My name is Retha (Margaretha) Crafford and I have been surrounded by animals of various breeds all of my life. From farm animals, to a huge focus on horses (Boereperde most specifically) and the lovely Boran cross cattle on our farm; I have always been involved with the animal kingdom.
I am also committed to the environment and doing as little ‘damage’ to it as possible. As an occupational health professional by qualification, I run Craffenheim Rottweilers ‘full time’ and I am physically with the dogs 24/7. Health remains one of my ‘obsessions’ and this is definitely carried into my breeding program and kennel. When people ask me what the single most important quality is I try to breed, I do not hesitate in saying, “healthy puppies” (Without a healthy genetic base and proven lines there is nothing). Temperament, beauty and the balance of a complete Rottweiler can only be achieved if you start with health. My love for Rottweilers resulted in me making a decision almost two decades ago, to stop breeding and working with the Boereperde, and focus only on the precious black and tan breed that rules my life and heart.
With the most supportive family right beside me, I have been able to focus on my breeding program and vision for the Craffenheim Rottweiler over many years. My husband Craffie and two beautiful children; Liezl and Hermann have been (and still are) the reason I am able to do what I love, and what I am passionate about.My family have always understood and agreed that dogs are fed and cared for first, that dogs receive medical care before humans and that dogs in need take precedence over holidays, functions and a social life. They have never questioned this and in fact share in these ideals. For their support, love and sacrifice I am much more than grateful, I am indebted to them.
My other interests (for the 5 minutes a day I am not with the Rottweilers) include hiking, cycling, good food, friends, family and taking 3 minute power naps on my favorite couch. I am blessed with incredible kennel managers and staff who I trust implicitly and who I have personally mentored in the kennel over the years. For this reason, I am able to spend the majority of my time focused on the dog’s happiness, health and wellbeing. To my staff I am also indebted. I am privileged to be “far off the beaten track” in the country side, away from traffic, cities, pollution, crowds and many other, which allows both humans and dogs to live in a protected and sheltered environment. This adds to my happiness, and I am always delighted to welcome people into our world for visits.
I am committed to preserving the Rottweiler in its correct and healthiest form; which in turn allows for a natural progression towards beauty (beauty IS what beauty DOES). I refuse to compromise on health for what many term ‘show beauty’. This will not change, ever. I am proud of the Craffenheim bred Rottweilers in the world, and I also admit to not being perfect and having made many breeding mistakes over the years (each one a lesson; taken to heart).
I will probably continue to make mistakes and I also know that genetics and nature can ruin the ‘best laid plans’ in a heartbeat; BUT my promise to all Craffenheim owners is that I will continue to learn, research and improve on my own knowledge, whilst using my decades of experience to breed not only a complete and healthy Rottweiler, but a type that will survive the ages.