Editor’s Page: English and Welsh Springers, the Lagotto, the Bracco and Milan

Welcome to our August issue that celebrates the Sporting Group. We’ve compiled articles that showcase familiar Sporting breeds as well as new arrivals.

Welcome to our August issue that celebrates the Sporting Group. We’ve compiled articles that showcase familiar Sporting breeds as well as new arrivals.

For our popular “Back to Basics” series this month, Kathy Lorentzen examines the English and Welsh Springer Spaniels. They are not varieties of the Springer Spaniel but two absolutely distinct breeds, as Kathy demonstrates in word and picture. You’ll find her “Back to Basics” comparison on page 96.

July saw the arrival of the Lagotto Romagnolo in the AKC Sporting Group. This charming Italian breed has gone from water dog to highly prized truffle hunter with great success. Adrienne Perry, President of the Lagotto Romagnolo Club of America, contributes an informative introduction to the breed on page 112. As the breed becomes a more common sight in our AKC show rings, the parent club implores judges, handlers and exhibitors to remember the Lagotto must retain its rustic appearance. No blow drying, sculpting or overgrooming allowed.

After Bitte Ahrens of international Sobers fame showed her magnificent Bracco Italiano ‘Axel’ to win the 2009 Eukanuba World Challenge under Frank Sabella, I assumed his success would trigger an immediate interest by Americans in this striking breed. Well, that never happened in any significant way, although there was a Bracco club in existence here. In time, another club was formed, the Bracco Italiano Society of America, this one more focused on pursuing AKC recognition. I learned all this after meeting Marilyn Vinson at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship judges’ luncheon last December. While Marilyn is a breeder-judge of Chinese Shar-Pei, she has a huge interest in the Bracco, and has been helping the club meet the AKC’s requirements for eventual breed recognition. I also learned that the Spinone Club of America very generously approved joint National Specialties so that the Bracco could benefit from greater visibility. Learn more about the Bracco and the assistance its fanciers are receiving from the Spinone community on page 114.

Also in this issue, Bo Bengtson has written a colorful, comprehensive report of the World Dog Show in Milan, Italy, as well as the Championnat de France, the top all-breed show in France, where Bo was one of the judges, that took place the week before WDS. You’ll find Bo’s feature on page 58. In other important global news, Susan Miccio, author of the highly regarded breed book The Tibetan Spaniel — A Gift From the Roof of the World, reports on the furor that resulted when the FCI announced, on June 24, that it had decided to alter the “country of origin” from Tibet to China in the breed standards of five breeds: Tibetan Spaniel, Tibetan Terrier, Tibetan Mastiff, Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu. The China Kennel Union had proposed the origin changes earlier at the FCI’s General Committee. How is it acceptable to rewrite breed history, you ask? Good question! Read more on page 42.

On July 3, the dog fancy lost one of our greatest, with the passing of Jane Kamp Forsyth. In 1988, the legendary handling team of Bob and Jane Forsyth was inducted into the Show Dogs Hall of Fame. The list of handlers and judges who learned the sport at Jane’s knee is endless. There will be much more in the next issue.

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