A Talk With Gerrard van Es

Paul Howell is a close and dear friend of mine. He imported many great dogs into America and Gento vom haus Larwin was one of them.

Interviewed by – Paul Howell
Vom Gottsland Training Center

This is the second part of an interview with Gerrard van Es. Mr van Es is the owner of von Haus Antwerp Kennels in Belgium. He and his wife, Anna, breed German Shepherd Dogs and Malinois for use in the sport of Schutzhund and KNPV as well as police work. Mr van Es had the extreme pleasure of breeding last year’s WUSV World Champion, Orry von Haus Antverpa. We were extremely fortunate to have him here for a two-week seminar this February.

PH: Well, Mr. van Es, how does it feel to have a dog from your breeding become the world Working Champion?

ES: We are quite delighted. , He is a good dog for sure, but he also has a great great trainer.

PH: What is his pedigree?

ES: He is a Verin v Blistard son out of Roby v Glockeneck. The mother is a Falko v Haus Sendeern daughter, and he produced extremely hard aggressive dogs.

Those Serious Dogs

PH: There we see again Roby v Glockeneck, the father of your great “Gento vom haus Larwin”. You see him in so many of the top working dogs that are serious, not just play dogs

ES: He is definitely a top producer of working dogs. They did not use him so much when he was alive, and now they are very sorry of this great mistake because he is for sure one of the most preponent producing working dogs in the last many years. One of the problems was that he was located in the very north of Germany, and most of the breeders are in the south or middle of Germany. He is now dead, he died recently of old age. He was a great dog up to the end, but there are still some great sons and grandsons of his left who are producing top working dogs.

PH: Who was the handler of “Orry”?

ES: Roger Snollaerts. His new dog is a young Orry son out of my DDR brood bitches and he thinks he will be a super dog like his father.

PH: Gerrard, every time I pick up the Dutch dog magazine or the Belgium dog magazine, I see trial results of Haus Antverpa dogs scoring unbelievable scores. Are most of these Gento vom haus Larwin sons?

ES: Most are but not all. I use other people’s great stud dogs also. There is, of course, Nero v Haus Antverpa, the KNPV dog of the great trainer Mr. Kamps , and Nestle v Haus Antverpa, who was just sold to Japan for a lot of money by his owner. He made extremely high scores and was not a simple dog to train. He is a very hard and serious dog, and even though he is young, he produces this in his puppies also. As you know, these real dogs are not always the best dogs for top sport work. They take their protection very seriously. It takes a very special handler for this type of dog.

Breed & Compete

PH: What will the Japanese do with him? Breed him?

ES: Oh yes, of course they will breed him, but I understand they will also try to compete with him. They are a lot like the Americans; they have some money and want to buy good stuff which is correct.

PH: I have known you for many years and I know you breed many dogs and you sell many working dogs to the Germans, but I never see in your kennel any of the German show bloodlines. Absolutely none. I guess you only breed working dogs.

ES: Yes. We breed only working dogs that’s for sure. We strive to breed good-looking, correct, Korklasse I and II dogs with no mistakes and good hips. I like to breed real dark, dark sable dogs, they are just my favourite and they always seem to be the best for working.

But many people think you can mix working dogs with show dogs. You might get success one or two times, but for the most part it will absolutely fail. To get show dogs, you must breed show dogs. To get working dogs, you must breed working dogs. You might have a great show dog who works good, but it will be because of his training and he will not reproduce this working ability to his offspring. You can see this by looking at the German results in their breedings.

PH: I see a lot of Blistard bloodlines in your breedings. Can you tell us something about these?

ES: This is a famous working kennel out of Holland. When you are a breeder, it is wrong to close your eyes to other people’s good dogs, and I try to keep an open mind and use other kennels’ proven producing lines. I bought a bitch from a certain kennel and bred her, and the owner of the kennel said it was a bad breeding to use on his bloodlines, but it produced the world champion and many other top dogs. Where the bloodlines come from is not important, it’s what they produce that is important. I use a lot of East German bloodlines, and West German but only the older working bloodlines like “Enno”, Drigon”, Racker”, “Bungalow”, and many others.

Big Mistakes

PH: Now that you have been to America again, you have seen a lot of dogs that came from you that are competing and are doing quite well, such as Mominee’s dog “Orthos”.

ES: I see a lot of improvement in the dogs from some of the people, but one of the biggest mistakes they seem to make is some of them make a wrong judgement in what the dog is actually doing. The dogs are simply not getting enough work in all phases. I’m not speaking about all of the dogs, and some of the ones that are receiving work are getting the wrong kind of work. They are working way too much defense, I mean civil-type defense, and the dog’s grip is suffering. They will bite you for sure, like a police dog, but the grips are not as full and strong as I think they should be. They try to work too much in one session. I would rather see 5 minute sessions than a 1-hour session. I think people now are recognizing the type of dog they need for this work. They want working dogs.

Beware Of Malinois

PH: Your wife is also becoming famous as a Malinois breeder. This trip you saw some Malinois in the States. What do you think of them?

ES: I am sorry to say that the only god Malinois I have seen I have sent to America. A Malinois must be very clear in the mind. He must have a mind of German Shepherd and the working ability of a Malinois. My wife Anna raises mostly pedigreed Malinois from both KNPV and Belgium Ring bloodlines, so I can really not make a judgement on all of the Malinois. I have seen some advertisements for Malinois in America that I knew in Europe, and I am not real pleased with some of them. People in the States always want pedigreed dogs, but there are some excellent Malinois available without pedigrees. I think people in America have been sold some Malinois with pedigrees that did not belong to the dogs. This is also a problem in Germany. I have heard where some men are making pedigrees for the dogs, and this is not right.

Americans must remember that the Malinois is not supposed to be an 80 or 90lb dog, and the pedigreed Malinois are not that large. Most of the large ones are not Malinois – they are crossbred with other breeds. They look like Malinois, but, believe me, they are not.

Size Means Nothing

PH: I think Mr. Kamps with his champion Malinois female, “Cobra”, has proven that size is not a problem. She is 50lbs of dynamite and knocks 300lb men down like toys.

ES: Size means nothing, as I told you. Take the Malinois “Lambik” (“Roy”) that was here this week. He knocked men over that had years of experience catching dogs. Every time he was sent on a small courage test, he either knocked the man down or hit the sleeve so hard that he ripped it from the man’s arm. That’s one hard hitting dog and he weighs at most 70lbs. He is probably the best Malinois to ever come to America. I hope Americans breed to him and use him.

Big & Strong

PH: The Malinois that you are breeding seem to be very large boned and strong, and muscular bodied, like the Roy dog and Cobra. Are you striving for this?

ES: Yes, I want to keep the height according to the standard, but I also want to add muscle. Certain pedigreed bloodlines in Belgium add this and I love that.

Perils Of Popularity

PH: Now I noticed that the demand for the Malinois is much higher world-wide. How is this going to affect the breed?

ES: I am afraid that, over the years, the same thing will happen to the Malinois that has happened to the working dog in Germany simply because of money being the culprit. Greedy breeders sell anything for a profit. Like I told you before, there are really too many really bad dogs sold in all breeds. The Malinois is not a cheap breed like it used to be. A good Malinois costs as much as a German Shepherd, and sometimes much more. So beware when you are offered a deal too good to be true, usually it is just that.

For years, many people have shipped anything that was yellow and had teeth abroad and sold them as Malinois. That is why you have so many police departments who don’t want to even talk about Malinois now because they have been so badly burned before. I heard a real bullshit story while I was here. Some famous American trainer – I will not say his name - told some of the people here at the seminar that Malinois were excellent in obedience and protection but he did not have one because they could not track good. This is real crap! He simply has never been to Holland or Belgium and seen the police dogs or seen a real trainer with a Malinois.

Enjoy Their Youth

PH: Gerrard you said you see the same problems as always in America.

ES: Yes. It is really a shame to have people who love the sport of dogs but cannot find enough people in one area interested to train with. It is not like this in our country. A small town such as this here in Princeton, West Virginia, would have five or six working dog clubs. It seems that in America the sport of Schutzhund is for people with more money because they must travel so far to train and participate. This is really a shame because it is just the opposite in Europe.

I want to say one thing. I have seen many policemen and Schutzhund people in the last few days with young dogs. They are pushing these young dogs too fast and too quick. A dog 6 months old should never be on a hard sleeve. If he can do it, fine but don’t do it! Let them be puppies! Let them play! Let them see the world but don’t burn them out. When you do this type of training, you end up with dogs that bite without the power to break a balloon.

Too Much Training

And please, I want to warn: Some of you are trying to train too much in one day. You are trying to put six months of training in two days and it will not work! Some of these grips are already ruined, but some can be fixed. All of these dogs, as the owners will tell you, when they came from Europe, had full, strong grips.

Respect For Bennett

PH: At the 1992 World Championships, your dog won, but the American team won. Do you have any comment on this?

ES: Yes I want to wish the biggest congratulations to America and more than anything, to Mr. Glenn Bennett because he came in second with a dog he trained and raised from a puppy. He did not have the major money to spend to get a great dog, so he did what I think is the best. He raised and trained the dog himself; for this, I take my hat off to him. The Americans are always getting closer and closer to winning it all. Now we must always worry about the Americans. They will continue to win. We don’t worry about beating the Germans, that’s not a problem. But you Americans are a problem, you are the ones to beat now. Again, I want to congratulate Mr. Bennett. It is a lot easier when you can go and buy a pre-made dog, but think the most satisfaction comes from doing what he did. I really respect Mr Bennett for his accomplishments.

Last Words?

PH: In closing, is there any last comment you would like to make?

ES: No matter what happens, your dog is really your best friend. Treat him that way. They are not damned machines! Give your dogs the respect they deserve, and they will give it to you.