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.

1 comment:

Willow said...

Enjoyed this post, and what a lovely portrait of Hummel.