**Disclaimer: This article contains the personal opinions and views of the author, Retha Crafford ONLY, and is in no way meant to be interpreted as veterinary advice or veterinary opinion. The opinion and relevant statements made are those of the author only. **


“As it stands there is much debate within veterinary circles and amongst owners/breeders about the various treatment modalities available to our beloved Rotties when something goes wrong. Yes, certain conditions such a ruptured ACL ligament in large breed dogs as a rule require surgical stabilisation of the joint – but what about dysplasia, training injuries, conditions related to aging and arthritis? (Even a surgically repaired knee will suffer serious arthritis – especially if the meniscus has been removed as well) I have been researching and reading for quite some time now, and after stumbling over ‘stem cell therapy’ for dogs, I was intrigued. I was even more intrigued when I discovered that this treatment is not only AVAILABLE in South Africa, but that there are THREE veterinarians qualified to perform and regulate this minimally invasive and surprisingly fast procedure. I would like to thank Dr Tim Krafft for compiling this article/information piece for Craffenheim Rottweilers – and I encourage all of those Rottweiler (or any breed of dog – as well as cats and horses) folk who like me were ‘rather clueless until reading more’; to keep reading. It could just change the course of your dog’s life and longevity.”
Retha Crafford

Craffenheim Rottweilers thank:

Dr Tim Krafft (Medivet) http://www.medivetsa.co.za/ or



Dr Tim Hepplestone http://www.bluehillsvet.co.za/

Stem Cell Therapy for dogs – Dr Tim Krafft

WATCH Dr Tim Hepplestone’s Labrador Grommet BEFORE and AFTER surgery videos RIGHT here.
BEFORE: Grommet before stem cell therapy AFTER: Grommet 7 days after treatment


Stem Cell therapy is at the leading edge of treatment for osteoarthritis, tendon and ligament damage. Rottweilers are large breed dogs that are unfortunately susceptible to osteoarthritis (OA) of various joints, including hips, elbows and the small joints of the feet and toes. It is a frustrating and debilitating condition that has proven difficult to treat conventionally – the current treatment triad of weight control, pain management and controlled exercise works for some pets but invariably the disease overtakes this management attempts and quality of life becomes severely impaired. This is because we are not actually improving the condition of the joint in any real way- there is an ongoing loss of chondrocytes (cartilage cells) and the structures and lubricants associated with these cells. The body’s attempt to repair the damage results in thickened joint capsules and bony changes of the joint, all restricting the normal range of motion and causing loss of function and pain.


Normal healthy cartilage is actually a dynamic spongy structure with a smooth surface: each cycle of weight bearing will expel water out of this spongy matrix which is then taken up again when the leg is lifted. This shock absorption, coupled with low friction coefficients in the joints – smooth surfaces and a fluid called hyaluronan (produced by the chondrocytes) – allow the amazing mobility of the normal joint. With loss of chondrocytes the joint degenerates. To heal joints we need to regenerate chondrocytes but these cells have a notoriously poor cellular turnover in the average animal. One obvious solution is to add regenerative capacity – but how? Many forms of Nutraceuticals, mostly containing chondroitin sulphate, glycosaminoglycan’s and other cartilage “building blocks” have shown some promise in helping to maintain joint condition, but there is unfortunately no clear evidence of efficacy.

If the problem is essentially a poor regeneration of chondrocytes then the answer should be – add cells that have regenerative capacity – stem cells. Stem cells have the ability to be the source of new chondrocytes when they are injected into or settle in a joint, and they also secrete proteins (cytokines) that are known to reduce the ongoing damage in the joint. Adult dogs have various sources of stem cells that we can harvest, the simplest, and also equal to bone marrow in quality (and far superior in quantity of stem cells per gram) is fat, Adipose tissue! When it has been enzymatically macerated and purified, it results in a cell rich fluid called Stromal Vascular Fraction – this contains fat cells (adipocytes), blood vessel associated cells (pericytes) and Mesenchymal Stem Cells . These stem cells are relatively quiescent, having being sourced from an adult donor, so various methods have been developed to activate them. Two well described methods include the addition of Platelet Rich Plasma derived from the same donor dog as the fat and photobiomodulation. These two methods together result in a vastly increased metabolic rate and cellular turnover of the mesenchymal stem cells. The combination of active stem cells in large amounts – 20 grams of canine fat can yield up to fifty million stem cells – provides a powerful regenerative tool when injected into a damaged joint. Is this just science? Not at all – there are currently three veterinary hospitals in South Africa who have the facilities and vets trained to do just this: Valley Farm Animal Hospital in Pretoria (Dr Tim Krafft), Blue Hills Veterinary Hospital in Johannesburg (Dr Tim Hepplestone) and Westville Veterinary Hospital in Durban (Dr Richard Smith).

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The process usually takes a day. The fat is harvested in the morning in a procedure much like a spay operation, the fat is then processed in the hospital’s on site laboratory, and the activated stromal vascular fraction is injected into the dog’s joints that afternoon. International results have been very rewarding, with eighty five percent of patients treated showing improvement of joint function. Locally the three vets have treated over fifty patients using the patented Medivet SA Adipose derived Stem Cell Therapy and have seen similar results, with most pets improving within fourteen days of treatment. The effect has been shown to last in the region of two years, and because the patient is the source of its own treatment there is no chance of cross reaction. For more information and the contact details of the stem cell vets go to:

We are all products of our environment. The nature VS nurture debate has raged for so many years, with about as much controversy as what there is passion from both sides of the ‘argument’.

And this is just with regard to humans. Are they a product of their genes or the environment?

The same debate has raged for years in the world of pedigreed dogs as well. At Craffenheim we have a firm and solid belief, (which has been reinforced throughout our 14 years of breeding and improving on this breed), that: “A dog’s genetics will dictate a fair amount – BUT it is his environment that ultimately decides WHAT type of dog he is going to develop into; as an individual”

Breed standards regarding temperament are in place, YET each Rottweiler remains an ‘individual’.

The more we at Craffenheim focus on a positive and biologically appropriate environment for our dogs; the larger the evidence suggests that: “a dog who is allowed to become ONE with his environment and nature AND who is encouraged to ‘enjoy and partake’ in activities that his ancestors would have partaken in: the more happy and balanced the dog. THIS is in terms of both physical conditioning and temperament.”

We believe firmly and with increasing vigour that a balanced dog is one who is allowed to exist and live the natural state his physiology intended. This is a 2 pronged belief, based on NUTRITION and BEING ALLOWED TO EXPRESS HIMSELF WITHIN A NATURAL ENVIRONMENT.


I shared my rather strong opinions re: nutrition 2 weeks ago, and feel it needs to be looked at again. Raw feeding has brought about the most incredible change in my dogs that follow the whole prey diet. However; there are a few of my dogs who quite simply REFUSE to eat raw, regardless of how I package the ‘food parcel’, regardless of how I bribe and beg…………….

The dogs who quite simply REFUSE to even contemplate “whole prey raw”, (one of who is the incredible Devil Earl Antonius), NEED the benefits of a whole prey diet in order to function optimally. The scientific studies have been conducted; the evidence is in; the ‘too much protein’ myth has been debunked and tossed away and canine nutrition is finally moving in a direction which benefits the dog.

Grain is bad, protein is GOOD. And contrary to earlier beliefs, it is not the protein ratio that affects the growth of large and giant breed dogs, but rather the calcium/phosphorous ratio. As a breeder of Rottweilers; puppy feeding, slow growth and skeletal soundness are priorities. I focus on ensuring that my litters, puppies and young dogs are strictly monitored in terms of this. They too can benefit from

So, how do I ensure my ‘raw feeding’ hunger strikers STILL get the benefits of ‘raw’ whilst eating something that they enjoy and is of such a high quality that I would even consider feeding it to my show dogs, brood bitches, studs?

The answer was actually quite simple: Orijen Biologically Appropriate Dog Food (Or Acana): as both are made by the world renowned pet food company from Alberta Canada, Champion Pet Foods). This food is quite simply THE CLOSEST to a whole prey diet one can get – in a bag 
After extensive research and personal discussion with those who use the food, I decided to try it and see if my ‘fussy raw chicken stomach protesters’ might find the Orijen decent enough to try.

RESULT: The pellets were sucked in via noses and mouths, with many ‘Oliver Twist – please mom, may we have some more’ looks. (A blessing indeed.) Raw benefits without the RAW.

Not all dogs will eat RAW – as I have seen for myself. The solution: Biologically appropriate whole prey Orijen or Acana. The health benefits are exactly the same.

What I have also found is that my RAW feeders absolutely DEVOUR the Orijen when I do feed it to them; for example when travelling, it is often impossible to feed raw – so I use Orijen in these instances.


Craffenheim Rottweilers are raised and loved on a working farm. Surrounded by the open fields, mountains, natural rivers and dams on our property, our dogs are encouraged to explore their environment and ‘live’ in it as nature intended. They truly do become one with their rugged surroundings as they swim in the icy winter waters, forage in the long grass of the open fields, dig for roots and clamber up rocks to lie in the summer sun.

Year round, regardless of weather, our dogs get to enjoy and experience what it means to be free amongst the glorious natural settings their ancestors once roamed.
Another benefit to our philosophy is the mental stimulation our dogs receive as a result of their ‘natural freedom’ and sensory stimulation when ‘out and about’ on the farm. Walks to the mountain do not only inspire a physical awakening in the dogs, but a sensory one as well. On return from one of these nature walks, our dogs return to their 5 star open paddocks and shelter for some rest and relaxation.

Whilst our beloved Rottweilers are first and foremost our pets; we encourage them to ‘live’ out their ‘true canine’ personalities. Once these inherent needs have been met (via our dog’s active interplay with their environment) we find the evidence of the dog’s satisfaction in every aspect of life at Craffenheim Rottweilers.

We allow and encourage our Rottweilers to be ROTTWEILERS……………………..

At Craffenheim Rottweilers, we will always keep our dogs as close to their natural intended ‘state’ as what we can. The benefits of doing this are monumental – for both dog and human handler.

One look at out our dogs and we think you will agree – Life is good when you go back to basics…….which in our case, is back to nature.




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Generally a very robust breed over the centuries, along with many other breeds, there has been in increase in disease, genetic illness, congenital birth defects and more. Recent health reports put the Rottweiler as one of the most expensive breeds in the world to own in terms of possible medical care.

We are obsessed and committed to trying our very best to breed healthy dogs, with longevity in their genes and general exceptional health in all of their ancestors behind them (Prove lines, in terms of genetics and testing as well as functionality and longevity). However, we can only do our very best, and it is a sad fact of breeding and our beloved breed that things can and sometimes do go “wrong”.

It is important to us, that Rottweiler owners are aware of some of the medical issues our breed can encounter as well as general information that is extremely valuable to any pet owner (regardless of breed). We encourage owners to do as much research as possible for themselves, and to not only take veterinary surgeons opinions as always being fact. Whilst a vet should ALWAYS be your first visit for any diagnostics and tests the MINUTE you notice something wrong – we have learned through own experience that by “knowing more/reading more/researching more” you are in fact doing your beloved pet a huge favor.

We are firm believers in immediate veterinary care for ANY condition, illness, injury and the sort, and in fact we stipulate this as part of our Puppy Contract. Ill/injured puppies or dogs need to be seen by a veterinary surgeon without haste.
To assist readers in gaining valuable information in the various (sometimes confusing) world of pet illness/conditions/injuries and more – we have provided the link to the Merck Veterinary Manual online. The most sold and used animal health manual in the world.

This is not meant to replace ANY professional advice, but simply to provide owners with valuable information that puts them in a better position to protect and fight for their beloved animals.

Our ‘Raising you Craffenheim Puppy” guide – which is on this website and can be seen HERE (link) also lists names of Pet insurance available in South Africa, which is one way of ensuring your beloved Rottweiler can always get the medical treatment he/she deserves: when needed.

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**Disclaimer: This article contains the personal opinions and views of the author, Retha Crafford, and is in no way meant to be interpreted as veterninary advice, behavioural advice OR as an advertisement. The opinion is that of the author only, as a responsible and ethical breeder of Rottweilers. The information below is published to provide insight into the process of purchasing a Rottweiler, and what is required in the author’s opinion in order to provide a Rottweiler with an ideal home. The author has no intention of discouraging people to acquire highly pedigreed and stable temperamented Rottweilers – but is simply placing the needs of the Rottweiler as a breed on the table and within the public domain for the protection and benefit of the breed. What is stated below is the author: Retha Crafford’s; personal advice and opinion on homing a Rottweiler, and the relationship of the Rottweiler with children. All opinion is based on her commitment to the breed, her extensive experience as a breeder and the continued survival of the Rottweiler in it’s traditional and ADRK stated role**

As a Rottweiler breeder, one of the first questions I am asked by any potential ‘new’ owner, is the following: “If I get a Rottweiler, will it bite my child/children?”
My first thought is usually, “A Jack Russell, a poodle, a Ridgeback, a labradoodle, a Yorkie or a spaniel MIGHT also bite your child/children; depending on the circumstances and the individual dog and children involved…….”

Somewhere in the world at this very moment there are thousands of Rottweilers being trained, cuddled, played with and adored by their human families of all ages, children included.

Elsewhere in the world at this very moment there are thousands of Rottweilers chained up or banished to back yards whilst the ‘children’ of the family pull the Rottweiler’s ears, hit it with sticks or smack it in the face; with no adult supervision. It is in this ‘elsewhere’ in the world scenario, that a child will inevitably be bitten within the next few hours.

As a responsible breeder interested only in the betterment, improvement and welfare of the Rottweiler, I feel obliged to write this article in the interests of the Rottweiler cause.

Rottweilers are in fact extremely fond of children, and the series of books by Alexandra Day titled ‘Good Dog Carl’; about a little boy and his Rottweiler certainly reflect the Rottweiler in his true light; that of being a wonderful companion for a child – IN THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES and with the correct ADULT supervision and guidance.

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(Good Dog Carl – Alexandra Day)

The 90’s played a huge role in the demonising of the Rottweiler, due to a huge increase in the popularity of the breed, and the rise of unscrupulous and negligent breeders (otherwise known as ‘GREEDERS’). An increase in the sheer numbers of Rottweilers (many poorly bred with weak and out of standard temperament) quite obviously led to a rise in Rottweiler reported ‘bite incidents’. This led to the usual wave of hysteria, and myth making that continues to linger to this day.

That said, the answer to the question, “will my children be safe around a Rottweiler” is not as simple OR clear cut as what one would think – it is not a YES or NO answer. What has always concerned me, as a Code of Ethics breeder; is that the perception of Rottweilers as ‘baby biting/face ripping’ human blood loving machines, IS STILL very much alive in the domain of public opinion.

In the information piece that follows, I am going to try and answer the question re: Rottweilers and Children as clearly and concisely as possible. I will debunk the fact from the fiction, and will also be incredibly honest in terms of the ‘type’ of home a Rottweiler should ideally be placed in. This is especially true when it comes to Rottweilers bred from seriously strong and well documented German working lines.

To open this information piece; this image perfectly reflects the content to follow:


It is important to start at the beginning, and describe exactly what the Rottweiler Breed Standard says in terms of Rottweiler temperament and behaviour:

The ADRK (Algemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub) whilst German in origin and statutory nature, is also the organization responsible for maintaining, setting and revising the Breed standard of the Rottweiler internationally. They always have been, and continue to be the ‘protectors’ of the Rottweiler breed. The ADRK breed standard describes the Rottweiler’s temperament as:


“Behaviour / Temperament
Good natured, placid in basic disposition and fond of children, very devoted, obedient, biddable and eager to work. His appearance is natural and rustic, his behaviour self assured, steady and fearless. He reacts to his surroundings with great alertness.”


This describes an adult Rottweiler that has been well bred, well socialised, raised correctly and is of sound breed temperament. PLEASE NOTE: ‘fond of children’ features very clearly in the ADRK standard.


Contrary to what many people think, desired Rottweiler behaviour and temperament DOES NOT and WILL NEVER include: random and indiscriminate acts of aggression; acts of viciousness or fearfulness and skittishness. These are not traits contained in the breed standard and are entirely undesirable.

It is for this reason that it is ESSENTIAL that any potential Rottweiler buyer thoroughly research breeders before committing to a purchase. Only breeders who are registered with KUSA and who can support their claims of ethical breeding via previous litters and successes should be approached. When purchasing a Rottweiler; good /breed standard temperament should be the most important item on the list of desirables.

Cheaper is most definitely not better when purchasing a Rottweiler, as the value of a balanced, progeny proven and genetically thrown “sound and stable breed standard temperament” does not carry a price tag.


  • A reputable and ethical breeder will always be able to clarify or attest to the following regarding temperament:
  • The breeder will have monitored the various puppies’ temperaments and will be in a position to advise buyers as to which puppy is best suited to your specific circumstances and home. Puppy Aptitude testing is also done by the breeder (herself/himself/qualified 3rd party) at 49 days, and this assists with placement.
  • The breeder will be able to give you an accurate and documented history into the bloodlines of the pup, and will be able to refer back to generations of the pup’s ancestors in order to highlight “hard” working dog lines – These pups will require experienced homes and handlers with plans to participate in a dog sport (IPO etc)
  • The breeder will be able to discuss the temperament of both the sire and dam – and where logistically possible, pup buyers will be able to view both sire and dam within their environment. *Personal note: In my case, buyers are invited into my home and are able to view our entire farm, breeding facilities, paddocks and runs, along with the Rottweilers on the property. In fact buyers are introduced to not only the sire and dam of the pup they are purchasing, but are also introduced to each and every male and female Rottweiler in the Craffenheim kennel.*
  • The breeder will be registered with KUSA and the Rottweiler Breed Council.
  • The breeder will be able to provide references from owners of pups from previous litters, and will often have dogs represented in other breeding kennels.
  • The breeder will be prepared to answer your questions and any concerns you may have raised, as well as be available for ongoing support.

Once you have found a suitable breeder, the first step in ensuring a well bred dog of sound temperament has been covered. This is the single most important factor when answering any questions as to whether Rottweilers are good with children.


  • The typical well bred Rottweiler will be calm and confident without being ‘pushy’. Aloof towards strangers; yet not fearful or aggressive – he will typically stand back and take a ‘wait and see’ approach towards strange people and new situations.
  • Fiercely loyal towards his family, he will quite literally offer up his life if he feels one of his humans is being threatened. This makes him both friend and protector to his family – INCLUDING (and in some cases, most ESPECIALLY) the children.
  • As a result of their natural drives and inherent breed characteristics; carefully protected and guarded by the ADRK over the centuries through careful breeding ;( quite literally) the Rottweiler’s instinct to protect and WORK is strong. This means that he has drives that need to be satisfied and correctly channelled by doing the following:
  • Early and extensive socialisation
  • Fair, consistent and firm training
  • Giving the Rottweiler a job to do
  • It is CRUCIAL to mention at this point, that pups from extremely strong working lines will in all probability NOT make the ideal family pet if you are looking for a companion dog only. These highly intelligent and genetically mapped working dogs are often ‘TOO MUCH DOG’ for some people – and inexperience in dealing with extremely high drive working dogs, can be overwhelming – and is also often the reason many young Rottweilers are re-homed or handed over to welfare organisations. All puppy buyers NEED to do their research regarding breeding combinations, and ask the breeder about the genetics involved. An experienced Rottweiler handler with children will be able to manage a ‘hard core’ working Rottweiler and integrate it into the family successfully.
  • Inexperienced Rottweiler owners (First time owners) will in all probability find the task at hand too demanding and frustrating at times – unless they invest in some outside help with regard to training and understanding working dogs – Please be SURE to use the services of trainers who have extensive and documented experience with working dog breeds – as someone who only deals with Bassets and Bostons will be of little help to you.


  • The most important task any new Rottweiler owner has is the effective and extensive socialisation of the young Rottweiler pup. Once the series of inoculations is complete, it is time to work: HARD. Puppy classes are a good starting point where the pup will be exposed to a variety of people, situations and real life simulations. The pup will also get to interact with children, as many attend these classes. Your own children should attend these classes with you where possible, so that they are involved with the pup’s training from Day 1.
  • For Rottie pup owners who don’t have children – it is essential that your dog still gets to ‘meet’ a few ‘little people’ and interact with them. I have heard of ‘childless’ Rottie owners taking pups to school rugby games, children’s parks and even standing outside of school gates in order to introduce their dogs to children and the noises and actions children make.
  • In terms of your own children, it is essential that from the day the pup arrives home, certain boundaries are set. There should be rules for the pup (who will learn with positive reinforcement over time) and rules for the children. It is essential that children respect the pup’s personal space, as well as the pup’s physical and mental health. Very rarely is there a problem with a Rottweiler and a child if an experienced and mature adult manages and controls the integration process. Supervision at all times is essential – Children (young children) should never be left alone with dogs – not Just Rottweilers – ANY breed of dog. It is usually in these instances where an adult is not present to ‘identify and ward off the trigger’ that a child is bitten (all breeds). When Rottweilers are raised with children, in a correct and well managed manner – a special bond is formed that will last for the duration of the dog’s life.
  • Young pups with their needle sharp teeth DO BITE – often, and HARD. This is not an act of aggression and many times it is incorrectly labelled as “aggression”. The pup is learning and bite inhibition is part of what the adult in the family (with the FULL buy in from all family members) has to teach. Children also need to be told not to flap hands, feet and arms in the pups face – as this will stimulate the pup into a bout of puppy biting. Children should be discouraged from rough housing, playing ‘tug of war’ and becoming overly rambunctious whilst interacting with the young pup.
  • When your children have friends over, and things become overly loud, rowdy and perhaps a little too ‘busy’ i.e. running around in large groups etc – some Rottweilers with a herding instinct might automatically start to push and lean on the children while barking, running in circles and even nipping. IF your Rottweiler DOES show such signs – it is kinder to both children and dog to remove the dog from where the ‘chaos’ is taking place; thereby avoiding any issues.


  • Formal obedience training becomes essential from 6 months of age – however, obedience training should be taking place in the home each and every day (Basic). Your children will have to be involved with this, and the ENTIRE family has to be on board and committed to the process. If there is inconsistency or a difference of opinions – the Rottweiler will simply take charge himself. Being supremely intelligent, the Rottweiler is extremely biddable and will do whatever you need him to do, as long as he understands what that IS. If you do not allow your Rottweiler to climb on the couch, but your children do – problem.
  • If you allow your children to physically ‘assault’ the Rottweiler – yet you apply positive reinforcement methods – problem.
  • If you are unable to cater to the physical and mental stimulation requirements of a dog like the Rottweiler – problem. He will find his ‘own job to do’ and make his own decisions about how he treats various people – your children included. If you allow him to share your life, within boundaries of course (BUT: those boundaries must be clear to the dog – he will not automatically know they exist)
  • If you DO NOT allow the Rottweiler to form part of your family and leave him alienated in a back yard 24/7 – problem.

**It is important to add that children in GENERAL should be educated about never approaching and petting ANY strange dog – regardless of breed and where the dog is. Never allow your children to rush up to a dog out walking with its owner/walking on the beach or walking past your home on a lead.
There are many reasons that certain dogs will NOT enjoy this – and could react. If you see a dog with a yellow ribbon/bandana around its neck – keep your children away full stop – because the owner of this dog is STATING, via an international ‘Yellow’ campaign, that their dog MUST NOT BE APPROACHED**


  • Contrary to popular belief, a Rottweiler will obey 8 year olds commands just as readily as commands from an adult IF the dog respects the child, and knows that the child is ‘higher up’ in the rankings. If the child remains calm and assertive without resorting to teasing/harassing/physically harming the dog; yet shows that he/she is in control (regardless of age) the Rottweiler will respect this.
  • Remember: the child will treat the Rottweiler in the manner the ADULTS allow. The responsibility for a strong foundation and bond between Rottweiler and child rests FIRMLY on the shoulders of the adults and OLDER children within the home. Younger children and the young Rottweiler will learn from those who ‘call the shots’ – the adults. Rottweilers do well when there are clear and defined rules, boundaries and ‘jobs’ – whereas chaos, confusion, blurred lines and unclear boundaries simply encourage Rottweilers to appoint themselves as ‘Commanders in Chief’.
  • Respecting the personal space of a Rottweiler is essential. In the same way the Rottweiler must be trained to respect the personal space of his humans, so must the humans (especially children) be taught to return the favour. The place a dog sleeps and eats is ‘his’ space and everyone in the home should understand and respect that.


  • If you have no intention of breeding with your dog/bitch (and unless you are a registered breeder intent on IMPROVING the breed – you shouldn’t even be thinking of breeding at all) spaying and neutering can rid the dog of hormonal behaviour issues – BUT: spaying/neutering is NOT a cure for behavioural problems. There is also strong (and in some cases rather overwhelming) emerging evidence that spaying and neutering a dog/bitch too early can play a rather large role in skeletal problems, ACL tears (knee) and a variety of cancers. There will be an article from Craffenheim Rottweilers on the ‘spay and neuter’ debate in the weeks to come as this issue has no middle ground – there are two firm camps on either side.


  • Please always be aware that your Rottweiler might be comfortable with certain behaviours your children display in your home, because he has been exposed to them, and he recognises the children as his ‘humans’. Even Rottweilers with the most stable temperaments in the world have the potential to react DIFFERENTLY when other children behave in exactly the same way YOUR children behave. For example: Your Rottweiler might happily tolerate your children playing ‘catch’ or rough housing with each other on the lawn. If another child – who is a stranger to the Rottweiler – attempts to do the same thing, your Rottweiler might not tolerate it, and in fact react to what he perceives to be a threat to his ‘children humans’.
  • If ANY dog (not only Rottweilers) becomes super stimulated and aroused – there is always a possibility that the dog might react while in this heightened state of arousal. Be it children on bicycles riding around your back yard or a group of your son’s friends skateboarding in the house – dogs can become stimulated to the point that they breach the ‘thresh hold’.
  • It is important for every dog owner (not just Rottweiler owners) to know their dog’s triggers. If your dog is reactive in certain instances, you are the person who should control and manage the situation. If ignored, the consequences could be dire.
  • NEVER allow your children, or their friends to tease, torment, antagonise and harass a Rottweiler. Pulling on ears, hanging on to tails, sticking fingers in mouths and hitting noses and that sort of action, is more than likely going to bring about a defensive reaction from ANY dog. If someone pulled my ears or smacked my nose – I would slap them down and lash out at them in a heartbeat – a dog is no different. Why people expect dogs to simply stand back and take abuse, when they as a human know for a FACT that they wouldn’t is a question that haunts breeders and dog lovers the world over- daily.
  • Rottweilers (and in fact all breeds of dog) DO NOT HAVE TO LIKE everyone they meet (in the same way humans don’t like every person they meet). If a Rottweiler shows any signs of discomfort in meeting a person, remove the dog from the situation. Guests in your home should also be told to never just approach a dog and pat it – this is ESPECIALLY relevant to young guests (children). Greeting a dog by patting it on its head or trying to hug it can lead to an undesirable reaction.
  • Always be aware that when a group of children are in your home, your Rottweiler on hearing ‘screams of joy’ MIGHT think that your child is being attacked – and will make a decision to ‘step in and protect’ your child (his human) from the perceived threat.
  • Always remove the dog from ANY situation which might make your dog feel uncomfortable – it really is as simple as that.


  • The Rottweiler is a breed that requires a huge investment from the owner – this investment includes time, money, dedication and a willingness to see the Rottweiler develop into a stable, reliable and good ambassador for the breed.
  • Training and socialisation are both commitments that have to be made for the duration of the dog’s life – not just the first 6 months of it.
  • Consistency, stability, routine and commitment have to be key words in your dictionary as a Rottweiler owner.
  • You need to be in a physical condition to handle a powerful and physically strong dog, who will not hesitate to ‘throw his weight’ around if he is allowed to appoint himself ‘commander in chief’ of the home.
  • The entire family has to ‘buy in’ to the entire process of acquiring, training and providing for the physical and mental needs of the Rottweiler (Too many individual buyers want a Rottweiler, when the rest of the family would prefer a Labrador. If this is the case, as a responsible breeder committed to preserving the Rottweiler, my advice to you would then be; rather acquire a Labrador)
  • You need to be able to supervise; monitor and micro manage the relationship between your Rottweiler and your children. You need to provide BOTH parties with the leadership and guidance (and sometimes the discipline) they need in order to cohabitate in a peaceful and joyous fashion.
  • Commitment is everything – and it’s a lifelong one.
  • You need to be able to stimulate your Rottweiler accordingly, especially if he comes from strong working lines. Dog sport, Formal Obedience, Tracking, Carting and agility are all activities that could be looked at to provide your dog with the mental and physical stimulation he needs. If you do not have the time required to provide for the needs of your Rottweiler – perhaps another breed of dog is more suitable for you. The fact of the matter is: Rottweilers require a lot of attention, stimulation and appropriate mental and physical exercise.


  • Contrary to perceptions out there, there are many female Rottweilers with inherently strong genetic drives and characteristics. First time owners will probably do better with a female – BUT: whether male or female – the commitment, the rules and the HARD WORK required is exactly the same.
  • Do not think that purchasing a female relieves you from all the necessary commitment, training and dedication.


So yes, a Rottweiler/child relationship can be as special as a child’s relationship with ANY other breed. However, there are a few ‘only ifs’ involved if this is to be the case.
An under socialised Rottweiler, who is kept simply as a ‘guard dog’ in your backyard with zero attention, training, socialisation and affection; has the potential to cause you problems.

When in doubt, or concerned about your Rottweilers temperament (when the dog is already in your home), always contact your breeder and/or a professional who is experienced in dealing with working dogs.

Rottweilers ARE and always will be, first and foremost: working dogs (but yes – they DO make super 50kg lap dogs when well socialised, happy and stable)



There is so much information available about Raw feeding, BARF diets, Biologically appropriate whole prey diets and the sort, that any person looking for the basic information is usually overwhelmed.There is so much ‘out there’, that most people end up so confused and put off, that they do not even enter the ‘Raw feeding’ world. I do not blame these people. When we started off raw feeding some of our dogs (as some of our dogs will not eat raw) we were also lost, confused and we found the more research we did, the more confused we became.

Until we sorted out the good from the bad, the real from the fake and tweaked and added/subtracted while watching our own dogs benefit extremely.
The subject is so discussed and so broken up into various arguments, recipes, suggestions, beliefs, supplement additions and more that we do not and will not propagate certain raw feeding beliefs over another, simply because EACH DOG does remain an individual and a raw feeding diet must be adjusted and designed around a dog’s specific needs.For example, a brood bitch will need additional supplements (even when on her one year hiatus in between litters), in the same way a young dog who is still in the “skeletally dangerous” growth phase needs less of some things and more of others; ditto for the athlete who is actively competing in working trials OR the elderly dog, the dog with bladder infection, the dog with allergies etc.
While the basics remain the same, we have found that there IS no, one raw diet fits all and we add/subtract and alter basic recipes according to each dogs specific nutritional and health needs.

There is also the very real possibility that all dogs will not eat all raw items – for example, some of mine hate eggs (refuse them point blank) yet many raw recipes demand a whole egg. I have the same with certain meats (I do not feed pork as a matter of personal choice) but fish is often frowned upon by some of the dogs who will only eat chicken, beef and organ meat. The same is true of the vegetable and fruit additions (Many do not add fruit, but I believe fruit needs to be a part of a raw diet) – some love apple, some prefer watermelon, some refuse spinach, others refuse to eat their raw food without spinach in it.
Some of our dogs eat a mix of raw food and grain free high protein kibble. (and YES we even have 2 that refuse raw FLATOUT – they will only eat Orijen)
Our suggestion to ANYONE starting on (or wanting to start) on a raw feeding is to first invest in a Basic Book that deals with the subject matter in a broad format. The books we recommend for a complete information package are the following three (in fact anyone new to RAW might do well to invest in all 3)
*Note: we are not personally promoting ANY of these books, but find them to be very informative. EACH book has sections we choose to ignore and each book has sections we agree with. Some of the recipes are extremely expensive, and some of the supplements promoted are in fact supplements from the authors company in some cases – BUT: when you cut around all of this, the BASIC information is there, and certainly giving all new people various options. PLEASE call me if you are in doubt and before you start a raw diet.

1. Dr. Karen Becker, Holistic Vet – a seriously good book for new raw feeders “Dr. Becker’s REAL FOOD for healthy cats and dogs”

Based on the ancestral diets of dogs and cats, this book provides a rotation plan and recipes for a meat-based diet that includes appropriate levels of vegetables, fruits and supplements to complete the diet, analyzed to make sure that nutrition needs are met.


2. Steve Brown – “Unlocking the canine ancestral diet”

Ancestors and canine cousins of our dogs didnt eat krunchy kibble or meat n gravy in a can. They ate what they found or caught… and it wasnt cooked or enriched either! It was high in protein, with balanced fats, and usually included a few fruits, vegetables and grasses. Steve Brown, an expert on canine nutrition, shows how you can bring the benefits of the canine ancestral diet to your dog by feeding him differently as little as just one day a week. And no, you won t need to lead a pack of dogs on a hunting expedition! Just follow Steve s well-researched and easy to follow ABCs to make improvements to whatever your dog currently eats.


There are also valuable links and information in this article I wrote 2 years ago for the old website (with many VERY good links on the subject at the bottom of the page)

*Please note, there are many South African businesses that DO prepare read to eat raw meals, as well as provide the ingredients for you to make up the meals yourself. In the interest of fair play and integrity I will not be mentioning the names of any of the businesses/people. (I do not want to recommend unfairly or promote any single person or company – especially as I will have had no personal experience with them)


**Disclaimer: This article contains the personal opinions and views of the author, Retha Crafford, and is in no way meant to be interpreted as veterninary advice or as a veterinary feeding suggestion. The opinion is that of the author only, and is a personal testimonial. The information below is simply to encourage readers to thoroughly research the field of canine nutrition, in particular, RAW feeding.**

Here at Craffenheim Rottweilers, we have always focused on raising our dogs and pups in a natural and eco friendly manner which benefits the dog in its natural state. From the open paddocks and runs our dogs are accustomed to, right down to the pups exploration in the open fields of our farm – our focus for our Rottweilers is on “keeping it as close to what nature intended as is possible” .

At the foothills of the majestic Inkwelo mountains where we are located, our dogs are one with their environment and nature; the way it should be.

Because of our commitment to raising our dogs in the most natural manner possible, RAW feeding became an obvious follow on of our philosophy. After many years of breeding highly pedigreed Rottweilers, it has always been obvious to me that dogs truly are the product of their entire environment; nutrition included.
This knowledge and my personal experiences encouraged me to start questioning the diet of my highly pedigreed and much loved Rottweilers. I questioned whether I could feed them in a manner more fitting a canine – a manner that would imitate their natural instincts to hunt and forage. Whilst my Rottweilers have always received the finest foods on the market; my focus on the ‘natural’ – and feeding my dogs what their digestive systems are designed to process, became more serious. My brain (and heart) started pulling me towards researching and investigating the benefits of switching my Rottweilers over to a raw diet. Better known as BARF to some (Biologically appropriate Raw Food – the term coined by Dr Ian Billinghurst, an Australian vet and author of “Give a Dog a bone”), I made the decision to thoroughly research the pros and cons of raw feeding, and most importantly, the overall health and other benefits for the dogs themselves.

Once I started on this path of research and exploration, it became abundantly clear to me that Nature intended our dogs be fed in this manner. Fresh, locally sourced, preservative free and dog digestive system ‘friendly’ ingredients = the recipe for a healthy and happy dog.

Speaking to experts in the field, who kindly offered me their time and expertise, along with many hours of reading and researching as much as I could, I made the decision to go ‘raw’, on a trial run with a few of my Rottweilers of various ages.

The transformation in these dogs was nothing short of astounding. Their conditioning improved in as little as 7 days. Some of the changes I observed were the following:

  • Shinier coats
  • Solid stools and reduced quantities
  • Increased energy levels
  • Cleaner teeth
  • Improved muscle definition
  • Improved mental condition due to the dog’s ‘pleasure’ at meal times.
  • The outright refusal of ALL the Raw eaters to even approach their old food when offered it (This on it’s own tells a story – an important one)

I watched these ‘raw eaters’ transform in a manner that amazed me, and I made the decision to transition from current processed feeding to 100% Raw for all the Craffenheim Rottweilers. We are currently in the process of doing this. It was obvious to me that “Raw” feeding would benefit all of my dogs; not only in health but in all aspects of their lives.

When I started the trial ‘raw feeding’, I was a little unsure of what to expect, and I was a little overwhelmed with all the information and various suggestions, BUT: as soon as I started, I realised that it was not at all as ‘terrifying’ as what it first seemed. Preparing the meals and getting the ratios correct is really rather simple, and the amounts involved are adjusted for each dog and his/her specific calorie/energy requirements.

Cost wise, I was pleasantly surprised to find that RAW feeding is indeed very affordable, and in fact cost effective. One just has to source the ingredients in a smart manner, and if feeding more than one dog, buying in bulk is a good option. We are in the fortunate position here in the Republic of South Africa (regardless of WHAT province you live in) in that farming is rife, and high quality fresh/organic produce is readily available. There are in fact many companies across the length and breadth of South Africa who will source the produce for you – making it as easy as placing an order online.

The benefits of Raw feeding have been well documented, and yes, there have been a few documented studies of the ‘cons’. However – it is important to note that most of the cons lie with the concerns of parasites in raw meat – pork being the major concern (I do not feed pork).



As I continue to explore and witness the benefits of raw feeding, I encourage readers to do the same. Visit the links below for a wealth of information and answers to frequently asked questions.

Do your research and speak to those who are experts in this field. This Facebook page is extremely helpful, and it is filled with great advice, good links and references to some of the most respected experts in the Raw feeding world.










Here at Craffenheim Rottweilers we firmly believe that you “don’t fight against what mother nature intended” – and our move to feeding our Rottweilers ‘raw’ is testament to this philosophy.

“Nature and nurture are closer together than what you might think.”

****The links above are for external sites and Craffenheim Rottweilers can not be held responsible for any information or opinion shared in these links – They have been mentioned as resources for readers to use when investigating the concept of Raw feeding, nothing more****