Following is a reprint of sections of an interview between Anton Spindler and Erika Beqaj that was published in the The Rottweiler Quarterly magazine.
TRQ: Herr Spindler was born in Munich, Germany in 1956. He is an FCI-VDH-ADRK Rottweiler Breed Specialist as well as an ADRK-licensed helper. He has also held numerous positions in the ADRK which include:
Vice President (1994-1996)
Board-committee member for ADRK Rules and Regulations and business matters;
Head of the Office of Internal Affairs as of 1996
Aside from positions with the ADRK, Toni has also served as President and Vice President on the regional (state) level for South Bavaria; as the President of the local ADRK club "BG Meitingen/Nordschwaben"; as well as their former Breed Warden, Sport Warden, Press Secretary, etc., etc. Toni began judging Rottweilers in 1993 for both the ADRK and VDH. As of July 1, 1997, Toni was approved as a Körmeister which qualifies him to judge Rottweilers on all levels. His list of judging assignments is quite numerous and some of the most prestigious include:
1994 and 1997 ADRK Klubsiegerzuchtschau
1997/ IFR Chicago
Q. Can you tell us about some of the differences in judging at this IFR as opposed to judging an IFR in Europe….or ADRK shows?
A. Yes, there is a difference especially when you compare this IFR or AKC show - to ADRK shows. I'll try to cover some of the main points. First, there is the difference between the FCI and AKC Standards which makes a difference in judging. No missing teeth are allowed in the FCI/ADRK standard.
Next, dogs are expected to gait at an ADRK show for at least a half-hour in a good sized ring and the dogs must be able to run.
Third, another difference at the IFR in Chicago was there were no individual written critiques aside from the 1st through 4th Place dogs. Fourth, the number of dogs allowed to be entered in each class was much higher than that allowed in ADRK shows where every dog gets a complete examination and an evaluation which results in a written critique and an individual rating (V, SG, G, etc.). As such, a judge can do no more than 50-60 dogs per day per judge so the judge has enough time to critique and rate each dog individually.
Q. How and when did you become interested in judging Rottweilers?
A. I became interested in judging because I liked the breed so much and thought that I could get to learn more about the dogs by judging them. A judge gets to see so many dogs at so much closer range than does the average breeder. Also, I think that because of my big interest in the sport as well as my background and level of knowledge about the breed, I could give a little of myself back to the breed. First, I had to earn all the qualifications to be eligible as a trainee; next, I had to pass the requirements as a working judge; finally, as a breed judge.
Q. Who are the people in Rottweilers who helped you and made a favorable impression upon you?
A. My all-time idol as a breed judge was my close friend and long-time ADRK Head Breed Warden, Willi Hedtke, who died in 1996. Willi had an "eye" for a dog like no one else I've seen. Most of all, I was impressed with his ring procedure and just the way he was as a person with both the exhibitors and dogs.
In sports, my idol is the ADRK's present Head Sport Warden, Dieter Haspel. He's got a great personality and has so much knowledge about training that he's simply unbeatable!
I'm most impressed with Roland Seibel as a handler. Roland also has a great personality. He's a very fine guy and is unbelievable to watch.
Finally, I have a deep respect for the ADRK's present 1st President, Hans Jürgen Eberbach. ADRK's main success since 1990 has to do with his great leadership. He's undeniably a Rottweiler lover and a fair sportsman.
I can't really discuss any present-day breeders in my position as a judge as I'm sure you can understand why. But I am very thankful to Mrs. Rotraud and Mr. Rudi Rabe, owners of the Von der Flugschneise Kennel. Their more than 20-year involvement with Rottweilers has resulted in outstanding efforts on behalf of our breed…as well as having provided me with such a wonderful dogs.
And, I think it would be appropriate for me to discuss a few outstanding dogs which did impress me and influence me enormously in the early 90's – for their beauty, working abilities and, most of all, for their superb character:
WS'90 Baffy vom Hertener Wappen, SchH III, AD, Gekört bis 10/1/90, HD-
Basko vom Hertener Wappen, SchH III, Gekört bis EZA, HD-
DM-SchH '90Fjordbakkens Andy, SchH III, IPO III, Gekört bis EZA, HD-
It was a real eye-opener for me to see these dogs do such extreme work and yet be so friendly, so open, so very good with kids and everyone else. They proved to me that a self-confident character is the only base for good working Rottweilers.
Q. Was it through Nemo that you became interested in breeding Rottweilers?
A. Yes. As we went around to shows in Europe, we looked at dogs and had the opportunity to study and really see the breed. We started to formulate our own ideas about what we'd like to achieve in breeding from the bitches that came in to Nemo. When we decided to breed, it was understood that there is NEVER A REASON to breed Rottweilers other than to IMPROVE the breed! Today we still go by that breeding principal and NEVER COMPROMISE on character!
As an example: My wife handled the first bitch we bought as an 8 week old puppy. She was a nice looking V-rated bitch and Karin was able to achieve a BH, AD and her ZtP by the time she was two years old. But, we were not really happy with her because of her temperament. We made the decision to place her and not even try to have one litter with her. I remember that we placed her for a very low price and with the obligation in a written contract that the new owner is not allowed to place her without our permission. This was a difficult decision for us and especially for my wife because she did everything for her...but, it was BEST FOR THE BREED!
Q. What is your kennel name and how did you choose it?
A. We began breeding Rottweilers in 1989 using the kennel name "Von der Zirbelnuss" ("of the walnut"). Our kennel name was picked up because a walnut is on a sign which represents the city of Augsburg. In Germany, we often pick kennel names to show a relationship to us as individuals - i.e., a town or area where we live, our family name (vom Hause...) and occasionally some attributes you'd like to have or want to breed or see.
Q. What honors and/or titles have your dogs won?
A. Up until now, dogs that we have either owned or bred have earned... Conformation: Klubsieger, Europasieger, Bundessiegger, Bundesjugendsieger, German (VDH) Champions, International (FCI) Champion, IFR Sieger, Schweizer Klubsieger, Körung and ZtP's. Sport: AD, BH, FH, SchH I-III, IPO I-III, and participants at German Tracking Dog Championships (DM-FH).
Q. I don't think all of TRQ's readers understand how "Championship" titles are earned in Europe. Could you explain how a few of them are earned?
A. In order to become a "German VDH-Champion", a dog needs to have at least 4 V-1 ratings won at CAC shows and a working title earned within a minimum time period of one year, one day.
To become an "FCI International Champion", a dog needs to have at least two V-1 ratings plus be best from either the Open, Working or Sieger (Champion) classes at CACIB shows and a working title earned within a minimum time period of one year and one day.
The German word "Sieger" means "Champion" (male) and "Siegerin" is a female Champion. So if your dog is selected as the "1998 Bundessieger, " he will be known as the Best Male at the 1998 Bundes-Champion show (or '98 BS).
Often the restrictions and regulations for obtaining Körung titles are not well understood. Your dog must pass its first Körung, which will have a time limit recorded. In order to have your dog achieve a Lifetime Körung ("Körung bis EzA"), the dog will once again have to pass the stringent tests within two years. Many bitches never achieve their Lifetime Körung because they are raising puppies. Such was the case with our Minka von der Flugschneise.
Also, it might be interesting for people to know that only a licensed ADRK-protection helper (ADRKSchutzdiensthelferausweise) is able to do helper work at any ADRK ZtP's, Körungs, German DM-SchH Championships and for its qualification trials. I enjoy being an ADRK-helper and am also pleased that all the helpers in our local club have become official ADRK helpers under my training.
Q. What ARE your breeding goals at Von der Zirbelnuss?
A. Our primary goal is to produce dogs with open, friendly characters - dogs with nice temperaments and proper drives. You will find no dogs in our kennel that cannot be touched or are not good with children. It would never matter to us what titles the dog may have earned or be trained for. Aggressive dogs have no space in our backyard, our house or our kennel.
This is according to my own personal way of life and thinking. I feel very strongly about this for myself. In so saying, I think it's an appropriate time for me to quote my own website:
"With all of what you might read within my homesite, I don't want to say to anybody that 'you should' do this or that. I also don't want to give any sort of advice. All I want to offer is how I do things: the reasons I do things the way I do and, therefore, share my opinions and knowledge."
"At the same time, I'm totally open to all opinions and ideas other people have - no matter if they are involved with Rottweilers for along, medium or short time. If you can find something which is good for you, fine; if not is also fine. A lot of breeders, sportsmen or breed lovers are doing very well by our breed and every single individual is important to our breed."
"...we - The ROTTWEILER LOVERS-are one, big family around the globe. Of course there are different opinions about different subjects. This is both natural and very important to improve our breed. As long as we are fair, open and willing to at least LISTEN to what other people have to say!" [Anton Spindler, 8-6-97]
Q. What do you feel are your responsibilities as a breeder?
A. I feel that I'm a very serious breeder. To me, breeding means to "improve the breed." If I, Anton Spindler, can't improve the breed with the dogs I have, I don't breed my dogs!
This is the brutal - or should I say consequential - side of being a breeder. I think it's brutal to eliminate a puppy just because of a little mistake. Yes, to me that's brutal BUT if I'm not able to make a decision to do just that, I wouldn't be any kind of a true breeder. If I find out that my bitch or my male isn't giving something - anything - to improve the breed, I must be responsible enough to STOP breeding an individual dog which, in itself is not brutal. If I'm a serious breeder, I might have to decide to give away a dog as a pet because otherwise it might end up in my backyard with a good number of other retired dogs and maybe only one (or none!) breeding dogs. That's brutal.
Q. Why do you think the working dog aspects are important and what do you mean by "sports"?
A. Tracking, Obedience, Herding, Agility, Schutzhund (or IPO) provide a system of testing for breeding an character work as well as very good ways of working with a Rottweiler. We don't believe it is fair to fault a dog/handler team for their choice of one dog sport or another; a dog that excels in one area may not do as well in another; this is normal. After all, there are few professors who were Olympians so why should we expect from our dogs more than we do of human beings?
If we're breeding for the "universal dog", one where no compromises are made due to character, we need sport training to find a way to work with the dogs in today's society so we can challenge their abilities, cement the dog/handler bond, keep our dogs alert and to socialize them. Dog sports can also echo the breed's original aptitudes - many of which, like guarding and herding have almost been lost over the decades.
Although we don't see an urgent need for an individual Rottweiler to be involved in a particular segment of Schutzhund or IPO work, we DO believe that when you own a large dog, you are responsible for the basic obedience of that dog (come, sit, down, release, etc.).
The education of any dog should start the moment he comes home. We keep the particular education of the dog in relation to his age but begin actual sports training with our Rotts when they are about one year of age. However, we work with puppies to socialize and build "drive for the ball" as early as possible. Drive for the ball can be translated easily into early tracking work.
Q. How do you prepare your puppies for conformation competition?
A. We take puppies to conformation shows and matches quite early but we don't go to them intending to win. Attending puppy shows and matches provides us with an opportunity to expose the youngsters to as much as possible during their early years. This provides a good foundation later for their work. Even if we don't win, we've gained experience to build upon and learned to believe in our dogs. No matter what - win or lose - our dogs are our friends and who else should stick together but friends?
Q. Any final words of wisdom for our readers?
A. Each time I travel to a foreign country I see the big interest in our breed and how hard people are trying for our breed. I've also learned how hard it is for these Rottie lovers to get information from Germany.
I decided I would create a web page to provide a lot of information about the ADRK and German Rottweilers. My intention for this home page - aside from the fact that I'm fascinated with computers - is to give some true and correct information (FACTS) throughout the whole, wide world for all the Rottweiler and ADRK fans. For the most part, this website is in English.
The website is NOT to be presumed to be an "official voice" of the ADRK nor does to conduct ADRK business and the ADRK does not necessarily sanction its' contents. The website is provided as a service to dispense ADRK information; it's a service I provide for the fancy.
It's also important to note that any or all comments made on the website or in email is as an individual's opinion. Nothing I say has anything to do with my opinion as Anton Spindler, ADRK Rottweiler breed judge specialist. If you want that, the only way you'll get it is at official shows or events like a ZtP or a seminar.
Furthermore, the ADRK does NOT promote any one kennel or dog - not in any way, shape or form; neither do I.