22 February 2018
Our current litter arrived in the wee hours of the morning on 8 February 2018. We were fully prepared, having washed and disinfected the tile floors & whelping linens in my house. Our outdoor runs were re-configured, so that Billie now has a private run off of the kitchen foyer – and Ziva and Piccolo have the big run off of the living room. My kitchen office got re-purposed as the whelping room and this is THE BEST set up to date, because I can work on my laptop while keeping both eyes on Billie’s needs and the movements and sounds of the young puppies. Koko was delivered to her handler Rebecca Bradley three weeks ago and that brought our home pack size down to three ladies, all in preparation for Billie’s big day.
I think about my future breedings every day – that is, when we’re not whelping a new litter! I think about the attributes I’ve come to take for granted – like beautiful chests, great shoulders, mouths and bites. No reverse scissor bites in my animals. Ever. I think about the most important things besides good genetics, great temperament and an athletic body? Great head, profuse coat, lovely gait, beautiful tail set, nice neck. I think about the Coefficient of Inbreeding. I use worldpedigrees.com and create Trial Breedings, so as to study the past and the potential future of various pedigrees. I study the pedigrees of TTs who have caught my eye or my attention. There is so much to learn! It goes on and on, and I love that.
We’ve lived with Tibetan Terriers, since 1992. My husband and I brought our first two TT puppy littermates into our lives in 1992. I actually found an ad from Nina Wagner of Shalimar Kennel in the Classified section of the Sunday Boston Globe, back then. During the next ten years, I became impassioned with the breed and decided that I wanted to develop a breeding program of my own. In 2006, I acquired my foundation pair of TTs from Shalimar and Mark & Pam Desrosiers finished James and Izzie in 2007. Nina Wagner continued as my primary mentor, until October 2016, when she passed away on the 23rd. Her wisdom, guidance and humor have been inspirational. We talked regularly and laughed often. Now? I am developing friendships with Claire Coppola of Rinchen and Markus Gisslen of Shadeacre in Sweden, two fine breeders, from whom I have acquired new bloodlines. And I’ve been enjoying getting to know Lynne Fardell of Sunsi, as she’s recently moved to Vermont and has some fine animals out of Margie Wikerd’s Bluvali and David Murray’s Players breeding programs. Maureen Dwyer of Yonpo is another breeder who has become a friend. Maureen has used both my Oskar and my Yogi with her two girls. In fact, she has just used Kensington’s Sweet Baby James (Yogi) for the second time and Yonpo Starry Starry Night’s ultrasound showed six embryos with beating hearts, on 14 February. That litter is expected to hit the ground mid-March.
James and Izzie were my foundation pair of Tibetan Terriers and had their first Kensington litter on 19 March 2009. That first litter had eight black & white puppies – four boy pups and four little girl pups. That is the ONLY time that Mother Nature has given me an ‘even Steven’ ratio of girl and boy pups. Of the eight, seven of the pups went to forever homes from New Jersey to Maine and we kept our pick boy puppy, Oliver Twist. Oliver hit the show circuit in January 2010 and became an AKC Champion in eight days, at nine months of age. There were other potential show dogs in the 2009 litter but their forever families are all raising their Kensington TTs as happy pets. Beau is one of those puppies, an extraordinary athlete with spirit and personality. Here he is, showing off one of his tricks, jumping through the hula hoop. He was also very good at digging up perennials, as a puppy. Our latest ‘hula girl’ is Aza. She learned the trick in under fifteen minutes. All it took was a treat on the other side of the hoop. And her humans told me that she’d mastered the piano, too! They’ve taught her a trick, where she plays the lower keys, while her forever mom plays the higher keys. It is a lot of fun, when you get a food-driven TT, as they perform for reward and are easier to train than those who don’t care about food.
In April 2010, Izzie whelped our second litter (Oskar x Izzie) and we had five red brindle puppies – four girl pups and one little boy. We kept Coppi, our pick bitch puppy, and she joined James, Izzie and Oliver in the pack. The other four puppies from our 2010 litter live with their forever families from Ohio to Massachusetts. Look at the two puppies, on the gingham tablecloth to the right. You can really see the difference in the width of their chests. The puppy on the right has noticeably broader shoulders and a bigger chest – different head, too. That is Coppi at eight weeks, now retired and living on the beach in Marblehead. I look for strong bone, good proportions, pretty movement, brains and personality, when I’m trying to determine my ‘pick’. And for me, it is fascinating to evaluate the puppies in pairs. It helps make things jump out at you. Easier to compare than to study in isolation.
Izzie had her third and final litter in 2011. I bred her to James a second time and she produced some really wonderful black & white puppies. Out of this litter came Rocket, my first Puppy Group 1 winner! Rocket lives with Izzie, Henry and their forever family up here in Vermont. And Emmett James came out of Izzie’s last litter, too, who also lives in Vermont. He has a Kensington little sister in Sophie, out of Whit x Gigi, August 2015.
It’s great having kids around who love to play with the puppies and dogs, as it helps to socialize the young pups, in preparation for life in their forever homes with children. Henry, Lily and Daisy have helped me since 2009 and continue to help me with each of my Vermont whelped litters. These days, Lily and Daisy are at Dana Hall and have shifted their interests toward equestrian competition. Fortunately, we have nine year old Levi and four year old Claire who help handle the puppies. In fact, they’re on school vacation next week and coming over this Saturday to handle the puppies for the first time. Levi is wonderfully sensitive with animals. And Claire likes the variety of coat colors and patterns.
2012 was the last year we had only one Kensington litter. Beginning in 2013, we started breeding two litters a year. In order to give each puppy in every litter and each adult in the pack the love, care and attention they deserve, we need to keep our pack size small. When you visit, you will probably meet three or four adults – and there’s always a good chance that we’ll have some younger Kensington Tibetans in residence, as we are also happy to board any of the animals we’ve bred. It gives me a chance to further evaluate the animals and I love seeing them again.
In 2015, we bred two of our girls in early June and the puppies arrived during the first week of August. We were in Vermont for the births and headed south to Princeton, Massachusetts, once the puppies began weaning off of their mothers. The puppies from both of these litters were beautiful with great heads and strong chests.
Our 2016 litters left for their forever homes, except for the lovely Miss Lily Rose. I held her back for study, as she struck me as a beautiful animal with a sweet submissive temperament with humans but a spitfire with her peers. She has since been released and moved in with a wonderful human mom in Maryland and is splitting her time between the mainland and the beach. All of the other Gigi and Billie puppies live in CT, MA, PA and VT. Our 2017 puppies were available in August and October.
If you’re interested in bringing a Tibetan Terrier into your life, I urge you to visit as many breeders as you can. Remember, that breeder will be an invaluable resource and guide to you, as the years go by. Trust me, you’ll have lots of questions! And I think you should want to see firsthand how your puppy has been raised. And you might also like to speak with other families who’ve brought a puppy from that breeder into their homes.
Tibetan Terriers are smart and sensitive. They traditionally live long lives. We sell our puppies with spay/neuter contracts, pay for the first 8/9 week vet exam & first round of puppy shots. We also require the right of first refusal, should you ever need to re-home your Kensington Tibetan Terrier. It is that important to us to know that all of the TTs we breed will have an opportunity for a wonderful forever life with the best forever families we can find and we are HAPPY to be the back up plan, if one is needed. Should your circumstances change, know that we remain happy to help with the longterm care and home life of your Kensington Tibetan Terrier and that we will love each of them madly and forever.
Deposits are closed for our April litter. However, there are still one or two available spots for our June/July puppies. You are welcome to reach out, come and visit us, should you like to be considered as a future Kensington forever family.