
He was an extremely beautiful Rottweiler.
One of the most beautiful dogs that I have seen is Multi V1 Sieger
Gustav von Preussenblut SchH III, BH, AD.
He was one of the typiest, most ideal specimens that I have ever
seen. He was extremely dog aggressive but did well in the Sieger shows. My
friend Eddie Stevenson bred his top working bitch to him and I got Deacon
von Landhaus who I trained to his SchH 3 and his AKC Championship. I must
add that I haven�t seen any dog yet who was perfect to the standard in my
TRC: You currently have a dog
that a lot of people on the East Coast have been talking about. Can you tell
us about him?
JH: You mean �Overnight Express
JH: He is an AKC Champion,
All-breed Best in Show, has been V-1 at USRC Regional shows and was USRC
Select male at the 2005 Regional. I would like to title him to a SchH 3 and
than also do agility with him.
TRC: Sounds like a very versatile
JH: Yes - he�s the most gifted
dog I have ever had. Many GSD people say they would be proud to say they
bred him. He just wants to work. He�ll work in the heat, work tired,
whatever. He just has tremendous drive and continues to exceed his physical
TRC: He is a rare dog in
today�s Rottweiler world. To have his AKC show title, to excel in the
German-style ring, and to excel as a working dog. Do you place as high a
priority on the working titles as you do conformation?
JH: Yes, a balanced dog has at
least two titles. One on both sides of its name.
TRC: By working title - do you
JH: No, not necessarily. I have
learned about and respect most of the working titles that one can attain.
The point is to get busy with your dog and find out what their gifts are:
obedience, agility, herding, Schutzhund, etc. In the Schutzhund USA
organization, dogs now have the ability to attain a tracking title 1, 2 and
3, also Obedience 1, 2, and 3 which allows people to attain these titles
without having to do the bite work involved in a Schutzhund title, which is
actually great for new people in the sport. We recently had a well-known
trainer at a seminar. He told us that there were a few dogs that were good
but that the majority were not. He suggested the owners get rid of their
dogs and find better dogs if they wanted to succeed in the sport. I agree -
maybe the dogs were not good for Schutzhund, but now with the other working
titles given by Schutzhund USA, a dog that might not possess good bite
drive, I�m sure can succeed in either tracking or obedience. This is a
great beginning for new people to get involved in the sport and keep their
existing dogs. Find out where the dog excels and develop its potential in
TRC: What do you look for in your breeding program?
JH: Please let me be clear,
I truly believe there is no better test for breeding stock then Schutzhund
titles. It tests all three drives of the dog, which is so important to the
whole breeding program. Over
here in America it is much harder to find #1 good trainers, #2 good clubs,
etc. Over in Germany and other
countries it is more of a way of life, which increases good trainers and
good helpers. Here in America we emphasize on sports like soccer, baseball
etc. Over there it is dog sports. The
sport in general is very time consuming. If not for the support of a great
husband and great trainers, I would not be in it.
So I recommend looking for strengths that will benefit your bitches. Where your bitch lacks structure, find those dogs that excel
in that area and seek out the dogs with the drives you need to excel in
(herding, agility, obedience, etc). If
looking at working dogs, always check the scorebook.
The scorebook is usually a reflection of the dogs drives.
I have a problem with people importing SchH dogs and never working
them in the sport, not knowing where their weaknesses lie yet breeding them
non-selectively. Most of these people are in it for the notoriety, of having
a sport dog. Also, some of the
imported dogs that have titles were not actually tested on a even trial
field but sometimes politically correct field. The title attained was used
for exporting the dog to another country.
(where there are people there are politics) With this in mind go out and excel in whatever sport sparks
interest in both you and your dog and do it with passion.
It is difficult to end the
conversation because you are giving some interesting insight but I think I
have taken up enough of your time. Thank you for sharing your Rottweiler