Post testimonii dd. 05.05.2017 ... IFR quo vadis ?

Dear Rottweiler Friends,

I am convinced that the Delegate of your Rottweilerclub who attended the IFR-Meetings dd. 04 and 05.05.2017 in Serbia has already reported to you about these meetings, their content and especially their importance.   I dare indeed state that the Meeting of Delegates dd. 05.05.2017 2017, preceded by the preparatory Meeting of Breed Wardens, was extremely important and fruitful.

The IFR-Constitution was revised and now explicitly confirms that it allows the Membership of more than one club per country.   This way the Federation chooses for the dog(s), not for clubs or persons. 

Of course, all member clubs must meet the conditions for Membership, incl. imposing breeding regulations to their members and the mandatory participation of all dogs to breed suitability tests before being used for breeding.    Also the organization of assessments of social behaviour was again confirmed to be a condition for IFR-Membership, not only because it concerns an essential characteristic of the Rottweiler but also because of the ever present danger of breed specific legislation or BSL (cfr. the recent new threat in Canada and Wallonia, region of Belgium and Spain).   

The Constitution emphasizes the close connection between the IFR and Germany as the mother country of the Rottweiler and the Meeting of Delegates confirmed and welcomed the ADRK as its sole representative.

Our regulations on the organisation of both the World Show and World Championship were updated.

Very important and this for the first time, the IFR (unanimously) decided on a regulation that concerns the breeding of the Rottweiler, more precisely a regulation about the minimum and maximum age of breeding dogs.     This was decided upon both to safeguard the physical and mental health of breeding dogs and their offspring and to underline the need for each dog to pass a breed suitability test before being used for breeding.   The Meeting moreover commissioned the Board to search for scientific advice about how many litters may be allowed in the life of a bitch without endangering its mental and physical health, possibly with nuances that differ in function of the number of puppies and/or the time gaps between litters.   

Most important however, is that both the Meeting of Breed Wardens and of Delegates thoroughly discussed and again very clearly defined the purpose of the IFR and the instruments at our disposal.  

The ultimate goal is the establishment of a worldwide trustworthy (gene)pool of breeding dogs that all Member Clubs can and will reciprocally recognize as such.

The need for a broad genepool of dogs that have been assessed on their physical and genetic health and on their conformation to the FCI standard, has indeed never been more acute than today !  

There is not only the establishment of certain unwanted evolutions in the physical conformation of the Rottweiler and of the loss of drives that are proper to the working dog but also the establishment of the risk that if the pool of usable breeding dogs is not quickly broadened, even the mere existence of the breed might become endangered.

To make all Rottweiler lovers aware of this risk, we recently published (also available in an English printed form) a text on our website “A layman’s walk through basic canine genetics; genetic diseases and the correlation with a reduced genetic diversity”.      The text is also available in a digital Spanish version and is in our opinion a “must-read” for all, especially for all breeders.        The text refers to scientific studies that all conclude that a too closed genepool will necessarily and irrevocably lead to the breed’s extinction !   We cannot and may not take this warning lightly !    

To attain this goal, we must perhaps not aim at a complete homogeneity of all our breeding regulations as this would be unrealistic due to historical, legal and cultural reasons, but these must at least show homogeneity in the definition of the breed and in the establishment of minimal characteristics to be present before a dog can and may be declared breed suitable. 

Communal minimal criteria, both in the breeding regulations and breed suitability tests, must therefore be established and then imposed by all member clubs to their members.

For this, the Board will now first again collect information about all existing regulations.

In the meantime we will work further on the information that was collected before.  A summary of this was presented to the Meeting of Delegates of 05.05.2017 and will shortly be published on the website  and in our magazine.

Also in the meantime and still working with the information that was received before, we will shortly send out a first draft of absolute minimal criteria that should in our opinion be part of every breeding regulation of every IFR-Memberclub to allow for a reciprocal trustworthy use and recognition of breeding dogs.    

All Member Clubs, especially their Breed Wardens, will be invited to discuss this in their club and to send us their remarks for further study and discussion.

The Board will also analyse the regulations of all breed suitability test(s) and will then organize an event (probably at least a full week-end) for a demonstration and evaluation of all these tests, again trying to decide on minimal criteria for such tests.  

Of course all Member Clubs will be invited, especially to demonstrate their tests and to explain their content and aims.     Already now we know that differing tests exist that may not look for the same drives / characteristics as other tests and as there is only one definition of the breed this must raise questions. 

This evaluation will be done by judges and breed wardens but possibly also ethologists.    It goes without saying that the advice of the ADRK will also be sought for.

Ultimately, all this must lead to the situation in which dogs that were bred according to IFR-regulations, should be explicitly and formally rewarded by a declaration of international breed suitability. This must help establish a worldwide broad genepool that we can all use in the ensured knowledge that these dogs are physically and mentally healthy, have been tested on their genetic identity and on their physical and mental conformation to the breed’s definition (as a utility breed).    

This is ambitious, yes, but also a necessity to ensure the breed’s preservation and it is this Board’s firm intention to lead the IFR out of it’s past slumbering existence towards an active meaningful Federation.

Sitting still is not an option, at least not if we hold the health and future of the breed close at heart.      

Facta, non verba.    The eyes of the Rottweilerworld are on us and rightfully so.      

We will use our website for regular updating on the state of affairs on these matters.   All those interested can subscribe to its updates.

On behalf of the IFR-Board,

With friendly greetings,

D. Vandecasteele,