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The 2014 American Rottweiler Club Nationals Sieger


Followers of ThruMyLens know that over the last year, I’ve gotten involved with doing dog shows.  We’ve shown both of our Rottweiler puppies Zeus Sohn Von Holbrook Von Krafthaus and Maximus Sohn Von Holbrook Von Krafthaus in several local, regional, and national level venues.  So far we’ve shown with the United Kennel Club (UKC), International All-Breed Canine Association (IABCA), the Rottweiler Klub of North America (RKNA), and the Association of Independent Rottweiler Klubs (AIRK).  However, we’ve not shown in any American Kennel Club (AKC) events, or with the official AKC breed club for Rottweilers – the American Rottweiler Club.  We’ve certainly had the opportunity to do so – we’ve just chosen to, up to this point, not show in AKC/ARC related events.  Why?  Simply because, according to the breed standard for Rottweilers as defined by the ARC, our dogs do not comply because they have natural, undocked tails:


The issue of natural vs. undocked tails is a hot one here in the US in the Rottweiler show world.  In many parts of the world including Europe, it’s actually illegal to dock a dogs tail – it’s considered inhumane.  Since the breed is considered a German breed (from Rottweil Germany) most of the world’s Rottweiler clubs base their breed standards on those laid out by the FCI (World Canine Organization) and the General German Rottwiler Club (ADRK) which allows for a dog with a natural, undocked tail.  The American Rottweiler Club however does not, which leaves US Rottweiler breeders and owners in a bit of a quandary.  If you want to raise a Rottweiler according the the German standard, you run the risk of having your dog disqualified when showing at AKC/ARC dog shows.  Given that the FCI/ADRK standard is recognized in the majority of countries around the word, more and more US judges in AKC shows aren’t penalizing Rottweilers with natural tails in AKC shows.  But for someone considering whether to enter an AKC show with a tailed Rottweiler, it’s still a gamble since you most often have no idea how a judge will receive a tailed Rottweiler until you’re in the ring.  An owner could spend several hundred dollars on entrance fees, travel and lodging costs, as well as handler fees only to have their dog disqualified for not conforming to the ARC breed standard.  So many Rottweiler owners like myself simply avoid AKC shows.  So when the ARC announced their Nationals week (the ARC’s largest, most prestigious event of the year) I was tempted to skip it.  But then I noted that American Rottweiler Club was also promoting their 5th Annual National Sieger Show (Hosted by Chicago Landesgruppe) on April 26th and 27th, 2014.  It was being presented “in Conjunction with the 2014ARC National Specialty.”  This piqued my interest as I tend to prefer showing in Sieger style conformation (a type of German conformation show style unique to working breeds – click here for more information) .  Upon further research, I discovered that  in the Sieger show, the FCI standard would be used – “docked and undocked tails welcome!” was prominently displayed in the show premium.  Of course, since FCI standards were being applied, this also meant that there are no AKC points or recognized AKC titles awarded at this show.  In fact, the show premium went so far as to say that “You do not have to be a member of ARC to Enter.”  I made the decision that I would enter both of my Rottweiler puppies in the 2014 ARC Nationals Sieger Show.

The show was held in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin at the Olympia Resort and Spa.  Kudos to the ARC for the selection of the Olympia.  I have to imagine it’s challenging to find a hotel with the resources needed for the ARC Nationals that is willing to play host to a bunch of Rottweilers on their property for an entire week.  The Olympia was easily the nicest property I’ve stayed at in conjunction with a dog show.  Much of the decor is dated and the buildings are showing signs of age, but the property is beautiful with plenty of places to walk and exercise a dog and the rooms were very spacious.


There were also plenty of picturesque locations for taking photos of dogs which thrilled me as a photographer.  Here’s a couple I took of Zeus and Max  next to the lake:



I got this photo of the lake Saturday morning when the boys got me up for their morning constitutional:


Apparently this is only the 5th year that the ARC has held a Sieger show in conjunction with their Nationals.  Overall, I thought it was a great event and I was happy to support it.  There were some areas for improvement – much of which stems from the fact that ARC apparently insisted that the Sieger show not start until the last of the official ARC events were completed that took place inside the hotel.

The trophies and ribbons given out for the Sieger Show winners were impressive:



Here’s Zeus and Max set up with their cages along with those of other friends that came to the show from Ohio:


And here we have a few photos of the rather spartan ring set up – a tad small by normal Sieger show standards, but sufficient:





Maximus competed in the VERY competitive 6-9 month male category, and was given a “P” rating.  However, Zeus did extremely well in the 9-12 month male category, coming in 2nd place with a VP rating (highest possible in the puppy classes).  I was positively over the moon and so proud of Zeus – here’s a photo of me with the judge Mike Jackmen (Canada):


The American Rottweiler club should have a Sieger style show at Nationals Week, which honors the European heritage of this working dog breed.  The problem is, the ARC Sieger didn’t feel like ARC’s attempt to honor the Rottweiler’s European heritage.  Rather, it fealt like a conciliatory gesture to the factions within ARC and in the greater US Rottweiler owner community at large who raise their dogs in the European tradition with natural tails.  Why was the Seiger show at the very end of Nationals week?  Why did the Sieger show have to be subservient to the “real” ARC sanctioned events and be forced to have a late afternoon start?  In some respects, the Sieger show at Nationals felt like the red headed step child – the back of the bus where owners of tailed dogs are forced to sit.  Still, I’m very grateful to have a reason to attend the ARC Nationals because I had the opportunity to meet lots of great people and see some truly awesome examples of the breed.

In all fairness, ARC’s intolerance toward naturally tailed dogs is softening in some regards.  During the National’s actual ARC sanctioned shows earlier in the week,  three tailed males showed in Open Dog, and 2 placed (2nd and 4th). Additionally,  a tailed Champion female took an ARC Select title (for the 2nd year).  Such results demonstrate that ARC can and should change their breed standard to allow for naturally tailed dogs.   


About John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of, as well as and *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.

  1. jeff shaver says:

    Nice write up !

  2. Thanks Jeff! I would have published this sooner, but…well…you know. 😉

  3. Rita Raeker says:

    Very nice article. We attended this show also with our just three month old boy who went VP. He also received a very nice critique……

  4. Congratulations! Will you be attending any other Rottweiler specialties in the South East this Summer/Fall?

  5. I just came across your blog while browsing for ARC comments. I’m so glad that you decided to attend the nationals week! I am the president of the Rottweiler Club of Canada and in the CKC, our standard allows for both natural and docked tails in any official events including conformation. If you ever get the urge to do some more north American style shows, bring those boys to Canada! Lovely photos, I wish I had been able to attend. Cheers!

  6. Hi Laura!
    I speak on a fairly regular basis with Jane Mitchelmore of RKNA/TRM Magazine – now I have two ladies trying to get me to go to Canada! 😀 I look forward to meeting you, hopefully sooner than later. We’re leery about flying with our dogs, but if I can find a show not too far over the border, then I’d love to attend a CA show. Of course, if you ever need a photographer at any of your events, I’m your guy! 🙂


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