Hephzibah Kennels

Taylor's Entlebuchers of South Dakota

- How Hephzibah Kennels Began: Alfred's words ~

"I waited 2 ½ years before Hawthorne became part of my life.  He arrived with his sister, Hilary, in a shipping kennel from Canada.  He was so little and scared.  Hiding in the back of his kennel, he looked out at me and cried.  I had to crawl in and hold him to get him out of the kennel. He snuggled in my arms and trembled. Once he warmed up to me, I soon warmed up to him.  It was my first experience with total love.  Hawthorne gave me his heart and that was it for me.  I'd been had!  He just moved in and took over my life.

About four months later, I went on chemotherapy.  All I was able to do was lay on the floor and hurt for a year.  Hawthorne sat with me, his paw on my arm or resting his chin on my chest. The only exercise I was able to provide for him during this year of chemo treatment was to sit upright on the floor, passing a ball in circles around my body.  Hawthorne would chase the ball, going around and around me, until he was soon galloping like a circus horse as we played.  To this day, he is the only one of our Entlebuchers who "does the pony game" with me.  Of course, nowadays, he has included my wife, Kim, into the play.  Often, when we are playing together, he will do figure 8s around us, all the while sporting the silliest grin.  Back when he helped me get through the rough year of chemo, he and I made a deal.  He'd take care of me and I'd do everything possible to help his breed make it to the Westminster Dog Show someday.

A year later, Gingerbread came into my life.  After the only litter from Gingerbread and Hawthorne, I took dog breeding very seriously.  All three of the puppies from that litter were born with internal birth defects.  Suddenly, I found myself needing to learn more about genetics and the responsibilities of being a dog breeder.  All three puppies received the surgery to not only help them live long lives, but they and their parents were removed from future breeding programs.  I discovered it was important to spay and neuter those Entlebuchers who could not improve the genetics of the breed in North America.  Hawthorne and Gingerbread still share our home and play a major role in our "pack order".

The first time Gingerbread met my wife, Kim, she jumped in her lap and smothered her with kisses.  Gingerbread NEVER kisses anyone, but she loved Kim from the beginning.  Kim, in turn, fell in love with Hawthorne, Gingerbread and one of their pups, Abilene, immediately.  It took me a lot longer to work my way into her heart, but eventually we married!  At this time, in 1997, we were living on the west coast in Bellingham, Washington. Voltar soon joined us, coming all the way from Belgium as a puppy.  Within this first year of marriage, Kim and I found ourselves sharing our home with our own four Entles, two Entles in rescue rehab, a boxer mix, our three cats and a cockatiel!  This was the beginning of Hephzibah Kennels. We moved in 1998 to Montana so our dogs could bark and run all they wanted on our 25 acres without bothering neighbors."

The Entlebucher has been on the edge of extinction at least twice. At one time, there was only one female left to continue the breed.  It was necessary to in-breed Entles, in order to save the breed from extinction.  What's been done is done.  There are problems in the gene pool, making this much like a dice game.  You never truly know what will show up next, but your chances of being successful improve if you don't play with loaded dice.  Once a "problem gene" shows up, the line is taken out of the breeding program.We have worked hard to establish reputable and ethical contacts in Europe; finding clean blood lines that don't have known PRA carriers or bad hips to improve the Entlebucher gene pool in North America.   By working with the American Kennel Club (AKC), we hope to one day be able to show our noble Entles with the rest of North America and prove them the great dogs that they are. Come on and join us!  We're on our way to the Westminster Dog Show!"  Alfred Taylor, quoted in 2002