Our introduction to Havanese was through meeting a Havanese puppy adopted by friends, and seeing two Havanese owned by Kimberly Gattey of Havtahava Havanese. We met Kimberly and her dogs at the Golden Gate Kennel Club Show, which was then held annually at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Although we didn't know it at the time, Kimberly would become a dear friend, and she has often helped us welcome puppies into the world.
We determined to adopt a Havanese after one of our two cats died, leaving an elderly, formally feral cat as our sole pet. Our rationale was that a Havanese would not harm our beloved cat.
Our vacation in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the Spring of 2006 provided the time to pour through websites, learn bloodlines, and inquire about puppy availability. Although we did not intend to adopt a show dog, my background in breeding horses piqued my interest in Havanese bloodlines. From photos on websites, I determined that I liked Los Perritos-bred Havanese. Thus it was with some joy that I found Triple H Havanese, owned by Ann Hilemn, a Havanese breeder in Tucson, Arizona. Ann had a litter sired by a Los Perritos male with a puppy in my desired color, black and tan. Ann responded to my inquiry, saying that the puppy in which I was interested had already found his forever home, but she had a silver and white male from the same litter available. She assured me that he was the pick of the litter, which proved to be true. However, she would need to meet with us before she would agree that we could adopt this puppy.
We abandoned our vacation casita in Santa Fe and took a significant detour to Tucson to meet Ann and the puppy. Our meeting with the puppy was as nonchalant as any life-changing event could be. However, Ann seemed to see the future when we did not, surmising from my interest in bloodlines that we wanted a show and breeding puppy, when in fact our intention was only to adopt a companion Havanese. Nonetheless, Ann took pains to inform us about dog shows and the politics of the Havanese Club of America. Her comments about the latter proved to be prophetic given the changes the club would soon undergo. We left Tucson with Angelito, who became the love of my life. As soon as he was old enough, at Ann's request, we engaged a professional handler to show him. He quickly become our first AKC champion, Ch. Triple-H Lightning Strikes. This entry to the world of show dogs sparked our further interest in the sport. (Scroll down.)
Ann Hilemn with Angelito (a/k/a Ch. Triple-H Lightning Strikes) at 10 weeks of age.
Attending dog shows provided the opportunity to see Havanese of many bloodlines. To learn more, we also began visiting Havanese breeders when our travels afforded the opportunities.
(Left to Right) Julie Vogel's first Havanese, the iconic Ch. Tapscott's the Dominator ROM ("Tyler," sired by Ch. Starkette Pride of Wincroft ROMX ("Buster") ex Ch. Bonneterre Domino D'Tapscott ROM), his son Ch. Oeste's Outlaw of San Juan ROM ("Billy," out of Ch. Prescott J's Chantilli), and
Ch. Zorro vom Salzetal ("Zorro"), photographed in April 2007.
One of the first Havanese breeders we visited to learn more about bloodlines was Julie Vogel of Oeste Havanese in Tijeras, New Mexico. It is something of an irony that we did not identify Julie when we were searching for our first Havanese, since Julie and her husband Don lived near Santa Fe, where our search began. Nonetheless, Julie's proximity to our favorite vacation spot soon brought us together.
We were impressed with Julie's beautiful Havanese, including her handsome males, Ch. Tapscott's the Dominator ROM ("Tyler"), who was a son of the great sire Ch. Starkette Pride of Wincroft ROMX ("Buster"), and Tyler's son, Ch. Oeste's Outlaw of San Juan ROM ("Billy").
In the first years of our acquaintance, we adopted two females from Julie: Ch. Oeste's Fame de la Tierra ("Tina") and Ch. Oeste's Outlaw Angel ("Bela"). Within a few years, Julie also offered us the opportunity to co-own and "special" her beautiful young Billy son, BISS GCHG Oeste's Havnfun Playin an Outlaw ("Bart").
Julie and I acquired Wincroft's Pride and Joy de la Isla ("Joy") and bred to her Billy. And the rest, as they say, is history. Joy and Billy were the parents of MBISS MRBIS GCHG Oeste's Flirt'n with an Outlaw ROM ("Feliz"), BIS GCHB Oeste's Stealing the Starlight ROM ("Lucia"), and Ch. Oeste's Merry Little Outlaw CD ("Merrily"). Lucia, bred to Ch. Oeste's Top Gun ("Cruz", see below), produced MBIS MBISS GCHP2 Oeste's in the Name of Love ROM ("Bono"), the top winning Havanese over all time, the Top Dog All Breeds in 2019, and the winner of 100 Best in Show awards. We now enjoy showing his get.
Through many years, Julie has been our friend, collaborator, co-breeder and co-owner. We have shared knowledge, dreams, heartaches and the highs and lows of the dog show world and life. Thank you Julie for trusting us in the beginning and staying with us through what became an enduring joint adventure. (Scroll down.)
Ch. Oeste's Outlaw of San Juan ROM ("Billy") and Julie Vogel in April 2007.
Ch. Skyline's Corazon de la Tierra ROM ("Cori," sired by Ch. Los Perritos Wee Pantaloons ROMX ("Pan") ex Ch. Wincroft's Bea-Atitude of Skyline ("Bea")), bred by Debbie Chambers.
Photo by Vicki Holloway.
Wincroft's Pride and Joy de la Isla ("Joy," Ch. Starkette Pride of Wincroft ROMX ("Buster") ex Ch. Wincroft Knick of Time Brycecreek ("Knicki")), bred by Barbara and Michelle Johannes.
We are very grateful to Debbie Chambers of Skyline Havanese for allowing us to adopt a beautiful young Pan daughter, Cori. Debbie and I met at the Havanese Club of America National Show in Denver in 2007. I admired her young puppy, named Bea. Little did I dream that a few years later we would own Bea's litter sister, Joy, and Bea's daughter, Cori. Cori is sired by Ch. Los Perritos Wee Pantaloons ROMX ("Pan") and out of Debbie's Buster daughter, Ch. Wincroft Bea-Atitude of Skyline ("Bea"), who was a full sister our Joy. Cori produced wonderful puppies. Most notably, she is the dam of Ch. Oeste's Top Gun ROM ("Cruz"), the sire of MBIS MBISS GCHP2 Oeste's in the Name of Love ("Bono").
We are also very grateful to Barbara and Michelle Johannes of Wincroft Havanese for allowing us to adopt Joy, who with her sister Bea were among the youngest Buster offspring. Joy was our grand matriarch, and our lives would not be the same without her and the beautiful puppies that she produced. Bred to Billy, Joy produced MBISS MRBIS GCHG Oeste's Flirt'n with an Outlaw ROM ("Feliz"), BIS GCHB Oeste's Stealing the Starlight ROM ("Lucia"), the dam of Bono, and Ch. Oeste's Merry Little Outlaw CD ("Merrily"). Bea was also a great producer; most notably she is the dam of BIS GCH Marcosa's Slip Slidin Away of Skyline ("Slider"), the 2012 Havanese Club of America National Specialty Winner.
Our kennel name is "La Tierra" but we use the name "Oeste," the kennel name of Julie Vogel, for our show dogs.
"La Tierra" means "of the earth." We happened to be driving by the Camino La Tierra exit off Hi. 599 in Santa Fe as we were discussing potential kennel names. When we saw "La Tierra," with its sparkling sound and grounded meaning, we said "that's it."
"Oeste" means "of the West," reportedly in the Hopi language. The name was suggested to Julie Vogel as her kennel name by Susan Cheney, a well known New Mexico Shih Tzu breeder. "Oeste" had previously been the name of Sue's art gallery in Santa Fe.