Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Italian Job: When 16 is Old Enough

One of today’s big news stories regards the credentials of an Italian official. In this high stakes game, as we get incrementally closer to the final judgment day, we start to look more closely at the judges themselves. For the first time since the beginning of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, the Best in Show judge is an Italian.

As released to the press by the WKC:

Paolo Dondina of Monterchi, Italy, will become the first Italian ever and the first person from outside of North America since 1930 to judge Best In Show at the legendary Westminster Kennel Club's Annual All Breed Dog Show when he takes on that assignment in 2011.
Mr. Dondina has had a number of breeds, and has bred Beagles, Basset Hounds, English Springer Spaniels, Lagoto Romagnolos and Jack Russell Terriers. He has had great success as an exhibitor, including as the co-owner of Brookwire Brandy of Layven, the Wirehaired Fox Terrier that captured Best In Show at the famed Crufts Dog Show in the United Kingdom in 1975. One of his Beagles was the top dog in all breeds in Italy in 2005.
If you, like me, read this and wondered, what the hell is a Lagoto Romagnolo, it’s a water retriever who now hunts truffles.  (Nice work if you can get it.) 

Lagotto Romagnolo

Kind of looks like a Labradoodle, but what I found most interesting about this as-yet-to-be-accepted-by-the-AKC-breed, is its life span!  Sixteen years is a pretty long life for a dog.  And it has a long and proud Italian history (the breed is shown here in a 1474 painting by Mantegna).

For more on this beauty, check out the clubs – the Lagotto Romagnolos Club of America, whose mission it is to have the AKC accept the breed, or the Lagotto Club of America, whose mission is to disseminate information about the breed. 

Somewhere, in its trip to America, a 't' was added to its name.


Cheryl said...

You have to know how much I LOVE this. A long-ago acquaintance of mine had a dog of Italian origin. I forget the breed, but the custom was every dog's name had to begin with "W." Or "V."

Lynne said...

I'll try to find out if there's an Italian breed starting with W or V.

Sometime soon I'll post on the Cane Corso, one of the new breeds at the Big Show this year - also from Italy.

Cheryl said...

By the way, this breed is gorgeous! Are you back? Or are you going next Monday? My Labrador Retriever is 13-1/2. And senile.

Lynne said...

The WKC dog show is February 14 and 15th. We're just going for the 15th.

I know. Poor Maggie.