Things change. Sometimes for the better and other times, for the worse. The problem with changes over long periods of time is that they tend to go unnoticed. Rottweiler breeding programs are a very good example of a gradual change for the worse: a relatively new trend here in the USA.
To fill you in historically, a breeding program was essentially taking two exceptional specimens (dog and bitch) and having them reproduce exceptional specimens to begin the work of genetically upgrading or maintaining a high standard within that breed. It used to be that the breeder would keep a female or two from his own breedings, then find an exceptional male from another kennel (with genetic ties to the female) and breed that male to his female, thus creating a third generation from which to further carry on the program. It was understood that to do this, you had to start with good foundation stock, keep good female offspring and breed that offspring to good males. This would be continued for years, hopefully proving out the original foundation pair and thus,the breeding program itself. This way, when someone wanted to buy a pup, they would know that they were getting an animal with a proven pedigree and some existing evidence that there were no health issues and so on.
This was also where various ‘lines’ of Rottweilers would originate, sort of like good wines from a well known winery or well bred horses from a specific stable. It used to be that you could look at a Rottweiler and almost tell what breeding program the dog came from. Those days are pretty much gone.
Fast forward to today. Here is the new scenario, all too often played out in Rottweiler kennels: Someone has a lot of money to burn, buys two stud dogs and a few females from Europe to begin a kennel. This is the slam dunk mentality and although it takes little time to get up and running, it is worthless as a breeding program. Why? Because the breeder is not proving out his stock. He is breeding Dog ‘A’ to Bitch ‘B’ and selling the pups, based solely on the merits of the parents. That’s it. All guarantees and glowing descriptions (you know the drill – “the greatest dog in the world”, etc) aside, what is being accomplished? None of the dogs in this scenario are proven within the framework of a breeding program, which can take five to ten years to develop (longer if the foundation pair have failed to produce good offspring). You see, just because the parents have fantastic pedigrees, or just because they are good looking dogs, doesn’t necessarily result in correct offspring. It will definitely help, but, again, the breeding program must be done to prove out the foundation stock. Period. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are lying. Period.
You also see a similarity in hobby kennels where someone is breeding two dogs regardless of quality, pedigree, phenotype, etc. They advertise them as ‘AKC’ or some such to apparently impress buyers, when in fact, all Rottweilers can be AKC registered – it has absolutely no bearing on the quality of any one dog. These individuals have even less of an idea of what they are doing than my first example and when they find out that there is very little money to be made, end their hobby, usually within five years.
What do both of these types of people have in common? Money Motivation. These individuals, in my opinion, are not doing the work necessary and taking the time needed to create a viable line of Rottweilers. In order to justify their money motivation, some of these people will eventually resort to lying, misrepresenting their breeding stock and other methods to make a sale. It always catches up with them, either through bad word of mouth, lawsuits, banishment from the AKC, etc. I have seen and heard it all.
The above descriptions were more the exception rather than the rule when I first became interested in Rottweilers, over fifteen years ago. In my opinion, the first purpose of a breeding kennel is to dedicate itself to the betterment of the breed. Money is the reward the breeder receives for doing the hard work of creating healthy, well bred pups for others to enjoy as fine examples of the Rottweiler breed. When a kennel devolves into some kind of cash cow then I think it’s time to re-evaluate Rottweiler breeding, particularly here in the United States.
Please understand again that the lazy use of the subject of genetics, as practiced in the above examples, is not scientific at all and without actually studying the results over time, is at best unreliable. To compound the problem by claiming their pups are as good as the parents with no proof in the form of a breeding program, makes the fantastic claims of those involved even more ludicrous.
While any major change in this situation will most likely not happen any time soon, I thought posting this would at least raise some awareness on the subject.