Meeting the Rottweiler Parents
The day you pick out your new dog, or she picks you, is one you never forget. As it turns out, meeting your dog’s parents can be equally memorable.
I got my first dog as an adult when I was in my mid-20s. After having fallen instantly in love with a Rottweiler in the park, I did my research and decided that was the type of dog for me. I found local ads, talked with breed clubs and rescue organizations, and contacted anyone I could find who was expecting a litter. ( I was young and wanted a puppy — now I understand the value of adopting an older dog in need of a home.)
The range of owners I talked to was extreme, from those who were clearly knowledgable and respected the breed to those in it for the money who when asked about their dogs could only grunt in monosyllables that theirs were big ones. It’s a given that Rottweilers are big dogs so when someone feels the need to share it, it tells me that they are breeding dogs that will be too big for their joints and bones, a selfish act without the dogs’ best interests at heart.
I didn’t care about show-quality dogs and at that stage of my life hadn’t done much thinking about the industry. I was most concerned with temperament and wanted to be as sure as possible that the dog would be healthy and unlikely to develop common problems, like hip dysplasia. I knew my dog would be spayed as soon as possible, so finding people who would agree to that was also important.
I finally found an intelligent-sounding couple who had bred their own two Rotties and had a litter due within a couple of weeks. Both had good health histories, the female had a couple of conformation wins and the male was undergoing Schutzhund training. After a long conversation, I made an appointment to meet them.
I pulled up to a small home in an older neighborhood. The yard was completely fenced in and the owner had told me how to open the gate to get to the front door. Approaching the short gate of the white picket fence, I watched one of the most gorgeous Rotties I had ever seen gallop to the gate and greet me with a full-body wag. There was nothing menacing in his eyes or body language, so I called out a friendly, “Hi, Big Guy” as I confidently reached over the gate to find the latch, as instructed.
The moment I did so, another enormous Rottweiler dove from her hiding spot in the bushes along the fence barking protectively and letting me know there was no way I was coming through that gate. I jerked my hand back, tried to catch my breath that seemed to have vanished, and wondered how long the dog would bark before someone noticed me standing outside. That was quite the set-up those two had worked out — lure the unsuspecting victim in with beautiful, friendly eyes while your mate lies in wait to attack!
I kept my eye on the fence, feeling like if the dogs wanted to, they could easily take it down. Thankfully, before that could happen, a man exited the front door, calmed the female down, and apologized profusely. He let me in the gate and now that I had their dad’s approval, both dogs greeted me warmly, vying for who could get the most attention. Soon, a woman appeared and took the female away while the man and I were left to chat about the dogs.
We went inside accompanied by the male who made it clear I should be petting him by nudging my hand with his bulky head. He stayed with us while we talked, his friendly personality, deep brown eyes, and gorgeous mahogany markings immediately winning me over. The couple had already answered most of my questions over the phone, so this was more of a chance for us to get to know each other and for me to “meet the parents” of my potential puppy. The couple told me some cute stories about their dogs and showed me photos not only of the mom and dad, but some of the dogs in their lineage, also. Judging by their relatives, these pups were going to be both smart and beautiful.
After I’d spent some time with Dad, they took him out and brought Mom in. They thought it best to only have one dog with us at a time as Mom was starting to get a bit cranky and might not want to share the spotlight. What I noticed when she joined us was how hugely pregnant she was. I hadn’t truly appreciated that fact when she was impressing me with her sharp teeth and threatening bark.
Now that I was in her house, accepted by her pack, she was happy to receive all the love I could give. In what I would eventually learn was typical Rottie style, she rotated so I could alternate between scratching her head and her back near the base of her tail. (Rotties LOVE having their butt scratched and will often keep up a little happy dance while it’s happening.)
At one point, she started making deep baritone howling noises at me. Though startled at first that I had done something wrong, I was soon delighted to learn she was talking to me. The woman informed me she was a big talker and not to be surprised if the pups turn out to be talkers, too. Cute!
By the end of my hour-long visit, we all approved of each other, and I was told I would get my pick of the litter! The puppies were due in about two weeks, and the family let me know they would call me once they were born so I could visit. They said I was welcome to come as often as I wanted until my puppy was old enough to take home. Having completely fallen for both parents, I couldn’t wait to meet their babies…but that’s a story for another time.
Love Dogs? Love Cats?
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This article originally appeared on Medium.com. Image by Tom Frydenlund from Pixabay