Del Biagio Selection Centre - Fano (Pesaro Urbino) Italy
There is a quote, by Arthur Schopenhauer that I willingly recall, “Someone who has never had a dog does not know what it means to be loved.” Speaking from personal experience I can say that whoever has lived happily with an Alaskan Malamute knows what it means to be loved.
My adventure with this amazing breed began far back in 1982 when I decided to show a handsome Boxer which belonged to me at the Dog Show in Padua.
Although I was struck by the hundreds of dogs present, my eyes were drawn to one particular dog which at the time was still unknown to me, and I literally stopped in my tracks.
The dog was an Alaskan Malamute: powerful and heavily- boned, deep-chested with a sturdy body. The full, plumed snap tail, the eyes, ears and nose make this animal a living work of art.
Its movements are pure poetry in motion; when the Malamute goes into a trot, it is in that same moment of suspension when it passes to single track that the vital essence of the breed is captured. I have always been deeply moved on observing this.
I began to research the breed, becoming more and more fascinated by what I discovered and it was then, some time later, when my Boxer was stolen that I made the decision to share my life with Alaskan Malamutes.
I focused my research in the USA, home of the breed, and in 1984 I imported HOKIE HI FIRE STORM, a beautiful female, from Virginia. From then on, I began to attend dog shows with great success; of the forty-eight events attended we had forty-seven wins. Carried away by enthusiasm, I imported a male, KIWALIK’S KHAUNA, and other females from Maryland in order to have several blood lines to work with.
I owe a large part of my success to Mrs. Vicky Jones who gave me a pair of great dogs: VYKON’S WIND BENEATH MY WINGS and his sister, VYKON’S GA PEACH DEL BIAGIO which proved to be excellent breeders.
My love for this incredible breed was so great that I decided to dedicate all my time to breeding Alaskan Malamutes. In my commitment I was given the wholehearted support of my family who allowed me to breed and live for the dogs in the best possible way.
Selecting a breed means not only improving the dog and meeting its specific attributes but also respecting its need to live a healthy life.
I have always planned matings in order to produce strong and well-proportioned litters which conform to the morphological standards. This has been neither easy nor simple. I have certainly had my share of success, but there has also been a lot of hard work and some disappointment. I feel, however, that in the long run, constancy and conscientiousness always pay off.
It has taken me years of hard work to achieve recognition at national, European and International level. The success of my blood line stems from AXEL DEL BIAGIO and before him to REDFLOWER DEL BIAGIO; a decidedly rare, red-coloured specimen, particularly handsome with perfect pigmentation. RED was both a show-ring winner and a great stud. One of his daughters, ATKA DEL BIAGIO, and AXEL DEL BIAGIO, RED’S grandson and son of VYKON’S WIND BENEATH MY WINGS, produced an epoch-making litter in 1994. Indeed, from that union ROYAL STAR DEL BIAGIO, a fabulous specimen, was born. I can knowledgably state that there has never been a Malamute with the same qualities in the history of the European Dog Association. Three times World Champion, ten Best in Show, Italian Champion, International and Social Champion, Champion Stud, BOB Winner in Stockholm, Croatian Champion, Okv-Bundessiger, Euro Dog Winner 1995/1996, and many more accolades. ROYAL’S most prestigious achievement was attained at the Alaskan Malamute of America national meeting where only the most highly-rated breeders participate, (three hundred and seventy-nine dogs entered, ninety at Championship level). Here, ROYAL won an AWARDa OF MERIT, an important recognition which the judge confers at his or her discretion on the dog which is believed to be of equal merit to the Best of Breed, an award never before given to European breeders. He will always be unforgettable with a very special place in my heart, and I am sure that the same applies to all those who knew him, he lives on in his many illustrious offspring and descendants around the world. Let me name a few who have left their mark in both Europe and America:
WILD WIND’S ROYAL MOUNTY, USA Champion. Excellent stud, siring more than twenty champions.
SAKUNIK DEL BIAGIO, an excellent specimen. Italian Champion, International Champion and Bundessiger VHD, in 1998. Above all, however, an extraordinary stud, sire of two dogs which have made European dog history: ELIS DEL BIAGIO and ACTIVE DEL BIAGIO.
CRUSADER DEL BIAGIO, a fascinating specimen. Italian Champion, International Champion, German Champion, World Champion and European Champion. Winner of Veteran Class at Crufts, in 2007; as they say you can’t put a good dog down!
RAINBOWMAKER DEL BIAGIO, yet another splendid specimen. Italian and International Champion, Reserve World Champion, as well as BOB winner at the legendary Crufts Show.
GIVING A NEW ROYAL STAR DE JUNGLA NEGRA ”ROLLY”, a superb specimen. International Champion, Champion of Italy, Spain, Luxemburg, Monaco and San Marino. Winner of Best in Show ten times. Winner at Crufts 2007, also won first place in the Working Group, the first non English born Malamute to do so. World Champion in Poland and European Champion in Finland. At international level, the Scandinavian show is second in terms of prestige only to the English show.
The list is endless as ROYAL has numerous offspring which have won championships in Italy and Europe not to mention the descendants which have made history.
ELIS DEL BIAGIO, a specimen of rare beauty and without doubt the quintessence of canine femininity. The undisputed star in every single event in which she has participated. World Champion three times, European Champion three times, winner of five Best in Show, and various championships won throughout Europe.
ACTIVE DEL BIAGIO is a record holding Malamute with thirty Best in Show won throughout Europe. Winner of three World Championships and three European Championships. Guest of Honour no less than five times at the ‘Collare d’Oro, (Golden Collar) event televised by Canale 5 TV, and winner of numerous other championships in Italy and Europe. A dog with a wonderful disposition, a sweet and affectionate nature and renowned for his great show-dog temperament; handsome, imposing in appearance but not heavy with a fluid and elegant gait. All these qualities have made ACTIVE a famous specimen, well-known to judges worldwide almost as if he were a pop-star. First-rate stud, having mated with excellent females such as World Champion FRUTTA DI ITALY THE BESTIAL FACE OF BEAUTY, two time World Champion ALEXAN DEL BIAGIO, and multiple Champions PRISCILLA DEL BIAGIO, LEDA DEL BIAGIO, LENA DEL BIAGIO and the Italian Champion SANDCREEK DEL BIAGIO as well as siring other champion offspring throughout Europe.
ALEXAN DEL BIAGIO another beautiful female: International Champion and Champion of Italy, San Marino, Luxemburg and Finland. Two times Champion of Europe, in Bratislava in 2003 and in Helsinki in 2006.
Naturally, there are other lines which have contributed to my success. VYKON’S WIND BENEATH MY FEET was also the sire of RAIDER DEL BIAGIO, an impressive and charismatic Malamute. Among various championships won in Europe, he was Reserve World Champion and European Champion in Tulln in 1999, where he was the Best in Show out of a total 6704 entries.
AXEL was also the sire of DAY STAR DEL BIAGIO another multiple champion, winner of many awards throughout Europe and also recipient of the American Championship with merit. DAY has also proved to be an excellent stud, having sired first-class champions such as:
BRIAN DEL BIAGIO a highly appreciated specimen by American breeder judges, one of whose strong points is a captivating expression. Multiple winner of two Best in Show and European Champion in Zagreb, in 2007.
IRON BUTTERFLY DEL BIAGIO still young but already Italian Champion. Highly regarded by the American breeder judges who awarded him the prestigious BOB, ditto at the monographic CIRN in 2007.
Then there is our future, AUGUS DEL BIAGIO, now more than just a hope. Giovane Promessa ENCI (ENCI Promising Junior, Italian Dog Association) where he out won all in the junior classes by winning numerous Young Best in Show.
Finally, CRYSTAL HEART DI BIAGIO, son of IRON, a very young and promising Malamute.
Essentially, however, the Alaskan Malamute is a work dog; harnessed to a sled it combines acknowledged beauty with its innate ability to haul.
For this reason, the Del Biagio Selection Centre has its own Sled-dog Team, started with Giovanni Pandolfi and Rita Figini and at the moment co-ordinated by first-rate musher and great friend, Giorgio Pirini. In this area too, after much hard work, we have had gratifying results. We have in fact been the Italian Champions continually since 1993. We have also had good rankings in several European and World Championships. In the world Championships in 2007 our team, with Giorgio Pirini came fourth. In the same Championships another of our teams of dogs, with friend Mirko Rizzo came seventh in the category. In 2007, Mirko’s dogs ARNAQ DEL BIAGIO (another offspring of ROYAL) and HETAN STAR DEL BIAGIO were the first Italian Malamutes to receive the USA work certificate from the AMCA for the WTD (working team dog) title.
qA lifetime spent on breeding this wonderful dog with dedication and passion has resulted in successes and recognition. One in particular makes me very proud; a recent letter of appreciation and congratulations from the legendary American breeder Robert Zoller, founder of the renowned Husky-Pak which represents more than just a mile-stone for the breed.
As Vice-President of the CIRN (Club Italiano Razze Nordiche, Italian Nordic Breeds Club) and President of the SERAM (Selezione di Razza Alaskan Malamute, Alaskan Malamute Breed Selection) it is my goal to disseminate information in the best possible way about Nordic Dogs in general and Alaskan Malamutes in particular which are hardly yet known to the general public. Let me quote Natalie Norris one of the first fanciers of the Alaskan Malamute and one of the best known female sled dog racers.
“The Malamute is too fine and distinguished a breed to be changed into anything but what centuries of adaptability to its environment have produced. Our efforts should be to breed not only beautiful Malamutes, but as good specimens physically as were originally found in Alaska. It isn’t a question of breeding a better Malamute, but as good as Alaskan Malamute.”