When you travel through the Connecticut countryside to visit Jane Thibault’s Nashau-Auke Newfoundland Kennel, you are reminded just how kind Nature is to the residents of this beautiful state. Surrounded by the rolling hills of north east Connecticut’s terminal moraine, the Thibault home and kennel are down a lane of evergreens, oaks, maples and rhododendron, surrounded by green lawns. Fronted by a large pond and backed by woodlands, you are immediately struck that this is the definition of Heaven to a Newfoundland, and to many visitors as well. There is parking beneath trees, to provide shade for the dog in your car if you have one. As you walk toward the house you will probably be met by one of the house Newfs, wandering around the grounds and in and out of the pond. They tend to be especially exuberant in their welcome if they have just emerged from the pond!
Jane will be found working with the Newfs, as she does every day, often for 24 hours a day. You will immediately be struck that each of the Newfs you meet is well groomed and friendly. If you have had the opportunity to visit many other Newf kennels, you are likely to be especially struck by this. The effort expended in keeping the dogs this beautifully is literally Herculean, and anyone who owns one Newf knows very well what this means.
Shortly after her two boys were born, Jane began breeding and showing Newfs. She began with enormous enthusiasm and energy, and was rewarded with wonderful results. Walter Fletcher wrote the following article about the kennel, for the New York Times, printed 2/22/73.
Long before Mrs. Ronald Thibault was winning fame with her Newfoundlands at dog shows, she was taking home ribbons and championships with her Pompey Hollow Stable saddle horses.
She did exceptionally well on the New England circuit in 1958 when she captured the saddle-seat and pleasure-horse titles with Country Gentleman, which she had bought as a colt in a 4-h project. Two years earlier, with Chocolate Soldier, she had been the top equitation rider in New England.
"When my husband and I turned to dogs, we decided it would be a big breed – a Great Dane or Great Pyrenees," said Mrs. Thibault. "We went to Westminster and didn’t go near the rings. Instead we spent our time at the benches. One look at a Newf and that settled it."
From the Little Bear Kennels of Mr. And Mrs. V. A. Chern, Mrs. Thibault bought Little Bear’s Cinderella.
"I worked witrh her in obedience and she earned a C.D. (Companion Dog) degree," she said.
The Thibaults, who are from Mansfield Center, Conn., decided they wanted to breed Newfoundlands, so they bought Little Bear’s Dauntless. At Farmington in 1968, he finished to become the first Champion for their Nashau-Auke Kennel.
How did they get their kennel name?
"It’s an Indian name," said Mrs. Thibault. "My grandmother was three quarters Mohegan so to most of our homebreds we give Mohegan names. Nashau-Auke means "between two rivers."
Mrs. Thibault is particularly proud of a homebred, Koki De Nashau-Auke.
"Koki is ‘little’ in Mohegan," she said. "Our Koki was the runt of a litter.:
"He’s no runt in the ring though, for he has won titles in the United States and Canada. He has won two Specialties north of the border, and a dozen bests of breed and four group placements in this country."
From the Thibaults’ first two homebred Champions, Ki Nunka (The Gay One) De Nashau-Auke and Koki Winota (Little Woman) De Nashau-Auke, there was a litter of seven. Two have gained their Championships, two others lack a point, another was sold to Mexico, where she not only finished, but became the first Newf in that land to gain a tracking degree.
Still another homebred, Canochee (Gallant Brave) De Nashau-auke, finished at Cape Cod last summer over three Champions, and in his first time out as a Special, at Taconic Hills, he won the Group.
The Indians are doing all right for the Thibaults.
"We have had 21 Champions in just five years, and 18 have been homebreds," said Mrs. Thibault.
Walter R. Fletcher
Jane and Ron have accumulated many honors for their breeding efforts and for their service to the Newfoundland breed and Newf owners and exhibitors. In honor of these efforts, they were the recipients of THE GAINES MEDAL FOR GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP at the1985 Newfoundland Club of America National Specialty show
The pond and grounds are frequently the site of training sessions and competitions in water rescue work, one of the additional titles, along with drafting, available to Newfoundlands. Many Nashau-Auke Newfs have their WRD (Water Rescue Dog) titles, and several are also ‘Versatility’ titlists with conformation, obedience and working (draft or water rescue) degrees. Several have also achieved their Regster of Merit, which is granted to breeding animals which have produced a number of titled offspring.
Jane began to breed Landseer as well as black dogs. Among these is Ch. Charlie Two Shirts CD, WRD, DD and Versatility Newfoundland. Many Landseer Champions have been produced in this time. It is Jane’s objective in breeding Landseers to retain the movement and temperament she prizes in her blacks, and to produce well-structured and beautiful-headed dogs in both colors. Charlie is owned and trained by Donna and David Thibault, Jane's son and daughter-in-law.
While showing at a more moderate pace than she was years back, Jane continues to produce winners. At the 1996 Newfoundland Club of Americal's National Specialty Show, all the dogs Jane brought either won or placed in their classes. The young Specials dog representing the kennel, Ch Nashau-auke's Screaming Eagle ('Harley'), was awarded the second Select ribbon.