Italian Greyhound Breed Notes

Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound

12th & 19th July 2021
A double dose of results for readers this week, first starting off with East of England Championship Show. Italian Greyhounds do not have CCs at this show but classes are now scheduled and this year’s judge was Jill Mellis. An entry of twenty-two IGs were present for Jill to assess and her BD and BOB was awarded to Chris Henshall’s Gemolli The Magician (Ch/Am GCh. Artmeis Voici Valente of Regallust ex Ch. Gemolli Joie De Vivre JW ShCM VW). Although he was the only male entered, he beat the entry of twenty-one bitches to top the breed.
BB was won by Jo Amsel’s Ch/Am Ch Artmeis Golden Oriole Of Regallust (Am Ch. Infiniti Voice Voyager ex Am Ch. Regallust Athena of Voici), following on from her RBB at SCCA a couple of weeks earlier. RBB was won by the winner of Post Graduate Bitch, Mary Knight’s Aelaro At Last (Marlord’s Starstruck at Aelaro IMP ex Aelaro Elfrida). Taking home the award for BPIB was Miss Thrasivoulou’s Chrisford Rumour Has It With Skilaki (Ch. Chrisford Fish Finger ex Ch. Chrisford Hello), a litter sister to the BPIB winner at SCCA.
From East of England, we travel to Northamptonshire for the Italian Greyhound Club’s Championship Show. For exhibitors based in the south, the new venue was a little further north adding about half an hour onto the journey each way. Aside from a somewhat cramped car park, the Yelvertoft Village Hall boasted the ideal outdoor environment with flat ground and plenty space for the ring and visitors to socially distance in their gazebos. The inside space also looked quite spacious and certainly more so than the IGC’s previous venue.
The AGM took place first thing – I was not present so I am unable to report on the proceedings. I believe it was quite a lengthy meeting which overran and delayed the start of the main breed judging. The temperature was incredibly hot and unless you had the shelter of a gazebo or umbrella, you really did feel the heat. The ring was not shaded but a gazebo was set up for the judge, steward and for the assessment table.
Judge for the day was Lynn Webster who attracted an entry of eighty-nine. Lynn’s BCC and BIS winner was Helen Lister’s Revillo Grazioso (Ch Florita Tallento ex Revillo Aria) who was winning her second CC. RBIS was also awarded to a bitch – the winner of the RBCC, Mags Hayden-Smith’s Artmeis Summer Breeze at Birchwind (Ch. Florita Tavalino ex Ch/Am Ch. Artmeis Golden Oriole of Regallust IMP) not only took home the award for RBIS but she was also BPIS, not a bad show for her championship debut!
The dog entry was topped Chris’s Gemolli The Magician who was another winning his second CC and the RDCC was won by Linda Lockie’s Kimbildon The Earl of Errol (Ch. Florita Tallent ex Dalinset Cenerentola ShCM) who is also sitting on two CCs and very close to his title. I’m afraid I do not know who won BVIS so if someone could let me know the lucky winner’s details, I shall report on this result in a future column.

Italian Greyhounds - 5th July 2021
The excitement from Southern Counties may have passed but keen exhibitors are gearing up for their next show which is the East of England Championship Show which is taking place this coming weekend.
Classes are scheduled for our breed without CCs so hopefully I will have another set of results to share with you this time next week. I wonder what our dogs are thinking now their show routine is starting to resume again following a sixteen month suspension! Some will be completely new to it all, some will be loving every moment and some will be dreaming of getting back home to relax on the sofa!

Another show just around the corner is the Italian Greyhound Club championship show. Entry figures have not been shared yet but the Secretary, Gay Bird, has asked that anyone wishing to attend the AGM needs to contact her as soon as possible. With the AGM and show taking place two days before the proposed lifting of restrictions, numbers indoors are limited so hence the Club needing to be aware of estimated attendance.

I am afraid I will not be someone turning up to a show with my own gazebo. Over the course of three lockdowns, I am quite proud of myself because my online spending remained tame and under control! I have resisted the temptations shared via email and I have no intention of falling for a gazebo which will likely have a use for a handful of shows! I also do not have the skill set to assemble and pack down such a contraption with no assistance and my hands full with dogs! So let us hope the weather is kind!

Italian Greyhounds | 27th June 2021
It has been over fifteen months since I was last able to do this but at last, I have some show results to report upon and share in this column! I think it is safe to say that the prospect of dog showing returning as we know and love it was cast under huge doubt but the organisers of Southern Counties Canine Association had their vision in mind and ran their show as planned. Judging by the photos and videos shared online, exhibitors, judges, stewards and visitors were absolutely thrilled to be back in the ring celebrating the best of show dogs.
It was strange seeing owners and handlers wearing masks while showing their dogs but if this is the small sacrifice we have to make to resume our much loved hobby, it is worth it. Social distancing appeared to be followed better by some than by others but let us hope that the combined effort of vaccinations, everyone completing their lateral flow tests and the open air rings served to keep Covid at bay, preventing any spread amongst dog showing folk. While I did not attend SCCA this year, from speaking to those who did, the general consensus was positive.
The only negative one can highlight is the long time that Italian Greyhounds were made to wait before their judging got underway. I believe it was well into the mid-afternoon before Elaine Waddington was able to commence her judging of Italian Greyhounds and when I caught up on the Toy Group judging, the Italian Greyhound BOB winner was at the end of the group rather than in their usual position behind the Havanese so this could only suggest that the BOB winner made a quick dash from the breed ring to compete in the group! There was an entry of forty dogs with seven absentees on the day.
Topping the male entry to take home BD and BOB was Kay Rutter and Clare Bryan's Ch. Chrisford Fish Finger (Ch. Ravilais Othello’s Moth ex Ch. Chrisford Sticky Fingers) who has four CCs to his name. Fish Finger was later shortlisted in the Toy Group under Mark Cocozza who has previously awarded this young dog highly, giving him his first CC while still a puppy. Meanwhile, BB was awarded to Sheila Tiley-Davies's Toerag Love and Joy (Ch. Toerag Out Of The Question JW ShCM ex Ibisco One Summer Forever At Toerag) who headed the Open Bitch class.
For RBD, Fosse Data have the bitch that placed third in Open Bitch recorded as the RBD winner which I can only assume is a typo - I believe the correct winner of RBD was the second in Open Dog, Nikki Hunter's Salatini Santino (Laborghini Louis Vuitton Avec Salatini ex Ch. Chrisford Sophia Loren at Salatini). In the bitches, RBB was won by Jo Amsel's Ch/Am Ch. Artmeis Golden Oriole of Regallust (Am GCh. Infiniti Voici Voyager ex Am Ch. Regallust Athena of Regallust) who was the BCC winner at Crufts back in 2019.
Taking home the award for BPIB was Kay Rutter's Chrisford Chasin Pavements (Ch. Chrisford Fish Finger ex Ch. Chrisford Hello) who later went Puppy Group Two under Jacqui Ward, an excellent start for this puppy at her debut show. SCCA also offer Best Junior in Breed and Best Special Beginners in Breed awards and in Italian Greyhounds, it was two litter brothers who scooped these rosettes - BJ was won by Valentini Edoardo (Ch. Florita Tallento ex Minitopo Maat) and BSB was won by Valentini Francesco both owned by Claire Walton.
So there we have it, our first all-breed championship show to take place after the pandemic and its three lockdowns. Hopefully an enjoyable time was had by all and let us now look forward to the next show!

Italian Greyhounds | 21st June 2021
What a novelty it was this past weekend to see photos and videos from dog shows! When I first saw friends posting photos of themselves setting off to a show, I thought I had skipped a weekend and they were going to Southern Counties! But the result posts shared later in the day revealed that many people were in attendance at various open shows.

It would appear that much fun was had by all with everyone taking the Covid restrictions in their stride, adjusting to their impact on our hobby. Hopefully exhibitors gearing up for the forthcoming championship shows will be practising with their dogs in the garden, getting them used to the show lead again and reminding them what ‘stand’ means again! Handlers will also need to complete a fast course on how to correctly present their dog’s bite because judges are being asked to minimise their contact with our dogs and assessing a dog’s mouth is something that can be done without the judge placing a hand on the dog’s head.

While restrictions may not have fully eased, we do have so many of our freedoms back such as seeing friends, hugging family and eating at the local pub, indoors and outside! Our hobby is also able to make a return and while the restrictions may prove tiresome occasionally, please remember how lucky we are to make these first steps back towards the world we knew ‘before’. May I take this opportunity to wish all show societies the very best of luck with the running of their upcoming shows- whether large or small, running a dog show under the current circumstances will be even more difficult and tiring compared to “normal” times.

Italian Greyhounds- 14th June 2021
Westminster Kennel Club dog show took place over the weekend just gone. A Westminster taking place in June and outdoors must have been quite novel for the regular exhibitor but at least they were able to enjoy their classic event. Unlike our Crufts which has been forced to cancel in 2021, the Westminster Kennel Club are in the enviable position of being able to host both their 2020 and 2021 shows with no cancellations, only one postponement.

While I haven’t been able to fully enjoy the breed judging videos and those from the group rings, the results are in and I am pleased to share some proper show news in the breed notes! Twenty four Italian Greyhounds were entered with three absentees. Best of Breed was awarded to GCHB Ch Integra Maja Beach Please! who is the breed’s top winner currently. She later went on to place Group Four in the Toy Group.

Best of Opposite was awarded to GCH Ch Alura I’m The Boss at Southern Roots, Select Dog went to GCH Ch Attesa American Playboy and Select Bitch was won by GCHG Ch Alura National Treasure of Micci SC BCAT. Three Awards of Merits were given and the recipients were GCH Regallust Miami Vice of Infiniti, GCHB Ch Alura Va Va Voom CA and Ch Honore’s Luzia.

If you are struggling to find evening entertainment on the television at the moment, do remember all the videos of the judging from this year’s outdoors Westminster are available to access via their website.

Italian Greyhounds | 7th June 2021
Some housekeeping content to share with you this week. The first piece of news relates to the Italian Greyhound Club’s championship show which is taking place on 17th July. For those of you looking to enter, postal entries are closing this Monday 14th June so do not forget to submit your entries if the postal channel is your preferred way to enter. Online entries close later at the beginning of July. The Club is not only hosting its first show of the year but also the AGM which will be taking place prior to judging commencing.

The second piece of news relates to Southern Counties. Unfortunately, due to circumstances completely out of the society’s control, a number of international judges have asked to be released from their judging contracts. A combination of quarantine measures along with the risk factors associated with the latest Covid variant has forced a number of overseas judges to be unable to travel, not a decision they would have taken lightly but completely understandable.

Italian Greyhounds are one of the breeds now affected by a change of judge. The breed will now be judged by Elaine Waddington who I believe was originally the 2020 judge for IGs who obviously lost her appointment when SCCA 2020 was forced to cancel.

Italian Greyhounds- 23rd & 30th April 2021
We are now within one month of the first championship show to take place since Crufts 2020. Southern Counties is scheduled to take place shortly after 21st June and the organisers have released their entry figures which look healthy given the circumstances we are in. For Italian Greyhounds, thirty-one dogs are entered making an entry of forty-six which is around the right level for this show. I must admit, I am looking forward to reporting on some results as these do help with the writing of such columns like this one!

Hopefully the weather for Southern Counties will be fair, similar to the conditions we have enjoyed this past weekend. With no benching areas provided, exhibitors will need to be self-contained when they attend the show. Whether it is protection from the sun or from the rain, the benching tents do serve a purpose, even if the benches themselves do not for many show goers.

The warm conditions of the weekend gone by have been most enjoyable but the heat is something that has to be factored into dog owners’ routines now. The sun really does come into effect early in the day now with temperatures rising soon after breakfast so exercising dogs has to be tailored to avoid these peaks in temperature. Early morning walks or evening walks are now advisable on those days when the sun can be at its strongest. Mid morning and daytime walks are simply too risky as dogs can overheat easily and the risk is just not worth it.

17th May 2021 - Italian Greyhounds
Restrictions are further easing and gradually our lives are starting to resemble a similar structure to that experienced before March 2020. The threat of the new variant is definitely a concern and I am sure I am not the only one who has worries about the impact of this growing variation of the virus. Due to my age, I am currently amongst the minority within the country who has yet to be invited for their first vaccine but I will certainly be posed ready to book my appointment as soon as I am able to.

The first show that is gearing itself up for taking place is Southern Counties. Italian Greyhounds do not have CCs at the show but classes are scheduled. Toys are being judged on Friday 25th June and Italian Greyhounds are being judged by Saija Juitelaine from Finland. Entries close for this show this week, on Thursday 20th May, so do not miss that if you are wishing to enter.

Taking place just a few days after the golden day of 21st June, which of course is not guaranteed to be the golden day of release, no doubt the organisers of SCCA are having a few sleepless nights. I do hope the roadmap continues as it has been and step 4 can go ahead as planned, allowing visitors to SCCA to enjoy the show in its entirety.

Italian Greyhounds – 30th April & 9th May 2021
Life is starting to feel a little more normal these past few weeks. The high street has reopened, pubs and restaurants have been able to reopen their doors to their outdoor spaces, and friends and families are starting to reconnect in the ways they prefer, face to face rather than via video calls. So far, the figures appear to look promising showing that the vaccination programme is protecting our population from the virus as lockdown restrictions ease.

Something for Italian Greyhound enthusiasts to look forward to is the Italian Greyhound Club Championship show which is set to go ahead on Saturday 17th July 2021. The schedule is now live online and can be downloaded from Entries close on 14th June for postal entries and on 2nd July for those submitted online – entry closing dates are something that will need to be on our radar again now and amidst the excitement of actual shows being able to go ahead, it could be easy to miss the all-important entry closing dates!

As mentioned in a recent set of my notes, the judge for the main show is Lynn Webster with the Special Awards Classes being judged by David Willcock. There is also a Special Champions Stakes Class which will be judged by Sue Dunning who sadly missed out on her appointment with last year’s Club Championship Show being cancelled. It should certainly be a full day for Italian Greyhounds and their owners so let us keep our fingers crossed that the weather is kind to provide the perfect backdrop to a true summer show!

I am afraid that I conclude this week’s notes with some very sad news. Over this weekend, Charlotte Hughes shared the news that her mother, Cecelia Boyle, has passed away. Celia and her Berinshill Italian Greyhounds have had a presence in the Italian Greyhound ring for decades and one need only look back in the archives and historical records to see just how long she was involved in the breed, enjoying significant successes and making life-long friends along the way. To make Celia’s hobby even more special, she was able to share her love and passion for the breed with her daughter Charlotte, sharing the journey of their successes together with one of the most notable being the wins of Ch. Berinshill Casual Look, the breed’s CC record holder until just a few years ago.

Charlotte shared a most moving post on social media which included a selection of photos of Celia. The photos included memories from the show ring as well as some super family occasions, reflecting Celia’s love for her hobby and most importantly her family. The last eighteen months have seen many dog showing ‘Greats’ leave this world and now the Italian Greyhound fraternity has lost one of its own. May I send my deepest condolences and best wishes to Charlotte, to her father Tom, and of course all of the family left behind after Celia’s passing.

Italian Greyhounds – 18th & 25th April 2021
The Kennel Club’s final Breed Records Supplement of 2020 had been anticipated by many. Not just in our breed but in many, many other breeds, there was a sense of dread of opening the BRS which was to detail the registration figures for the four-month period between September and December 2020. To compare 2019 with 2020, nearly 20,000 more dogs across all breeds were registered during the pandemic than in the year before. While this may equate to some additional income for the registrations department at The Kennel Club, it equates to a grave reality in the real world.
First of all, we must not kid ourselves that the figures we read in the BRS are the only puppies that have been bred. Far from it. We will never know how many but lots more puppies are born and not registered so their numbers cannot be factored into the statistics. For our breed in particular, these numbers translate into pound signs for the so called “breeders”. I was recently shown one online advert where a one year old male is being advertised for £2,450.
I know there are other Italian Greyhounds, puppies and older, being sold on this site and similar ones but it does not matter how many adverts one sees, the contents always sadden me. Dogs are not commodities and they are not money-making machines - they are wonderful creatures who give so much to their owners and, most importantly, a dog should be for life. If you cannot give a lifetime’s commitment to a puppy or an older dog, please do not contemplate getting one.
Something that is concerning with the advert I referenced above is the contents of the description, in which the seller writes, “I show my dogs”. What confuses me though is the seller in this advert is listed as not having a council license but surely the sale of one adult male at £2,450 would return quite a significant profit, pushing this seller over the threshold into the category of ‘business’?
To return to the BRS, when you turn to the pages for the Italian Greyhound registrations, two-hundred and twenty-nine puppies and three imports are listed as being registered during the last four months of 2020. While this four-month quarter cannot be compared like for like with the last three months of 2019, a look at the numbers is interesting all the same – one hundred and forty-one Italian Greyhounds were registered in Q4 of 2019.
If we then do a year-on-year comparison, the difference really does make for sad reading – in 2019, three hundred and ninety Italian Greyhounds were registered, and a year on, despite lockdowns and a pandemic, in 2020, five hundred and forty-four Italian Greyhounds were registered. An increase of one hundred and fifty-four registrations in just twelve months and, when you look back ten years, it is more than double the number of Italian Greyhounds registered in 2011.
Returning to the Q4 2020 BRS, fifty-two litters were registered. One breeder has registered 5 litters which were born within two months of each other. There are also many names, not known in the showing world, who have had two litters registered each in this BRS often using the same sire for both litters. The three imports are singletons from Ireland, France and Poland.
I do sincerely hope that all the Italian Greyhound puppies born last year go to loving homes who are committed to their puppies for the full term. However, I cannot but worry that many new Italian Greyhound owners have taken on a puppy without a full understanding of the needs of our breed and who have most probably paid an eye-watering amount of money for the new addition to their family. I wish we could hope for a better set of figures in 2021 but this would be naive thinking.

Italian Greyhounds - 11th April 2021
The Italian Greyhound Club has recently unveiled its new website. With a fresh look and layout, the new site is straightforward to navigate with clear headings for the key webpages. There are plenty of images which make the site eye catching for users and hopefully key pages, such as Finding an IG and IG Health, will prove to be useful resources for prospective owners. I am sure the IGC is experiencing an influx of enquiries about puppies from members of the general public so having handy links to refer people to is a valuable resource.

The IGC has also confirmed its intentions to host a Club Championship Show this summer. On Saturday 17th July, the IGC is hoping to hold its championship show at Yelvertoft Village Hall. The judge will be Lynn Webster with the three Special Awards Classes being judged by David Wilcock. Of course, the show will be held subject to COVID secure health and safety regulations but it is a glimmer of normality on the horizon for Italian Greyhound exhibitors.

The Kennel Club’s last Breed Record Supplement of 2020 has been published. Comprising of the registration figures for September through to December, the BRS makes for incredibly depressing reading not just for our breed but for many other breeds too. The numbers are sad to see because the high numbers of puppies do not reflect a positive, healthy interest in pedigree dogs. I will go into the specific details and figures for Italian Greyhounds in next week’s notes.

Italian Greyhounds- 4th April 2021
Another cancellation has been confirmed which will be another disappointment for exhibitors. Windsor Championship Show have been forced to cancel their event for a second year running although the reasons for cancelling are more venue related. Unfortunately a clash of events in the grounds of Windsor Castle and the lack of a suitable alternative venue has forced the society to cancel their 2021 show. Another personal disappointment for me as I was due to judge the breed at Windsor but a bigger disappointment for the officers and committee members who lose their show for another year.
The past week has seen a slight lifting of the restrictions, allowing up to six people to meet outdoors including in private gardens. This has been most welcome and with the warm weather, I have enjoyed a couple of coffees and teas in the garden, seeing family and friends. If there is one thing that the last twelve months have taught us, it is to appreciate the smaller things in life and spending time with our loved ones is something we all have missed during the pandemic.
How exhibitors have used their annual leave this past year has been very different to how we would normally use our leave. Gone are the days of using leave for dog shows or traveling to shows. Instead, we have plenty of days to take for “more normal” activities. Home DIY projects, staycations and lots of tidying up, that is the extent of excitement for my leave this week!

Italian Greyhounds- 28th March 2021
Another week and I’m afraid I have further cancellations to share with you. Last Friday, the news that many exhibitors were expecting, even if they did not want to read it, was announced in the form of the cancellation of Crufts 2021. Originally postponed from March to July, just as hopes were rising of the release of the show’s catalogue, the news came that the show was not to be this year.

I think we were all prepared for this cancellation as the prospect of hosting a major event, indoors, less than a month after the supposed ‘golden date’ of 21st June, was pretty slim. Organisers of such events do have to assess a show’s viability in every sense of the word whether that be turning a profit, visitor experience or health and safety. From qualification through to restricted entries and from no youngsters through to no overseas competitors, if Crufts had gone ahead this year, it would not have been the event we have come to love. Such a difficult decision for the Crufts Committee but let us look forward to Crufts 2022 when it can hopefully take place in its usual glory.

Just prior to the Crufts announcement, another favourite in the Toydog exhibitors’ diary also confirmed their show’s cancellation this year. The UKTDS had also originally postponed their show, from March to September, but with the September calendar looking incredibly busy now, especially around the UKTDS’s new weekday date, the Committee decided to not continue with a 2021 championship show. Again, the viability of running an event has been fully evaluated and for a group show in particular, entries need to be strong and healthy to support to costs and outlay of such an event. More disappointing news but completely understandable decisions given the circumstances.

Italian Greyhounds- 21st March 2021
With every week that goes by, it is becoming apparent that 2021 is going to be a tale of two halves. One week we hear the news of a society successfully moving their show to a new date later in the year and then a few days later, a different society announces their disappointment at being unable to hold their 2021 show, forced to cancel their shows for two consecutive years. The past seven days have been no different.

Last week, the Scottish Kennel Club announced that they had not only managed to reschedule one of their championship shows for this year, but both shows! The ‘Extravaganza’ will comprise of two back to back championship shows held in tandem over four dates in late September and early October. For Italian Greyhounds, the judging of the Toy Group will take place on Saturday 2nd October 2021 with the May championship show taking place in the morning followed by the October championship show. The logistics of running two championship shows, with two sets of breed judging, two sets of groups and all the organisation that two shows entail, is no mean feat and all eyes will be on the SKC to see how the concept will work.

Although not really relevant to our breed, as classes are not scheduled for Italian Greyhounds, Border Union have also confirmed that their 2021 will now be going ahead, straight after the SKC shows, on 4th and 5th October. Meanwhile, one society who has been unable to move their dates is Three Counties Championship Dog Show who have just announced that their 2021 show is cancelled. Not every society will be lucky enough to find new dates and venues and for those that can, the incredibly busy calendar that is building up towards the end of this year, may curtail their success.

Italian Greyhounds- 14th March 2021
Since my last breed notes, the City of Birmingham Canine Association have confirmed that their September show is cancelled. Their venue, Stoneleigh, is a vaccination centre and it is also involved in other Covid activities so unfortunately there will not be the space for the all breed championship show. City of Birmingham joins WELKS and the WKC in being forced to cancel two consecutive shows due to the pandemic, something which must be hugely disappointing for their Committees. However, I’m sure all exhibitors will look forward to their 2022 shows when life may be more settled.

While enjoying my Saturday breakfast, it suddenly dawned on me that I have not driven on a motorway for many, many months! During the height of our show season, my car would find itself motoring along a motorway most weekends. With the cancellation of shows, driving has remained local and my car rarely gets into sixth gear! Maybe, when it is allowed, I shall schedule a test drive out and just remind myself of the excitement of driving on a three lane road, as opposed to local lanes!

The vaccination role out continues at great pace. While the continent may be more hesitant with its vaccination programme, the U.K. is doing a sterling job which is hopefully allowing many of you to start hoping and making plans for non home based activities. Fingers and toes crossed, the golden dates in our country’s roadmap out of the pandemic remain realistic goals to strive for.

Italian Greyhounds- 7th March 2021
The weekend just gone should have been the Crufts weekend. For 2021, Crufts is set to be a summer show with its postponed dates now set for July. Obviously only time will tell whether we will be heading to the NEC just weeks after that golden date of 21st June but we can at least hope.
It is difficult thinking back to Crufts 2020 and the “bubble” we were then in, little knowing the full extent of the events that lay ahead of us. We were very fortunate to squeeze Crufts in just weeks before the first lockdown and looking back at some of the photos of the show on social media, the memories are probably filled with more nostalgia than usual. I think it is safe to say that whichever show proves to be our next get together, we will all cherish it.
I hope you are all keeping as well as can be and that you are able to take glimmers of light from the key steps out of lockdown that await us. Schools are now back and further opening up of our lives are things which are hopefully going to make life feel more normal soon. The end is in sight so let us keep going - we’re all in this together!

28th February 2021

I am sure I am not the only one who feels more optimistic following the Prime Minster’s announcement last Monday detailing our hoped roadmap out of the lockdown. The date of 21st June is no doubt etched in all our minds – let us hope that everything we do between now and then will allow us to start our post-pandemic world. The weather is even turning with blue skies and sunshine welcoming me this morning as my backdrop while writing these notes.

The hope of ‘all restrictions being lifted’ must bring significant hope to our hobby. Surely societies who have events from late June onwards must be planning for their shows to go ahead. Just prior to the Before the Prime Minster’s announcement, we all received the disappointing news that the Welsh Kennel Club has cancelled its show this August. I was particularly disappointed to read this on Facebook as I was due to judge at the show but I am sure many exhibitors must be disappointed because an August outdoors show was thought to be ‘safe’. As I write these notes, WELKS is the only other all-breed championship show which has also cancelled its 2021 show.

Also as I write, there is a question mark over Windsor Championship Show because the Windsor Horse Show have announced that they are going ahead at the same venue on the same weekend. The Horse Show is postponed I believe from its original date in May and I suspect the news of the clash is causing the Windsor Dog Show society a headache or two. We must watch this space to see what the outcome is and what impact it may have on our dog show.

Italian Greyhounds- 21st February 2021
Another weekend passes by and there are no rosettes or prize cards to showcase and share. We are getting to that point where we can say “this time last year was my last...” For example, this time last year, I was enjoying a judging appointment at a breed club championship show. How I cherish the memories and little did we know what was around the corner.

It appeared odd asking exhibitors to show their dog’s’ teeth - now of course, this will probably become normality and there is a strong argument to keep such practices in place to prevent the spread of both human and canine diseases. I wonder what else which was a novelty twelve months ago will become normal in our post pandemic world. Face masks surely are something we will all come to live with over the coming months and maybe years.

The vaccination rollout is going phenomenally well though and we must let this success bring us hope. Both my parents and partner have received their first vaccines and close friends have also received their first ‘shot in the arm’. And now we hear the news that all the adult population will be offered their first vaccine before the end of July. Hats off to all the excellent people who have been involved in bringing these vaccines about, from the scientists and volunteers during the trials through to the amazing network of people organising the millions of vaccine doses and delivering them into our arms. There is light on the horizon everyone!

Italian Greyhounds- 14th February 2021
Through its work helping Italian Greyhound and Italian Greyhound crossbreeds throughout the country, the Italian Greyhound Rescue Charity has come across an increasing number of Italian Greyhounds affected by luxating patellas. In particular, young Italian Greyhounds are displaying the condition which causes much distress to both the dogs and those who own and care for them.

Luxating patellas is a genetic problem which means that the numbers affected could increase further if particular dogs are bred from and pass on the condition to future generations. With this in mind, the IGRC is collating information to try and identify and link the bloodlines which are commonly occurring in the pedigrees of affected dogs. This research is important to protect the welfare of our breed and when a post was published on Facebook raising awareness of this problem, a number of owners commented to say that their Italian Greyhounds have luxating patellas.

Affected dogs require surgery and the recovery is a long one, with hours of physiotherapy at specialist practices and at home. Of course, seeing so many step forward saying that their dogs suffer from the condition was alarming to see but hopefully by coming together, the sires and dams in the affected lines can be identified and awareness can be raised to protect the wellbeing of the breed in the coming years.

A huge thank you must go to those owners who have already contributed to the research and this is a call for other Italian Greyhound owners to get in touch if their dogs also suffer with luxating patellas - please contact

Sent from my iPad

8th February 2021
A thread of conversation took place on social media recently which was discussing the price of puppies. The discussion was relating to a different breed which is numerically larger and it involved a cross section of show breeders. The general consensus amongst those breeders was that their puppies were averaging £1,000-£1,200.
In our breed, the figures are incredibly depressing. Italian Greyhound puppies are selling online for eye-watering prices. One advert, for a six month old Italian Greyhound/ Whippet cross, had the price listed at over £3,000. It is just impossible to understand how a “breeder” could charge such sums and it is difficult to understand why a puppy purchaser would agree to paying these amounts.
No doubt, the next publication of the Kennel Club Breed Records Supplement will be a depressing read. The names of the breeders actively producing litters will be dominated by those whose presence in the show ring is non-existent. And, it will be interesting to tally the breeders who have produced several litters over the past few months when our country has been through two further lockdowns.
For those of us whose interests of the breed are in our hearts, all we can do is advise and hopefully steer prospective Italian Greyhound owners away from the “greeders” - whether our words are heard, only time will tell.

24th & 31st January 2021

The past couple of weeks have seen social media and the canine press sharing updates relating to the dates of championship shows which are hoping to take place in the upcoming 2021 season. We already know about Crufts and UKTDS postponing their shows to July and September respectively but Bath and Birmingham National have also announced that their 2021 shows will be taking place on new dates this year. I think our diaries will be filled with ‘original show dates’ and ‘postponed show dates’ throughout the months so maybe note your appointments with pencil rather than pen to allow for easy amends!

Birmingham National was the first show to share its ‘the show must go on!’ announcement. The Officers and Committee have confirmed that Birmingham National will be moving its show from early May to new dates in September. Keeping its four days, Birmingham National will take place from 23rd through to 26th September 2021 with Italian Greyhounds being judged on the Sunday, 26th September.

Bath Canine Society has also moved its show from its usual home in late May through to new dates at the end of July. Bath will now host its 2021 show between 31st July through to 3rd August and Toy Day will be Sunday 1st August. Both the National and Bath will be holding their shows at their usual grounds so there are no changes to the venues.

The other glimmer of light regarding events hoping to take place is that of Discover Dogs. Although not a dog show, Discover Dogs does host a number of competitions, such as the JHA Finals and Junior Warrant Semi-Finals, so it is a key date in the canine calendar. This year, the event is set to take place on 20th and 21st November so another note to pop in the diary.

I guess the show that some exhibitors may be wondering about is WELKS which is due to take place in about three months’ time. In the late summer/early autumn of last year, many of us were predicting that WELKS would be the first show that we could realistically hope would actually be able to happen. Now, that hope is severely dashed.

In the last couple of months, the infection rates and spread of the coronavirus has forced the country into another lockdown and, at the time of writing, we genuinely have no idea of its end date. Being in the midst of the second wave and in the early stages of the vaccination programme, one has to question whether WELKS can go ahead at the end of April. Not every society will be in the fortunate position whereby it can move to another date later in 2021 – venues book up and the KC diary is also booking up with the month of September looking even more busy than usual. It certainly cannot be an easy time for the WELKS Committee and I hope all exhibitors will be understanding and patient as we await their decision on the 2021 show.

17th January 2021

Lockdown Number Three is following similar characteristics to the first one. The number of people interested in our breed and wanting a puppy or rescue is rising yet again which is worrying. Why people feel that a national lockdown is the right time to bring a new dog into the house is a little beyond me, especially those that have never had a dog before.

I just worry once more about the post-lockdown era when the “cute puppies” are “naughty adults” and when the homeworking is no more and calls to return to the offices mean that less time is available to care for the dog. Rescue centres will no doubt take the brunt of this strain in the coming months and years.

I hope you are all keeping yourself entertained as much as is possible at home currently. The weekends are no longer filled with the joys of going shopping, visiting the local pub or attending our favourite dog shows. Instead, Saturdays and Sundays are peppered with housework, cooking, relaxing, more housework and of course dog walks. I love all of these activities (well excluding the housework!) but some time outside of the four walls of the home is a well needed tonic every now and then.

10th January 2021

The first notes of 2021 and, unfortunately, we find ourselves in another national lockdown. I hope you are all keeping safe and following the restrictions. Of course, it is incredibly difficult to find our lives severely restricted yet again but the severity of the pandemic is potentially at its most potent so please adhere to the rules for the sake of your safety and that of your loved ones. We do have a beacon of light with the vaccines this time around so the end, fingers crossed, is in sight.

January is usually the time for setting resolutions and goals. I am afraid I have set neither, well not very formally anyway! One goal is for my family and myself to keep healthy and well, and a second goal must be the hope that we can get our dogs inside the showring by the 31st December 2021! For those with puppies and juniors who have spent either no time or very little time in the ring, when the date of the first post-lockdown show is confirmed, the training and re-training sessions will need to recommence. Even with slightly older dogs, after what will be well over twelve months since our last show, an element of re-training will most likely be required whether that be reminding dogs of the feel of the show lead or practicing the stack. We will all be ‘debutants’ again at that first show!

With my weekends not currently filled with early alarms, long journeys and dog shows, I am enjoying exploring some new interests, principally cooking. I can certainly not claim to be the next great chef nor will I be applying for a change of career but I am enjoying watching cookery programmes and developing my previously somewhat basic cooking skills! I am a very big fan of Mary Berry and her latest Simple Comforts cookbook is proudly displayed on the sideboard and I am taking on a new recipe each week! When we can welcome friends and family back across the threshold of our front door, hopefully I can present them with a plate of more than just pasta and a shop-bought sauce!

Italian Greyhounds- 29th December 2020
Well, we have made it to the end of 2020. Who would have thought when I wrote these notes this time last year, we would have to undergo the twelves months that have just passed. I just hope you are all keeping safe - lights do shine ahead of us, we just need to be patient to get there and follow all necessary precautions until we reach that safe haven.
For members of the Italian Greyhound Club, please ensure your annual subscriptions for 2021 are paid by their 1st January 2021 deadline. Subscriptions need to be made payable to The Italian Greyhound Club and sent to Jill Mellis, the Club Treasurer. Let us hope that the IGC events can take place next year and the ideas for celebrating this year’s anniversary for the Club can be postponed successfully to 2021.
As New Years Eve dawns upon us, let us all hope that 2021 is a much kinder year for us all. I look forward to when we can meet again, when we can enjoy our hobby again, when we can do all the things that we have probably taken for granted again. 2020 has shown that kindness is the greatest strength so let us take this into 2021 and use it to its best potential next year and beyond. Happy New Year all.

12th & 19th December 2020

I am sure I am not the only breed note writer who is longing for the return of dog shows so that some results can be reported on! I apologise for the thin notes but it really is quite tricky to put words together when there is little news to share. Yes, of course, I could dwell on the latest COVID-19 statistics but I am personally trying to limit the amount of “news” I watch. We must all be well informed of the latest facts and figures but I am finding listening to the news every hour, every day does little for one’s spirits.

Christmas 2020 is not going to be anywhere near what any of us would have originally planned for our festivities. There will be a lot more ovens firing up this year as more of us must go solo with the Christmas dinner rather than visiting family and friends to enjoy a lunch or dinner together. However, hopefully this restricted Christmas will be for one year only and our efforts on 25th December 2020 will mean that Christmas in future years can resume its normal format and we can all share hugs, space and our homes again this year time next!

While we may not be able to meet with all our loved ones this festive season, there is one constant that no tier nor restrictions can hamper. The loyal companionship of our dogs remains the one thing we can really rely on at present. Remember, whatever life throws at us currently, we are always able to give our dogs a cuddle, take them for some lovely walks, and generally let our wows escape our heads by talking to our dogs who may not have much to say verbally but who always know how best to respond.

May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas. Things will get brighter and better soon! And we will meet at the ringside at some point in the future… I just cannot say when.

5th December 2020

There can be no denying that the vaccine approval has shone a new light upon us in recent weeks. The hard work of so many scientists alongside the bravery and selflessness of the volunteers who took part in the trials really must not go unnoticed and there will never be sufficient thanks for what they have all given. The roll-out of the vaccine will take time so we must remain patient and metaphorically queue until our name is called.

While the vaccine news is incredibly positive, we are all served stark reminders that the Coronavirus remains prevalent in our world and deadly still. Sadly there have been a number of people in the dog showing fraternity who have passed away this year with many of our ringsides being all the more bare as a result. The faces we may have seen at Crufts in March, at Boston and Manchester in January, or at LKA last December, how many of them will be sorely missed when we are able return to our hobby in 2021.

Facebook has allowed friends and families to share tributes to loved ones, shining a candle on the memories made and close friends and family members lost. We are not able to mourn in the usual way nor can we turn to someone for a hug and some much needed human comfort, so grief has taken a new shape and form this year. When we do return to our shows and are able to gather ringside again, there are going to be some large gaps created by those well-loved characters and personalities who we had probably taken for granted that we would see again at the next show.

Words cannot ease the pain of grief but to everyone who has lost someone close during this torrid year, please know that you are not alone nor are you far from the thoughts of those who grieve with you, albeit apart.

Italian Greyhounds- 28th November 2020
For some, it may be too early but my Christmas decorations at home are up! The tree has been assembled, the baubles are in place, and the presents are starting to be wrapped. We may all be getting into the Christmas spirit earlier this year but after the hand 2020 has dealt us, I think we are allowed.

Further details about next year’s postponed Crufts have been released by The Kennel Club. The finals that take place for some competitions will not be held at Crufts 2021, no puppy classes will be scheduled, and entries will be capped which are efforts to try and limit the number of people in attendance and no doubt to help the show spread itself out throughout the halls more easily. As always, these announcements have led to an outcry of opinions which have been aired on social media.

Some of the comments do make one raise an eyebrow or two. We must remember that the hope of Crufts 2021 going ahead is founded on the proviso of several factors. The organisers cannot rely on a vaccine so they need to implement measures that will help the show to be as safe as possible. Crufts 2021 will not be our “usual Crufts” but the fact a postponed show could take place, instead of a cancellation, is something we should be grateful for. As someone pointed out, where would puppies qualify and, more importantly, is Crufts the most appropriate environment to show a debut puppy?

I am sure a lot more information will be revealed in the coming weeks and months. One thing that is certain is, if you want to show at Crufts 2021, do not leave your entry to the last minute!

14th & 21st November 2020

The last couple of weeks have, at last, brought us some positive news which is shining like a strong beam of light amidst the darkness of late. The first piece of news has to be the progress of several vaccines which are developing at a such a pace that there is hope that some people will receive vaccinations before the close of the year. The next set of good news relates to our hobby with two shows announcing the postponement of their 2021 events, and not their cancellation.

Social media was frantic when the press release and announcement regarding Crufts 2021 was published. Next year’s Crufts will take place in the summer as opposed to in March, a move which has been supported by many as the likelihood of the greatest dog show in the world taking place within the next three months was almost 0%. Crufts 2021 will still take place at the NEC at Birmingham but four months later than usual, commencing on Thursday 15th July and running through to Sunday 18th July. Italian Greyhounds will see their judging taking place on the Friday, 16th July.

A few days after the Crufts announcement, the United Kingdom Toydog Society also announced that their 2021 show was moving from March to a date later in the year. UKTDS has also managed to hold onto its usual venue, Stafford Showground, and will now take place on Wednesday 29th September 2021. Moving from a Saturday date in March to a weekday date in September gives Toydog exhibitors the hope that their annual group championship show can actually go ahead next year, rather than the disappointment of having shows cancelled over two consecutive years.

I must admit, the news about Crufts followed by the confirmation that UKTDS could similarly take place later in 2021 really did give me a morale boost earlier this week. I had prepared myself for the realisation that all shows due to take place indoors and before the end of April were likely to be cancelled and to lose Crufts, a pivotal event in the canine calendar, would have been such a blow, especially after the year we have had in 2020. Likewise, the prospect of losing a second UKTDS show would have been incredibly disappointing and, being a Committee member of this society, this disappointment would have been very difficult for me personally to swallow.

While there are these glimmers of hope for next year, we must not forget the present. The virus is still prevalent and the safeguard of a vaccination is several months off serving as protective shield for us. In the meantime, we must keep our resolve and obey the restrictions to protect our loved ones, to protect ourselves, and to protect the loved ones of others.

Italian Greyhounds- 7th November 2020
The Italian Greyhound Rescue Charity has published its annual Newsletter which is distributed to the Friends and supporters of the Charity. The 2020 issue is filled with plenty of content including a Covid Diary, which highlights how lockdown was anything but quiet for the IGRC, an interesting article on pet insurance and another super article written by someone who adopted a rescue through the charity. There are twenty-four pages in total and each one will no doubt be of interest to followers and supporters of the IGRC and its work.
Helen Lister’s Chairman’s Update details the number of rescues who have been helped by the IGRC this past year as well as describing some of the recovery and intense care that some rescues have required. Between Helen’s piece and the Covid Diary, it is acutely clear that some dogs who come into the Charity’s realm require high levels of care. And all of this work and time is provided for by volunteers kindly giving their assistance to help dogs in their hour of need.
It is also worth noting that, sadly, due to the pandemic and the long lasting impact of its restrictions, the IGRC has decided to postpone its IGstravaganza event until 2022 at the earliest. This event was due to take place in June this year and was subsequently postponed to June 2021. Following the venue’s decision to not host events next year and the uncertainty as to when larger scale events will be allowed to resume, the Trustees made the decision to push back any event until 2022. Not an easy decision but the right one in today’s climate.
The IGRC 2020 Newsletter is an enjoyable read so grab your copy and keep abreast of the Charity’s news and work.

Sent from my iPad

31st October 2020

Last month, the Westminster Kennel Club announced that their world famous show was moving from February to June next year as well as advising exhibitors that the show’s venue is also moving for next year’s event as well. Moving from a Winter show to a Summer show is a wise move that many have welcomed given the ongoing pandemic that the world is experiencing. The move has also allowed the show to head outdoors, another precaution which will hopefully make for a safer environment for visitors and exhibitors at the show.

Yes, Westminster 2021 will look quite different next year and, yes, exhibitors will have to wait a few extra months for their special show, but how much better it will be to enjoy a different Westminster than no Westminster at all. The Coronavirus has turned all our worlds upside down and we have all had to learn to adapt. Shows will be no different and next year, they will need to be adaptive and flexible if they want to keep hold of the hopes of getting the 2021 show season off the ground, in some form or another.

Naturally, following the announcement from the Westminster Kennel Club, attention does turn back to our own special show – Crufts. It really is hard to believe that Crufts 2020 was the last dog show many of us attended and I think I am not the only one who wonders how Crufts 2021 will be able to take place in four months’ time. As we enter a new lockdown here in England and as we all wonder whether we need to buy a turkey for one, six or more this Christmas, the idea of attending an event which normally attracts thousands of people through its doors over the course of four days is very difficult to comprehend. Moving Crufts to a new date and different, outdoors venue is potentially an ask too far due to its size and nature but we all wait with baited breath to hear the latest announcements from our own Kennel Club.

24th October 2020

Helen Lister kindly drew my attention to the Irish Wolfhound breed notes which were recently printed in Our Dogs sharing a tribute to Cynthia Boissevain (Branwen) who has recently passed away. Reading through the obituary in full, it is clear that Cynthia lived an incredibly full life ninety-six years in length. In addition to her involvement in the dog showing world, both here in the UK and oversees, Cynthia was an actress, ballet dancer, model and experienced traveller exploring lots of the corners of the world.

During her life, Cynthia exhibited and owned Irish Wolfhounds, Salukis, Afghan Hounds and Greyhounds, establishing the Branwen kennel. In the words of one of her sons, Cynthia dedicated much of her to the ‘genetic efforts in the realm of thoroughbred sighthounds’. She judged her breeds throughout the world including in Spain, France, Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands and the USA.

Amongst the breeds that Cynthia was involved with were Italian Greyhounds as well which she bred, showed and judged. Helen remembers Cynthia as quite a memorable lady and when she judged the IGC Championship show in 1990, Cynthia awarded Helen’s Florita Fantasia Best In Show. Reading her son’s words remembering his mother, Cynthia sounds like she was a lady who lived a lifestyle that suitably reflected and complemented the beautiful, elegant sighthounds that she loved and owned throughout her life. We send our condolences to Cynthia’s children and family.

Italian Greyhounds- 18th October 2020
Amongst all the doom, gloom, worries and woes, I was most grateful to the BBC last weekend who commenced their new season of Strictly Come Dancing. I know this show is not to everyone’s tastes but for me, it is a staple of my Saturday nights during the autumnal and winter period. Now more than ever, it is a piece of escapism and I for one am looking forward to relaxed evenings on the sofa with the dogs, watching the dances unfold and enjoying all the sparkle, glamour and fun translate from the studio through my TV and into our front room.
Of course, Strictly does tend to herald the coming of Christmas which is welcome by some and not by others. I have not yet started my Christmas shopping but a part of me is encouraging me to do so, so that the costs are spread and so that the present wrapping is not a mad rush in mid to late December! I see some of the pet food manufacturers are starting to advertise their festive dinners for our canine companions- surely I must buy presents for friends and family before I buy anything else for the dogs??
I do miss reporting on our shows and sharing the results which really should make up the content of these notes. But it is not to be at present. With shows not in the diary for many a week and month, let us each enjoy our dogs for their non-showing qualities and let us allow one of their snuggles to get us through the coming weeks. Keep safe everybody

11th October 2020

Please accept my apologies for the lack of notes last week. While the dog showing world has come to a standstill, other parts of my life seem busier than ever with work in particular filling a good number of my hours and my evenings been shorter than normal as I try to enjoy some ‘downtime’ to recover for the next day! I hope you are all keeping as well as can be in the current times and while many of our lives are undergoing new restrictions, we must keep our spirits high.

The Kennel Club have published the third Breed Records Supplement for 2020 covering the registration figures for July and August. With the various system upgrades taking place at The Kennel Club in September, this Q3 issue is just for two months and then the Q4 issue of the BRS will encompass September, October, November and December and will be published in February 2021. While the figures may be lower, as you would expect when just two months, instead of three, are covered, the BRS still does not make for positive reading.

In July and August, fourteen litters were registered with fifty-seven puppies. There was also one import from France so the total number of new registrations within the breed was fifty-eight dogs. Of the fourteen litters, eleven of them were born in May, June and July. Bearing in mind that the first round of lockdown was in place well into late May and early June, it is interesting that some breeders decided to mate their bitches while lockdown measures were still in place and I would be intrigued to know how any travel to stud dogs not living with them would have been justified should the local authorities have pulled them up. With the BRS, the statistics and facts speak for themselves.

Italian Greyhounds- 29th September 2020
Since my last notes, the Scottish Kennel Club have confirmed that their postponed May show, which had found itself rescheduled to November, has had to be cancelled. With the tightening of restrictions, the decision is no surprise and was expected by many. This latest cancellation of a championship show is the last of the year and serves as a rather sad mark denoting that our 2020 show season is no more. What a year it has been with just three all-breed shows able to open their doors and welcome competition.
Exhibitors are having to turn to photos for their show fixes, either by visiting the traditional photo album or by turning to social media and looking at “memories” from yesteryear. Photos bring back happy associations but they do not make up for the loss of the real thing. All we can hope is that we will meet again at the ringside sometime in 2021.
But the virus does not know the difference between 2020 and 2021. The likes of the Boston and Manchester societies must be having to juggle the incredibly difficult balance of anticipating potential restrictions, complying with covid secure procedures and wondering how their January shows could fit in. More tough decisions are no doubt on the horizon and sadly the start of a new year will not guarantee us a return to our hobby.

18th September 2020

No sooner did I write that Bournemouth Championship Show was still going ahead than I saw their announcement on Facebook confirming the show’s cancellation. Not a surprise for many but, of course, a huge disappointment for the organisers who will have put hours and hours into the planning and preparation of a show that needed to be held in accordance of both ‘normal’ and Covid secure health

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  1. Littlebriton

    Glad to see Helen writing the breed notes. Always interesting and even handed.

  2. sophiaaj

    Dear Helen, Enjoying your blog. I am looking for an Italian greyhound puppy. Living in North Yorkshire, but willing to travel for the right breeder. Any ideas welcomed, thank you Sophia

  3. Pompey John

    So good to read your notes Helen, and those of your mum for the whippies. Your comments on 30th Nov are very aposite as i feel there is further angst to come before, hopefully, it will all reach an equilibrium. Wishing you and your family a very happy Christmas and a successful 2019.

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