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"Devi" Bhagavathi

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Basquelaine 'A' of Intention Hill
'B' of Intention Hill
'C' of Intention Hill
'D' of Intention Hill

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©2016 Tracy Wessel

Intention Hill

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About My Dogs

Working & Breeding
I never set out to be a breeder of dogs. I had five rescues over numerous years before I ever considered even buying a bred dog. I think I was most inspired to have a purpose bred dog when I was a caretaker for a woman that had Belgian Shepherds. I fell in love with her Malinois Bixenta. I watched her at agility trials and clinics, and at schutzhund trials. I loved watching the dogs work. I took two of her dogs to herding class with me and Kylie, my rescue Groenendael.

Savannah at her precertification test for Wildernes SAR, Sisters-OR, 2008. It was extremely hot, the sand was hot, but we made it. She certified 2008, recert 2010, and is now out of cert. She also certified Basic Area and Basic Cadaver with IPWDA in 2009,

It wasn't until I was in Oregon and started to train for Search and Rescue that I really searched for a bred dog in earnest. My rescues had all had health problems and baggage, and one had failing health early in SAR training. I was losing my oldest rescue, Jayanta, which ultimately just tore me to pieces. I wanted a dog with some guarantees, with some knowledge of temperament, health and type, as well as working potential. So I set out to receive a puppy from one breeder, but her bitch didn't get pregnant on that breeding. I really wanted to get a puppy in before Jayanta passed away. So I searched far and wide, and after finding no Groenendael with reliable predictors for success in SAR, except in Norway, which was cost prohibitive at the time, I turned to Tervuren. Tervuren were my first Belgian introduction and inspiration years ago, and I found Savannah. With her came a co-ownership and breeding contract, so I knew in four or five years, I'd be having a litter to honor my contract.

During those four years, I dabbled in showing, while certifying and deploying with Savannah for SAR, and soon after, I received my Orsam x Disco Groenendael puppy Jai. I took them both to herding clinics and worked with them some at home on sheep and ranch chores, but our primary focus was SAR. As we approached the time to consider breeding Savannah, Kelley Hoffman (Basquelaine) and I searched tirelessly for a stud, after our first choice fell ill. Perhaps it was then that I considered that I might find a male for future use, because we were coming up short. It wasn't that there might not be any males available, but in the dog world, you have a network of people you know and trust, and while Facebook has expanded that network, at the time, we just were coming up short. We did settle on Matti Deabei, one of Kelley's own stud dogs. I don't use the word "settle" to imply that Matti wasn't the best choice, it's just that we were searching dogs with proven working and performance drives, as well as good health and character. Matti had been shown, but not done any performance. In the end we relied on his innate temperament and drives, and the exemplary performance of his parents and siblings. Matti was a great choice for my first litter.

During this time, I'd been studying pedigrees and dogs and really watching for breeders who put performance, working ability, temperament and health as very important factors, as opposed to a heavy focus on showing. It isn't that conformation is not important to me, it's that I find too too much focus on preferential "type" has been the demise of structure, health, character and proper balanced drives in many breeds, including some Belgians. Conversely, too much focus on bite drives in protection lines has rendered some dogs too high in prey drive, or too hectic/chaotic to be able to think on their feet, and to be useful for SAR. So I seek a balanced dog. I have since learned, in my studies, that there are some "sleeper" pedigrees out there in the showring. That is, there are some dogs showing who have not been worked for several generations, but the package is there, if only the opportunity arises. It's so good to have this increased information nowfor future considerations!

My intention for Gabbit was to train him for narcotics and protection sports. However he did not develop the social character for protection sports by US standards, and didn't seem to possess the social confidence for working in the public venues we desired for narcotics detection (schools). When we relocated from Montana to Washington, I began herding with Gabbit, and started using him in my ranch chores. He has a deeply intense level of biddability, and I found this to be his proper activity. Gabbit also competes in disc dog trials, and he is a disc dog master. He is easy to live with in that he is well behaved, and never complains about life. He cares only to do things with me, and to be by my side. He is defensive of the homestead, and has to be watched - he will jump fences to chase off stray dogs and foxes!

Gabbit produced my second litter, the B Litter of Intention Hill. All of those puppies are very agile, intensely focused and biddable. Four of them train in agility but have not landed in competitive homes. One of them also competes in dock diving and had some training in IPO, though not consistently. One of them has turned to focus on disc dog competition, and was competing at the pro level as of 2016. One puppy trained and certified very quickly in Search and Rescue (air scent) and in 2015 already had deployments and a find. The characters on the B Litter are varied, with one puppy being a bit selective in accepting friendships with people, and one puppy reported to be dog aggressive. Those facts, combined with the onset of mild pannus in Gabbit at the age of 4, and the onset of pannus in one of his daughters at the age of 2, and then after learning of health risks of cancer behind Gabbit's sire side, have caused me to be more guarded in using Gabbit or his offspring going forward. Gabbit brings some important things to the table - the drives, focus, biddability, excellent heat tolerance and stamina, and good pigment. So future use will be weighed against the longevity of Gabbit's sire, Gabbit himself, and the overall health of those offspring going forward.

The C Litter
Since I wasn't comfortable using Gabbit for my C Litter, I bred Aanandi (from the A litter) to a male from Betsy Keating (Arlequin) and Alleyne Dickens (Bonheur). The semen for this breeding was made available to me by Karyn Cowdrey (Blackfyre). I had been on an exhaustive search for a male, and had chosen some in Europe that were of interest to me, but with so many unknowns, and the financial risk to importing semen on a maiden bitch, I am deeply grateful for this offering and suggestion from Karyn to use "Chase" Arlequin in Hot Pursuit. In Chase, there are many long lived dogs with excellent solid characters, excellent pigment, and solid performance and working drives. Four puppies were born October 29, 2015, and currently have very solid characters, focus and drives. The only male of the litter is in Washington in a performance home, focused on obedience, and perhaps tracking and herding. He is a moderate male, but early on appeared to be of a heavier/larger construction, so I would not guarantee him for agility. He also dropped his pasterns, something I had not seen in a Belgian. Since his co-owner did not share this, we cannot know if early intervention would have brought an immediate correction or not. I had this occur in a D litter puppy, but was remedied in 5 days, so it is hard to know in comparison. In any case, the specialist was optimistic that his ligaments will catch up to the bone growth. The three girls of the litter are lovely. Chandravathi is in the UK training for SAR, obedience and tracking. Christa is in a companion home with breeding terms, and already I have shown her to her first two points in conformation (WB/BOS) and will train her in herding whenever she visits. Her sister Carmella is with me, and is a little pocket rocket. She is started in herding, tracking and is preparing for her first rally trial.

My Second Stud Dog
I had been watching a kennel in France, kennel Domaine de Vauroux, after some Tervuren had been produced by a Malinois named Maski Du Van Lappeenranta Bandit (mondioring). After lots of interviews with people, on both show and protection sides, the overall perception was that this kennel had exceptional characters in their dogs, and that Evy Monnereaux was very particluar about health and character. While Kelley Hoffman and I decided to import a couple of puppies together, to share shipping expenses, from a Bandit litter, the litter didn't take, and so Evy encouraged us to look at a litter by Ventadour de Condivicnum out of Glamour du Domaine de Vauroux. This breeding represented 25% working (Ring Sport) lines, and a line breeding on the healthy and lovely "Bob" (Sabrefield A Class Act with Daelois). Ventadour is a healthy son of Laouen de Condivicnum. Jahnu du Domaine de Vauroux, my male from this litter, has preliminary OFA results at 18 months resulted with excellent hips, normal elbows, and normal eyes. His proper exams are pending as I have to travel to redo them. His character has been predominantly very social to all people, and confident in all settings. He is a very strong male, with rich mahogany color, substantial build, and about 25" tall. He is a cadillac to work on sheep, and this has been his primary activity. He has been shown lightly, and earned Winners Dog at the 2015 Evergreen Belgian Tervuren Club Specialty. I have some aspirations to train him for lost dog detection, given his excellent work ethic, and very neutral demeanor with outside dogs.

The D Litter
With very guarded thoughts of breeding offspring from the B Litter, I felt that another offspring from Savannah, with more guarantees for health, character and balanced drives, was important in going forward. Savannah is my ideal in a Belgian, and I wanted more of her offspring to work with. And so I chose to breed Savannah one more time, to Jahnu du Domaine de Vauroux. Savannah was eight years old at the time of breeding, and would turn nine before whelping. Therefore, waiting was not favorable. Jahnu was not yet two years of age, so that was an unpopular component. Fortunately breeding is not a popularity contest. I had preliminary xrays performed on him, and the results came back excellent for hips, and normal for elbows from OFA. The D Litter of Intention Hill was whelped May 1, 2016. There were four males and four females in the litter. I decided to place as many as possible with terms. This was Savannah's last litter, and I wanted to choose well, and choose wisely, on which of her offspring would be bred going forward. At one year of age, I feel I have struck gold with this litter. They have consistent structure, correct angles, social, confident character, and strong drives. They are all showing strong prey drive, biddability, good focus, toy drive, hunt drive, and athleticism and good heat tolerance. Two puppies are training in SAR, and three in agility. One puppy has shown an exceptional demeanor with people in such a way that she visits with the elderly, in particular her "grandpa." The female that I have started in SAR reminds me often of Savannah. I had her reserved twice to working detection homes, and twice in agility homes. These just seemed to fall through. So as I was on several searches with Savannah this Spring, and saw that she was slowing down a bit at 10 years, I knew it was time to train her SAR replacement. And so I chose Dior. Her brother Daaruk is training exceptionally well in Virginia with the very stringent Black Diamond SAR. Her brother Devak "Matisse" has started tracking with me and one of my C litter girls (Carmella), and he is exceptional. He is primarily focused on training for agility and obedience. Sister Divya "Yuki" is training primarily in obedience and agility. Her owners had considered IPO, but this would require a lifestyle change, with more than a two hour drive one way to attend club training.

Thoughts on Breeding
Never thought I'd be breeding... but now I find this endeavor to maintain a balanced working and performance dog with good health, character, structure and moderate breed type, a dog that can search for the lost, work on the ranch, and be an excellent companion has become very important to me. I continue to study and learn about the health issues that affect the Belgian Shepherd lines, and pray every day that my dogs remain healthy, and all future offspring will continue that great health. Producing the A Litter with Kelley was so rewarding, and watching them grow has been immeasurable as an education. Kelley has been my whelping coach for all four of my litters, via the magic of the internet.

I thank all who have appreciated my dogs, and who have advised and mentored me, and continue to do so.

Latest Photos

More photos are kept here...
For the greatest ease in following each litter, I create a Facebook page for each one. I also have a page for the kennel and farm. Enjoy!

Facebook A Litter page.

Facebook B Litter page

Facebook C Litter page

Facebook D Litter page

Facebook page just for Intention Hill,

Gabbit and Aarti, 7 mths old, Feb 2012

Gabbit and Aarti, 7 mths old, Feb 2012

Gabbit, 7 mths old, Feb 2012