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. We cut our teeth owner handling in the Rottweiler ring for many years. In 1986 we saw a picture of a Rottweiler and a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog on the cover of Dog World, well that was it, we had to have one of those beautiful dogs. It did take us two years to find our 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. Well, that’s 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. Every 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, and the #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 breeding program
has been based on our Lilly daughter’s, grand-daughter’s, great-granddaughter’s
etc. bred to as many different male pedigrees as we can find world wide
that compliment our goal of producing the soundest puppies, structurally
as well as mentally. Character and type are our utmost priorities.
In order to give something back to the breed that has meant so much to me, I served for six years as President of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America. I retired from that position on Jan. 1, 2001 which coincidentally was the same date that I was approved by AKC to judge the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and the Rottweiler. As the only breeder-judge to date in the USA for the Swissys I take my responsibilities very seriously. I feel that it is imperative to mentor other judges and prospective judges on the correct type and temperament of the breed. In October of 2001, I was extremely honored to be presented with the “Margaret Poole Lifetime Achievement Award” by the GSMDCA.
What began as an attraction to a beautiful dog has become a lifetime commitment to preserving and promoting this exceptional breed.