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BIS, BISS CH Overnight Express Von Hobson, BH

TRC: 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.

TRC: 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.

TRC: 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.

TRC:  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.

TRC: 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.

TRC: You have quite the tenure with the breed. How have you seen the breed develop or not develop over the years?
JH: 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.

TRC: And what about temperament?
JH: 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.

CH Deacon Vom Landhaus SchH III, BH, ZTP, AD TRC: What dogs of the past come to mind that epitomized what a Rottweiler should be?
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 eyes.

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 (Ox).�

BIS, BISS CH Overnight Express Von Hobson, BH TRC: Yes!
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 dog.
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 capacity.

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 mean Schutzhund?
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 that area.

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.  Get Busy!

TRC: 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 experiences.
JH: Thank you.

Interview by Karim Camara

Past Interviews

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