Shadetree Kennel was established in 1981, by myself and my husband Paul, with the acquisition of our first Rottweiler, Countryman's Gretta CD. We are located in Martinsville, VA in the foothills of the beautiful BlueRidge Mountains. I cut my teeth owner handling in the Rottweiler ring for many years. In 1986 I saw a picture of a Rottweiler and a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog on the cover of Dog World. That was it, I had to have one of those beautiful dogs. It did take me two years to find my first Swissy, but he was well worth the wait.
In August of 1988, thanks to Blanche Roberts (we all call her Robbie) we were finally fortunate enough to add the first GSMD to our family, SKC/GSMD Ch. SeaVaRidge's Alpine Tundra CD. A few months later after having a very disappointing litter with no puppy for me my next mentor in the breed, Polly Spiering, offered me one of her ten-month old Danish imports. That is where history began! Polly asked me if I wanted the "smart" one or the "pretty" one, of course I took the "pretty" one, and I have never regretted that decision for a minute. SKC/GSMD Ch. Kratatua Danish Delite ROM turned out to be the best foundation bitch that anyone could have in a breeding program. Most Working Group winning Swissy in the country to this date can proudly boast Lilly in their pedigree, and many of the most successful breeding programs in the country were established with Lilly's progeny.
But, very early in my experience in this breed it became imperative to find outside bloodlines with which to breed. This quest took Polly and myself to Sweden in 1993 followed with the acquisition of A/Su Ch. Lagross Shimmy Shake CD TDI TT ROM from Eva Lindholm. Ruff brought tremendous type and character into my breeding program! Around the same time I met Brigitte Rhinehart, a native Swiss, that opened our avenues with the Swiss breeders. Thanks to Brigitte and Eva Meyer we have a very open exchange of pedigrees between Switzerland and the USA.
In the meantime I had done a puppy exchange with Dan Campeau of Suddanly Swissies. The puppy that I got from Dan was Ch/ARBA Ch. Sudbach's Guinness X-tra Stout ROM TT. Swissy fanciers know him as Patrick. Patrick was the #1 Swissy in the country in 1995 and he sired the #1 Breed and All Breed winner in the country for 1998, Ch. Derby's Darling Belline #1 Breed and All Breed winner for 1999 and 2001, Ch. CornerCreek's Concerto CD. Patrick was also the sire of another Group Winning Swissy, Ch. Suddanly Superior DK WWX TT. Our Ruff daughter and Patrick grand-daughter BISSCh. Swiss-Acres Shadetree Grace TT became the first GSMD bitch to win multiple Group 1s.
Our breeding program has been based on combining as many different pedigrees as we can find world wide that accomplish our goal of producing the soundest puppies, structurally as well as mentally. Character and type are our utmost priorities.
To date we have produced over 100 AKC Champions with several more waiting for their day "to shine". We have also produced many Obedience and Working Titled Swissys. We are very pleased that the GSMDCA is now promoting the working qualities of this breed with several working titles such as Draft Dog, Weight Pull and Pack Dog. The breed is also starting to make its presence known in the obedience and agility ring. During the summer of 2009 Ch. Shadetree's Xenia of Twinpine UD,RE,CGC, NAP, OJP, DD, TDD, WWD, VGSX became the fourth GSMD to earn that ever elusive UD. We are very proud of Steve and Dori Likevich and Jethro. They are proof that the sky is the limit with this breed.
In order to give something back to the breed that has meant so much to me, I served as President of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America from 1995-2001. In 2001 I was much honored to receive the "Margaret Poole Lifetime Achievement Award" from the GSMDCA. After a six year hiatus I returned to club service as the Recording Secretary in 2006. In 2008 I returned to my former position as President. I feel that in order to preserve a healthy breed it is also imperative to have a parent club that is supportive of its breeders and owners who are the guardians of the future of the breed. In 2001 I expanded my horizons by becoming the first AKC Breeder/Judge for the GSMD. I am currently approved to judge 15 Working breeds and Bloodhounds. I am looking forward to completing the Working Group in the future. I have been honored to judge the GSMDCA National Specialty in 1995 and many Regional Specialties. I very much enjoyed judging the Russian Sennenhund Specialty in Moscow in Nov. 2008.
What began as an attraction to a beautiful dog has developed into a lifetime commitment to preserving and promoting this exceptional breed. The GSMD has provided me the opportunity to meet many wonderful people and to travel to many exciting places. I hope you enjoy my website and learning more about the GSMD.
Fast forward to Sept 2017 as I am finally updating my website and not much has changed! I was honored and humbled to once again judge the GSMDCA National Specialty in May 2017. After serving another term as secretary for the GSMDCA I am now serving only in the position of AKC delegate. I was proud to receive the “Friend of the Swissy” award from the GSMDCA in 2010. I am proud to be a Lifetime Member of the GSMDCA.
More great dogs have come and gone. I was lucky to bring in a handsome male from Russia who has contributed to the gene pool in this country. I have new girl from Solvakia and a young male from the Czech Republic. The quest for new genes that will complement the ones in this country continues. Overall the future of the breed in this country is very promising. I am very proud of all of the breeders who have worked so hard to ensure that this breed will have a healthy, happy future!
My judging career is moving along, slowly at times, but I am now approved to judge the Working Group and Bloodhounds and have been working on applying for some Sporting breeds. As the saying goes, “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.