Interview with Marius Nedelcu

The All Purpose Dog #1

Interview w/ Marius Nedelcu (Romania)

(April 2015)



Dr. Marius Nedelcu is one of the most avid promoters of the breed in Romania. He got into AmStaffs almost 20 years ago and is responsible for most of the imports that influenced the development of the breed in our country. He recently got his FCI judging license for bull type terriers and is currently invited to judge club shows all over Europe.


Q1. As a veterinarian, you undoubtly came across many species and breeds of animals. What was your first contact with this breed and what made you love it so much as to dedicate your entire activity as a breeder to it?


The first AmStaff I saw was a female called Bessi Jakuza-Brieff , in an IDS in Timi?oara, year 1995. She was a beautiful, medium sized, dark brindle and white bitch and won Best of Breed. She had a lovely temperament, very vivid and left a strong impression on me. I asked her owner what breed she was and if she'd have pups anytime soon. He told me she had been bred two weeks prior to a male imported from Canada called Red Essex Texas Tex.

Three months later, I had a male out of this litter. He was a very handsome and devoted dog, but he wasn't show quality because of his incompletely pigmented nose. I decided to buy another male that was called Andrew Magic Heads (RED). He was the first AmStaff to win an All Breed BIS in Romania. Red was a very strong male, massive, with Old Sierra and Tryarr's blood. He was a very good producer, but unfortunately, because of my lack of experience, I wasn't able to fully explore his potential. I wish I could have him in my yard now.

 I love AmStaffs because they're beautiful, they're medium sized but very strong dogs, with a great temperament, if they have a real AmStaff temperament, not aggressive or fearful. But where fear is concerned, I think a distinction should be made between fearful and shy dogs or dogs that simply don't like being in shows. I love their expression, their chest and the way they move, the way they're so connected to their humans, so addicted to them, so trainable and willing to learn, how they can get accustomed to other animals. And the fact that they're not human aggressive - aggressiveness towards humans is a problem in our breed but fortunately it's very rare.


Q2. Do you think it was just your lack of experience, or the situation back then - number and diversity of females in or around the country and so on - contributed as well? How do you feel the AmStaff in our area changed compared to that time, be it for the good or for the worst?  How do you think this breed has developed, what qualities and faults started being prevalent with time?


 I realise now that Red passed on to his pups type, temperament, good bones and height, healthy skin, which are not so common these days when there are many shy dogs, tall dogs or dogs with hip/elbow dysplasia or allergies.

 In 1999-2000, it was pretty hard to get information, because the internet access was scarce. Back then, judge Mr. Petru Muntean was working in an institution which was connected to the internet and I could sometimes go there to get in touch with various breeders in Europe and America. This way I managed to get in contact with Fred Sindelar, Bonnie Gottier (Fraja NE), Diane Guilmette (Royal Court), Cathy Prothro (Barberycoast). From Europe, I was in contact with Rade Dakic (Franstal's) from whom I imported two males and one female: Franstal's Guverner, Globetrotter and Gipsy Soul.

  Anyway, the standard is  a descriptive guide of the ideal type for every breed, that includes breed specifics. No departure from the standard is to be desired.

Lately I noticed the tendency of exaggerations in the AmStaff.  The exaggeration also represents a departure. A head with a much too pronounced stop, with a padded forehead, a muzzle too short - they are all faults. The head is very important in all breeds.

 The departures from the standard caused by breeders' exaggerations using males or females with non standard heads lead to progeny with an atypical,  molosser type of head.  In one of the shows I judged, 30% of dogs had this kind of head. In my opinion these departures should be penalyzed instead of encouraged, because judges can influence the occurrence of such faults by giving good ratings.

I think that, at the moment, it would be pretty hard for me to find a male I like a lot and it'd certainly be easier to go for a male that lived some time ago. I can give some examples, not a lot, but I think the breed is not going on the right path, because the breeders, along with handlers and judges force a new trend that is far from the standard so that's not right. A head that's not correct, a movement that's not correct, and I think that's enough.

 On a positive note, at least regarding health, there's a lot more control. Breeders have always used linebreedings, and there most definitely have been problems with ataxia, dysplasia and cardiac issues in the past as well. But now we have the advantage of health testing. Otherwise, there were better dogs in the past, at least for me it would be easier to pick a dog from the past to sire one of my litters.


Q3.  What dog from the past would you use with one of your females, or generally in your breeding plan?


 Redbolt of course, a winning dog and a top producer, but that's not possible. But I have a double great-granddaughter - Sugar (Ringmaster Hot Diamond).


Q4. A very famous saying in the Am Staff world - that I believe you also find to be true - is ''Quality, not quantity''. Did you ever consider what would bethe maximum number of dogs to have in your kennel and care for accordingly? What would be the ideal number for you and your current circumstances?


I think an ideal number would be somewhere between three and five dogs, but that also depends on the time one has. At the moment, there are ten AmStaffs in my kennel and they're a bit too many for me to take care of as much as I'd like to. I can of course provide a good quality nutrition and the proper exercise time, but there's no free time for me anymore, I can't leave home a lot anymore and it's very difficult. I think the best would be to have two or three dogs that I could take with me everywhere I go. I could go on vacation and just take them with me. If there are more of them, one can't confortably take them on trips and must find someone to care for them, and finding someone trustworthy isn't an easy task.


Q5. And yet you travel a lot, at least lately, since you became a FCI judge. How do you manage to divide your time between your dogs at home, judging shows and showing your own?


I only leave for a little while, a day or two, and there is always someone that takes care of the dogs when I'm away; otherwise, I get up early in the morning at 5:30 or 6 AM and spend time with them until I have to leave for work at 8:30, and then again when I get back home from work until it gets dark: grooming, exercising, feeding. It's not easy.


Q6.  What is their routine, do they get along with each other, do they play together, are they exercising in any special way?


I have six females and they all get along just fine, so these six girls and one boy play together, they run in the morning and in the evening, there is plenty of space over here, also hilly, so they don't need any special exercise, I think they're always in a good physical shape. They get fed proffessional kibble that I supplement with meat and eggs, and everyday fish oil. The other three males are exercised separately. I wish they'd all get along, then they'd have more running time :-)


Q7. How do you deal with youngsters that need socializing, given that you live in a pretty isolated area, without many people and traffic?


 When they're about one and a half - two months old, I get them accustomed to the leash and collar, taking them out around the village and in my neighbour'syard - she has a cow, a horse, chicken, cats and other animals. After two and a half months, I take them with me to my clinic when I have short working hours so they don't sit aroound waiting for me for too long, take them a bit around town. And if we're in the show season, I take them to shows when they're over three months old. If the dog is born with a good and balanced temperament, they'll get used to all the new stimulae really quickly; if they don't... well, then the temperament isn't right.

Q8. How do you decide, ever since the first interactions with things outside their home, be it traffic, humans or other animals, which is the temperament you are looking for and want to select further?


One can tell that the puppy's got good temperament if they learn something new every day and get used to new things all the time. So if they're taken out and they get scared of something, the right thing would be for them to get used to that thing and not get scared again the next time around. Like, a bycicle today, a bycicle tommorrow, and so on - if they're scared everytime, than there's a problem. They must learn to deal with external stimulae and get used to people, be confident around them, trust them, accept their affection. And, for me, the best temperament is in those dogs that, ever since puppyhood, don't mind anything around them, as in they aren't bothered by anything, neither cars nor other noises, they're just happy and outgoing towards people and everything else. The young female that I'm showing and promoting these days has this kind of temperament, I like her a lot, she's never been afraid of anything and enjoys shows, even if she maybe didn't go out to socialize as much as others.

Q9. You have other animals as well, including goats, including the neighbours' cats - the Am Staff is somewhat notorious for not exactly getting along with other animals, particularly smaller ones. How do they get along with other, non-canine animals, and what's their reputation around here? Did you ever have problems with your neighbours, and do they regard you as some sort of dangerous dogs owner, are they afraid of them?


 All my dogs are younger than the goats, so they all got used to them as pups and I think they look at the goats as if they were dogs as well, because when they meet, they play, they don't chase them. The goats, in turn, are friendly towards the AmStaffs, let them inside the stable, let them eat their food. The main thing is for them to get accustomed ever since they're little. I had dogs I kept here for a while when their humans couldn't care for them - such as Frano (CH Flober's Frank). He would have killed the goats. Everything about his temperament was good, but he wasn't used to such things, it was something very new to him. It's the same with cats or any other animals.

My neighbours don't know exactly how many dogs I have, some think there are around 20 ''pitbulls'', I don't bother explaining, because they don't get it anyway. One of my neighbours, who's 80, saw my trophies and then the rumour started going around that I have a lot of golden trophies. I kept trying to explain it wasn't gold but some painted metal, because I was afraid I'd be robbed, with all this gold I keep around the house, but I guess no one dares to rob me with so many ''pitbulls''.


Q10.  The Am Staff is called ''the nanny dog''; your daughter practically grew up with them  - how did they get along and what do you think is the key to a healthy good relationship between an AmStaff and a kid?


I got my first Am Staff in 1995 and my daughter was three and a half back then, they got along very well from the start. The dog was waiting outside for her to come back from the kindergarten, got used to her schedule and, at some point when she got older, he was even trying to protect her from everybody else. I think it all depends on the dog's temperament and the way that kids are taught by their parents to treat dogs and deal with them. Kids shouldn't torment the dogs, tug on their ears and tail, because then they get afraid and avoid the kids. But if kids pet them, sleep with them and feed them, even ''under the table'', unbeknownst to parents, then their relationship can actually be very close.

So my daughter likes dogs but that's about it. She didnt inherit  neither the passion for AmStaffs nor the one for dog shows :) This passion is mine and mine alone, from my entire family.  I grew up with several dogs, I've owned dogs of several breeds, including German Sheperds, Dobermann pinschers, a German pointer and an Afghan hound. When I got into AmStaff, I started with one dog, a male, not a female, because I wasn't planning specifically to have pups or become a breeder. Then I had another male, because I wanted a better one (the first wasn't pigmented enough). My second male was successful, and  I loved showing since the very beggining and I love the AmStaff, I couldn't have another breed, nor change the breed and I'll have AmStaffs for as long as I live.


Q11. By the way, the AmStaff is said to be a very adaptable breed of dog, that it can adjust quickly to new owners and environments - was this the case in your kennel, did you have dogs you got at an adult age?


Except socializing with new animals, they indeed get used very quickly, but that goes for any breed, not just AmStaffs - might be a bit more difficult for some, but eventually, any dog does get used to new environments. I had a few dogs that I brought to my kennel as adults and they got used very fast, forgot about their previous owners almost instantly. I've had several dogs I got when they were six or seven years old and either kept for a couple of years or their entire life, and they all got used to living here without any problems.


Q12.  Of all the AmStaffs you had, do you have a favourite one, that you found somewhat ideal, considering physical traits and temperament?


There were more, I've had several dogs I've felt really attached to, dogs that were with me for a while or that lived with me till the end. I liked Barberycoast Second to None a lot, he was a typical standard male, in height and anatomy, with a great temperament - very courageous, without any sort of aggressivity towards people, a dog I had for almost four years and never had any health issues, he lived to be 17 years old, his mother lived 19 years, so they were very longevive dogs. Also I would like to mention another dog from the same kennel, Barberycoast the Alchemist, a dog that lived until 14 years and seven months, a healthy dog, no skin problems, no temperament problems, very nice! These are my favourites, of the old dogs.


Q13. What about dogs born in your kennel - which of them made you the most proud?


Of the dogs I bred, I would mention Ringmaster Covergirl, a very beautiful female, a standard female, she had a great relationship with my daughter too, Iulia even showed her a few times, with very nice results, in Romania and abroad. And all the dogs in her litter, so that was a good litter. Also Ringmaster Valentina, a Second to None daughter, a brindle, very beautiful girl with great character.

Guverner was an extraordinary dog, very successful in shows and a very good producer. Unfortunatelly though, when he was four, he started having balance problems and, after a few weeks, any medication was useless and I had to put him to sleep. I had never met a dog with such symptoms, the dog was losing weight because he couldn't swallow, he was drooling... In September 2008 I sent my first sample to Antagene, the female I tested, Ringmaster American Pie, was clear. I find extraordinary and real useful the discovery, by Antagene of the genes implied in the transmission.

In the year 2000, I had the opportunity to own a very valuable AmStaff, Multi CH Barberycoast Second to None, that improved the quality of AmStaff in Romania through the breedings he made at the time. From his progeny born in my kennel, I would like to mention: CH Ringmaster White Neck, CH Ringmaster Strawberry Fields, Ringmaster Sky Bolt, CH Ringmaster Wrangler, CH Club Winner Ringmaster Valentina. Another very valuable male with a fantastic pedigree was Barberycoast The Alchemist, a very good producer with some notable offspring: USA CH Ringmaster Tomahawk, Ringmaster Transilvania and so on. Tomahawk was the first Romanian bred dog to become USA CH.

In 2001, I imported a female, CH Jully of Tower, that I bred to CH Sindelar's Shane. Their progeny turned out to be of good quality and I'd mention CH Ringmaster Camelot, CH Ringmaster Legend, Ringmaster Lucky Boy, CH Ringmaster DC, Can CH Ringmaster Lady Gallant. Shane was imported by Rade Dakic from Fred Sindelar, and then sold to Spain, where he proved to be a top producer. His descendants win important shows in many countries even today.

Franstal's Karioka was a very beautiful female that I imported in 2001, a daughter of Shane and FranstalFiesta of Ruffian. In 2002 she won the 5th place out of 38 females in junior class at the WDS. She was bred to Alchemist in 2003 and gave birth to seven pups. The best known were Ringmaster Break my Heart and Beating of the Heart.

In 2005 I imported a new female, Thunderrose, a Fraja EC Thunder Cloud daughter. Out of her breeding with Camelot, the most well known offspring is CH Flober's Frank, also his brother CH Flober's Flash.

Q14. How do you decide on the parents of a litter, temperament, anatomy, health, pedigree, what matters to you the most and how do you know when it's the perfect match?


When I choose a male for one of my females, I'm interested in how they look, their pedigree and what they pass on to their offspring. If I like what they produce and the offspring I get to see from them, and, if it's possible, their pups' health tests, then I use that stud. If not, I don't. In regards to the ataxia, if I like a dog and they happen to be a carrier, I don't mind, I'm more interested in having good hips, elbows and temperament. The pedigree is important but it's not a fixed criteria. If they don't have an extraordinary pedigree with a lot of linebreeding, that doesn't mean I wouldn't use them. The stud can be out of an outcross as well, all that matters is that they're good producers, and healthy dogs, with great energy and a good movement. Then the chances to get good pups are far better than with a stud that may have an amazing pedigree but bad, insufficient angulations, bad movement, bad front or light coloured eyes or bad bite, because those are faults that can be passed on for several generations. It is said a bad front assembly is very hard to be corrected. While a not so pretty - but correct - head is not that big of a problem, pups with great heads can be obtained even from the first generation.


Q15. A lot of people consider it's very important for a kennel to use their own bred-bys in their breeding plan, and have their pedigrees filled as much as possible only with dogs they produce. Yet you always bring stud dogs from other kennels, even females into your pedigrees. So do you think it's important to have a ''full'' Ringmaster pedigree?

I think if someone's able to have pedigrees exclusively with bred-bys for several generations, that's great, but it's not easy to do that, because the risk is to get really close, if there isn't a lot of genetical diversity. While I can't have that genetical diversity, because I like a certain type of dog, Fraja dogs, I can't just import dogs  from different kennels, even with common origins, just in order to have diverse enough dogs that are all called Ringmaster. I preffered to keep a female, almost from every breeding, and breed them to males from other kennels. I rarely bred them with males in my own kennel. I generally like to breed either with males imported from the US or females that I imported. Come to think about it, Sugar has an American father, her mother has an American mother, Brilliant is out of two dogs imported from America, Papito's dam is imported by me from America, Master has an American sire and Cindy an American dam. So basically I have American dogs, but not because I insisted on that, but it just so happenned that the dogs I liked a lot were American.


Q16. It is said being a breeder is not for the faint of heart, there are several hardships to breeding dogs, what do you think is the hardest thing?


The hardest is to face dissapointments, because there are several of those when you're a breeder. My first and actually only big dissapointment was in 2009, when one of the foundation dogs of my kennel, Guverner, started having problems with his balance and I couldn't tell what was wrong at first. I thought it was the internal ear or other problems that could cause it, but then I learned it was the cerebellar ataxia, a disease that caused his father's death, and all the dogs in my kennel were based on that line, his daughter and grandson were also in my kennel, and I had to stop breeding them and start from scratch. So that was my most difficult moment and maybe other people wouldn't have been able to move forward but I managed to do so.


Q17. Given the fact that you've had a considerable amount of litters, you had many pups you had to find owners for. How do you chose the right people for your dogs, both in the benefit of the dog and considering a further collaboration?


When someone's interested in acquiring a dog from us, I first ask them to come around and see our dogs, for me to get to know them, talk to them. There have been cases when I was willing to pay for their trip but leave without a dog, because I didn't like something or something seemed off. Or situations when they take the dog but call back in a few days saying they were wrong and can't actually have a dog and handle the stress of gettin' woken up at night by the pup and so on. So I ask them to bring the dog back and I start trying to find another person, the right one. The thing I'm most interested in is for the pup to be with a family that's patient, willing to teach the pup, for them to have a good life, far better than they'd have with me, because I have a lot of dogs and I couldn't give them the same care and attention as a family in which they'd be the only one.

I'm looking for active people, with a flexible schedule, and some money that would ensure a proper food and care. If we're talking about a show dog, even better. But it's not easy to breed a real show dog. There can be dogs that go to shows and finish their championships, that's not hard to do. If someone wants to buy a puppy from me, I can't assure them they'd get a show dog, but I can give them a promising pup that, with the proper care and training, has the right chances. I'm always willing to help with advices or showing the pup, or connecting them with friends that can do that if it's impossible for me.


Q18. What are the most important shows you go to and which ones matter most to you?


In baby class, any show is good, especially if it's close to home, it's very beneficial for a very young dog, they learn a lot. Otherwise, I like club shows, especially when they're judged by breeder judges. In Romania, I love to go to Timisoara, Arad, Alba Iulia, those are beautiful shows.


Q19. And how important are they, as a confirmation? For instance, let's consider the case in which you'd have a dog that you believe is very good and representative of the breed and you feel would make a good producer - but is unsuccessful in shows. How much importance do titles hold?


I like shows and most of all I like to show a dog that enjoys it, cause then we both have fun. If I have a dog I feel is the right one, I always aim for the first place, because I feel the dog can do it, but I don't mind coming in second or third. Mainly, if I take a dog to shows, it's because I feel they're good, I don't like trying and seeing what judges think and if I can get lucky. I know I have a good, well trained dog, and I show it. When I took Hot Summer to the European Dog Show in Slovenia in 2010, she was female puppy class winner out of 12 females, Panda came in third out of 26 females in EDS Tuln 2004, Karioka was fifth out of 38 females in WDS, so generally my instinct was right. From my experience and instinct so far, I don't think other judges would dislike dogs I like. They don't necesarrily have to win, but be noticed, get a good placement.

Q20. You recently became a FCI judge and you already judged a few shows and have others planned. What's it like to have to choose a dog in such a short time, as opposed to chosing a dog as a breeder, studying pedigrees, progeny, health tests and so on?


I don't have a lot of experience with judging, but it's very hard to chose when the dogs in the ring aren't good quality ones, because it's hard to tell who to place better. It's much easier to pick the best dogs out of the best dogs, because a difference can be made.But if the quality is not so great, it's hard to find good traits in a bad quality dog. And it's also difficult to judge a show and ''award'' all dogs with ''very good''. It's just hard.

Good dogs are easy to spot, so when they get in the ring, it's obvious which one is best, it's gotta have that something, the attitude, the color, the head, the movement, how good their general condition is, these are things one sees right away.

So then it's very simple to chose the dog you like best. I don't look for dogs' faults in the ring,  I'm looking for what I like, so the difference between two good dogs is made by some specifical things I like less. The head is really important, the pigmentation, the color, the front assembly, the topline, the angles, most of all the movement. A dog that moves the right way is correctly built.


Q21. In Romania, and generally in our part of Europe, we are used to cropped dogs. You'll soon judge in the Czech Republic, in Austria and Finland, where cropping is forbidden. Do you think it would be strange, will you look at the AmStaff differently?


They'll all be uncropped and it will be very easy. I've got two uncropped dogs myself, with very nice natural ears, so I don't find it an obstacle in chosing the best dog.

If the dog has beautiful ears, they have a beautiful face be they cropped or uncropped. If the ears are not correct, large or full dropped, they ruin the entire look, because it makes a big difference. I like dogs with natural ears a lot too. So if I have in my kennel dogs that are born with beautiful ears and keep them like that when they grow up, I don't crop them.


Q22. Please tell us something about your activity within the Romanian Kennel Club, the Romanian Bull Type Terrier Club and the shows you  organised many years ago.


The club was founded in the year 2000 and we had our first show in 2002. We invited Cathy Prothro from Barberycoast Kennel to judge and she was kind enough to accept our invitation. We had a lot to learn from her, because the internet was in its early years back then and breed information was scarce. Cathy held a seminar, each participant received a file with info on the breed. We had a record number of entered dogs: 114 dogs, out of which 87 were judged. I believe it was the best club show we had, we were really enthusiastic about it and Cathy was a pro, a very experienced breeder with many famous dogs born in her kennel. She's currently an activist for dogs, amstaffs and pitbulls' rights in Canada and the US. A really nice person and passionate about the breed.


Q23. You had many menthors during this time, including the judges you invited here, what is the most important thing you learned from them, as a breeder, the most valuable piece of advice?


I'm not the kind of person that considers himself the smartest, the best breeder or with the best dogs; whenever I get the chance to talk to an older, more experienced breeder, but with new breeders as well, I like to listen and learn something from everybody. To me, the most important menthor was Fred Sindelar, we were talking almost weekly and I always wanted to bring to Romania a dog from his kennel, but it wasn't meant to be, because he left us too soon. For me, of all the breeders I've met, he was the best, not only as a breeder, but also as a person. I had the chance to meet him in person at the 2002 WDS in Amsterdam, and I would have loved to meet him again this year when I'll go to Louisville, Kentucky, but unfortunatelly that's not possible anymore.


Q24. What advice do you have for aspiring breeders and fanciers?


First of all, to take good care of the dogs they have, offer them the best life, with exercise and good quality nutrition, then, if they have a show dog, show it to the best of his potential. And health tests. The female's nutrition, from the beginning of the pregnancy, is very important. A balanced nutrition, without any excess of vitamins and minerals, so an adequate nutrition for her physiological condition. After birth, a balanced food considering the number of pups. The pups, depending also on the dam's milk production, need their food supplemented with proffessional kibble, meat, eggs, yogurt, probiotics - there are special probiotics that help pups obtain immunity in their digestive trait. Pups often have problems with diahrea that occur around the age of 2-3 weeks, their owners come to my practice and complain about this, and food refusal and whining in their pups. Then they need probiotics because obviously something's wrong in their digestive system, pathogenic bacteria multiply. The nutrition they get in the moment they're weaned is also important, because weaning represents an extra stress factor, so probiotics help developing a normal flora and they grow up healthy and don't lose weight.

Typical day at Ringmaster kennels

Q25. I've noticed you always use an infrared bulb for your litters, even in summer, indoors...


In the first two weeks, depending on the temperature of the environment, it's very important to ensure the pups a constant 39 degrees on ground level, because they can't yet regulate their own temperature and they just adjust it according to the environment.The heat helps them be relaxed -  a low temperature can be a stress. And that's not just because the possibility of canine herpes virus - that's been known to act at 37 degrees and below. I don't have such problems, but, having a large enough whelping space for the dam to move away from the bulb if it's too hot for her, I prefer giving the pups this comfort because they feel much better with it. In the first week, the bulb is set to give a temperature of 39 degrees, in the second week, 38. After that, I only keep it if it's necessary, but usually pups grow up just fine and don't need it afterwards. When it's cold outside, my litters are always born indoors and stay indoors until weaning. I take them out to enjoy the sun. I prefer litters born in summertime.

 Also, though it can help them regulate their body temperature, it can also have an adverse effect. If the pups are very young and big in size, they'll just sit around all day and eat, without moving, and the Swimming Puppy Syndrome can occur. In that case, something has to be done really fast.


Q26. Speaking of health tests, especially hip and elbow dysplasia, what do you think are the best age and the best way to test for them?


The best age is at two years old, because then the dog is fully developed and mature. For me the normal x-ray is the best. I think a regular x-ray is the best and simplest, I noticed that there are many dogs that don't have good hips but have a good Penny score, I think some people just do both and pick the one that has more favourable results.  PennHip measures passive hip joint laxity, while the normal x-ray offers more ways to determine the positioning of the femural head in the acetabulum.

Q27. What are your future plans regarding breeding, judging, showing, what do you plan to work more on?


 Now that I'm a judge and like judging, I will try to dedicate some of my already scarce free time to this new hobby of mine and honour the invitations I get. But I also want to show because it's something I love, not just stick to being a judge. I wanna visit the US and especially the Specialty in October in Louisville, I'll have a new American import that I'm really excited about a pup out of a female born in my kennel and a very appreciated male in the US, from Fraja kennels. That's about it for now, maybe a litter this year.

The dam will definitely be Brilliant (of Gold Court) but I'm not sure if the sire will be Papito or someone else, just waiting for AmStaff Major to get the chance to check out other possible sires, maybe I get a good feeling about a certain dog.


Q28.  As you said you like shows so much, how do you feel about Breed Specific Legislation and, for instance, about the European Dog Show in Norway that has some really peculiar limitations, as in the dog can be euthanized if the owner extends their stay in Norway for one day - how do you feel about such restrictions, given it's a FCI event after all?


I don't agree with such restrictions, it's an exaggeration caused by ignorance, because people don't know the breed. In Denmark, it's forbidden, well that's not a breed to ban, there are many other breeds that are far more dangerous. The AmStaff is not a human aggressive breed so I find this whole thing very exaggerated.


Q29. How much of a collector, so to say, are you? Do you collect such things as old breed catalogues, books written by earlier breeders, and if so, do these help you in your documentation process?


Well I like them. Can't say I'm a collector. I bought some from the European Dog Show in Poznan in 2000 -  I think those were among the first books on the breed that got to Romania, from Mr. Max Van Slipje of Old Hickory Kennel. Prices were pretty high back then, around 200 German marks for a book. I love books, and, whenever I have some time, I look through them, even if I almost know all of them by heart now. So yea, I'm not an avid collector, but whenever there's something available at a show, i buy it. I love it, I love books. Unfortunatelly, there aren't so many of them on the market.

f I were an avid collector, I would have bought the collection I was offered, from the US - a very large collection of books, magazines, breeding announcements and so on - worth eight thousand euros - well, I can't afford that luxury.


Q30. At  last, something about your activity as a judge, since you're a judge not only for AmStaffs but for all bull type terriers. What do you think are the similarities and the differences, do you think it would be hard to judge anything other than AmStaffs?


I have a licence to judge all bull type terriers, but I've only judged AmStaffs so far. There are many differences between the four breeds and judging neither of them is easy. I think, in order to become a good judge - besides AST's that I've worked with for 20 years - I have to see many dogs, many shows in Europe with expert judges. And I don't plan to judge other breeds, so I'll just stick to bull type breeds, I wouldnt have the time anyway. I received an invitation to judge Staffy bulls in Germany, but I had to decline for now, I want to go watch some relevant breed clubs before that. I want to do a good job, and it's so easy to make mistakes...


@Amstaff Major in 2013: Flash, Indy, Pretty, Frano and Spoty

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