Friday, October 9, 2009


If I was given the opportunity to clone just one of the many wonderful Rottweilers I've had in my life, it would have to be Hummel. He was the epitome of the working Rottweiler, intelligent, attentive, quick to respond. He had been imported from Germany into Canada and I purchased him when he was not quite 2 years old. He had been trained as a working security dog and was intended as a "dual purpose" Rottweiler, a stud dog for my American linebred show and obediance breeding program and a working dog for my husband.

He was very different from my American dogs, incredibly well trained, but had absolutely no idea what "play" was. It took me close to six months to teach him that he could "chase" a ball ... he didn't have to sit until he was given the order to fetch and he didn't have to return it instantly to my hand. The more relaxed situation confused him for months, but eventually he decided that it was obviously not going to change, but that I was going to be "his person", perhaps because he thought I was so careless I needed protection.

He did learn to play, finally, and one of his favorite companions was a bitch from one of my first homebred litters that we called Catty. They both loved the winters and snow and would play for hours, though it did sound and look serious. One of my favorite photos was taken as they were playing in a snowdrift the second winter he was with us.
He was selectively sensible about his duties, although we did have occasional discussions about what required his protection and what did not. He often travelled with me and he was my shadow at home. He would work for my husband but if he gave him an order when I was present, he would look at me and I would have to repeat the command.

My husband was a police officer and did competition shooting, so often had handguns in the house. Hummel was not comfortable with him having one in his hand, stayed between us and would eventually "grumble" about the situation. On the other hand, I could carry my revolver into the house and he wouldn't even look up.

He was never shown, thanks to an argument with one of the horses, which left him missing lower front teeth. He absolutely never believed I should be allowed to lead one of those huge beasts around, they needed to be somewhere behind fences and even after years of travelling with me hauling horses, never trusted them.

His sons and daughters, however, proved that my feeling about his qualities as a sire were correct, as he produced many winning Rottweilers for my kennel, including youngsters that were AKC champions, obediance title holders, won or placed at Rottweiler specialties and several that went on to be rated top-10 nationally through AKC.

I did this portrait of him as an older dog, after he was starting to feel the effects of arthritis during the northern winters. He would sneak into the bedroom and nap on the heated waterbed when I was out doing chores even though he knew it was not something he was supposed to do.

"Who's been sleeping in my bed?" was always my first comment when I caught him ... and he always responded with this very typical Rottweiler expression, flattened ears and the "oops ... must have been sleepwalking again" look.
He has been gone more than 15 years now and I still look at his portrait, remember the love he gave so whole-heartedly, the sense of security I always had when he was with me ... and find a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I have had one or more dogs almost all of my life, except for the few years I was a city dweller. A friend introduced me to dog shows in the early 70s and I started looking for "my" breed a year or two later. All puppies are adorable, but I was lost the minute I picked up my first Rottweiler puppy.
My first puppy came from Arizona, the second came from the Merrymoore Kennels in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1976, and my Rottweiler experience began, a love affair that lasted for more than 20 years. My last homebred litter was whelped in 1991, shortly after my mother died and my father came to live with me. I moved from Montana to Kentucky in 1998 with the horses and my last two Rotts. The following year, my last homebred dog died of cancer and the year after that I lost Heidi.

My first show dog undoubtedly gave me an unrealistic view of the show dog world in some respects. Merrymoore's Ric-O-Shay got his AKC championship as well as his AKC obediance title and went on to be shown as a champion and was in the top-10 standings nationally for two years, with very limited showing. Not only was he a superlative showdog, but was an incredible ambassador for what was then a comparatively rare breed.
My breeding program was primarily based on Rottweilers from the Merrymoore Kennel in Georgia and my plan was to have several linebred bitches to establish a foundation, then bring in a dog from completely different lines. The outcross was a German import, making the bloodlines as much different as possible, with a more compact body, which I wanted and an extreme head. and "Hummel" became my personal companion.

He was a trained working security dog when I purchased him at just under two years old, intended originally as my husband's working dog, but he decided I was "his person" and he because my personal companion. He produced a number of outstanding show dogs as well as many working police dogs and several search and rescue dogs.
Hummel himself was never shown, thanks to an early introduction to horses, which left him with several missing teeth, but his offspring certainly made their mark in the show and working world, particularly with his daughters. One daughter finished her championship at Westminster by taking Winner's Bitch from the open class and went on to go Best Opposite the following year as a competing champion. Another daughter won or placed at both Regional and National specialties as well as being top-ten rated in the AKC national standings both as a class bitch and as a special.

His portrait and more details about him are on my art studio website:

Pennybrooke at Westminster

Elsa at the Region VI Specialty

I no longer have a Rottweiler in my home, but somehow, after so many years, it seems wrong that there is not a big black dog by my side as there was for so many years of my life.