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(IN MEMORY OF WALTER ZWETTLER - 19.9.1949 - 19.11.2019)

by Marlene Zwettler

Walter was born in 1949 and already from childhood on he showed great interest and love for nature, be it plants or animals like fowl, snakes, falcons, owls, polecat and of course dogs. After a short commercial aprenticeship he started his education at the Austrian Federal Forests. There he learned to know the worth and importance of a good hunting dog. This preference and love for working dogs should last for a lifetime.

I learned to know Walter at a rather young age and this relationship should last more than 45 years. After our marriage we kept dogs for hunting primarily like Fox Terrier, Karelian Bear Dog and Fila Brasileiro. However, already at this time we'd been interested in Bulldog and Bull Terrier breeds. We used to read all available information thus coming about the Pit Bull too, whose versatility, gameness and stamina fascinated us. In the 1980s we decided to acquire our first Pit Bull from Germany, followed by two others. Soon we came into contact with some Dutch Dogmen and finally we imported our first dog from the States. This female became known as Zw China (Garner's Chinaman x Garner's Twinkles) and turned out not only to be an excellent dog of her own, but an excellent producer too. The following years we continually formed our stock, consisting of Eli, Rascal, Indian Bolio and Zebo thus developing those dogs known as Zwettler line (dogs) still today.

Without any doubt Zw China (Garner's Sister) can be seen as the foundation dog of our breeding. She was the first dog we'd imported from the States. In 1988 we contacted Tom Garner as we wanted to acquire a pup out of Chinaman. Of course, Tom had one, he could offer us. Only years later we learned to know that he had got this pup as stud fee and therefore he gave it away. We don't believe he wanted to give us a special pleasure, she was there, when we called, and we got her. Retrospectively we had the typical luck of a beginner and China should prove to be stroke of luck for us.

China developed to an affectionate, calm housemate, being very attached to the family, refusing strangers and neutral to dogs as long as she wasn't attcked, but then she showed an extreme hard mouth, wrestling ability and style, always remaining calm and superior. She had been tested hard several times but had never been shown officially. However, her greatest merit was her value as a producer, you could breed her to some male, she produced well talented dogs in every litter.

In 1989 we intended to breed China for the first time and therefore were looking for a suitable stud dog. In an ad we came about Ch. Scallywag, staying in Belgium that time, we contacted the then owner and finally bred China. In retrospect that had been on the best litters. One of these pups was Zw Debbie, the dam of Gr. Ch. Moses, 6xw. It's a pity we couldn't repeat this breeding as Ch. Scallywag had been sold from Belgium to Germany soon after and lost his life in a kennel fight.

China was also bred to her grandson Moses (Raging Bull (Rushin) Little Rock x Zw Debbie), out of this breeding came i.a. Ch. Frankie in Hungary. Bred to Bros Ch. Blinky she produced Zw Ch. Gremlin.

China developed into our best brood bitch and the corner stone of our yard, she gave her character, hard mouth and style to her offspring.

Beside China the most famous and well-known dog will be forever Zw Gr.Ch. Moses, 6xw.  He was born on April 20, 1990, out of Raging Bull's (Rushin's) Little Rock x Zw Debbie (Ch. Scallywag x Zw China). That's his story:

Some weeks after the pups were on ground, we visited our friend, the owner of Debbie, being curious about the litter. However, what we had to see, we couldn't believe for the first moment. This man was a businessman and not short of money. Dam and pups were put in a pigsty's partition, which would not have mattered. But it was incredible, how weak and undernourished the looked like! They were 12 pups in all. All together got one can of dog food of about one pound (!), and everyone can imagine what each pup got. As he didn't know too how to sell them, we offered to take a part of them. Immediately the agreed and therefore we picked up six little pups and took them home. First, we had to get them used to normal food rations, then they were wormed, got their shots and so on.

When one of our friends, who visited us regularly, saw Moses for the first time, he smiled at the small, black, underweighted pup. Nevertheless, two weeks later, situation had changed, and our friend stopped laughing, when he saw him again. Now Moses and the other pups had turned into well-nourished healthy pups.

We wanted to keep one of the four males for ourselves. Another friend had chosen Moses at a rather young age and already had made a deposit. Primarily Moses was rather inconspicuous but showed better day-by-day. Therefore, we tried to offer Günther instead of Moses one of his belly brothers. But Günther remained with his choice, and having promissed that dog, we kept our word. At the age of nine months Moses and Turbo (Zw Toni x Jansen's Hexe) had a terrible kennel fight, when their owner was absent. When Günther turned home, both dogs laid there more dead than living. When we saw the photos, which had been shot shortly after that, we were convinced that probably a good dog would have been ruined. However, Moses was the exception of the rule. Some months later when he was tested, it proved that incident hadn't mattered at all.

Debbie's Belly sister Gypsy had been sold to Hungary. Due to her and her offspring, dogs out of China had already a good reputation there. Some Hungarians asked for some dogs out of China, they wanted to buy. This time we hadn't such a litter, but told them about Moses. Although Moses was only 18 months old, they wanted to buy him in any case. We asked Günther, but first he refused. It went back and forth until they could acquire Moses from him. With that, Moses' career started in Hungary. Before Moses went to Hungary, we bred him to his grand dam China, this breeding produced Peace Knl's (Zw) Ch. Frankie who also went to Hungary.

We always had contact to his last owner Andrassi, he loved this dog. In 2001 we had a show and he came with Moses to show him to us. About two weeks after that Moses died at the age of 11 years.

Those people, who supported us a lot in the beginning, had been Jan and Ron from Bros Kennel in the Netherlands. At this time the Netherlands had been the stronghold for Pit Bulls in Europe. The brothers kept different lines - Rascal bred dogs by Jan and Bolio/Tombstone by Ron. We got three dogs from them, which were important for our breeding - Zw Rosie, Zw Chana and of course Ch. Blinky.

Zw Rosie was out of Bros Pretty Boy Floyd x Bros Miss Annie. Rosie was out of a father/daughter breeding and possibly because of the inbreeding, she came in heat only one and a half to two years, therefore we only succeeded in getting one single litter out of her with Ch. Blinky. This breeding produced among others Rushin Bill's Miss Holland that had been a present to Bros by us.

Zw Chana was of Rascal/Jeep breeding, out of Bros Pretty Boy Floyd x Bros Vicky. Originally she was thought to be sold to a friend of Bros at a Christmas Show in Maasdam (Netherlands), but he didn' come and therefore Jan took her at home again. We too had attended this show with some Austrian friends. Almost at the Dutch-German border one of our friends decided to buy Chana, we returned, went back to Amsterdam and picked her up. Some months later our friend had some familiar problems and so Chana came to us.

Chana was a game bitch at 40 lbs. with a hard bite. When we owned her, she had two litters. The first breeding was made to Borderline's Little Man (out of Jesses's Gr.Ch. Midnight x Jesse's Sinner) and produced three females, two were sold and that one, we wanted to keep ourselves was stolen together with two other prospects from our yard by Hungarian gypsies, then sold in Hungary as "import Holland"! This female was knwon and valued in Hungary as "Rosie". The second breeding was to Zw Spike (Ch. Scallywag x Zw China).

Unfortunately we were forced to sell most of our dogs in 1996. Among those were Chana and Zw Ch. Gremlin (Ch. Blinky x Zw China) too. The man we sold them was from Hungary, we had known for about years, unfortunately it turned out that he wasn't a man of honor. His only merit was that he bred Chana to Gremlin, which produced one of the most successful litters of the last years. Only to name a few - Ch. Arthur, 5xw, 1xlg; Neznam's Jazz, 3xw, 1xd or Terminator's Shakter, 3xw, 1xl. Fortunately some Hungarian friends and others used these dogs in their breeding program successfully.

Ch. Blinky was very important for our breeding. Blinky was out of Bros Ch. Handsome x Bros Baby Jane jr. Therefore most part Bolio with an influence of Rascal through Baby Jane jr's sire Bros Pretty Boy Floyd. This is the breeding verified by Bros himself, as there exist another version too showing Bros Georgia Girl as his dam. For the first time Walter saw Blinky shortly after his second win and he attended his championship into Borderline's Little Man with Blinky as winner. Shortly after, Blinky was offered for sale and by arrangement of Bos we could acquire him.

We really loved this dog, he had a loveable and funny character. He loved people, the more the better. We bred all our females to Blinky. Bred to Zw Rosie, he produced Ruhin Bill's Miss Holland. We had kept a female, called Blinci, a small, red bitch at 31 lbs., which had convinced against all her littermates although they had been heavier. Unfortunately she died in a kennel fight.

We also bred him to China, she brought four pups, two dead ones and two alive. One male remained as pet in Austria, the other one was Ch. Gremlin. In Hungary Gremlin produced bred to Zw Chana one of the best litters of the last years.

Bred to Minnie, Blinky produced Zw Dooley 1xw, bred to Mitzi (Heinzl/Patrick) he produced i.a. Zw (Johnny's) Rae. The breeding with Zw Ginger (Ironline's Red Devil x Ironline's Gadget) produced Zw (Johnny's) Blinky jr., two other males were sold to Russia.

Another important dog for our breeding was Zw Dandy that we'd got from Frank Rocca. He was our of Rocca's Diamond Head x Rocca's Monkey. He was more introverted to strangers, somtimes refusing but never snappish. Dandy was very affectionate to the family, especially to our younger daughter Ann, and very tolerant against other dogs as long as they didn't show too much aggressiveness. Dandy was a great producer too, when bred to our Zebo female Minnie twice, he threw his share of excellent dogs in every litter. He was one of my favorite dogs.

Now let us talk about the Zebo dogs, which Walter loved so much. Of course, we'd heard and read about Zebo, his impressive wins. There were different opinions about him, some stated he would be a freak, others he wouldn't be a good producer. However, there were dogs out of him everyone would have liked to own too.

Originally we'd supported a Greek friend to acquire a Zebo bred male and female from the States, but for the one or another reason he couldn't pick up them and we decided to keep them. The male was bred by Mr. Davis sr of South Carolina, we called him Oscar and he was out of McGee's Panther x McGee's Jilly Buck. The female we got from the Bowmans a little bit later, her name was Minnie and she was out of Bowman's Killer x Lonzo's Susie.

Oscar was the complete copy of his sire Panther. He devloped to a high built, long-winded dog with a lot of natural air. However, what was different from Panther that was his mouth. He was the dog with the softest mouth, we ever had owned! But, some of his offspring would get that hard bite, Panther was known for, that was our idea. With that we failed too, for Oscar was sterile unfortunately. He liked to work and could be conditioned with ease.

Wheras Oscar was easy to handle and rather uncomplicated, Minnie had the more complicated character of the Zebo dogs. She absolutlely didn't accept any dog beside her, bit it male or female, except our old Dandy. She was very affectionate to the family and accepted visitors. Outside the house it was another matter, crowds of peple, crying children, noise - that all irritated her, with that she didn' want to have to do anything, through that she sometimes seemed to by shy.

Her first breeding to Ch. Blinky produced Zw Dooley, 1xw in Hungary. With Dandy she produced some talented offspring like Zw Molly. Out of her last breeding to Silas (Bowman's Killer x Luniewski's Bodo), we kept the only female out of that litter, namely Zw Flo. For sure, she was one of the tightest bred Zebo/Vindicator dogs in Europe. We lost Minnie at the age of 11 years due to cancer.

Silas was a present by Sybil Bowman, with whom we'd been friends for years. He was red, small and coby and had a powerful head. Following the descriptions of Zebo and Vindicator he was a typical Vindicator dog. Zebo dogs are known for maturing rather slow and needing time to get ready. But Silas wa an early starter.

Without any overstatement Zw Molly (Zw Dandy x Zw Minnie) was a perfect built dog. Simply all was according - size, head, weight, all in the right proportion to each other. Also her temperament came up totally. Out of the breeding to Gr.Ch. Street Sweeper came two females and four males. We kept the males and had not been disappointed. Zw "666" always has been my favorite dog from this litter, among others he was used as a catch dog on boar. He died at the age of almost 16 years and was the last one of our dogs.







                                                                          Zw Molly

    Zw "666" (Gr.Ch. Street Sweeper x Zw Molly)

When we started with Pit Bulls time was another one. Not too many people had an imaginaiton of what a Pit Bull would look like at that time. I remember, when we had our very first litter on the ground, interested people thought Pit Bulls would be smaller Rottweilers and were rather disapointed when they saw the dogs for the first time. Later when we had gained a certain reputation, it was easier as we sold almost all pups abroad and those people knew what they wanted. Often, we'd been asked why we wouldn't breed anymore or would keep them at least. Now, in the last years laws became always worse. First there existed only a so called "list of fighting dogs", in my opinion including breeds chosen at will like Rottweiler, Dogo Argentino, Tosa Inu, Mastino Napoletano beside Pit Bull, American Staffordshire, English Bull Terrier etc. - made by people having no idea or knowledge of dog breeds and their use. These dogs had to be leashed or muzzled outside (now leashed and muzzled). The next step was a kind of "dog license", every owner has to have, meaning you have to attend a course, where a so called "expert" (with no idea about these breeds) shows how to handle such a dog. Therefore, as soon as you want to keep one of those breeds you have to do that all. Now, Walter and I have owned, kept, bred and worked with our dogs our whole life, and I think we might have forgotten more than they could ever "teach" us.

Most people not knowing the breed personally, believe in the stories of those "dangerous fighting dogs", they believe what the read and hear in the media. But as soon as they learn to know them, most of them change their mind.

Of course you have to behave in the right way too. Don't let run free an adult Pit Bull, put him on the leash. Don't like to muzzle my dogs, because if it happened that one is attacked by another dog (usually running free), my dog should be able to defend. As a breeder, don't sell your pups to everyone, especially those ignoramuses only looking for a "killer dog". Believe me, they will come knowing nothing about the Pit Bull, only believing in what they'd read in the media. They'll tell you how many dogs they already had (often only a few months) and how much experience they would have. You'll only get into troubles giving them a dog. Therefore, be careful, it's a lot of work to breed and raise good dogs, you won't become rich, but will know that you've always tried your best, also to find a good place for your dogs. Finally, be correct with the pedigree, you won't like to get a dog with a wrong ped too.

Think the Pit Bull's versatility finally has brought as to the breed. We've used him as a sporting dog and hunting dog on wild boar, but he had and has been the best companion for you and the family. I like most their unique character, they like people, are able to accept other dogs, even cats living with them together, some of them even protect you. They like to work, are easily to train and most important, they are fit and healthy. Therefore the Pit Bull ws mine and Walter's favorite and will always remain.