WHAT IS THE DIFFERNCE BETWEEN
THE GERMAN ROTTWEILER AND THE AMERICAN ROTTWEILER?
By Steve Wolfson
Notes added in bold type by WCR/Bob Flynn and is not Steve Wolfson's opinion(s)
"This is what all breeders should strive to make."
Rottweiler Judge Joe Hedl mid ring talking about WCR's Athena vd Tal at the ARV Nationals 2007
ARV Nationals Critique by Judge Joe Hedl
10 month old female, very well built; good bone and substance; good confidence calm and friendly; beautiful pronounced breed type feminine head with medium size ears; good stop, deep set dark brown eyes; beautiful short full muzzle; straight front legs with very good tight feet; very good depth and width of chest; good muzzle; sufficient front and rear angulation; good top and bottom line with medium croup; good short coat with very good markings; good fluid movement with scissor bit. Rating VP1
While walking my Rottweiler Bronco, a gentleman approached the two of us and said, "Oh,
he's very nice, he must be a German Rottweiler!" I replied, "How did you know that?" He
then replied, "I can tell by the size of his head. His head is much bigger than my Rottie's head. German Rottweilers have much bigger heads than the American ones." I told him that
he was in error since Bronco was born and raised right here on Long Island, NY. He descends
from German stock, but they all do. Looking still puzzled by my explanation he asked, "Then
why all the Rottweilers I see have such small heads and potato stick legs?" That
characterization made me laugh. I then replied, "More likely, the ones you are seeing result from a poorly planned breeding program using inferior breeding stock." He told me he had paid a great
deal of money for his dog and was disappointed in the way it eventually turned out. I understood his disillusionment
and further explained that spending a large sum of money (I was afraid to ask the exact price he paid) was not the
correct criterion to procure a quality Rottweiler.
"The German Rottweilers are better", "The American Rottweilers have no bone substance, Are the American
Rottweilers from the same breeding stock?" I am asked these questions continually, so I thought it would be a good
idea to answer them, perhaps settling this colloquial notion. What is the difference between the German Rottweiler and
the American Rottweiler?
(You cannot get quality this good from a pure AKC bred Rottweiler, VI Karl vh Neubrand)
There is only one Rottweiler; correct in type* and construction according to the standard. No doubt, untypical and
poorly constructed specimens are everywhere. Often, I have encountered Rottweilers purchased as pets (even
represented as a show dog) I would consider completely lacking breed type *, yet I know they are pure bred
Rottweilers. Why the difference? Variations of size, shape, and head type etc, encountered in the breed happen for two
A Normal variance that occurs in the progeny when breeding Sire to Dam
B. Poor planning / Little Concern for the Rottweiler breed (some breeding's take place with no motive at all, but
for a monetary one).
WCR's Note: AMEN! This is an epidemic and it only happens because buyers will continue to not do their homework on the breed or the breeders. We breed only when we NEED a puppy to show, how many breeders are breeding and not keeping anything? How can a true attempt be made to breed correctly and with progression when the breeder plans on keeping nothing? This speaks volumes!!
A. Even when a litter is carefully planned, a percentage within the progeny is observed that varies in type and
construction. This is normal. Not every pup in the litter will be uniform. This divergence is a matter of genetic
inheritance which all competent and concerned breeders must deal with each time they decide to plan a litter.
When searching for a stud dog to utilize, the experienced breeder does their homework:
1. Researching the pedigrees of Sire and Dam.
2. Ascertaining whether the stud dog and brood bitch will compliment each other.
3 . What improvements can be realized in the upcoming litter?
4. What undesirable construction / type faults will possibly surface?
WCR's Note: Not always true that the experienced breeder will do this, how can they if they breed in their own backyards to the same male with everything they own, lest alone never venturing outside their own state or country?
(You cannot breed to an pure bred AKC male like Arzadon Tayson, the most titled male in history)
By doing homework, the concerned breeder reduces the occurrence of undesirable flaws and increases their chances of
producing desirable traits and a uniformity in the litter. Predicting results and having goals are the hallmark of a
concerned, experienced, responsible breeder.
WCR's Note: BINGO!
B. Undesirable traits which many people not deeply involved with the Rottweiler question are the Doberman-like
heads, long bodies, thin, spindle-like bones, general poor construction. These traits are repeatedly observed when the
Sire and Dam used in the breeding are not uniform in breed type*, poor planning (perhaps no planning at all) and little
concern for the Rottweiler breed. A breeding of this sort, for all concerned, should not occur.
Those are reasons why great variations are seen in Rottweilers. Top quality specimens are produced by thoughtful,
selective, hard working breeders. It does not matter what the country of origin is. Germany produces some of the finest
Rottweilers. Also included in this list are all of Europe, Russia, Canada and certainly the US. Quality is where you find
it; not exclusive to one particular place. Conversely, there are plenty of pin headed, potato, stick legged, grossly
overweight, giant sized Rottweilers available here and outside the US.
(A great Rottweiler at 1.75 years, bred in USA with 100% European lines)
However, there are differences when we compare breeding practices. Here are some highlights of the ADRK breeding
1. The ADRK has strict controls on which are bred.
2. The ADRK requires all dogs for breeding must pass a
minimum qualification test called the ZtPR
(Zuchttauglichkeitprufung). A dog cannot be coupled unless it
3. The ADRK standard does not allow any missing teeth.
4. Any dog/bitch which is over, or under the height range will
not pass the ZtPR.
5. All Rottweilers born after 1999 cannot have their tails docked. The practice of docking tails has been
WCR's Note: Even with all of this "safeguards" in place, Germany produces a large amount of undesirable type which sadly finds its way here in the form as that illustrious "Import." High quality imports are expensive, well within the 10's of thousands and even into the $100,000 range plus.
Compare the great Astor v Junipera to the American lineage Rotts, they are decades behind here. West Coast Rottweilers was the FIRST North American Rottweiler Breeder to bring Astor to the attention of all...now everyone uses him years later.
Does this translate into breeding better dogs? One must make a comparative analysis of this and come to a final
At the American Rottweiler Club national held in Orlando, Florida, March-2002, I observed some outstanding
specimens. I would not be able to determine their country of origin merely by looking at them and would be happy to
compete with these outstanding US Rottweilers in the Klub Sieger show in Germany. Beware of sales pitches, unethical breeders, claims which cannot be documented. Read, learn, ask detailed questions,
go to the shows, become a student of the breed. Do not be fooled by the “Grass is Greener” logic. By virtue of the dog's
country of origin does not make it better. This is a premise based in mythology and snob appeal.
WCR's Note: While this is true that "junk is junk" regardless of origin, Europe makes the best quality, period and WCR will always make the effort to utilize those exceptional specimen to continue our quest here for excellence.
Breed type for the Rottweiler is the essence of characteristics* that distinguishes it from others. *Essence of characteristics:
One must carefully read the standard to discover and comprehend the essence of characteristics.
"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
Steve Wolfson sits on the board of the American Rottweiler Club (ARC) and is actively judging, lecturing and writing articles on Rottweilers
The above comments are solely that of WCR/Bob Flynn
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