By Lyn Etches
Hiya everyone I thought id do something different , I have Emailed several of our breeders with a questionnaire and have received 4 of their replies ; RJ ,Rosemary Jackson , Kirkholme. J D, Jo Day Starvon. SD ,Sandra Drinkwater ,Galerita. DD , Domna Dodd ,Tanellis. Questions 1 - 10
Q1, what first attracted you to the breed?
RJ, we first noticed the breed when they were being shown at Maidstone, Kent, we were showing Gsds and Shelties .This was in the late 1970s.We wanted a breed that would fit in with Gsds and this smart clever breed did just that.
JD, my answer may not be along the same lines as others .I was showing my German Shepherds and I needed a new handler - along came Tim West! He was handling for me 1 day and his mum ( Ada West ) came over and told him he was needed to handle their dogs ,let’s say I went and handled the vallhunds and that was my introduction to a breed that wriggled its way into my heart from that day .From the off I was attracted to the general soundness of the breed ,the character and the intelligence, the fact that as far as a vallhund is concerned there is nothing it can’t have a try at ,they may not be brilliant at everything but will give their all to have a really good try ,and yes they are ever so slightly addictive .Try one you won’t be disappointed.
SD, The size and character.
DD, I wished to downsize to a breed that was similar to my Gsds then one day at a local dog show I came across the late Ted Manning with his 2 Svs.
Q2, how did you choose your affix and does it have a meaning?
RJ, My affix was a culmination of my late husband’s mother’s surname (kirkbride - Kirk) and the farm he had lived on in the Yorkshire woulds (Martinholme - Holme) Kirkholme .It was registered in 1975.
JD, It chose me - I have held a separate interest in the Starvon affix for a few years now, the affix was originally held by my late ex mother in law and ex-husband Ada and Tim West ,since the passing of his mother the affix has been transferred into Tim’s name in case he ever wants to come back into the breed which was a huge part of his life for so many years .It was something Reg wanted me to carry on the kennel name and Ada and Tim happily signed the paperwork required for me to have my own interest ,the Affix was picked by Reg many years ago when they had just Gsds and he liked the link to gsd pedigree names using Von with Star (Starvon) .
SD, we used to show foreign birds and we won the equivalent of Crufts in the bird world for 2 years running the bird was a greater Sulphur crested cockatoo and we took his Latin name of cacatua galerita, Galerita as our affix.
DD, I chose my Affix from my maiden name Tandis to Tanellis (Found after it’s a name of a rose)
Q3, When planning a litter, what do you look for in a stud dog?
RJ, The most important thing for me is temperament and Breed type.
JD , Old saying if it isn’t broke why fix it .We have always preferred to line breed than go for total outcross, this is our choice .We have over the years produced a consistent type of vallhund one that says Starvon ,by line breeding tight for a couple of generations then further out with 1 line retained .A dogs show record is not important it is the lines we want to keep and add ,the breed type ,if it doesn’t look like a vallhund then it’s not a vallhund .Temperament and health tests matter .We look for a dog who compliments our girls ,both her strengths and weakness taking into account the littermates and parents and their littermates ,knowledge of your own dogs is the key to move forward. The gene pool is small as it has been for years with so few breeders in the UK and almost all the bitches used for mating being related and the same for the limited amount of stud dogs.
SD, Temperament, Health tested and a dog that can offer quality to the breed.
DD, I look for a dog of good breed type who can complement my girl, also a good temperament.
Q4, what would you look for in a puppy as your keeper potentially for the show ring?
RJ, Again the puppy must be of good breed type, outgoing .Good head and ear set, reach of neck and topline .Ideally be good in front and behind and a good mover But puppies are puppies and they can prove you wrong and ugly ducklings can become swans .But on the whole, if you study the breeding lines you usually have a good idea.
JD, Ada always seemed to pick her keeper wet ,and in all the years I knew her she never changed her mind .I have never picked a puppy on looking at it stacked ,it has always been hours of watching them play , move and stand when something catches their attention .I like a balanced puppy with a good head shape and underjaw ,who looks like a mini adult at 8-10 wks personally if everything looks promising at that age they can go through all sorts of development stages there is a really good chance they will come back .Remember they are a slow maturing breed and good things are worth waiting for .
SD, Attitude, outgoing, good proportions.
DD, A puppy with good character, good flowing movement and level back followed by clear markings and colour.
Q5, within your lines is there a particular Dog / Bitch who you feel has had a major influence in your kennel?
RJ, Our foundation bitch Mildane Lupe of Kirkholme has to be my "jewel in the crown”. We were so lucky to have her .She was by Ryslip Rustibuss of Norsled x Akkevall Zamba .Bred by Hazel and Jack Cranham she gave us many generations including 3 Champions in 1 litter, Ch K Harald, Ch K Oskar owned by Marge Dickinson and Ch K Eva of Palostras, owned by Louise Richards .She hated showing but was a super brood bitch.
JD ,This is a hard 1 as over the years we have been blessed with so many who have left a mark including those who didn’t go in the show ring but produced so well ,Ch Starvon Smashed Again, from a litter of 7 sired by Svedala Troll Olle out of Ch Skamsen Lady of Starvon a mating that just worked Alfie was a stud dog sired 7 litters and for us his stamp can be seen generations later ,Alicia ,was litter sister to Ch Starvon Altessa ,never shown but a wonderful producing brood and huge favorite of Reg, Fast forward to the arrival from Australia of Dlarah Summer Rain born in 2007 .A bitch who Ada and I had a few words over more than once, In her 1st litter she gave us Kassie and Wagg and then had 3 litters with the same male ,lovely puppies and without her repeating the matings we wouldn’t have had Ch Starvon Xtra Special who gave us Starvon Ziva who in turn gave Starvon Binit Sinit Dunit with Kirkholme .But me personally still think it was a waste of such an honest type of bitch was bred to both please the eye and produce .But hey if we all agreed all the time it would be boring .
SD, Ch Bodeneis Eko Eccles, Eko.
DD, My current bitch Ch Hurstfield Renen Vixen at Tanellis, Without Ella there wouldn’t be Tanellis SV.
Q6, which do you feel is the best you have bred 1st choice 2nd choice?
RJ We has bred some super dogs that have not only been very successful in the show ring but have also introduced people to this super breed and have made much loved pets. 1 Litter brothers Ch K Harald and Oskar ,2 ,Ch Kirkholme Ernst who was the grandson of Harald.
JD , Male ,Ch Starvon Lucky Lad at Valdivar ,always has been and will take something very special to change my opinion on this he was very tightly bred but for me oozed quality and breed type a dog before his time.
Female Ch Starvon Rumour Has it without a doubt it has to be Kassie a real 1 of a kind , who sadly took it too far and never had a proper season so never produced a litter.( I too loved her she was stunning ) Once she was on her feet she was a mini vallhund and never went off just got better and better and was a lovely girl to be around ,and there have been so many other amazing dogs and bitches in my life .
SD , Ch Galerita Hollie Berrie ,Holly.
DD 1st Tanellis Bloomin Primrose ,Pippa , 2nd Tanellis Bloomin William ,Blaze .
Q7 ,which has been your most admired vallhund ,not bred by you ,worldwide past or present ?
RJ , My ideal vallhund has always been Ch Norsled Mac and present day Ch/Swed/FinCh Svedala Billy Busvader at Pepperthyme (imp Sweden )
JD I must start with the bitch I adored and in fact I wanted to send a message to her owner asking to buy her. Multi titled Fennican Geeba Gerbara ,Ada actually bought Amch and Ch Skyview Crimson Flyer at Starvon as he was a Geeba grandson .he was only used 3x. Time after time I come back to the Fennican vallhunds from the 90s always seeming to catch my eye for consistency of type and as this affix added vallhunds to their gsds in the late 80s they definitely produced some beautiful dogs in my opinion ,Seeing Skogsbygens Nora Supernova enter the ring at Crufts a few years ago ,did make me think wow ,we need some bitches like her over here I was impressed with her overall quality ,movement and attitude I will follow her offspring with interest .I’d better stop now or I will be here all day .
SD , Ch Fennican Geeba Gerbera
DD , Ch Starvon Lucky Lad at Valdivar
Q8, what do feel is the most challenging thing facing breeders in the UK ?
RJ ,The most challenging thing to face breeders in the UK is the breeders themselves .To keep breed type and that wonderful working mind breeders must be open-minded and work together .We are so lucky that this breed is still such a natural breed and we have all worked hard to keep unchanged .It is a good learning curve to go and see litters and study pedigrees and discuss breeding .But please try and keep breed type and temperament.
JD, We have so few breeders left due to so many factors ,many breeders lo longer keep the numbers they used to , the majority of the breeding bitches and active stud dogs are related and because of a few breeders we seem to be in a circle .Over the years for whatever reason there have been imports who have not been used for the benefit of the breed ,there have been breeders who wouldn’t allow any of their dogs/bitches used to be bred on from .I am becoming aware about the rising number of tailed vallhunds and personally note ,note the personally bit , Think we need to remember ours is a breed which naturally can be born with a stub or tail .We cannot rustle a miracle dog/bitch out of fresh air worldwide it’s not out there ,importing is so much easier nowadays. But research must be done on what is being imported. Do I see a light at the end of a tunnel ?If the breeders we have worldwide work together and possibly bring a male here for 1 year or 2 to use on a couple of good bitches who are unrelated to each other as possible. Maybe the same with a bitch to come over in whelp and be returned in whelp .I don’t know there are so few breeders it is not just fresh vallhund bloodlines we need new breeders who will keep our breed going into the future as none of us are getting younger .
SD, Lack of different stud dogs used.
DD, not having enough bloodlines that breeders can use to keep the breed healthy for future generations .
Q9.What has been your proudest moment as a breeder
RJ, Best of breed at Crufts with Kirkholme Harald which I think was his 2nd cc ,and his brother Ch Kirkholme getting Bob there too another year.
JD So many things as a breeder make me proud , owners faces when they win a class,cc,make up their do, today so many people are doing so much more with their vallhunds only today I received a message regarding the vallhund who won Bob at Crufts this year ,to let me know he had passed another scent work test and he is off to mantrailing tomorrow. Happy owners whose dogs have given them so much pleasure and opened a new chapter in their lives, I’m proud when an owner breeds their 1st litter and gets experiences so many take for granted .I’m happy to walk my girls across a field and be proud of the fact in my eyes they look and act as a sv .
SD Making Hollie into a champion and all of her top awards ,CH Galerita Hollie Berrie .
DD When the young Tanellis Bloomin William won the Rcc at Crufts 19 with his owner .
Q10 ,what advice would give to a New /Future breeder .
RJ To new /future breeders I would say glean as much information as you can about the lines of the dogs you want to breed from .Ask questions talk to other breeders .You will find people in the breed who are willing to be mentors .Listen sift it through your head and stop and look at the dogs in the ring ,Its useful if you can see progeny from stud dogs If the dog isn’t shown go and see him at home .Most of all if you don’t get what you want 1st time ,be honest and start again .Good luck you will need it .
JD To start with stock that fits the standard bred from stock that fits the standard ,me and my sayings ,can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear .Study the lines behind your girl find out as much as you can about her littermates ,parents ,grandparents and their littermates .Don’t be afraid to ask questions from more than 1 person you never stop learning .
SD To think before you do it and make sure you can take back all puppies you have bred .
DD Ask loads of questions from experienced breeders who have been around for a while .Read the Breed Standard that is the Blueprint of the breed. I myself enjoy reading pedigrees just to see where my dogs are from. Good luck.
Thank you Rosemary ,Jo ,Sandra and Domna i'm sure our readers will enjoy reading this useful info
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