The story of Fiva’s Leonbergers is a long one. Fiva’s is the eldest breeding of leonbergers in Norway today.
Our first litter of leonbergers was born at Skjetten in 1981.
The owner of Fiva’s is Eva Findahl (me), with my husband Dag as my handyman J
Our sons Frode and Thomas have grown up with leonbergers around them at all times, and they have been a big help and joy for us all these years.
We lived at Skjetten, a small place situated in Skedsmo (a local community, or ”kommune”) for many years. We moved in 2006 to a place called ”Fjellstua” (Mountain lodge), at Blaker in Sørum community (kommune). We have lots more room and tumblinggrounds for our four-legged friends out here.
My interest in dogs in general started when I was a little girl. But since we were not allowed to have dogs at home, my sisters and I used to watch everybody else’s dogs J We went on long walks in the forest. And even though the dogs didn’t know each other, they never growled or started fighting. For the most part, they seemed happy to get out of their house.
By the time I met Dag, I had ”regular” company of a dog, a female German Shepherd. She was the janitor’s dog, and her name was Tessa. She came with me home to Dag’s parents, and they were very excited to meet such a well-trained, smart animal. And because of this, they agreed to let Dag buy his first dog, a male German Shepherd. We were both 16 years old then.
Then it happened one night, at the end of the 70’s, that we were watching a movie called ”Call of the Wild”. In this movie, we saw a dog, named Buck, and we took a special interest in him. Dag had read the book of this movie, and told me that the dog in the leading role, was a Californian Red-dog. What kind of dog was that? My sister, who was also there that night, told me that it was a Leonberger. Again, I wondered what kind of dog? I had never heard of it.
She got a book about dogs and looked up the passage on Leonbergers, and we wanted to know if they existed in Norway. I got in touch with NKK (Norwegian Kennel Club in English), and they told me that there were 2 Leonbergers in Norway at the present time, and they were in quarantine at the moment. NKK gave us the phonenumber to Anne-Marie Smith, the owner of the female in quarantine. I called her and we had a long talk, and finally we were granted a visit to look at this beautiful animal. I was very happy to make Anne-Marie’s aquaintance. She is a very warm and kind lady, and we have kept in touch for all these years. As a matter of fact, in 2004, she bought a female from us J
To get back on track, our first meeting at Anne-Marie’s place, she welcomed us in and told us to sit down. She told us that “Anja” (Int Nord Uch Adele von Murrtal) was out in the yard, and that we could have a cup of coffee and talk a little, and then let her in afterwards.
But, as I was about to sit down, I looked out the window. And I found myself just standing there, looking at this wonderful dog. She was so magnificent, with lots of fur, and so HUGE. Anne-Marie just laughed at me and let her in.
“Anja” came waltzing into the living room, and I swear her tail made a complete circle as she was wagging it. I had never seen such a thing in my entire life. She came up to me and laid her big head in my lap, she wanted me to cuddle her. It was wonderful, and I remember thinking “is this love at first sight?”
We went back home, but I couldn’t stop thinking about ”Anja”, so I called Anne-Marie again and asked if she had any puppies available. She told me that she might have one available for me sometime, but the list of potential buyers was long. So long in fact, that it could be as long as a 3 year wait to get one! I didn’t care, I told her to put me up on her list anyway.
Later that year, early on New Years Eve, the phone rang, and it was Anne-Marie calling to tell me she had received a cancellation on a male puppy, and she wondered if I would be interested in buying him instead. I have to admit, we celebrated a bit extra that year J
And this is how we got our very first Leonberger, Alamos Hero av Nordens Løve, called Hero, and we took him home with us in February 1979.
The year after, through the collaboration with Anne-Marie, we brought home a female puppy from Löwengold’s Kennel in Sweden, Lövengold’s Dione, called Tina. Also we got another female from ”Anja’s” latest litter, Deborah av Nordens Løve, called Debbi. These two females became the ancestors to our breeding. And these heredetary lines have brought forth many wonderful Leonbergers. And many of them again, make the foundation of several other breeder’s (or Kennel’s as we call them in Norway, for instance, my breeding is known as Fiva’s Kennel, but does not mean Kennel in the English way) in Norway and other countries today.
From ”Tina’s” first litter with Int Nord Uch NV 81-82 Arko av Nordens Løve, consisting of two males and one female, we kept the female, Fiva’s Candy. And she became the mother of Ch Fiva’s Hillary, ”Lorry”. In 1988 two ladies brought a new male Leonberger from England to Scandinavia, Ch Normanscourt Alfred of Rossnick, ”Alf”. These ladies were Kari Woldmo (Lykseth Kennel in Norway) and Lotta Petrè (Mathoaka’s Kennel in Sweden).
He arrived in Sweden first, because ”Lorry” was in heat, and time was of the essence. The time limit when it came to bloodtests was shorter in Sweden compared to Norway. ”Alf” had only been on Swedish ground for a short while when we brought ”Lorry”. And it was a complete success, our litter starting on the letter Q, saw the light of day in April 1988. There are several known Leonbergers from this litter, and the most famous are:
1) Ch Quint
2) Ch Queen Raya (she gave a litter to her owner Gro Moe-Gumø)
3) Fiva’s Quite Like Tiffany, who became the ancestor of Teddington Bear Kennel and mother of World Winner-94 Teddington Bear’s Bambinetta Bionda
4) Int N S uch NV-89-91 Fiva’s Querida, one of my absolute favorite females. She received the walking trophy for most winning female three years in a row, and was therefore given the trophy permanently.
Querida is , among other things, the mother of a very successful breeding male N S uch Fiva’s Mr. Lion King, ”Myggen”. This is a male who has set a good example both as a show dog and a breeding male. To name two of his most known offspring; Ch Lou Franci’s Front Runner, ”Knerten”, and Int Nord uch Est v Lv uch NV-05 A son of a lion, ”Paco”. They are both big sucesses in the show ring.
From Querida’s litter with S N uch Lejonland’s Nex Nicko, ”Nicko”, we kept a male and a female. The male, Ch Fiva’s Admiral von Schneider, was a fantastic show dog. As a puppy, he became BIR 14 times, and won his group 4 times (and was placed in his group 12 times), and became Best In Show 4 times! He won the Leonberger Special’s at Krødsherad and in Trondheim.
His sister,Ch Fiva’s Afrodite, was sold to Båtsfjord and his other sister Int ch Amazing Surprise, was sold to Soldronningen’s Kennel. Unfortunately, none of them have gone into breeding, because of HD.
Today, I have two daughers of ”Myggen” at home, Fiva’s Yust for fun andFiva’s Zabrina, and Zabrinas mother Fiva's Tia Maria. I also have one of his granddaughters, Sabrina’s daughter Fiva’s Flames in the sky on May 17th, ”Flame”. She makes the 8th generation, consecutive descent of ”Tina”.
”Debbi” has also been a very good breeding female, with many dear offspring, especially her litter starting with the letter L, with Ch Lejonland’s Don Leo, where Gunilla of Eik-Sin-Hus got her first female. The most famous Leonbergers of this litter are:
1) Ch Largo
2) Ch Ludmilla
4) Lea Ronja
5) Lindy Lou (the ancestor of Lou Franci’s Kennel)
6) Int Nord Ch NV 88 Fiva’s Leader of the Teddy-Bears, ”Teddy”.
”Teddy” made history in the show ring by becoming the first adult Leonberger ever to win his group and BIS 4 on an international dog show. He was also most winning Leonberger male in 1988 and 1989. Another incredible story about ”Teddy” is the one where he fell down from the third floor from the apartment where he lived, and survived! And that is not all. He made a comeback in the show ring only 3 months later, and became Best In Show at the Special’s in Skåne. His great grandchild is still in breeding today.
We kept ”Teddy’s” sister, Fiva’s Leading Lady, ”Lady”, and she gave us a litter, and later went on to become the ancestor at Leona’s Kennel. She is the mother of many offspring, one of them being Ch Leona’s Arro.
From ”Lady’s” litter, we kept Fiva’s Sinderella, ”Sindi”, and she became the mother of Ch Fiva’s Dominick, Fiva’s Dennis and Ch Fiva’s Dana Regina.
When we were in search of a male for ”Sindi” we had one particular in mind. We had both seen and heard about a Leonberger male imported from Germany to Chateau Fleur’s Kennel in Sweden, Ch Arko von Gravener Haus, "Arko". The owners of this magnificent male were Sabine and Mats Björch. We got in touch with Sabine, and were allowed to use him in our breeding. As a matter of fact, Fiva’s is the only breeder who has received puppies from this male, and we were lucky enough to receive two litters. The second litter was with Fiva’s Victoria the Queen. Many others tried to breed their females with Arko, but unfortunately they were unsuccessful.
”Debbi ” is also the mother of Fiva’s Untouchable Fame, ”Fame”, the ancestor at Soldronningen’s Kennel. She, ”Debbi”, is also the mother of Fiva’s Robedick Ami, a female with great success in breeding at Lejonland’s Kennel in Sweden.
In 1987, I saw a wonderful Leonberger male, imported from Belgium, Jason von Abback. I was eager to use him with my female ”Debbi”, and I was allowed to do so by Yvonne Björnberg, the owner of Ragnarike’s Kennel in Sweden. And as a result, the litter starting on the letter P, was born. From this litter, we kept Ch Fiva’s Poseidon, he became BEST IN SHOW at a puppy show for all dog races in Gjøvik, a total of 328 puppies participated. This was a big moment for me. He has got many good offspring, among others a litter at Varpeliden’s Kennel in Sweden. The most famous Leonberger of this litter is S DK uch Varpeliden’s Dick-Droste.
In 1997 I went to a dog show at Sjølyst, and I saw this female Leonberger,ChLeonberget'z Ironi ur Lejonhjärtat. I was fascinated by her exteriour and charming being, and I told her owner, Monica, that she was free to leave the dog behind with us J Of course she said that this could not happen, but she also said that she had repeated the combination. So if I wanted to, I could have a puppy from that litter instead. I told her I would be delighted, and so we went to Sweden and collected Leonberget’z Phoole in one at Fivas, ”Pumpan”.
When the time came to find a male for ”Pumpan”, I remembered seeing a picture of a beautiful male on the cover of the American Leonberger Magazine (Leonbergernytt). He was of German descent, with bloodlines going back to Wasserturn and Württemberg. His name was A Bär vom Pflaumenthal, ”Bär”. I called Sigrid Cargile in the USA and told her who I was and that I had seen her beautiful Leonberger male in the magazine. I wondered if I could buy some of his frozen semen from her. She told me that yes, she all ready had some frozen semen available in a spermbank.
And then we started all the paperwork to make this happen. To make a long and expensive story short, the semen finally arrived at Fornebu airport. The district veterinarian was present and received the container with liquid nitrogen. I was sent to another building to pay VAT, then back to sign some papers, and then off again to meet Jan Fougner from the spermbank at NKK. And then we went back to his garage to store the container there until the next day. When ”Pumpan” was in heat, we went to the veterinarian academy. We did the proper bloodtests, and when the time was right, she was artificially inseminated. Later that year, in July 1996, our U.S. litter was born, two males and two females. Of these four, the male Fiva’s U.S. Marshall was the one that went on to breeding. And today he has offspring in breeding in both Sweden and Finland, to name a few.
Fiva’s wrote history by importing frozen semen from the USA. It turned out that USA has a private Leonberger Club, not associated with the Kennel Club over there. This was something we would learn quite painfully when we tried to register the puppies in our U.S. litter. I had sent all the papers to be registered in NKK, but they were returned to me, and with them came the explanation that the male had to be registered in the USC.
Needless to say, quite a few phonecalls were made to the USA. We were told that ”Bär” would not be registered in the USC, the private Leonberger Club wouldn’t allow their dogs registered there. What were we supposed to do now? We got in touch with Germany, the Leonberger Union and Guido Peroshino, the president in the Union at that time, but we were unsuccessful.
And then, the owner of ”Teddy”, Kari Sæther (Teddington Bear Kennel), told me to contact Borghild Moen, a known breeder of Great Danes and Pekingese dogs under the kennel name Hotpoint. She had imported lots of dogs and had a lot of experience in this field, according to Kari. So I did excactly as she told me.
Borghild, I owe you so much for all your kindness and help. You got me in touch with Eivind Mjærum, who is the president of NKK today. He too was very helpful and kind. He told me that he would do everything he could to make sure that these puppies would be registered in Norway. And because of his work, the lines between the USA and Scandinavia are now open. You are allowed to import dogs and get them registered, even if they are registered in a private club over there.
”Pumpan” also received a litter with the very well known Ch Sjöbjörnen’s Bagheera. He has a very long and impressive title, for instance Int Nord uch Nord V 99-00 SV 96-97. And further more, he was worldwinner in 1998 and 2000. From this litter, we kept Ch Fiva’s Satchmo and Ch Fiva’s Samantha. These two have had great significance to the general breeding of Leonbergers in Norway and Sweden. Samantha was exported to Lejonvinden in Sweden, and she has given them many beautiful offspring.
Another female,Ch Fiva’s Sheela has gone into breeding at Løvekroken Kennel in Norway. Satchmo has got many offspring in Norway, in addition to Lejonklippan, Sjöbjörnen, Duvasgården and Ögonfröyden in Sweden. He is also the father ofFiva’s X’pression like Buffy. She was sold to Iceland, and gave birth to the first litter of Leonberger puppies ever registered there. Satchmo’s children and grandchildren are also doing well in the show ring, as well as in breeding.
In 2001 I bought a female from Duvasgården’s Kennel in Sweden, Duvasgården’s Kamelia Dame, ”Damen”, because I had seen a magnificent male in Finland, Ch Leoniitan Romulus, and was interested in some of his offspring. As it turns out, he is the grandfather of ”Damen”. She gave birth to a litter conceived with Int Nord uch Soldronningen’s Nasse. In this litter, two females and one male was born. And he, Fiva's Gosh! I’m Goffy, was sold to Vi-Vi’s Kennel and is doing very well in the showring, maybe he will become a Champion this summer? And maybe his first litter of puppies are on the way back home?
In 2002 I received word that Montoya’s Kennel were going to sell their female, Ch Holy-Holly, ”Lucy”. I got in touch with Yvonne Stoltz, the owner of Montoya’s Kennel. We later went to Karlstad to visit Yvonne and have a look at ”Lucy”. And yes, we were accepted by both the owner and ”Lucy”, and we agreed to take her home with us after she was out of heat. In the early summer of 2002, we took her home with us. And since then, she has given birth to two litters with Satchmo. And in March of last year (2006), she gave birth to a litter of puppies with Ch Martenlake’s Mojo Meo Voto, ”Greven”. From this litter, we kept a female,Fiva's Invincible Virgilia "Winni, and sold another promising female, Fiva's Impossible Choice, to Ball-ti-Moras kennel, "but we have also exported females to both New Zealand, Fiva's Isabella and Italy. Fiva’s Iris, who was exported to Italy, became best female puppy at the Special’s in Leonberg in 2006. And we are very proud to be able to make a statement in the homeland of the Leonberger.
We also kept a male puppy from ”Greven”, Fiva’s Juggernaut. His mother is Lejonklippans Kosta med K. He made his debut in the end of April 2007, in a puppy show at Stange, and became BIM on Saturday, and BIR on Sunday. His sister, Fiva’s Juicyfruit, lives at Lejonklippan’s Kennel. She has also made her debut in the show ring, and she became BIR, BIG and BIS 4! We have also sold another male to Liv Janne, Fiva's Jero King, he become Bob and Big 4 in a puppyshow in Haugesund
From this litter we have also exported a female and a male to Germany, Fiva's Jascha v Vietingshof and Fiva's Jule Janna v Vietingshof
”Greven” has also got offspring in the USA. One of ”Flame’s” sisters, Freedom Song, was exported to Sondra Boos at Sentez Kennel, and is now a mother over there.
We have also exported two adult females to Sterlingden Kennel in Canada. Fiva’s Grevinne Angelina was bred with Ch Lejonvinden’s Army of Wind and Fire, and then exported when she was pregnant.
The other female, Fiva’s Leonora was also exported, and they are now the ancestors of Sterlingdalen Kennel.
Both Dag and I have been active in the Leonberger Club, and had different jobs there. I started as a cashier (in the board), plus member of the breeding council, when we were enclosed to KSS.
Dag has been both secretary and president of the Leonberger club, and today I am still a member of the breeding council.
Indeed, I could go on and on, there are really so many stories to tell. And can you imagine, almost 30 years have passed since we started. Our dogs have made themselves known in both agility, as tracking dogs and water rescuing, and we are so very proud of you all! Through all these years we have met many pleasant and interesting people, and an incredible amount of wonderful buyers of our puppies, and we have made many pleasant aquaintances.
You may wonder, what has been my goal and essence of my work in breeding?
"To always work to bring forth strong individuals, considering their disposition, health and a beautiful exteriour, typical of the Leonberger ideal.And I have to ask, what is the point of a good looking dog, when its disposition is bad? I may call myself a hunter, always looking for the new and exiting individuals, to keep the Leonberger race in positive development."
And because of this, among other things, I decided last year (2006) to import a male Leonberger from Italy. His name is Indaco Sulle Orme de Antigua, "Nero". He is still young, and only time will tell if he has potential in the future.
This summer we are expecting puppies. We have bred our female Lejonklippans Kosta med K (Satchmos daughter) withFiva's Gosh I'm Goffy (Son of Kameliadamen). In addition, "Flame" has been in heat, and is bred with Ch Lejonklippans Humpty Dumpty, "Plexus".
And who knows, maybe our 9th consecutive generation of females will be born this summer?
Take care of Your Lion.