From the Arctic to the Adriatic Sea
(An interview with breeder Giuseppe Biagiotti, published in "The Alaskan Malamute Annual 1997").
From the expanses of snow of the Arctic to the temperate climate of the Adriatic Sea, and more precisely of Fano, the step is not so long as one may think. In this town of the Marche there is one of the most important and esteemed breeding centers of Alaskan Malamutes of all Europe: "Del Biagio Selection Center", situated a few steps from the Sea and not far from the Appennini. I am in front of the entrance gate. I ring the bell and I am soon welcomed by a howling of Malamutes. As soon as I go in, three wonderful exemplars come towards me, waving their tails as a mark of joy. The green frame in which the breeding is situated is fascinating: a lawn of olive-trees surrounds the whole perimeter of the house, and maritime pines over the kennels guarantee a very good shelter from the sun, giving an always fresh temperature.
I have arrived a bit before time, and I do not find Mr.Biagiotti at home; his wife tells me that he has gone out, to the sorrounding fields, to train his dogs, as they are going to compete in the Sleddog Championship: they have had the title of Italian Champions for this sport since 1993. This makes me understand that Mr. Biagiotti has understood, and totally lives the life of the Malamute as a dog for work, company and exposition. Just a few minutes and he comes back... He soon comes and greets me: he is an extremely extroverted and hearty person, and the atmosphere set up between us is soon friendly. He goes with determination towards the breeding shed and, without stopping for a single moment, he shows me all his jewels of different ages and colours, lodged inside clean, airy cages. Then I go into his office, a large room with glass showcases filled with cups, trophies, and cockades from everywhere in the World. Each centimeter of the walls is covered with pictures, all of them rigorously of Alaskan Malamutes, which, with taste and chronological order, represent the dog-loving life of his breeding.
If you look carefully, they also represent the evolution of the breed. At this point I ask him: What can induce someone to become a breeder, and how does the passion for a kind of dog arise? Mr. Biagiotti sits in his armchair and begins: "Fourteen years ago I went to a dog show for the first time, and I was struck by this marvellous breed unknown to me: a powerful, well-built dog, with a deep chest, solid body and a thick tail carried like a waving plume. Its eyes, ears and snout form a "tableau vivant" of this dog. Returning home I started my search to obtain an exemplar. Some months later a beautiful female arrived from Virginia, and with her I started to take part in shows: out of 48 shows I won 47 first prizes. Since then, caught up by enthusiasm, I had a male sent from Maryland, then other females, until I had various bloodlines to work with. Without exaggerating, I can say that my life has radically changed. As well as importing various exemplars, my aim was to obtain as much information as possible, reading specialized magazines and books, talking and exchanging ideas and sensations with people more experienced than me.
I grew as a man and a breeder, together with my dogs, and with them I shared the first great joys, but also the innumerable and unavoidable disappointments. It is from these failures that the energy, the will to go on and not to stop sprang, trasforming the passion of the beginning into real love for this breed. The knowledge acquired during this firm process of learning has led me to attain good results, at Italian, European and World level. A reason for being proud is having obtained such results with 'dogs produced by me' after a long, careful and scrupulous work of selection which lasted many years". I interrupt his long chat asking him which dog gave him the best satisfaction at show. "Surely during these last years I have obtained the greatest satisfaction in particular thanks to a dog, ROYAL STAR Del Biagio, born on July 8th 1994, the son of Ch. Axel Del Biagio and Atka Del Biagio. I can state that I am very proud of that exemplar, as no Alaskan Malamute produced in Europe has ever achieved these exceptional results in just 3 years of shows:
Three World Champion titles, five Best in Show, Italian champion, international champion, Puerto Rican champion, American champion in only four shows, Top dog 95/96 etc... The latest and most prestigious success is the one of the American National Speciality of Alaskan Malamute, the only one all year round with the participation of all the most qualified American breeders (379 entries), with 90 Best of Breed. There Royal Star Del Biagio has obtained a very important aknowledgement, never given to European breeders: The first "Award of Merit" (a special award that judges can give only at National Competitions to the dog they consider of the same quality as the dog that is elected Best of Breed). (ndr) Besides: Croatian Ch., American Ch., Okv-Bundessieger Ch., Winner Bob Eurodog Show Courtrai, Club CH., Winner Bob Stockolm. As vice-president of the Italian Club of Northern Breeds (C.I.R.N.) my first aim will be to spread the knowledge, the reliability and the sweetness of Northern dogs, in particular of Alaskan Malamutes, which are still unknown to the vast public." With this last sentence our chat comes to an end, the gate opens but before leaving I give a last glance at those marvellous Malamutes.