I am Anne Kilpi and I live with my husband and Belgian Shepherds in a little town called Ylöjärvi in Finland. I got interested in the breed of Belgian Shepherds already as a school girl. Going to obedience training with a loan dog I fell in love with a tervueren male called Otto. I made up my mind to have a dog like that some day.
Talvihallan story begins
The right moment for having myself a very own Belgian Shepherd kept me waiting until 2004 when I was finishing my studies at the University. After having carefully considered different options and visited breeders and training places I made a reservation for a puppy at Valkohampaan Kennel.
In May 2004 I got a very lively female puppy from the litter of Wintergame Enrico x Valkohampaan Enigma - and could not even imagine how much my life would change.
Halla was so charming and infuriating at the same time; she loved to try her teeth on everything that moved and explored the surroundings without any instinct of self preservation. Because Halla was happy with any action, teaching her tricks was very easy. Originally I had thought of doing agility with her, but because Halla was so talented, we found ourselves training tracking and obedience. We passed the first obedience trial and BH right after Halla had turned one year old. A couple of months later we got our first tracking result JK1. It was obvious that I had been lucky to get an excellent working dog - the kind of dog that was just perfect for me. When Halla was only 3,5 years old, we - being just beginners - finished our fist Finnish Working Dog Championships standing on the podium as the gold medalists of the tracking trial.
The years went by and we took more and more acitivities into our schedule. Besides tracking we reached the highest class in search, versatile search trial, obedience and agility, and competed in the Finnish Championships also in ski joring. Halla's great career as a working dog culminated at the Finnish Championships in 2012, when we won the gold medal in versatile search trial. Halla became the first (and so far the only) groenenendael female who has reached the gold medal in two different working trials at the Finnish Championships. Even if Halla is already a veteran we still train and compete in obedience.
Goals as a breeder
Talvihallan kennel name is dedicated to Halla. Originally my main goal was to produce groenendaels that would have such an outstanding character and be as healthy as Halla. Unfortunately my path as a breeder has not been as straight as the competetive career with Halla. Despite careful planning I've had to face some unpleasant surprises of the Mother Nature.
In the spring of 2013 it felt like the world would collapse within one month: First our own dog
Hile had some kind of an indefinable seiszure. Then I got to know that Camiaca from our C-litter had had several seizures since a very young age. And finally also Cuyama - a full-sibiling to Camiaca - had an epileptic seizure.
It was obvious that if I wanted to continue breeding I had to make some new plans for the future. Because I had just some months earlier visited France searching for possible stud males among working line tervuerens and because the dogs I had seen really had impressed me, I didn't have to consider my next move for long. Right on cue there were puppies planned for the dogs I had seen; I reserved two female tervueren puppies from two different litters and got to pick up my puppies first. These two future hopes are living in active homes with the people I trust. In some years we will see, what kind of part they will play in the future of Talvihallan belgians.
At the moment it is impossible to say if there will be Talvihallan groenendaels born anymore, if I won't be able to continue breeding with Halla's offspring. It has become even more clear to me, that I as a breeder want to concentrate on breeding belgians with excellent working abilities and self-confident & social character. Because I'm seeing these qualities mainly in the working line dogs it is very probable, that my breeding program will be strongly emphasized by working line tervuerens in the future.
Despite the new turns my principles have not changed. It's still my goal to breed possibly healthy belgians who can easily be trained in different kinds of working trials as well as in agility and obedience, and who have an easy-going character for everyday life, too. Doing my breeding plans I try to think further and consider the situation of the whole population. I believe, that if I as an active working dog trainer myself make the puppy plans following my own ideals, the puppies can also fulfill the expectations of many other belgian shepherd enthusiasts.
I want to thank everybody who in some way or another has been a part of the story of Talvihallan belgians sharing me their knowledge and encouraging me to go on also after the hardest moments. The most special thanks belongs to the owners of Talvihallan belgians who have not only given the greatest homes to our puppies but also supported me even if it has not always been possible to avoid dissapointments.
From now on it's still my greatest wish that Talvihallan belgians now and forever will bring their owners as much joy and meaning of life as my own belgians beginning with Halla have brought me.