Rules of Breeding
Reprinted with the permission of Clara
Hurley (Powderhorn Press) from 'The Rottweiler in Word and Picture', published
by the Allgemeine Deutsche Rottweiler Klub E.V. 1926.
The Chairman of the Verein fuer deutsche Schaeferhunde SV (German Shepherd
Club), Captain von Stephanitz, has the undisputed honor to have contributed
substantially to the phenomenal development of German dogs. We have his rich
experience to thank for the following "Golden Rules of Breeding".
1. Breed out of love for your dogs, for your happiness and pleasure, but never
for profit, because then your accounts would not balance. Keep your breeding
stock and the growing puppies around you all the time, give them your attention
and room to exercise, work them and observe their physical and mental
development. Only completely healthy, strong-nerved dogs serve the breed. But
your dog only becomes what a Rottweiler should be and what we require of him,
not when he is just another household servant, but when he is spiritually close
to you. Only then will you really enjoy him and have earned the basis for a
promising kennel and true working dogs.
2. Remember that Rottweiler breeding must be the breeding of working dogs, if it
is to remain Rottweiler breeding. Keep our goal before you: a highly talented,
capable dog with perfect working dog conformation.
3. Strive for the highest perfection within the framework of this goal, but do
not exhaust your animals and the breed at the cost of health and working
ability. Always think of the future, not of yourself.
4. Breeding for a Sieger is not a worthy goal. Rather, we should strive to breed
working dogs who raise the breed average through maintaining, establishing and
perfecting the good, better or complete elimination of faults, so far as is
possible, for not every dog "must" be bred, only those dogs found breed worthy.
5. Mass-produced, kennel, or city-bred dogs are never good breeders. Choose your
bitch, the basis of future breeding, from a tough, healthy working stock, and
select a stud dog for her accordingly. Show dogs and prize winners are not
always the best and most dependable for breeding, especially not the bitches.
6. Pair your breeding animals - the stud dog need not be your own - according to
bloodlines, constitution, build, character, training and capabilities. Weak
nerved or shy animals are not breed worthy, nor are those who have had serious
illness (distemper, rickets, etc.); the disposition for an illness can be
inherited. Healthy, well-kept dogs also have a strong healthy bite, a close,
tough coat, clear eyes and a spirited character.
7. Breed on good blood, but do not overdo inbreeding; it is sufficient if the
bitch has a common ancestor in the fourth or fifth generation. Leave close
inbreeding to the experienced breeder who can tell whether an increase in the
obvious good characteristics is to be expected from a mating, or whether hidden
faults might show up, of which both parents are the carriers. If you do not yet
know enough about bloodlines and breeding according to them, turn to the
breeding supervisor of your local group.
8. Make sure that your animal carries the characteristics of its sex, not those
of the opposite sex. Bitchy dogs and doggy bitches do not benefit breeding. Both
partners should also match each other in size and bone structure. Do not breed
with old nor with young animals; dogs are only mature at the end of their second
year, bitches just a few months earlier, and should not be bred sooner. In about
the eighth year - with bitches earlier - breeding capacity slows down
significantly. But above all, don't chase after a "Sieger" just because he won a
prize. He was the best in the ring, but that doesn't mean he is the best for the
breed, or especially, that he is right for your bitch.
9. Choose the right stud for your bitch well ahead of time, not just when she
comes into heat. And ask the dog's owner promptly whether he will make his dog
available for your bitch. Arrange everything in writing ahead of time, observe
the business arrangements precisely, and pay the stud fee promptly. Breeding
does not mean being sloppy.
10. Keep a close watch for the first signs of heat in a bitch and keep her
safely locked up until the end of the period, (long after the mating). "It's
harder to guard a bitch in heat than a sack of fleas," says an Arab proverb. A "mismarriage"
is possible at any time during heat; if it happens, there is nothing more to be
done for this litter, but it will not hurt future litters. Above all, don't try
to hush anything up. Our efforts depend upon honestly and trust, so be careful
that trust does not become shaky because of you. Inform the breeding supervisor
and the ADRK Stud Book Office of such eventualities. If the bitch was bred to a
dog of another breed, the litter is not purebred and cannot be registered. But
if a second Rottweiler has serviced your bitch, both dogs must be listed as
fathers in the registration. Keep careful record of all events in your kennel,
because you will often turn to it for advice later on.
11. Do not put off the mating too long in the belief that more male puppies will
result. This is only a superstition which brings weaker puppies. The willingness
and receptive period of your bitch can also lapse, and finally, we need good
puppy bitches. But bring your bitch to a dog only when she is completely healthy
and no contagious diseases such as distemper or mange are going around your
kennel. Also be on the lookout for the presence of vaginal swelling, otherwise
you are paying a stud fee for nothing. One mating is enough.
12. A weak or sickly bitch should absolutely not be bred; instead, skip that
period. In contrast, a healthy, strong bitch can be bred during each heat, that
is, twice a year; but let her raise fewer puppies. Bitches skipping a period
gain weight easily, fat animals do not serve the breed, and such bitches often
do not accept a dog.
13. Supervise your pregnant bitch - only around the fifth week does she show
signs of a successful mating - give her plenty of exercise without tiring her
out, do not allow boisterous hunting or fighting with other dogs, and no jumping
or climbing. Feed her well and keep her well nourished; meat, dog meal, no broth, and
gradually get her used to larger quantities of milk, don't forget calcium and
phosphorous (lecithin), but don't overfeed her. The larger amounts of food
should be divided into three or four meals, so as not to fill up the stomach and
thereby harm the back too much. In high carriers the full uterus has already
done the same thing. Before pregnancy and about two weeks before whelping, worm
the mother-to-be, but don't do a quack's job with all sorts of advertised "sure
cures." Instead, ask the veterinarian, who alone can measure out the correct
effective, and harmless dose. Asthinol, the most effective cure for intestinal
worms, can only be prescribed by a Vet. Take good care of the bitch's coat too;
shortly before the whelping date she should be bathed carefully in a
solution or treated with Cuprex, so that she will climb into the litter box free
of vermin. Whelping usually occurs on the 62nd day.
14. For the "nest," choose a litter box placed in a draft-free, dry spot. Also,
a well conditioned Rottweiler can whelp in a suitably furnished dog house
outdoors, even in winter. It is better to raise a hardy litter than spoiled
weaklings. Get the bitch used to her box ahead of time; the first few days it
should be empty of bedding.
15. During whelping do not disturb the bitch. Usually everything goes smoothly
and you can hardly help anyway. If necessary, call the Vet. Above all, keep
strangers, other dogs and cats away. A few hours later or in the morning take
the mother away from the litter so she can relieve herself, and at this time
check the litter. Weak or malformed puppies are to be killed, as are superfluous
ones. A strong bitch who is bred only once a year should not be left more than
five or six puppies, a bitch who is bred every season, about four, and for the
first time mother, better only two or three. If no wet nurse is available, the
extra puppies should be killed without the mother noticing it. The wet nurse has
to be procured ahead of time, so she can make herself at home. She should have
whelped about the same time as the mother, but the first milk (beastings) should
come from the mother. Wet nursing is not always a success, but under no
circumstances resort to a bottle. You certainly don't have the time required for
careful artificial upbringing, nor does your wife, and at best there will be
weaklings who will endanger their littermates with poor health. Too large a
litter is also susceptible to disease from the first, because even the strongest
mother cannot nourish a surplus well, so from the first, get rid of the extra
puppies! Report the litter to your group supervisor, so that he can look it over
and advise you.
16. Feed your bitch well while she is nursing, as much as she can hold: meat,
good dog food (Phosphorous - Cod Liver Oil - Puppy Food), as well as rolled
oats, oatmeal soup with milk and whole milk, calcium and phosphorous. No sudden
changes in diet; the mother's nipples should be washed daily, and her and the
puppies' elimination should be watched. As long as the mother is nursing, she
will keep the litter box clean. Later on the breeder must do it. On the second
or third day the box can be filled with straw. Keeping the box, the mother, and
the puppies clean is necessary to keep them vermin-free. Negligence has a bitter
revenge in the weakening of the puppies, who become underdeveloped and
susceptible to disease. Cleanliness also prevents as far as possible the
ingestion of roundworm eggs. For this reason too, the mother should relieve
herself away from the litter room. On the second or third day, use a scissor to
cut away any dewclaws on the hind legs. The tail should also be docked then. Cut
it between the second and third tail vertebrae, pull the skin back over the
second vertebra, cut this off too and draw the skin back together. A few drops
of iodine tincture cause blood clotting and fast healing.
17. If the mother's milk supply wanes, you can begin to add finely grated raw
meat at the end of the third week, otherwise wait until the fifth week for this.
Besides the meat, lukewarm oatmeal gruel or thick meat broth with Phosphorous -
Cod Liver Oil - Puppy Food (at first ground, then coarse) may be given. As long
as the mother is nursing, no other milk. Toward the end of the sixth week the
puppies should be completely weaned, five to six daily feedings, the mother at
first only at night, then not brought to them at all for several days. Increase
the amount of meat, gradually accustom them to cow or goat milk (whole, and not
boiled), add minerals salts as above. So puppies weaned and made independent at
the end of the eighth week, strong and ready to go it alone. Feed the mother
lightly during the last days of weaning. Wash the nipples with vinegar water,
and give her lots of exercise.
18. If such a well cared for litter or individual puppies do not gain weight
(weigh them regularly!), if the coat is patchy, if they are tired or unspirited
or whine a lot, get a veterinarian. Probably they have worms. If the litter is
strong, wait with the first worming until the little fellows are a few weeks
old. Don't be a quack with your own puppies. Only a professional (the Vet) can
undertake the right treatment. Asthinol, the best remedy, can only be prescribed
by a Vet. Beware of all "surefire" worm pills, distemper cures, etc. When the
puppies can leave the box on their own, let them go. Air, light, sun, play and
exercise do them good. Just see that the playground is firm and that they can
rest in a dry spot, not in full sun. Begin their education by accustoming them
to regularity (mealtimes) and cleanliness (after meals take them to a grassy
place to relieve themselves). Above all, through your actions, develop in the
growing puppies trust in the love and goodness of their master, and you will lay
the foundations for a useful Rottweiler! Toward the end of the eighth week
report the litter for registration in the Rottweiler Studbook to the Stud Book
Office of the Allgemeine Deutsche Rottweiler Klub, Stuttgart, Rotenwaldstrasse
83a. Registration blanks can be ordered there, the mother's certificate of
mating is to be sent in with it, the correctness of the form has to be certified
by the breeding supervisor of your group. Before registration, the puppies must
be given names.