The Alkarah Story

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Alkarah is a small breeding kennel located in western New Jersey in the hills of rural Hunterdon County. The goal at Alkarah is to breed German Shepherd Dogs to the A.K.C. standard with emphasis on good temperament and OFA certified hips and elbows. 

The kennel name Alkarah (pronounced Al KAR ah) is a contraction of the first names of Al and Karin and the first letter of the names of the Wagner children Al and Heidi. Alkarah was used as the prefix of the first Wagner litter in 1975. The love of the German Shepherd Dog however goes back to Karinís childhood in Germany.

In Germany, at the end of World War II, Karin and her family lived across the street from an American army headquarters. Each day as three-year-old Karin would sit on her front stoop an American army sergeant would walk his attacked-trained German Shepherd Dog complete with muzzle and harness. On one occasion the dog was without itís muzzle. Seeing this Karin ran excitedly across the street and flung her arms around the dogís neck. To everyoneís surprise, especially her motherís, the dog simply wagged his tail and licked her face. From that day forward the dog was visited every day until the American troops left, but the love of German Shepherd Dogs was instilled.

After Karinís father passed away in Germany, her mother, her brother Rolf, and long haired Dachshund named Zepel immigrated to the United States and settled in New Jersey with their aunt and uncle and their five Manchester Terriers. Eventually Karinís mother saved enough money to purchase a delicatessen and together with the children started a new life for the family.

In 1963 when Karin and Al were dating, they acquired a German Shepherd Dog together to protect Karin's mother's store.  The dog which they named Prince, was a poor representative of the breed, but served an important purpose and was loved by the family.

After marriage and a number of years of apartment living, Karin and Al bought their first house. Al then surprised Karin and the children and brought home a German Shepherd Dog puppy bitch from a pet store. Unfortunately, a mail truck hit the puppy only a few months later, and the family was devastated. They did decide to get another puppy, but this time from a breeder.

The breeder contacted was Vi Mabey of Towaco Hill's kennels who had a very nice litter that she co-bred with the late Connie Beckhardt of Cobert kennels. The sire was Cobertís Whisper Jet OFA, a Grand Victor Ch Scorpio of Shiloh Gardens ROM son, out of Sel Ch Cobertís Golly Gee of Lakeside ROM OFA. The dam, Cobertís Rhapsody of Lakeside OFA, was a litter sister to Sel Ch Cobertís Reno of Lakeside ROM OFA. The puppy purchased was Cobertís Zenith of Towaco, which the Wagner children named Fritz. Fritz had an outstanding temperament and taught the Wagnerís what to strive for in the future Alkarah breeding program. Fritz did a lot of winning at match shows, and ended up with a couple of minor points. It was the fun of showing Fritz that sparked the interest in dog shows.

In 1975 Al was transferred so the family moved to Massachusetts from New Jersey for a year. There they met and purchased their foundation bitch from Joe and Ellie Geremia of Valtara kennels who had bred the 1968 Grand Victrix Ch Valtaraís Image. The bitch purchased was Valtaraís Zarra of Dorma, a sable daughter of Wes-Marís Dev v Hugelhaus who was a Ch Junger Haus Caesar ROM son and a grandson of GV Ch Hollamorís Judd ROM. Zarraís dam was Valtaraís Nohna, whose sire was Korry of Waldesruh ROM bred to Valtaraís Inga. Both Inga and her litter sister GV Image were sired by Ch Bernd v Kallengarten SchH III ROM.

The first litter to carry the Alkarah kennel name was naturally Fritz to Zarra. The fourteen-puppy litter became a learning experience for Karin because unfortunately only three puppies survived. It was during this period that Karin met Connie Beckhardt of Cobert kennels. Connie not only became Karinís mentor but they developed a very close personal lifelong friendship.

The next breeding, the Alkarah "B" litter was Zarra to Connie's Sel Ch Cobertís Reno of Lakeside ROM OFA, which was GV Ch Lance of Fran-Jo ROM bred to Cobertís Melissa ROM. Since Zarra carried no Lance in her pedigree this would bring Lance into the breeding program by utilizing his then top producing son. This litter produced beautiful, large puppies, both black and tan, and sable. One of the sable puppies, Alkarahís Baachus OFA, grew up to be at least 28" at the wither. A litter sister, Alkarahís Brandy OFA, was co-owned with very good friends and former next door neighbors, Barbara and Roger Hamilton of Chicago. The breeding was repeated once more and again produced several large males, one of which, Alkarahís Charlemagne OFA, also known as "Charlie," was the Wagner housedog for many years.

At Karinís direction, Barbara and Roger bred Brandy to Sel Ch Sequelís Lonnie v Glisando ROM who stood at stud in Illinois. This breeding produced seven puppies under Barbara and Rogerís new kennel name Leyenda. The name was taken from classical guitar piece named Leyenda that Al and Roger used to play on guitar. Karin and Connie flew to Chicago from New Jersey when the puppies were eight weeks old to select and bring home the pick bitch. Instead they came home with two males that the Wagner children named Starsky and Hutch. Leyendaís Starsky of Alkarah OFA went on to become an American and Canadian Champion, to win Best in Shows in both countries, and to achieve his ROM and ROMC titles.

Starsky was not the first Alkarah champion. That distinction belongs to Ch Tee-Emmís Alkarah of Cobert OFA. "Kara" was to be a brood bitch that Karin acquired at Connie Beckhardtís recommendation. "Kara" was co-owned by Karin and Connie and was a daughter of Ch Cobertís Cardinal OFA who was owned by Barbara (Woelfel) Lopez. Cardinal was a result of a brother to sister breeding: Sel Ch Cobertís Reno of Lakeside ROM OFA to Sel Ch Cobertís Golly Gee of Lakeside ROM OFA. This was the only brother to sister breeding that Connie ever tried. The dam, Tee-Emmís Nadia, was a Cobertís Whisper Jet OFA daughter. Although "Kara" did not produce anything of note, she was a very typey bitch with a great temperament. Kara finished her championship with Barbara handling.

The year after "Kara" finished her championship, the puppies Starsky and Hutch were shown at match shows. Starsky consistently out placed Hutch, so Hutch was placed in a very nice pet home. Starsky was probably the most structurally correct German Shepherd Dog that the Wagnerís have bred or owned. He not only had an outstanding outgoing temperament, but also could be a very protective watchdog when the need arose, and therefore became the Wagner housedog after "Charlie" passed away. Starsky finished his championship before two years of age, with three four-point majors, all from the American Bred class. He was shown in Canada the following year and finished his Canadian Championship in one weekend.

Starsky was shown regularly for about three years primarily at all breed shows in both the United States and Canada. In the United States Starsky was handled by Henry Dancosse, in Canada he was handled by Jean Guy Potvin. In the United States Starsky amassed well over one hundred best of breed wins at both all-breed and specialty shows. He also accumulated almost one hundred group wins and placings, as well as Best in Show wins. He won Best of Breed at the 1988 Westminster Kennel Club show, the same year a Grand Victor and Grand Victrix were shown in Breed. In Canada, Starsky was never beaten by another German Shepherd Dog and amassed numerous working group wins as well as Best in Show wins.

Starsky was not bred extensively, but did achieve his Register of Merit title in both the United States and Canada. One particular three champion litter was out of Nuccella of Hollabird who was owned by Kathy Iorio of Belcani kennels. Nucella was a daughter of Sel Ch Wellspringís Ironsides ROM bred to a Sel Ch Cobertís Reno of Lakeside ROM daughter. The three champions were Ch Belcaniís Faust, Ch Belcaniís Fixer, and Ch Belcaniís Fortunata. Fortunata, who was known as Nadja and was co-owned with Kathy, lived at the Wagners and shared housedog duties with her sire Starsky.

Starsky produced a number of other Champions as well as numerous offspring that qualified for their obedience titles. One Champion son was Ch Alkarahís Motown of Cobert CD who was co-bred with Connie. Motownís dam was Cobertís Vistafjord OFA, a litter sister to GV Ch Cobertís Trollstigen ROM OFA. Motown was co-owned with Karinís brother Rolf, who with his wife June breed German Shepherd Dogs under the kennel name VonRolf.  Motown went Best Opposite at the Northeast Maturity under Jack Ogren.  One daughter of Starsky, Alkarahís Roxanne v Westwind UD, achieved her utility title under two years of age!

One particular Starsky breeding was to Westwindís Foxy Lady, a Kazan v Fiemereck daughter out of a GV Ch Lakesideís Harrigan ROM OFA daughter. A daughter of this breeding, Westwindís Lady Kimberly was bred to Connieís GV Ch Cobertís Trollstigen ROM OFA and produced Alkarahís next housedog, Am/Can Ch Alkarahís Michelob OFA.

Michelob was, of course, from the "beer" litter. Michelob went Best in Futurity at the 1986 Midwestern Futurity and went on to finish his championships both in the United States and Canada. Michelob was a very correct German Shepherd Dog with an outstanding temperament and a large masculine head. He was also an ambassador of the breed. Everyone who came to look at or purchase puppies always wanted one exactly like Michelob.

A couple of years after Michelob finished, Karin and Connie drove to Canada together to breed what was to be Connieís last litter. Ch Cobertís Hy Hope of Towaco ROM OFA was bred to Sel Ch Hoheneichen Conan Survival ROM OFA. A result of this breeding was a bitch they named Magnolia or "Maggie" for short. Ch Cobertís Magnolia ROM OFA, owned by Karin, is unfortunately the last of the Cobert bred line. Maggie finished her championship, and in 1998 achieved her Register of Merit title.

One of Maggieís more memorable breedings was to Am/Can GV Ch Proven Hillís Banker of Altana ROM OFA owned by Bob and Maryellen Kish of Kismet. Karin met Maryellen though Connie and since have become close friends. This breeding produced Ch Alkarahís Rolling Stone Cobert CD OFA and his litter sister, Ch Alkarahís Mirabella of Cobert OFA.

Michelobís son, Ch Alkarahís Rolo OFA, took over as the Wagner housedog. Rolo is from the "candy" litter of Michelob bred to Bihariís Edelweiss v Alkarah OFA, a daughter of Sel Ch Woodhavenís in Search Of. The photogenic Rolo can be found all over the country thanks to a professional pet photographer who asked to spend a day at Alkarah to photograph the dogs and puppies. Roloís head study is in calendars and books, as well as on such things as key chains and magnets. One of Rolo's more notable offspring is his daughter Am/Can Ch Alkarah's The Tempest OFA.  "Thelma" is also an Am/Can CD,  is temperament tested, is a therapy dog, a canine good citizen, is agility titled, and also loves schutzhund work. 

Another of Maggieís breedings was to AOE GV Ch Woodside Nestlequick Merwestyn ROM, which produced Alkarahís Diamond of Cobert OFA. Diamond is an extremely angulated bitch, which Karin will not show, but she is proving to be a valuable brood bitch. Diamond needs just one more qualifier for her ROM.  Several very promising young dogs are the result of a breeding of Diamond to Dan Smithís German import Am Ch / Can Sel  VA-2 Jim vom Fiemereck SchHIII Kkl1a OFA. Interestingly, this brings the Fiemereck line back into the Alkarah bloodlines. Three of the more promising offspring are Ch Alkarahís Diamond Jim Brady OFA, Alkarahís Diamondstud OFA, and Alkarahís Diamond Lil OFA.  Brady, who lives at Alkarah, was the first Champion out of this German/American breeding.  The repeat of this litter has produced several very promising offspring, including a second Champion, Ch Alkarah's Scarlet O'Hara OFA, owned by Dan and Marilyn Smith.

The majority of the puppies bred at Alkarah are sold as pets, but over the years numerous Alkarah dogs have achieved advanced obedience titles. They have also become search and rescue dogs, forensic recovery dogs, therapy dogs, and canine good citizens, while others have been involved in agility, herding, tracking, schutzhund, and a number are working in police K-9 units.

There have also been notable German Shepherd Dogs that Karin has been fortunate to have either co-owned or co-bred. Ch Kismet-Landmarkís Roulette OFA was co-owned with Maryellen Kish. Roulette was a daughter of Ch Bramblewoodís Custom-Made bred to Ch Kismet-Pinebuck Crystal Lake OFA. Roulette finished her championship easily with three majors. Her final major was most exciting because her kennel mate Ch Kismet Gold Rush OFA finished at the same show on the same day. Their handler Ken "Chip" Rayner, Jr., finished both Roulette and Gold Rush.

One of Ch Rouletteís sons, Champion Alkarahís Ace of Spades Kismet OFA, was the result of her breeding to Am/Can GV Ch Welove Du Chienís R-Man ROM OFA. "Ace," like his father, is a very striking dark dog who is producing  very promising offspring with his same outstanding temperament.  Ace does not carry the long coat recessive gene, but does carry the black recessive gene.

Ch Kismetís Gold Rush OFA, known as "Rusher," was co-owned with Maryellenís husband Bob. Rusher was a son of Am/Can GV Ch Proven Hillís Banker of Altana ROM OFA bred to Pinebuckís Myra of Kismet, a GV Ch Kismetís Impulse Von Bismark ROM OFA daughter.  

Ch Kismetís Freelance v Alkarah OFA, better know as "Heller," was co-owned with Maryellen. If the Great Dane in the cartoon Marmaduke were a German Shepherd Dog, it would be Heller. Heller was a big, overly friendly German Shepherd Dog. His favorite pastime, when he was not burying bones, was to run down the hill, dive into the stream regardless of weather, and then run back up the hill soaking wet to greet people. Everyone loved Heller, and his puppiesí temperaments are just like their dadís. Heller is a son of Ch Doppelt-Tayís Zeek v Stonehaven ROM bred to Kismet-Pinebuck Interest Free OFA, who is a daughter of GV Ch Proven Hills Banker of Altana ROM OFA and Ch Kismet-Pinebuck Crystal Lake ROM OFA.

In addition to having co-bred with Connie, Karin has been fortunate to have co-bred with Maryellen Kish. One litter that Maryellen entrusted Karin to whelp produced 5X Select Ch Kismetís Heart Throb ROM OFA. "Throbber" was whelped at the Wagner home along with his litter sister, a Best in Show winner, Ch Kismetís Hearts-A-Fire Alkarah OFA. This was a breeding of Ch Jo-Sanís Enterprise ROM to Kismetís Sweetheart Deal ROM OFA. "Dealy" is a GV Ch Proven Hillís Banker of Altana ROM OFA daughter out of a GV Ch Kismetís Impulse von Bismark ROM OFA daughter.

"Dealy" was also bred to Am/Can GV Ch Welove Du Chienís R-Man ROM OFA by Maryellen.  Three males from this breeding are Champions, and one of these is owned by and lives with our daughter Heidi.  Ch Kismet-Pinebuck Cowboy Logic OFA better known as "Garth" is a dog of beautiful type with an excellent front.  He has numerous Best of Breed wins. Garth is best summed up by Heidi as "he is the best puppy in the whole wide world!"  Garth's full litter brother, BIS Am/Can Sel Ch Kismet's Sight for Sore Eyes TC HIC ROM OFA was campaigned by Jim Moses and in 2002 was the #1 German Shepherd Dog, the #1 Herding Dog, and the #1 dog of all breeds in the United States.  "Dallas" is now retired from showing after amassing 103 Best in Show awards.  "Dallas" is also now the top producing German Shepherd Dog of all time.

Three of our first "Dallas" youngsters have been shown.  All are the result of a breeding of "Charro" Alkarah's Cellini of Cobert OFA  to "Dallas."  Our Elvis litter:  "Trouble" CH Alkarah's Double Trouble finished his championship at 16 months of age, "Elvis" CH Alkarah's Jailhouse Rock finished shortly afterwards; and "Lovey" Alkarah's Love Me Tender has several wins and is now one of the bitches we use for breeding.

Other bitches we use for breeding include "Mira" CH Alkarah's Midnight Miracle.  Mira is the first beautiful CH Brady daughter.  We also breed "Mia" Mein-Schatz Mia Tai Alkarah ROM a CH Kismet's Heart Throb daughter.  

We also breed "Abba"  CH  Alkarah's Dancing Queen.  She is  a "Dallas" and "Mia" daughter.  "Abba" is now the third champion we've produced out of this combination.  "Abba's" mother "Mia" recently achieved her Register of Merit title.  Another daughter, we bred for the first time is CH Alkarah's Tequila Sunrise.  "Quila" is the fourth champion out of this combination.

A dog that we acquired is "Clifford" 2x Am Sel Ex / 2x Can Sel CH Keylis The Big Red Dog OFA.  We finished Clifford in late 2004 in the US, then in 2005 finished his Canadian Championship.  Clifford was also fortunate to have gone Select at the 2005 Canadian National, and to have gone Select Excellent at the 2006 American National.  In 2007 Clifford again went Select at the Canadian National and Select Excellent at the American National. 

We have two more dogs,  "Cosmo" and "Sugar"  out of "Mia's" last breeding to CH Kenlyn's Aries v Hi Cliff ROM (a top producing "Dallas" son).  "Cosmo"  Alkarah's Cosmopolitan is a Champion, finishing at 12 months and three weeks of age.  His sister "Sugar" Alkarah's Sex On The Beach is also a Champion.  We also have a Champion out of our CH Abba bred to Sel CH Tazzman's Aregon, CH Alkarah's Bossa Nova, who is OFA certified Excellent.  We repeated this breeding and have another Champion "Adam" CH Alkarah's For Your Entertainment.

CH "Cosmo" was bred to our Champion "Mira" Alkarah's Midnight Miracle and produced "Frankie" CH Alkarah's My Eyes Adored You.  "Mira" was also bred to Am GV  CH Marhaven's And The Beat Goes On and produced Champion "Zoey" CH Alkarah's Call The Wind Mariah.  Another one of our Champion bitches, CH Alkarah's Tequila Sunrise was bred to Sel Exc CH HiCliff Bronson Kaleef and produced Champion Alkarah's Bourbon.

In 2011 we are proud to say that we finished our 48th Champion.  The list is on the "Stuff" page of our website.

Many of our dogs compete in other venues.  "Cory" P.A.M. Alkarah's Coriander TC UD OAP OJP NJP HT has proven to be a top competitor in obedience, agility, etc.  We have many other of our dogs with other advanced degrees, many are listed on our Special Merit page.

All the dogs at Alkarah that are kept for breeding or showing are x-rayed at six to eight months of age for their preliminary OFA evaluation, and then x-rayed again for permanent OFA certification when they are old enough. The puppies that are not show quality are sold only to good loving qualified pet homes. We are fortunate to have developed a reputation over the years for selectively breeding quality animals and enjoy a clientele who will wait for one of our puppies rather than go elsewhere. As an AKC licensed judge of German Shepherd Dogs, Karin attempts to select dogs that exhibit the same characteristics that we breed for - structurally correct German Shepherd Dogs with sound outstanding temperaments.

 

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