"On April 6, 1958 Ch. Willa vom Ahrtal whelped a litter of six: five black and one blue, three bitches and and three dogs, sired by Ch. Lakecrest's Thuderstorm. All were sold except Fidelia she lived with me all her 12 years. Eventually all six became champions: Fidelia, Freya, Frigga, Florian, Frido and the blue Felix. All of them had good owners, except Felix; he had a rough start in life: his first owner was not able to keep him, his second owner after a short time was drafted into the service and he left Felix with some people who either did not like dogs or were just plain miserable human beings. Somehow I found out that Felix was chained and abused. I made them bring him back to me until I could find out where the owner was. It just about broke my heart when he came home; beaten but not broken, he had that proud defiant look. Felix had the most beautiful eyes, but now they were sad. At the first opportunity I did buy him back, and swore that he would never leave again. He had in his young life (he was now 9 months old) experienced enough misery and by rights he should have hated people, but he never did, he was sound and with the love he got here, came around fast. But somehow he did not care to come and stay in the house like all my other dog did. He would come in for a few hours to get some tidbits; then he would get restless and ask to be let out. The kennel to him was a safe haven. He did enjoy going places, and whenever I had to go out late, he was the one who would come along. And he was a good guy to have along; nobody would open that station wagon door or dare give me a crooked look; he was all Doberman. A massive dog without a trace of coarseness, he was awe-inspiring, fearless but sweet and gentle. I remember the time when he brought a little Robin fledgling that had fallen out of its nest, delivered it to me with nary a feather ruffled. It was a bit comical for that big brute to be so gentle. Felix just loved the dog shows and he was a superb showman but being a blue was a great handicap in those days, and many times a dog not near the quality won over him because of it. However, he did finish his championship in spite of it all at two years of age but I had lost heart and he was never shown as a special. His first breeding was to a Hagen daughter, Iduna vom Ahrtal. A total of seven champions came from this breeding (three litters), but the first to finish was not a homebred, but a black dog out of a red bitch (Mikadobe's Flambeau) Alnwick's Black Fury Bismark. Of the 29 champions he sired there were 26 black and 3 blue. Felix was a glutton for food, if there was a choice of either eating or breeding a bitch: he would eat first then breed the bitch. He never missed a meal and he never had a sick day. The only time he had to visit the vet was when he ate a huge knuckle bone and got terribly constipated, it took hours to work through plus some 30 gallons of water to remedy the matter. But that evening he was looking for something to eat! He slipped away quietly on April 18, 1969, 11 years and 12 days old, a great dog." - Tess Henseler, DQ 1974
Meadowmist Isis of Ahrtal
Felix's dam, Willa vom Ahrtal, had a very tightly bred pedigree. Her sire Dorian and her maternal grandsire Dagobert were littermates. Both dogs were out of Meadowmist Isis of Ahrtal and sired by Delegate v.d. Elbe. Isis was the dam of 17 champions from 35 puppies, which was a breed record for some thirty years until surpassed by Moraga Hill's High Fashion, dam of 19 Champions. Isis produced all four colors. She was not much of a show dog and never finished. She was reputed to have found the show ring so disagreeable that Tess didn't even bother. Her sire, Emperor of Marienland, was one of the famous seven, and himself fathered 18 champions. Emperor died suddenly in 1949 at eight years old. Isis died three months before her ninth birthday in 1957, cause unknown.
Delegate von der Elbe
Delegate v.d. Elbe, or "Delly" as he was known, was the sire of 55 champions from 60 litters, including the 17 champions out of Meadowmist Isis of Ahrtal. With 55 champion get to his credit, Delly was the top producing Doberman sire in history, a record that stood some thirty years until surpassed by Electra's The Wind walker. Delly was shown rather sparingly since his owner would not send him off with a handler, yet he still managed to achieve a rather remarkeable show career in which he obtained 70 BOB wins, 21 groups and 2 BIS. He was considered a large dog for his time, standing 28 1/2 inches and when in show condition, weighing a bit over 90 pounds. To commend him were his solid topline, good tailset, excellent lay back of the shoulders, correct brisket and good rib spring. He also had excellent dark eyes and excellent feet. His owner, Ruth Castellano, was proud of his "fabulous" temperament. To fault him were his insufficient stop, poor eye set and fill, and he was long in hock. Delly's sire line traces back to the German import, Sieger Helios v. Siegestor.
Gruenig mentions that Helios had several cream colored toes on one of his hind feet. He attributed this occurrence to the grand-dam, Dora Wiesengrund, who had numerous descendants that exhibited this peculiarity, Helios being the most influential of the lot. Helios was the paternal grandsire of the imported German Siegerin Jessy v.d. Sonnenhöhe through his son Cherloc v. Rauhfelsen. There are four crosses to Jessy in Delegate's pedigree. In the 1960's these cream colored "Helios toes" became known as "Delegate toes". Delly died in his sleep in October 1955 at eight years old, exact cause of death unknown.
"Dorian, from the first litter (Delegate v.d. Elbe x Meadowmist Isis of Ahrtal), was the first male champion I kept. He won a working group before he was finished, and I believe that was the greatest thrill I ever had showing dogs. He was 11 months old and never in my wildest dreams had I thought that this could happen to me. Dorian was the sire of Ch. Willa vom Ahrtal whom I lost at 5 years.... Willa in her lifetime had only 12 puppies, 7 champions sired by Ch. Lakecrest's Thunderstorm. The first litter of 6 was an all-champion litter. From this breeding came Ch. Florian vom Ahrtal, CD, sire of 14 champions and the blue, Felix, the sire of 28 champions to date." - Tess Henseler, DQ Fall 1971
Betsy Thomas of Highbriar considered the "golden cross" for her line to be the breeding of Florian vom Ahrtal daughters to their uncle Felix. From this cross came the foundation dogs of both Tarrado and Hotai.
The Florian vom Ahrtal daughter Highbriar Jasmine was sold to Nancy Simons and became the foundation bitch of Tarrado. Jasmine produced 13 Champion offspring out of 21 puppies over four litters.
The Florian vom Ahrtal daughter Highbriar Constant Comment was sold to a young couple as a puppy but came back to the breeder at 10 months old. She was a natural show dog ands finished quickly. She was a smooth, clean bitch Highbriar Bandana, sire of 26 Champions.
Highbriar Valencia, who was by Felix out of Highbriar Tea for Two, was the dam of four champions, including Tedell Eleventh Hour, who went BIS at the incredibly young age of eight months and eleven days.
Alnwick's Black Fury Bismarck, sire of 26 Champions, including Weichardt's Rosen Cavalier.