I have been living in the beautiful lower Westerwald exactly between Frankfurt and Cologne for a few years now. I have had dogs almost all my life.

It started when I was 12 years old. Actually, my father never wanted dogs. But on my 12th birthday I was ill, and so my parents promised me a dog. Since I had already been regularly walking the Cocker Spaniel of acquaintances for some time, it was to be a Cocker Spaniel. So we looked for a breeder of Cocker Spaniels. Of course we found one relatively quickly. And so it happened that we went to Paderborn on a Sunday to look at a puppy. The bad thing was that on this day - we wanted to take the puppy with us - the puppies were in quarantine because of fleas. The dogs were not staying with the breeder, but with his parents-in-law. They bred dogs themselves - not Cocker Spaniels, but dwarf longhaired dachshunds. As these were housed separately from the Cockers, the little ones were healthy. And the dachshund puppies were also of an age to be given away. And so it worked feverishly in my head. I considered whether I shouldn't take a dachshund puppy then - all according to the motto "better a bird in the hand than a pigeon on the roof". Somehow I didn't really trust my father, because I suspected that he might change his mind about the dog. So it came as it had to: Axel von Löhne-Inglish moved in with us. He was 14 years old.

After Axel's death, it didn't take long before a new dog enriched my life. This time it was a dog from animal welfare. Max moved in with me. But unfortunately I had to part with him after just under 2 years because he was absolutely not good with children. As sorry as I was, I looked for a suitable new home for him - an elderly lady in our district took him in. This developed into a suitable partnership for Max. After all, he lived to be 16 years old.

After Max, there was a dog break for me for a few years. In the meantime I was married and we had children. At some point, the idea came up that it would be best if the children grew up with animals. And so we decided - also at the request of the children - to get a dog again. Together we thought about the breed. Finally, we came up with the "most family-friendly" and ideal dog for us: the beagle. We looked for puppies, which we found at a hobby cattery, which was not affiliated to any association and therefore not registered anywhere. We chose the most active male from the litter. This was - as it turned out later - not a good choice, because Frodo did not accept our children above him. After he then seriously bit our daughter Katharina, we first tried to get professional help.  But we just couldn't get a grip on the problem. A registered and certified Beagle breeder said to us, "You have to break his will under all circumstances". For us, the point had come when we started to think about finding a new home for Frodo, because it couldn't go on like this. And so, some time later, we found a horse stud farm where some other dogs also lived. Here Frodo came into a pack, where he then also learned to subordinate himself.

But we didn't want to stay without a dog and we didn't want to be discouraged. A short time later, we happened to find Ronja, a bitch that had been given away privately. Ronja was a mix of German Shepherd and Labrador, and was already 4 years old at the time. She turned out to be a real godsend. She was a great family dog and was very sweet with our daughters. She was very easy to get along with and we could do anything with her. Everyone loved her because she had such a wonderful character. When Ronja was 9 years old, we decided to take in a second dog. This time it should be a dog from a foreign animal protection. And so Finia from Romania moved in with us in 2010. Unfortunately, we had to let our Ronja go over the rainbow bridge in the same year, because she was terminally ill with liver cancer. And we still miss Ronja very much today.

At some point - the children were grown and more or less independent - my ex-wife and I had separated. My youngest daughter Tabea wanted to stay with me. Since we had always had a greater connection to dogs, it was clear from the beginning that Finia would stay with Tabea and me, especially since Finia is actually Tabea's dog anyway. Fortunately, Finia is still alive today and in good health. In the meantime everything is going a bit slower with her, after all she is already more than 13 years old. We hope that she will be able to spend a few more years with us.

Half a year after the separation from my wife, a new puppy moved in with us. I made a dream come true. Actually, I always wanted to have a German shepherd all my life. In the past it was not possible because my mother was afraid of German shepherds. After that, unfortunately, it just didn't happen. But because of the health problems with German Shepherds in the last few years, I got away from them and somehow found the Belgian Shepherd. Both breeds are more or less closely related to each other. And so I studied the Belgian Shepherds and their characteristics in detail. Since the characters of the different varieties are relatively the same, I decided on the long-haired Tervueren. So Leon vom Saargold moved in with us in the summer. And that was one of the best decisions I made in my life. Leon is - like Ronja at that time - a true soul dog. At some point it became clear that Leon was not to be the only one, and so in August 2019 Omero vom Wildweibchenstein moved in with us to strengthen our pack. But with that, we should actually be complete for the time being.

Well, and after we took part in the first show with Leon, Tabea and I caught fire here. Since then, we have not only become members of the DKBS (German Club for Belgian Shepherds), but also regularly take part in shows. It was also clear to us at some point that we would have Leon licensed so that he could be a stud dog. In the meantime Leon is licensed in the DKBS, and has already had 3 litters from which 16 healthy, great puppies have been born so far. Leon is also a stud dog in the BSB. Since 2019 we are also members of both the BSD (Belgian Shepherd Dogs Germany) and the BSB (Belgian Shepherd Dogs Berlin). This means that we are now members of all relevant associations here in Germany.

Auch sind wir Mitglieder bei einem unserer örtlichen Hundesportverein. Hier mache ich mit Leon und Omero RO, nachdem wir anfangs mit Leon THS gemacht hatten. Leon hatte bereits sehr erfolgreich im jungen Alter von 15 Monaten und 5 Tagen die Begleithunde-Prüfung abgelegt. 

Auch mit Omero habe ich mittlerweile erfolgreich die BH-Prüfung abgelegt. Ausserdem ist Omero auch mittlerweile gekört, und hat auch bereits seinen ersten Deck-Akt erfolgreich hinter sich gebracht.

Und in der Zwischenzeit kam mit Orelia vom Saargold auch eine Tochter von Leon zum Rudel dazu. Das war nicht geplant, aber Orelia hat dann bei meiner Lebensgefährtin und mir den Wunsch reifen lassen, selbst zu züchten. Und so bereiten wir uns nun darauf vor, dass auch Orelia im kommenden Jahr gekört wird, und wir im Laufe des Jahres unsere Zuchtstätte soweit haben, dass wir uns auf unseren ersten Tervueren-Wurf so richtig freuen können. Züchten – das war aber für mich von Anfang an klar – würden wir dann im DKBS unter dem Dach des VDH/FCI.

Übrigens habe ich vor einiger Zeit auch meine Tochter mit dem Belgier-Virus infiziert. Mit Tabea teile ich dieses wunderbare Hobby, und wir fahren und absolvieren meistens gemeinsam die Ausstellungen, und sind auch im gleichen Hundesportverein. Mittlerweile hat Tabea auch ihren ersten eigenen Tervueren – Arko vom Goldlöckchen. Arko ist – wie könnte es anders sein – auch ein ein Sohn von meinem Leon. Natürlich gehört auch Arko zu unserem Rudel.

Und tatsächlich kann man eine solche Aufgabe, ein ganzes Rudel zu organisieren und auch die Zucht selbst natürlich nicht alleine machen. Gemeinsam mit meiner Lebensgefährtin Tanja werden diese wundervollen Hunde gezüchtet werden. Und da ein Mensch oftmals nicht alleine kommt, lebe ich natürlich nicht nur mit Tanja sondern auch mit ihren Kindern zusammen. Das hat für die Hunde und die Aufzucht der Hunde den großen Vorteil, dass die Welpen eben bereits mit Erwachsenen und Kindern aufwachsen, und so Familien-Leben und -Alltag kennenlernen. Das sollten die besten Voraussetzungen dafür sein, dass auch später die von uns gezüchteten Welpen als gute Familien-Hunde gehalten werden können. Ja, und so haben wir gemeinsam vor ein paar Jahren beschlossen, Orelia zu uns zu holen. Eine genauso gemeinsame Entscheidung war es dann auch, dass wir gemeinsam dazu entschlossen haben, mit Camill eine weitere Hündin dazu zu nehmen. Sofern alles so läuft, wie wir uns das vorstellen, wird auch Camill dann in ein paar Jahren in die Fußstapfen von Orelia treten und Nachwuchs haben dürfen.

Yes, and one thing is also clear to me: I can no longer imagine a life without Belgians! Belgians are my absolute dream dogs - you can do everything with them. Whether it's dog sports or just being a couch potato: they simply do everything. The important thing is that they take part in everything. Because they want to do everything together with their family.  

You can find out how I actually came to Belgian Shepherds here..