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Mink Vom Haus Wittfeld

Mink Vom Haus Wittfeld

How he Influenced the Breed
By Ed Frawley copyright 2003

Otis vom Jacobiner Schloss my Mink son

I have a great deal of experience breeding dogs from Mink, probably as much as anyone in America. I bought Otis Jacobiner Schloss (a Mink son) when he was 4 years old. I bred him to my own females 24 times, and I am now breeding Otis daughters. Otis was a littermate to Olive Jacobiner Schloss who was in the BSP 4 or 5 times. I also owned and bred a daughter of Lewis Maletesca and I attended training sessions with a full brother to Lewis who worked on a sheriff’s department as a police service dog in New Mexico.

I therefore have a feel for the good, the bad and the ugly about breeding Mink bloodlines.

Last month I had the painful job of putting Otis down. His back could not sustain his temperament and drive. From the very beginning I realized that Otis was not a normal GSD. When he came to me I was a k9 handler on the Sheriff’s department. He had been a police service dog here in America and had been working in New Mexico 30 miles north of the Mexican border. His handler had retired and the dog had an impressive arrest record. Many criminals thought they could fight with this dog. That was their second mistake. (their first mistake was to break the law) These people all received very serious dog bites. The department where Otis worked knew he could never go to a new inexperienced handler so they arranged to trade him to me for another young dog. Every now and then in the dog business you get lucky and that was my lucky day.

When he arrived I immediately knew he was something special. In the last 30 years I had not seen very many dogs with the intensity of HUNT DRIVE and FIGHT DRIVE that he had. He saved my life as a police dog and he taught me far more than I ever taught him.

Many people think of Mink as a super dog. I am not one of these people. Breeding dogs is an art form. There are no super dogs (are the owners of Fero dogs listening ?). I compare breeding to making bread. Using the wrong kind of yeast or flour will give you a totally different kind of bread than what you may have wanted. Putting Mink in the pedigree will not always guarantee a dog that has good nerves with strong drives.

When bred well the Minks dogs make excellent police service dogs. They have very good prey drive, many are good narcotic’s or bomb dogs and they are environmentally sound. They can be dominant or handler aggressive and are therefore not the best choice for novice handlers. Many have excellent hunt drive. Unfortunately hunt drive is not a drive that is easily seen on the sport field and is therefore not recognized by many sport trainers. This is to bad because we need more hunt drive in our GSD’s.

Most of the Mink dogs that I know have good hips and as a rule, weak heads. The heads are narrow and lacked a good STOP. This becomes more evident when dogs are line bred on Mink. The narrow heads will sometimes give you a slight over-bite so its important that the female have a strong head. Breeders must also be aware that Mink can give you small dogs. I had less of a problem than most in this area but I still saw it in a few dogs.

Because the Mink dogs have so much prey drive many of their owners train them only in prey. As the dogs mature this often leads to control problems. These problems escalate when compulsion is added to maintain control. The dogs then either go into defense or they become hectic in prey. When that happens the grips deteriorate. This can be a problem for sport people. I also think that many Mink dogs have genetically chewy grips but with good training this can be controlled.

I would like to say that my dog, Otis, produced his share of dogs that I was not very proud of. But he also had good results by going to my Peko Haus females and with Jenny Tiekerhook. Jenny was Steffi v. Tiekerhook daughter. The Otis-Jenny breeding was done several times. Dogs from these litters were some of the best dogs I ever produced.

I am not a Lewis Maletesca fan. I feel that Lewis was over rated. I saw Lewis dogs with weak nerves, environmental problems and hip problems. His littermate, on the Sheriff’s department in New Mexico had bad hips. My friend, Kevin Sheldahl, worked very closely with the handler to Lewis’s brother. Kevin has nothing good to say about the lines. Kevin is a WPO Judge and has competed in the BSP in 1999 with his police dog CJ. Kevin has seen far more Lewis dogs that failed to become service dogs than he has seen succeed.

Germany is lucky to have access to so many more Mink dogs. When asked I recommend people add Mink to the pedigree for hunt drive, fight drive and power. My next venture is to try my Mink grand daughters (Otis daughters) to my Pike vd Schafbachmuhle son. I would like to hear if anyone has done this. I look forward to reading what the German opinion of Mink is.

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