After starting a successful Scottish Terrier kennel, Herbert and Ellen Bertrand of Greenwich, Connecticut began a Dachshund breeding program in the early 1930s, naming the kennel Ellenbert, a word combining their first names. Basing their line on imported Flottenberg dogs, bred by G. F. Muller of Germany, they had the means and the ability to present a ring full of correct dogs, mainly of the right size. They were successful and almost had a monopoly on anything leaving Herr Muller’s Flottenberg kennel—in fact, it was said they had first refusal of anything he sold to America. The Bertrands were so involved with Herr Muller, some thought their kennel was in Berlin rather than in Connecticut! At home, in their own Ellenbert Farm kennel in Greenwich, their trainer was Gregory Forsyth, father to Bob Forsyth, perhaps the most famous professional handler of the 50s, 60s and 70s. Bob grew up as a helper in the kennel, training the Dachshund puppies, but he never made the mistake of trying to be a Dachshund handler. Instead, he left showing Dachshunds to the experts already practicing that particular art.
The Bertrands were very successful at the largest shows such as Westminster and DCA; wherever the best competition was on the East Coast. One year, they hosted a dinner the night before Westminster judging for the entire DCA membership! As for competitiveness, they pretty much made a clean sweep of Best of Variety at both Westminster and DCA for several years in the 1930s. At the Westminster Kennel Club shows, CH Heini Flottenberg was Best of Variety in 1933, while CH Feri-Flottenberg was Best Smooth in 1935 and 1936. CH Helmar-Flottenberg joined them later as he was Best of Variety at the 1940 Westminster KC show!
Gallery of Ellenbert Farm winners:
In regard to the Dachshund Club of America National Specialties, TDHP mascot CH Feri-Flottenberg had an outstanding run and was almost undefeated. He was BOB at four Dachshund Club of America’s Specialty shows in 1934, 1935, 1936 and 1937! Amazing!!
CH Helmar-Flottenberg was Best Variety at the 1940 Westminster Kennel Club show. He was one of the last of the Flottenberg dogs imported by the Bertrands from Herr Muller. Earlier in the 1930s, they also bought CH Christine Assmannsheim from Eric Assmann of Germany. She produced several champions sired by Feri-Flottenberg: littermates CH Christopher Ellenbert and CH Christabel Ellenbert. Other champions bred by the Bertrands include Feri Ellenbert, Fricka Ellenbert, Hestia Ellenbert, Waldiff Ellenbert, Helmar Ellenbert, Hielia Ellenbert, Hylah Ellenbert, Harras Ellenbert, Helka Ellenbert, Hoka Ellenbert, Dora Ellenbert and Aida Ellenbert. All finished at the biggest shows and certainly made their presence known to the East Coast crowd gathered around the Dachshund ring. During World War II, when importing top dogs from Germany was not possible, the Bertrands decided to look to the UK for another top winner and came up with a dog who, while not a great producer himself, became a strong force in the US show scene, as his offspring were used by a few people who used the great CH Favorite v Marienlust and CH Falcon of Heying-Teckel as the sires of those litters. CH Dimas Earthstopper really changed the look of Dachshunds. He was a bigger, more imposing male than American fanciers were used to seeing. CH Dimas Earthstopper was bred by G. Petty of Warwickshire. He was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. John Mason and began his show career at nine months by winning Best of Breed from the puppy class at a UK show.
Earthstopper was already a Best in Show winner in the UK when purchased by the Bertrands. He quickly became an American All Breed Best In Show winner, winning two Bests from the classes as he went through to his American title very quickly. He was quite a dog and certainly changed how we look at the breed today. Just as Earthstopper’s career was taking off in the summer of 1940, Mr. Bertrand died quite suddenly due to a severe case of pneumonia, and a home had to be found for all the dogs. After Mr. Bertrand’s death, the majority of the Ellenbert breeding stock was sold, mostly to California. Many were bought by Herman Cox, Maude Daniels Smith, Florence K. Brainard and the Rivenrock Kennels of Mr. and Mrs. Jerry (Anne) Wenden. CH Dimas Earthstopper went to Rivenrock. Unfortunately, Earthstopper was lost in February 1, 1944 at almost seven years of age. Although used only a little while on the West Coast, his puppies soon made Earthstopper’s reputation as a smooth producer notable. It was a sad day when the Ellenbert kennel became just a footnote in Mr. Bertrand’s legacy, and the couple’s dogs were dispersed. On the bright side, their dogs had a tremendous impact on the establishment of the modern American Dachshund.
–Dan Harrison, June 2013
Information from: “The American Dachshund” magazine, The Dachshund or Teckel by Herbert Sanborn, The Dachshund by Anna Katherine Nicholas and Marcia Foy, Cox on Dachshunds by Herman Cox, The New Dachshund by Lois Meistrell, The Dachshund by Grayce Greenburg, and, especially, The Complete Dachshund (1961) by Milo Denlinger.