Tuesday 15 February 2022

OLYMPIA! A Visit with Von Evman Rottweilers

When the Rottweil Xpress publishers assigned me to interview Manson & Eve Johnson of the famed Von Evman Rottweilers for this kennel visit, I was at first astonished (I've never interviewed before), then amused and then finally apprehensive. The latter two emotions stemmed from the awkward fact that when I first signed on to sell advertisement in the Xpress and naively began phoning Rottie fanciers (although not an active Rottie breeder, I do love the breed), I was flabbergasted to hear over and over that the majority had closed their ears to this wonderful publication. Why? The universal answer was that the publication was owned by the Johnsons...and the Johnsons were obnoxious because they were "into" German dogs and German shows. I was told we should turn the Xpress into a non-AKC-conformation magazine and become a magazine strictly on Schutzhund. (As our staff, between the editor, business manager, and myself, have a combined total of over 75 years' experience in conformation rings. I was shocked.) I replied through clenched teeth that this publication was solely owned and operated by Duane Doll and Joe McGinnis of Doll-McGinnis Publications, a subsidiary of Doll-McGinnis Enterprises, Inc., and was so registered with the state. They retorted that it may be registered with the state under that assumed corporation but in secret Manson & Eve Johnson owned it and used it as a vehicle to sell masses of puppies. These fanciers had been led to believe that these were facts - forget the truth, they weren't interested - and furthermore they knew that Manson and Eve had been born rich and they could buy anything they wanted (green eyes?) and in any case, why didn't they buy and show American???

For those interested, the utterly false rumor about the Johnsons owning the Xpress was spread by malicious gossip both to ruin their reputation and the publication's. I faced this problem for nearly two years. In the interim, I did not know the Johnsons although, strange enough, we live but a few miles apart and they run the largest Bonsai Nursery in the United States, which is situated on this small town's main highway and we do pass it often.

Originally, I did not understand why so many fanciers of the Rottweiler kept saying there is AKC and there is Schutzhund, you have to make a choice; you can't be both. In the distant past my husband and I were involved in German Shepherds and we were well aware that the breed in Germany was bred much differently than in the States and in the 60's and 70's it was the rage to have a German import. This meant you were getting better dogs. (Not always the case.) Why, I wondered, did the Rottie fanciers absolutely love or hate German dogs? I also wondered about Manson & Eve - were they huge puppy-millers buying expensive German imports to be flashy? And why did they not show in AKC shows?

Eventually, they did and I began seeing their Rottweilers in the ring as I attended shows - and what I saw knocked my socks off. To date the Von Evman show record includes over 30 AKC and International Champions. They specialed American, International Ch. BENNO von der Schwarzen Heide SchH III, IPO Ill AD ZTP, IT in only 5 shows on the January Circuit and in one year's time he became #1 in Group System in Florida. This year they are campaigning the bitch, Ch ELKE von Evman and so far she has taken Best of Breed and two Bests of Opposite Sex on the highly-competitive January Circuit. Still, I was truly interested in interviewing - the Johnsons, knowing that they have many admirers and many detractors. What would they be like? Arrogant? Flashy? Ignorant puppy-millers out to make big bucks? Were they breeding terrifying, Schutzhund-trained dogs who would rush to kill?

You arrive at Eve's Garden Bonsai Nursery on Highway 41 here in Land O'Lakes (just north of Tampa, Florida). This nursery encompasses eleven acres, employs fifteen people full time and up to fifty in the busiest seasons, like Christmas. They raise all manner of exotic Bonsai, and design their fancy vases, and ship these plants worldwide. The theme of the nursery and main building decor is Oriental and the place is a hustle-bustle, with no slouching. First thing I noticed was the tremendous loyalty and congeniality of the nursery employees. I figure that if that many employees are of long tenure and happy and loyal, the employers must be good people.

The second thing I learned was that Eve and Manson do not breed Rotties for financial gain, but that like any good business persons (and most fanciers I know) they do realize that breeding and showing dogs is expensive and you have to figure costs and be prepared to pay in order not to go under. Manson & Eve are adamant that they might sell you a dog and then again they might not. First, you have to prove you can take adequate care of the dog and LOVE IT FOR LIFE. Third thing, they are determined to buy, breed and show as near-perfect specimens conformation-wise as they can based on the more strict and smaller German gene pool and stern linebreeding accompanied by gentle temperament but with the ability of the mind to WORK, as the breed was originally intended to. Socializing their dogs from day of birth for longevity was their watchword.

Eve Johnson came from a hardworking, no-nonsense background. Born on Long Island, New York, her parents worked hard to make a living. Her grandmother doubled as mother and father. Her father's maxim was "work to eat." At age four, Eve sold sodas on a street corner to earn pin money. At eight she had a large paper route. At sixteen she was graduated from high school and entered college. Finding it hard to obtain a job at age sixteen, Eve developed the hobby of designing Bonsai and pottery to work her way through college. She earned degrees in Pre-Law, Fine Arts and Art Education.

Coming to Florida at age ten was somewhat of a cultural shock, but her family's interest in dogs kept her busy. Her father doted on Dobermans and some Beagles and her mother had Poodles. From the time she left home, Eve kept German Shepherds and Toy Poodles, her last one living 22 years and dying just last year. Her grandmother had always told her never go looking for a man, one day he will appear on your doorstep. He did! Manson came to buy a Bonsai and found Eve. Eve knew within five minutes this was Mr. Right. Four years later they married and have been a loving couple now for ten years.

Manson is from Orlando, Florida, with parents who believe strongly in the Christian Science religion. Manson was graduated from high school and went to West Point Military Academy, where he played football. A knee injury ended that career. He entered the University of South Florida, where he studied medicine and science. He eventually became a nutrionist with the James B. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa. As a teen in high school he bought his first Rottweiler. His neighbor and friend worked with him one whole summer to earn money for the dog. In 1969 he purchased "Trajan" from an old German breeder in Ohio, Hermann Heid. He had to drive to Ohio, as the breeder refused to sell unless he inspected the owner. Manson feels this is a good policy. "We produce something, we are responsible for its lifetime care."

In between furthering his career and showing Trajan in obedience and Schutzhund tracking and protection, Manson played tennis, golf and jogged for hobbies to keep fit. Upon his marriage to Eve he loved her German Shepherds and Poodles (she had a menagerie, including birds) but his first love still remained Rotties. He had never bred Trajan but always vowed someday he would have the finest Rottweilers available. Manson plunged into research in order to obtain these fine Rotties and to make Eve's hobby, Bonsai and pottery, a profitable, full-time business. In both his thorough research paid off, but it didn't happen overnight.

In the Bonsai business they worked shoulder to shoulder fifteen hours a day, and still DO, buying more land, enlarging, finding bigger markets.

Their Rottweiler aspirations also took hard work. Originally Manson read THE COMPLETE ROTTWEILER and made his first 3 purchases based on breeders in the book. Eve had never spent large sums on dogs, hers were more of the companion type. Manson had to convince her that you spend a minimum of $1200.00 per year just feeding a dog, whether it be companion or show stock, and if you figure your labor hours caring for same you can add another $2000.00 on to that. They paid $15,000.00 for their first three Rotties. The first breeding astounded them - they could hardly believe that these were Rottweiler puppies. There were white blazes, no bone substance and most of them could not walk at eight weeks of age. One of the adults, who was OFA-Certified as free of hip dysplasia, was found, indeed, to have it. Uponresearch with a radiologist it was discovered that the hips in the OFA-certified X-ray were NOT the hips of the dog in question!

In disgust, Manson learned further that breed standards in this country can mean much, little, or nothing. He discovered that missing teeth, light eyes and fading pigment as well as forged OFA-certificates were not unusual and were often ignored by breeders and in AKC shows. He turned in his quest to the Allegemein Deutscher Rottweiler Klub in Germany, the parent club in the breed's country of origin. He learned that in Germany, the Breed Wardens strictly enforce the conformation and temperament of the breed, visiting each breeder and inspecting litters and keeping copious records on file of each dog throughout its lifetime. The German stud dog books go back over 100 years and beside each name there is a detailed report of quality, such as exact weights, measurements, pigment color, dentition, temperament and quality of get, etcetera. In short, this is very effective in studying the type you want and finding out who's producing what. He studied the Germans' intense linebreeding techniques. Here, the majority of breeding are out crosses. In linebreeding, with detailed out lines of everything concerning each dog in the pedigree, one can pinpoint who brought a fault into the line and who produces which virtues. In linebreeding you can breed to discover latent faults and devise ways to stamp them out. In outcrossing over and over, this is simply not possible for the gene pool is too large. For instance, last year in Germany, 6,000 Rottweilers were bred with detailed critiques available of each dog and his background going back generations; in the U.S., 85,000 Rottweilers were bred...and where is there a detailed record for research?

Manson traveled to Germany many times, patiently researching. Waiting for the right dog. Eventually he learned of only two litters in a particular year that had passed their Suitability Test at age two. This meant good hips and Top V-ratings (See article detailing German titles and their common abbreviations, in this issue.) He contacted ADRK and got the names of the breeders, located them through their Breed Wardens, and went to visit. They were none too interested in selling. Manson said he would buy either a male or a female, whichever became available. Six months later he got a call that AMBOSS vom Konigssiek, SchH III, FH, IPO III, AD, HD-, OFA Good, Gekort, was available. He flew over. He hired a trainer and a handler to let Amboss remain in Germany to attain all his titles. He purchased compatible, linebred females and flew over with them to have them bred to Amboss. He eventually obtained Benno, who became Am. Int'l. Ch. BENNO von der Schwarzen Heide SchH III, IPO III, AD, ZTP, TT, HD-, OFA Good.

Amboss and Benno's dams are sisters. They share common linebred ancestors, going back to Ives Eulenspiegel on the sire's side, an International Champion who in the 60's was Germany's most prolific producer of top get. As all practitioners of linebreeding appreciate, this intense genetic structure in the pedigree provides the stability upon which to found or propagate a bloodline. This linebreeding may explain the production record of these two dogs, for it is, indeed, staggering. And one of these dogs is the recipient of one of the sport's highest accolades; Muriel Freeman, this country's leading expert on the breed, said to me, and I quote, "Benno is now this breed's top, top producer." A compliment of the strongest order to be sure. Staying true to their beliefs and being ever-vigilant in breeding has obviously served the Johnsons in good stead.

Upon arriving at the Bonsai headquarters Eve Johnson graciously met my husband Bernie and myself. We were ushered into an office that is filled with trophies, photos and ribbons, wall to wall, floor to ceiling. There once was a private Rottie office near the house and kennels on the grounds behind the Bonsai Nursery, facing a picturesque lake with majestic, towering trees and lush, heavy shrubbery. Tragically, last December 13th the house burned to the ground, seriously injuring Manson, whose life was saved by their beloved Rottie, Janny. (See January 1992 RX for full details of that tragedy under column Olympia.) Temporarily, the Rottie office co-exists with the Bonsai office. Eve and Manson may own the Bonsai setup but the office is bossed by Hudspeth, the resident rescue kitty who gets along fine with the gentle Von Evman Rotts. (Hudspeth and I fell madly in love, but I had to reluctantly relinquish her when we departed, or incur Eve's wrath. Eve loves her pets deeply and with tenacious, motherly loyalty.)

From the office we progressed through the huge Bonsai plant where orders are packed for shipment, to a large room where crates are stored, Rottie food is cooking and visiting Rotties are received. Adjacent to this large receiving room is a smaller private room equipped for whelping and sleeping in the wee hours during which most newborn pups make their appearance. Eve whelps all her litters herself and will whelp any litter from a visiting bitch to Von Evman studs. She also docks her own tails - she is so proficient at it that she is often flown to other breeders' homes to do their docking. She is also well recognized for her uncanny ability to achieve successful matings and often assists in this endeavor for friends.

Beyond the receiving room one enters the highly-hygienic maternity wing First - off with the shoes! There is a built-in basin for cloroxing shoe soles but Eve felt we would be more comfortable in our stocking feet. The nursery is more a hospital maternity ward than anything I have ever seen. It is roomy, done in white, pink and blue, with decorative nursery motifs, filled with every conceivable comfort for the puppies and their dams. There is a large area for newly-weaned and slightly older puppies. There are private doors and windows leading off the long back wall to indoor (climate-controlled)/outdoor runs for nursing - dams. There are medical supplies, washer dryer, bathing sinks, scales, and a very thorough computer/file setup so that every iota of information pertaining to the Von Evman Rottweilers can be stored for posterity and research. Puppies are weighed and measured each day. Nursing pups are supplemented on a bottle daily, mostly to socialize them. Two full-time nannies are with the puppies and dams at all times. These nannies socialize dams and pups of any ages. Socialization, recall, is the watch word at Von Evman. Manson and Eve rotate their hard-working Bonsai hours with the care of the Rotties.

Eve does most of the routine medical work, except X-rays. Her vet comes once a month to check the sanitation, all dams and pups, and to do blood work. Manson keeps track of the semen counts on the males, so that he can be sure of optimum success rates. Everything about every dog is religiously kept in the computer files; checks for correct dentition and bite development, worm checks, and so forth. So thorough and efficient is the Von Evman operation that when the AKC Field Reps came to visit, they pronounced the facility to be tops in the country for sanitation, socialization and for the intricate yet easy-to-read identification and health records.

When babies require bottle-feeding, their nanny wraps each gently in a baby blanket for security and talks to them as they nurse. Older pups are constantly played-with and spoiled rotten. Several nursing dams were let into the maternity room to visit with us and they were in optimum physical condition and treated us perfect strangers as long lost family members. Kisses upon kisses and wiggly tails. Eve says all Von Evman dams are watched for their maternal instincts to ensure they are very motherly and will not neglect the pups, for she believes if the dams do, the offspring will, also. (Females purchased in Germany were carefully screened for this quality in addition to their bloodlines, for Eve feels that soundness begins in the whelping nest.)

Leaving the nursery, we then saw the private, indoor/outdoor facility for visiting gals who are kept separate from the resident adults to make them feel secure and to ensure protection from carried virus. Visiting bitches are accepted for breeding on the basis of their pedigrees to carry on the linebred Von Evman line, and for their general type and health, as well as full knowledge of the environment in which they themselves live and in which their pups will grow to adulthood.

Next is an older-puppy facility brightly-lit and spacious. These pups comprise entire litters who will remain at Von Evman until adulthood for evaluation. They have a huge exercise yard, with all sorts of toys to ensure optimal physical development. Pups are exercised both in groups (under supervision) and singly. This completes their proper socialization.

Finally, we came to the adult Rottie complex. Rustic wooden trails, lined with shrubs and overhanging trees lead to indoor/outdoor, large single kennels for each adult. They have toys and large, non-splintering bones, and are constantly being cleaned and fed treats by the two full-time male attendees. These attendants also play with the adults, to keep their social skills finely honed. Amboss was Number One Resident, and at nine years of age was seen in top physical condition, with full dentition, incredible dark pigmentation of mouth and markings and able to move fast and strong with no let-down. He woofed at us and begged for treats. We saw Benno, in many opinions the finest Rottweiler male alive today, and Gretel the most titled Rottie bitch in the country. She, too, is nine and in fit fiddle. The Johnsons are quite pleased with the way their line holds up physically and mentally with age. All total in the adult residency compound we saw 7-8 dogs, hardly enough for what I would consider a puppy factory. Of course, there were nursing darns in the maternity wing, but when one considers that many Rottie kennels comprise 30-and-up dogs, I believe the Von Evman program to be on the conservative side, with quantity taking a firm backseat to quality.

Also in residence was a Benno son - Amboss grandson to be shown here in the States. He was twice awarded V-1 as a puppy, a very rare occurrence. We then took some time to discuss overall plans for the breeding program and the operation's regular routine. Again, it exhibits the thoughtfulness and thoroughness for which Von Evman is known.

Amboss daughters are bred to Benno; If a fault shows up, the females are then bred to a Benno son who does not exhibit the trait. This does not always correct in one generation, but with patience and insight the fault is eliminated.

Hips are X-rayed beginning at 7 months and every six months after that. Teeth are checked from age 3 weeks. (In one case a litter had excellent bites at 3 weeks but at 8-weeks they went overshot. Manson called an ADRK Breed Warden who advised that if they were good at 3 weeks, they would be good at 8 weeks. Results proved true in seven of eight.) For further socialization, young adult dogs are taken by the Johnson's two handlers, Fred Rosson and Jeff Brucker, for training. This gets them into other environments and prepares them for their extensive working and showing careers. Those who show up with a bad fault are neutered or spayed and removed from the program. Culling, without killing, is practiced fastidiously here. Using Manson's intricate and well-planned filing system and the in-depth and highly accurate knowledge of the working gene pool in which they deal, he can predict at birth to whom the females will be bred. Everything is planned well ahead. The motto is: To get ahead, stay ahead.

Pet Peeves? The Johnsons have several...

People who call everyone BUT the owner of a dog to ascertain his quality. Manson says this happens all the time. He can only tell someone how good or bad his own dogs are; those wishing to check out another dog should call the owner. And anyone wishing to inquire about one of his dogs, should call him.

Malicious rumors. Why must they circulate? Yet, we all know it is ever thus. Plus, Manson and Eve like to think of the dog first, and the love it gets. The dog loves you unconditionally - that's God's gift to man. Should not the dog be loved unconditionally in return?

For instance, at present, Elke von Evman is co-owned with Ron & Ann Yatteau of Knoxville, Tennessee. Elke finished on the January Circuit and has taken some impressive wins. An Amboss daughter and a great specimen of the breed, the Johnsons feel she should be campaigned, and that she would do extremely well. Yet, the Yatteau's love her and want her home. Manson and Eve certainly see both points, but will comply with whatever decision their co-owners make, keeping the dog's welfare primary in their minds. After all, a top special out of the Von Evman line is not going to affect their future breeding success or failure, nor impact their finances.

Other peeves, not necessarily in order of importance, are the terms "pet," and "show dog." They prefer breedable / showable dog or bitch or non-breedable / non-showable. A dog with a serious fault is a pet, it is non-showable and non-breedable, period. Another pet peeve is pet buyers who purchase at non- guaranteed, lower "pet" prices and six months later want to show the dog. You buy a pet, it is a pet to love, it is non-showable and non-breed-able. Another is the current OFA X-ray policy. To be ensured that the hips that appear on the radiology film are the actual hips of the dog in question there should be a tattoo number (placed in the dog's ear at 8 weeks of age and permanently used for AKC and ADRK identification) on the X-ray. When the dog is received by someone and is OFA-certified, but develops a problem this cross-reference can be used for verification. The Johnsons check the OFA-certification of every dog they purchase but re-check with an X-ray before finalizing the sale. The Johnsons feel, however that OFA-certification, when verifiable, is of utmost importance to the breed. For instance, take 2 OFA-Good parents and breed them - the litter ratio for occurrence of hip dysplasia is 17%; the litter ratio for HD in a litter produced by two non-OFA certified parents is 28%. Those numbers alone make it worthwhile, but protecting against hip problems does not end at birth.

The Johnsons do not approve of allowing young dogs to jump about, leap on furniture, nor to climb stairs. The hip joint is cartilage, not bone matter, and in a young dog there is space in the hip for the cartilage to grow. This space cannot stand undue stress. The bone density and muscle mass of a Rottweiler puppy, coupled with his natural enthusiasm, may lead to activities which could cause compression in the hip joint, making way for hip dysplasia to develop. Manson & Eve believe young dogs should have supervised exercise to develop good muscle tone, etc., but should be comfortably restrained from straining - their hip joints. (This theory is used successfully in many breeds.)

"God gave us the dog," says Manson, "but man is the selective force in any breeding program. Egos should be left out of any intelligent program." He spent 6 months in Germany researching their relatively-high success rate in producing dogs that conform to the standard, from a small gene pool. The legacy behind the Von Evman Rottweilers is a long one, conducted by conscientious breeders who labored hard to produce the best Rottweilers, conforming to the rigidly-preserved ADRK standard. Manson and Eve wish only to continue that legacy and leave behind one for other breeders to enjoy when they are gone. They believe that every breeder, of whatever country, has the right to his own opinion on his own breeding program. They are basing theirs on what they believe, and have proven in many rings - both working and conformation in this and other countries - that they have worked to obtain as fault-free a working Rottweiler as is possible and by retaining their tightly-interwoven, small, linebred gene pool, to continue in the years ahead to produce the soundest in body and sanest in temperament the legacy they chose can produce.

The Johnsons realize that in Germany the ego things gets into the breeding equation as well as here. Over there one breeder may see a beautiful specimen, yet will not ask about the dog nor attempt to breed to it, for the simple, stupid fact that it was produced or is owned by another breeder (who is a personal enemy); to admit that the other breeder possessed something worthy would injure their pride. Just as here, a bitch will come for breeding who has not the temperament for breeding. She is taken back by her owner who instantly tells everybody that they came to visit, took one look at - for instance, Amboss - and refused to breed to him! Where is the sanity in this? It takes away from the necessary concentration to breed good dogs.

Drawing near to the close of our lengthy interview, so graciously given of their precious and limited time, I asked Eve and Manson what to them were the happiest and saddest aspects of the dog fancy: With regard to the saddest aspect of the dog game, Eve responded, "Longevity. I wish God had given our dogs the same lifespan He gave us. I cannot stand the parting when death comes. Every dog we have is my baby. I have no children. I want, like any mother, to always have my babies." Eve views her Rottie dams as very loving mothers, more so than most breeds. She says her happiest days are when the babies come. You can see the mothers smile as they curl around their little ones; they sigh and are happy. This makes her happy.

Eve recently suffered the trauma of losing her favorite bitch, "Janny." (Janny von der Gruberheide, SchH III, FH, AD, ZTP, TT, BH, HD-, Multiple V-rated in conformation.) Janny, Manson says, taught Eve Schutzhund III! Janny also saved Eve's life; when an intruder threatened Eve with a knife, Janny, through her Schutzhund training and her innate sense of family protection, not only got the weapon away but managed to subdue the attacker until help could be summoned. It was Janny, also, who saved Manson's life in the fire that destroyed their home and all their possessions. As Manson fought the smoke in an attempt to escape the burning house, he ran blindly into a beam and was knocked unconscious. Janny rushed to his side, licking furiously until he regained enough of his bearings to make his way out of the inferno. Had she not awakened him, he surely would have perished. (Eve thinks Janny never recovered from the smoke inhalation she suffered; she was never "right" after that and died at age six just two days before Eve's birthday, June 6th. Twice the brave Janny put her life on the line for her beloved owners; no doubt her owners would have put theirs on the line, for her.)

Manson said his happiest moment was when "Alfa" (Alfa Vom Glimmerfels, SchH III, IPO III, FH, AD, ZTP, V-Rated, HD-, OFA Fair) - in full fledged heat, making her the last dog to compete at the National All-Breed Schutzhund Trial (Manson's first national) - became the first female Rottie to complete all obstacles. Other happy moments include Christmas cards from fellow breeders, showing their Rottweilers all dressed up for the occasion - Manson finds this sweet and touching, and treasures every card; watching "Janny" and Eve compete in Schutzhund and "watching Eve and Janny become women together." But one of the most gratifying experiences Manson recalls had little to do with breeding, and much to do with love. When Manson learned that Amboss' mother, "Lucy," well into her senior years and past breedable age, was not living in the best conditions, Manson knew he had to act. He so loves Amboss, he felt this was one thing he could for him. He brought Lucy over from Germany to spend her final years in loved comfort. He, like Evie, believes that Rottie mothers are the best and the instill the best in the babies. And the job she had done raising Amboss earned her a life of leisure. (It cost him a small fortune, but it was an act of love.)

Least happy moments include: the loss of beloved dogs; malicious rumors based on no fact; getting calls from pet owners who love their companion who has just been found to be dysplastic and there is nothing in this world one can do to help; learning of a freak accident, a dog being run over by a car, or choking to death on a toy. But the most upsetting of all is to learn from the media that a Rottweiler has attacked a human.

The Johnsons feel that the news media is more-than-a-little to blame for the bad reputation which now is attached to the Rottweiler breed. Sensationalistic news articles make the public feel that Rotties are, by nature, vicious. Manson and Eve state that a Rottweiler with true, correct, breed temperament is the most stable and loving of canines. A Rottweiler does not attack humans unprovoked unless driven to do so by lack of proper care, understanding, or training. Another opinion held by the general public that bothers the Johnsons is the idea that Schutzhund training is a "macho" endeavor and is primarily to "make dogs mean." Schutzhund training, they avow, is designed to make the most of the breed's ability to be companion and protector; to save lives through its keen tracking sense and strong physical presence, and to be under control in any situation due to the strict obedience required. (Or, as our editor, Joe, says, "You wouldn't race a Corvette unless it had brakes, would you?") By the same token, Manson and Eve state unequivocally that a Rottweiler with unsound temperament cannot be worked in Obedience or Schutzhund. Further, they believe that here, as in Germany, we should have a rule requiring all Rottweilers to have passed Temperament Tests via an Obedience Title, prior to being allowed to compete in the AKC conformation ring. That stipulation, they say, would make them very happy.

As Bernie and I departed Von Evman Rottweilers/Eve's Garden Bonsai Nursery, we were amazed, truly amazed. Both the Johnsons are extremely intelligent, deep-thinking people, totally committed to love of the Rottweiler breed and determined to work for the betterment of same, determined to protect the precious legacy handed down to them from Germany. Flashy, arrogant, and - above all - into puppy-milling they are most emphatically NOT. They are kind, sweet, gentle, and are rearing their beloved Rottweiler family to be of the same wonderful disposition. They are considerate of fellow breeders - regardless of which bloodlines they pursue - and totally uninterested in gossip of a malicious nature. Manson and Eve have raised themselves up by their own bootstraps to a position where they can adequately care for their Rottie charges and look down the road to a long, happy lifetime of producing the very best that they can breed, with the welfare of the breed - and each dog - foremost in their minds.

Both Manson and Eve spend countless hours on the phone or in correspondence to help fellow Rottweiler fanciers in any way they can. They give much of themselves - but in looking at the shining love in the deep-brown eyes of their Rottweiler family as they gaze at their proud owners...it is obvious that of all this love they spend on the Rottweiler breeder, much is returned.

Thank you, Manson & Eve Johnson, and all the Von Evman Rottweilers for so graciously showing me around and divulging to me - and our readers - your thoughts and experience. It is my hope that the love of the breed that you've shared with us today will inspire others to work with the same tenacity and commitment to the protection of the Rottweiler breed. For it is only through its human protectors that the Rottweiler, loyal friend and protector of humans, will remain safe and welcome on this earth to be companion and protector to future generations.

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