Page 22 - ShowSight Presents - The Lagotto Romagnolo
P. 22

                  At de Campo Leone, we were able to see a couple of the most famous dogs of the breed: Riki de Monte della Dea and Nutella, as well as seeing a litter of five week old puppies. Luca introduced us to all his dogs, went over puppies and their attributes as well as promising that we could follow his younger dogs on the weekend at the truffle hunt. More on that later!
No fact finding mission would be complete without a study visit with Gil- berto Grandi. Sr. Grandi is another of the breed’s founders, originally a breed- er of greyhounds, he was one of the people who was approached by Quin- tino Toschi with the famous words, “we must save the Lagotto Romagnolo.” As many know we are in the time period where the AKC will allow us our first tweak to the AKC standard. Club Italia- no Lagotto (CIL) had a terrible surprise several years ago when the FCI stan- dard was rewritten without their input and were horrified at the outcome. We wanted to make sure that they knew we still respected the original standard and that we wanted to take the spirit of that standard and make it clear for AKC judges. We spent considerable time working on the language of the standard with Sr. Grandi (who speaks impeccable English!) making sure that we were not working from any errors in translation and that we were being suc- cinct without being vague. Sr. Grandi did us the ultimate honor of doing his entire breed presentation (in English!). Amongst other things, he is a master at photoshop....taking the same almost perfect dog through every alteration possible (too rectangular, too short in croup, too short in loin, ribcage, leg) it was a great visual learning tool.
We hope to convince him to use some of those slides ourselves.
Amongst the stories we asked about was about the rumor that prior to FCI acceptance of the breed, the club had to prove a certain number of distinctly dif- ferent bloodlines, not having enough, they “chopped off” the end of pedigrees to make the right number. “Yes,” he said with an impish grin, “that is true.” It’s one of many reasons that some coun- tries are hesitant to line breed just yet....because you don’t really know what’s back there in the fourth and fifth generation.
Of interest to American Lagotto owners is a description in the standard that says the breed is “undemanding”... no one who owns a Lagotto for five min- utes would say such a thing! Sr. Grandi says that is partly an error in translation, it should actually be closer to “easy”, which during our conversation various- ly seemed to describe “easy going”, or “adaptable,” or “accepting” or even “not needing a lot.” The majority of dogs in Italy are kept as kennel dogs, so it may refer to their ability to cope with that level of contact. We’ll keep looking at a better word or phrase there, but I think everyone is glad to know that “undemanding” is just not apt, and our dogs are not somehow different from the norm.
This year’s Raduno (literally gather- ing) pulled a record entry of 240 dogs in the conformation rings, and 140 in the truffle hunt. Sr. Grandi judged the females, and Giovanni Morsiani judged the males. Sr. Morsiani’s father is the author of the original Italian standard, and he, himself, is generally acknowl- edged as one of the important founders of our breed---though his own breed is St. Bernards. The two men together
judged Best of Breed and the all impor- tant: Best Head, Best Coat, and Best Construction and Movement.....a triad of the most important morphological features in lagotto (and something we have adopted as part of our National Specialty as well). The depth of quality in dogs, was something that will be talk- ed about for a very long time. Especially of interest was the quality of the dogs from Scandinavia. In all 14 countries participated in the event, which was eventually won by the very beautiful Swedish bitch, Blixtra Contessa.
Another interesting event was the presentation of non pedigree truffle dogs for evaluation. It was explained to me, that upon being measured and cri- tiqued and found accpetable, if the dog could then prove itself earning a truffle certificate it could be accepted into the Italian stud book as a dog with a zero generation pedigree...which could then be bred from and enrich the gene pool.
The final day of the Raduno is the truffle hunt. As promised, we followed Luca Rondinini as he trialed two of his young dogs, Origano and Lucky. Truffle hunting “classes” (junior dog, puppy dogs, open males etc) are stationed over the mountain side with each class hav- ing a cordoned off area to search and 15 minutes to work. To get a rating, the dog must find at least two truffles (areas are “salted” with truffles to ensure there is something to find), and he must not eat the truffles he finds before the handler reaches him. Watching Rondi- nini warm up Origano was very similar to watching a top obedience competi- tor get ready to step in the ring. First, he took a piece of truffle from his vest and got the dog excited about it....then he had us hold the dog while he bur- ied the piece of truffle and encouraged

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