Please go to our News web page for the majority of current emails & photos sent in by our clients that are not posted here.
Super, beautiful young female from our breeding program!! You have to watch her video pasted below and remember, her owner states she is JUST learning the weave poles!
Hi Ramona, Happy holidays. Cinder is doing great and has proven to be an amazing companion and agility partner. We have had a blast in training and have participated in several seminars taught by world team members. I consistently receive compliments on her structure and temperament by those who have traveled across the globe participating/coaching in the sport of agility and who have seen many other shepherds. I am often asked where she comes from and am told, "that is how a shepherd should look/act." - I have to agree :).
At the young age of 16 months she is ready to compete, but she came into heat so I had to delay as AKC doesn't allow girls in season to participate in agility events. So, New Years weekend will be our debut. I am so excited! She is so speedy and driven that she has really made me have to step up my game in handling. Should be interesting ;). I promise to send videos and pictures.
A local agility competitor/friend just got a pup out of your 'H' litter. I love her too. She has so many of the same qualities of my Cinder that I adore. In about 4 years I will be ready for my next Sapphire Shepherd, so be ready!
Take care, and look for another update next month. Molly Rapini
Oops, I meant to send this with my last email as well.
This is a practice event when Cinder was only 14 months old. She had just learned the weaves and just started jumping full height and on full height equipment as I waited until her growth plates were closed. She looks great for such a young thing!
Email received Sept 25, 2015 (7 month old SAR dog in training Duncan of Sapphire Mountain):
Congratulations on your TD title and multiple certificates!! Xurk and Na Pali look great! Looks like you had a really busy summer. Hope everything is going well and that you are getting some nice fall weather finally.
We just got back from Northwest SARCon after three days of training in the field. We participated in the wilderness air scent workshop for beginning and intermediate dogs. Duncan was exposed to all kinds of new scenarios this weekend: people in trees, inside concrete tubes, on steep slopes with blowdown, rain, rivers, and lots and lots of blackberry brambles. No issues- he goes right to work with huge enthusiasm no matter what they throw at us. We got so many compliments on his drive and energy. He did his first small area search and got an A+ from the instructors. I heard the phrase Wow, that's exciting a lot. :) He is an intense dog, jacked up to level 11 as soon as you take him out of the truck and barks non-stop until he gets to search. We are hoping to certify in about a year from now. I think his hunt drive and search instinct are very good, he just needs to build stamina, grow into an adult, and we have a lot of growing to do as a team. Duncan is an awesome companion outside of SAR training too. He has confident, friendly social behavior with people and is friendly to other dogs, neutral around stock. I've traveled with him across the state a few times and he adjusts very well to new situations. If anything startles him, he generally needs one or two more exposures and then its fine. I'm very impressed with how well he settles wherever I take him. You were right that he's definitely making me step up my game as a handler. I have a hard time envisioning him being happy without some kind of real work to keep him busy.
The skin irritation he had earlier this summer seems to have cleared up. I examined the problem areas carefully and the skin has normal appearance now.. I will definitely let you know if it starts up again in case it turns out he is allergic to something. No other health problems to report. Also I got his weight wrong in my previous email- he is about 70 lbs now. You can see from the photos he is roughly the size of a baby moose!
Email received Oct 7, 2013 (Santo x Jetta male receives IPO 1 title):
Ramona, It has been a while since we have spoken and I wanted to provide an update on Bear's progress - (L litter). We're extremely excited to let you know that he earned his IPO-1 title this past weekend in Colorado. We were a little nervous in tracking in that he spent most of his life tracking in grass and the trial would be dirt. He did a great job and tracked extremely well despite fairly windy conditions. He loves the protection work and has great speed to the helper. In general he is a happy, well balanced dog that is a pleasure to work with. We have already started work on his IP0-2 and will let you know how he progresses. Regards, Rene
Email received 9-09-12 on a Santo - Jetta pup Little BEAR of Sapphire Mountain:
Ramona - I wanted to take a minute to give you an update on Bear. He was from the 2010 L Litter. As you know he just turned 2. We had a great summer. He passed his BH, passed an AD and is well on his way to his IPO 1. We are hoping to accomplish that next spring. His tracking and protection are coming along really well. He also OFA'd good, with elbows normal. Overall he is right in line with your description after the temperment tests. He gets along with our grandkids and is a really good all around dog. We are very thankful to have a healthy dog that is a good fit. We will keep you updated on his progress. I hope everything is going well for you and the kennel. Regards, Rene
Hi Ramona, It was nice chatting with you yesterday evening about the upcoming Santos / Flame litter. I am very pleased with all the research I have done so far on the litter, you as a breeder and your accomplishments, and everything I have discussed with you. I wanted to inform you that I placed a check in the mail today for the deposit on the working male pup for this litter, and you should be receiving it in the mail shortly. If you could get back to me once you have received the check and my deposit is secure, I would greatly appreciate it.
I also wanted to assure you that I will do everything possible in my ability to make sure this dog is well cared for, treated right and trained up to its potential as a dog coming from your organization. I have been researching for the past six months for this dog, and am satisfied that I have made the right choice working with Sapphire Shepherds. I look forward to devoting myself and my time into this pup, and making sure that it is given the life it deserves; loaded with fun, training and work!
Once again, I just wanted to say thank you for your time in helping me with this decision. I look forward to hearing from you (if possible) on the pregnancy, conception and stages of development for this litter. If there is any suggested reading you have specifically for training GSD pups forSAR, obedience, tracking etc... i would love to get started as soon as possible. If you have any questions for me or need any more information, please get back to me and I would be happy to help. Thanks again and have a great evening Ramona.
Hi Ramona, Thank you so much for bringing Santo to us! We were really glad to meet you and your family. Santo rocks. I couldn't be more pleased with his confidence, temperament and overall structure/movement. You have done a great job with him in both the breeding and the training. Its extremely rare and impressive to find a breeder these days that does both. I really appreciate it because when I explain to you what it is I am trying to do you totally understand because your hands on working your dogs. I am glad Bobby came with me and wants to be involved. He said that you obviously were not trying to sell anything, you were trying to help and do the right thing. He is very intuitive that way since his business is sales so from him that’s a big compliment. I feel really good about this match and I hope you feel solid about it too and will enjoy seeing how the pups turn out and where they end up working. You have a lot of knowledge that I am interested in hearing about. I know we will have more time when I head up your way. Did you and Brook get your TD? How did the meet go? C.B. Washington
Dear Ramona - I hope you and your family have been well. I think I remember that you were about to move when we last corresponded, so I hope you are all settled in by now.We've been keeping up with your litters on the internet, and Zeke says you need to breed Rocky and Pen again, so he'll have more brothers and sisters! And after this yesterday, I have to say that he may have a good point. :-)Zeke is still doing well. Several unexpected things came up for our family last year, and Zeke and I never did get to try for his SchH l title last autumn. Now, I think it may have been a blessing in disguise that we had to wait until this weekend to try. Yesterday, at a trial in Hendersonville, under SV Judge Sergio Bogden, Zeke got his SchH l, and Rocky and Pen (and you) would have really been proud. He took High In Trial with a 100 - 96 - 100 = 296. I wish you could have heard all of the nice things the Judge and lot of other folks had to say about him - not just about his performance, but about his temperament, how much he liked to work, etc. I know there was someone there taking photos yesterday, and I'll try to get a few to email to you.We may try for his SchH ll in August, if we can find a trial not too far away. And we may try for his SchH lll later this autumn if we have enough time. (Our daughter is getting married late this year, and Zeke and I are probably about to lose a lot of our spare time!) The folks at the trial yesterday were trying to get us to commit to getting his SchH lll early enough to enter the Southeastern Regional in late September, but I just don't see us being ready that soon.Ramona, the old-time schutzhund people are always amazed to hear that we don't have a single dog crate in our house - that Zeke's just a member of the family when he's not working. I want to again thank you for sending us such a special dog!- Rick Daniels North Carolina
Hey Ramona, Wanted to send you some pictures of Nike enjoying the Alaska winter! We've been doing a lot of cadaver training recently. She's doing very well in indicating the scent source with a down. She's seems to love to work, and is an independent thinker. Recently, I left some scent material outside and was going to do the problem later. Gary didn't realize I had put the material out, and Nike went outside with him. She decided to work the problem on her own and brought the material to him, dropping it at his feet. Guess she decided she wanted her reward, even if she had to point it out that she had found it! It's been a tough year since losing Barley my first SAR dog to cancer. Nike's had big paws to fill, but she's stepping up to the job and gains more of my heart every day! Thanks for all the excellent work you do in your dog breeding program. Hope all is well in your world.
Rebecca Bullman, PAWS Search and Rescue Dogs Alaska
Chay-Da is the 5th. German Shepherd dog that I have owned and trained (starting at 8 weeks of age) for Search and Rescue and the 3rd dog I’ve trained for narcotics/bomb detection work. In comparison to previous dogs I've owned, his aptitude for learning and his intelligence is the highest. His hunt and prey drive are the perfect combination for producing an excellent working dog. His work ethic and desire to please is excellent. His drive and personality give him the potential to become one of the best working dogs I’ve ever seen. At the very young age of 1 year, Chay-Da certified as a bomb dog through the NPCA. I have since switched him over to Narcotics as there was not enough calls for bombs. At 2 years of age, he is certified in tracking, wilderness, cadaver/HRD, evidence, water and avalanche. His tracking skills is the best of any dog I've owned. Last week on a Law Enforcement callout, he tracked the driver of a vehicle approximately 1 mile and found him in the bushes. Chay-Da has normal social behavior towards people, children, and dogs. His personality is very well rounded which makes him an excellent candidate for any discipline. After he was a year old, I tested him on the sleeve for bite work. His grip is excellent and he would make a good apprehension dog had I prepared him for this line of work as a pup. (Due to search and rescue aspects, I will not be teaching him that discipline). He has wonderful strength of nerve and has absolutely no problem working in different environments and floor surfaces. His retrieve drive is also very high. I have had numerous opportunities to watch other dogs work that were acquired from Sapphire Shepherds breeding program and all of them demonstrate tremendous hunt and prey drive and are great working dogs. They are very quick learners and are highly trainable. If you are considering buying a working dog you will receive an excellent dog from either Sapphire Shepherds or from Chay-da. You can expect (after ratings from puppy tests) a puppy with excellent retrieve, hunt and prey drive, an excellent even temperament and a great desire to please. You won’t be disappointed. Janet Wilts Wyoming
My experience with Sapphire Shepherds and Ramona Helmer was a truly amazing "Once in a lifetime find." For a good dog you need to have good blood and genetics. Ramona's dogs have these superior qualities. I was very much impressed by the calm disposition of her dogs, at the same time, displaying tremendous drive. I flew to Montana and spent two days with Ramona and carefully chose my own dog, Enzo. Ramona is honest and caring, truly reliable. Knowing a head of time Ramona had already narrowed it down to two dogs she thought I would pick. Enzo was one of the two. Being in law enforcement has given me insight about people. Within that brief period of being in Montana, I found Ramona to be trustworthy and offering a comfortable environment during my stay. I am looking forward to our continued friendship and support. If you are looking for a true working dog, Sapphire Shepherds is the answer. Sincerely, Michael Barkman, New York
Intelligent, solid nerved with a natural talent for guiding. I cannot believe how fast this dog learns. Ramona you were meticulous in selecting and preparing Griet for me. It is an honor to be guided by a dog from your program.
Khanh, owner/trainer of Griet, working Dog Guide for the blind. California
After he'd been here for about 2 weeks, I reread the blurb you wrote about him on your web site and he is exactly as you described. It's obvious you really get to know your puppies.
Kate Lamont, Florida
Rocco has been doing very well this summer, his SAR training is coming along nicely. We had a disaster training session this past week, where we have access to the state's K9 urban training center. Rocco took to the rubble piles with no problems - including a huge pile of pallets (15ft high, spread out over several hundred feet) which made footing very shaky and made some of the more experienced dogs hesitate. He has such solid nerves, not much bothers him. His smaller size certainly helps, and he is now really starting to think while in drive. Next time we go there, I'll send you a video - he is fun to watch working.
Kevin McNair, Pennsylvania
Ramona, I recently saw the update you received on Nike who is a sister of my Nikki. Knowing how well Nikki is doing and how well she learns new tasks I was not surprised to hear her siblings were the same. As you know I joined a shutzhund club and started training with them about three weeks ago. There are two different professional trainers at the club and we meet three times per week. Both trainers have made comments about how advanced Nikki is for her age as well as her high confidence level. Some of the club members have joked about how lucky I was buying my GSD via the internet but everything you said about her has proved true. She can train very intensely when asked (especially considering her age) yet lay on the floor and watch TV with my kids and hour later.
Todd Dennis, Minnesota
Ramona, I want to let you know how much I love the pup I purchased from your Rocky/Oresta litter. I have trained a lot of good dogs for search and rescue, but I am finding that "OSA" is truly a unique dog. She is probably the smartest dog I have ever trained. She picks things up amazingly quick. She is very intense and does not miss a thing. This is very important for a search and rescue dog, as they must be able to think and work independently from the handler. Her drives are very high, both prey and hunt, yet she is very willing to please. At 6 1/2 months old, she is following 3 hour old trails, a mile in length and already has her re-find down pat for wilderness work. She has been introduced to cadaver and narcotics and is currently working on her indication for these odors. I cannot speak highly enough about this dog. Not because she is mine, but because I am truly amazed at how awesome of a working dog she is going to be. She will be one of those dogs who will not give up on a track, and just won't quit. That's hard to find. These dogs that you are producing are top notch working dogs. However, they are not the kind of dogs who would be happy if they do not have a job. They have too much energy and way too much brain, to simply lay around the house. They have rock solid nerves and would make tremendous police service dogs. They are not afraid of anything. On top of all that, Osa is incredibly gorgeous .... and affectionate to boot. Thanks Ramona, for the wonderful dog you produced at your kennel. I have been recommending you and your dogs to all the search and rescue and law enforcement handlers I come into contact with.
Cris Goodhue, High Country K9, Montana
Dear Ramona: "Remarkable" as defined in Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary "...to be noticed especially as being uncommon or extraordinary...". I had the remarkable good luck to find Ramona Helmer who provided me with a remarkable German Shepherd puppy that was the result of a remarkable breeding put together by remarkable people dedicated to the excellence of the breed. My girl will be my constant companion and trained professionally in personal protection with my participation. She's got it all - proud, courageous, confident, social, happy, superb temperament, handsome (she isn't 'pretty'), strong prey drive, deep nose, strong deep bite, strong retrieve instinct (she brings me everything, even things I'd rather not have), excellent conformation, heavy boned, biddable, takes a correction well, and, she is just plain fun. Besides loving Tazz (aka HumVee) I like her more every day. Currently her favorite toy is the large Shop Vac in the garage, on! Her first name was Chloe, sweet, but somehow it just did not work. Ramona and her family gave me a gift. They have trusted me with one of their uncommon, extraordinary puppies. This family has untold hours into socializing these puppies. The word out there is that just because you can pay the price does not translate into getting a puppy from Sapphire Shepherds. You have to get through Ramona first. One of Ramona's colleagues told me "she's honest". That's all you need to know. My promise to you, Ramona, is that I will do my best to honor the trust you placed in me. I have a notion that in the years to come that Tazz's contribution to our partnership will outweigh mine. My job is to help her fulfill her destiny. It will be my pleasure. Sincerely,
Carolyn Orr, Wyoming