Welcome to the official website of Felix Ho and Sacraal Hart Kennel. We are located in Pays des Collines, just at the Flemish and Walloon border of Belgium. I am Felix Ho. Since the early age of three, I’ve always been fascinated by animals especially dogs. Growing up in Hong Kong, one of the busiest and most populated cities in the world, owning a dog can be a rather luxury hobby. When I was about seven, after a long period of my nagging, my dad brought home my first German Shepherd pup “Blackie”. Due to my family’s lack of experience about bringing up a puppy, we had to take him back to RSPCA after a short time. However, “Blackie” somehow planted a burning desire in my head about working with dogs when I grow up.
Throughout my childhood to my early teens, I had been dreaming to have a dog again, but because my family lived in a small apartment, I could only keep small animals such as birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes. Due to my parents’ fear of most of them, I used to keep some of these little animals out of sights without my folks’ knowledge, such as a bookshelf in our dining room’s corner and under my bed. Some of the more unusual creatures I had include scorpions, tarantulas, and pythons, which almost scared my uninformed dad to death when discovered.
In 1993, my parents sent me to Australia for high school. I continued my pursuit of animal studies, leading me into La Trobe University in Melbourne for my Biological Science degree. While university was educating me to develop a scientific approach to animal behaviours, my college lifestyle gave me the opportunity to have my own dog again at last, allowing me plenty of time for hands-on experience. Starting as an amateur enthusiast with an obsession, I first learned to train my own dogs including two Alaskan Malamutes and an American Pit Bull Terrier in the local dog obedience schools and from reading various books. As the more I learned, the more fanatical I became, after about a year, I have earned the trust of other handlers to train some of their dogs. Most of these animals were family companions that came in all ages, breeds, and backgrounds. As a favor to my friends but more to my curiosity, I would teach these dogs a set of basic commands so they would behave in a socially acceptable manner. Some of the dogs’ owners would ask me to train their dogs to guard their territories as security dogs. From them I started to learn how to be a decoy. Around that time I was introduced to the sport of Schutzhund/IPO and the Belgian Malinois. Although ordinary in looks, the Malinois breed blew me away with his everlasting energy, quick response, devoted expression, and explosive attacks. The even more exciting thing is Schutzhund with its three highly demanding disciplines. Naturally, I purchased a seven weeks old Malinois puppy – Schwarchund Marko “Corvette”, in order to participate in the sport. This path I took has led me into a mysterious world of passion, knowledge, and self discovery. Eventually, the pursuit of understanding animal behaviour, psychology, and genetics has become my lifestyle and chosen career.
My university education and intense involvements with various dog training fields has allowed me to make rapid progresses in training sport dogs, pet dogs, and security dogs. It also gave me the opportunities to work with trainers, breeders, and behaviorists from a wide range of practices. Two of them in particular, have influenced my early career greatly, are Jim Tokis and Kris Kotsopoulos. With their guidance, I became the first person that has titled a Malinois to IPO3 in Australasia.
In 2003, with the encouragements and supports by Jim and Kris, I started my own business CanineSquad, a dog training and behavioral consultation company based in Melbourne, Australia. At that time my work involved solving behavioral problems for dog owners, training their dogs in obedience and security, and educating the general public the proper way to communicate with their pets.
In 2005, I met another significant person in my sporting career – two times world champion Haruo Masuda from Japan. Due to our share of passion for the sport that even most dog trainers cannot understand, we became good friends straight away. In one of our conversations, Haruo told me that if I am to further develop my finesse with working dogs and pursue my dream to be a world class competitor in Schutzhund/IPO, I ought to look beyond Australia and go to Europe. This is an advice I took and never looked back.
Life happens in interesting ways. I believe destiny is what you make it. In November 2005, I came to Belgium with nothing but a burning desire to succeed, and fortune favors the bold. It was the president of FMBB and the founder of Kennel van de Duvetorre – Johan Weckhuyzen that had faith in me and generously opened his home to me. With Johan’s support and assistance, I got the chance to work with some of the most talented and knowledgeable dog trainers in the world. Four of them in particular, have been the major impacts of the evolution in my understanding of cynology. They are Johan, Julien Steenbeke, and Christoph Joris.
Johan and his world renowned Kennel van de Duvetorre have produced some of the most successful Malinois in the sport of IPO. Dogs that were bred by Johan such as Stoned van de Duvetorre and Cougar van de Duvetorre have had a significant influence in the global gene pool of working Malinois, and thanks to Johan, I was given my own very special Eclipse van de Duvetorre, who has brought me many victories and sweet memories.
A true and natural leader, Julien is often affectionately referred by other trainers as the Godfather of IPO in Belgium. Under his 30 years of teaching and leadership in IPO club OC Vlaendren, Julien has developed many top handlers including two world champions and many world championship competitors. He kindly took me under his wing and taught me with all his knowledge about the sport of IPO and a foundation strongly based on clicker training which is later polished off with the utilization of electric collar. Julien’s natural feelings in bite work make him capable of bringing out the very best of a dog’s genetic capability in the protection phase. His understanding in dogs’ mind is extraordinary, and he is truly the master of masters.
In 2009, in addition to Schutzhund/IPO, I also started cross-training and competing in Ring sport. Christoph has been a very well known and talented trainer in Belgian Ring Sport for years, and who would be a better person than him to teach me about Belgian Ring? Christoph is one of a very few people I know that excels as a dog handler, decoy, and breeder. His experience in Belgian Ring is unmatchable. From Christoph I’ve learned what Belgian Ring is all about and what a Malinois really is.
My academic background in Biological Science and my residency in three different continents of the world have given me many advantages seldom enjoyed by most dog trainers. I speak and write fluent English, Chinese, and a little bit of Dutch. Being able to travel the world on regular bases participating in canine events and coaching other trainers have enabled me to see a wide range of animal training systems, good and bad. In 2011, I have also started training birds of prey. Being a completely different species from dogs, the experience I’ve gained from falconry has brought many new ideas and concepts into my work in dog training.
With a lot of hard work and support from my family and friends, I have my own company established again and I am now based in Belgium. Together with my wife Maggie, we manage our kennel and training centre. My website is designed to assist you with the information you are looking for. If you would like more details, please feel free to Contact Us.