Danie Cronje, a chartered accountant, enjoys escaping the bustling Jo’burg city life and heading for the country – whether it’s camping in the Kruger Park, fishing in the Drakensberg or playing on the beach in Umdloti.
One of the family’s favourite spots, and one they often share with their two Rottweilers, Enja and Koda, is a walk in the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens close to their home. Danie is married to Sonja and the couple have two teenagers, Clarissa (14) and Christiaan (12), and a younger daughter, Anneke (3). The family are avid Rottweiler fans and also share their home with two Jack Russell Terriers. They enjoy the love, patience and relaxed nature of the Rottweiler breed.
Tell us about your dogs.
Enja is a two-year-old female and Koda, a male, is seven months old. When Enja was about 18 months old, we introduced Koda. Both dogs have a gentle, loving nature, especially Koda. Our training centre uses the principle of positive reinforcement, which really works well for the Rotties. They just love their training and because they are so trainable it makes it a pleasant experience for all. Enja has a loving, playful nature, is the matriarch of the family and follows Anneke around. The dogs are part of our family and sleep indoors.
Have you experienced any health concerns with your Rottweilers?
We had a very sad experience with a male Rottewieler we bought shortly after Enja. We had to put him down as he had severe hip dysplasia. The lesson learned from this was to make sure you get your puppy from an ethical breeder. We got the pup from a well-known breeder – same breeder who we got Enja from – but it was clear from puppy stage that there was a defect. An ethical breeder would not sell such a puppy, so ‘well-known’ does not equal ethical.
Based on your experience with the breed, what advice would you give anyone wanting to get Rottweilers as pets?
Training and socialisation is not negotiable. They are a powerful breed that can be a handful if not properly controlled. Rottweilers want to intimately be part of the family, so you have to be prepared to allow that and to allow them to bond with you. If you oblige you will be rewarded with love and more love