Sitting Pretty: Rare Breeds to Strut their Stuff at Annual Dog Show

Bill Thomas is used to the attention his dogs attract whenever they’re out with them. The large, rugged-looking animals with long heads and wiry coats trace their roots to ancient Italy, where they’re still used as all-purpose hunting dogs. But they’re not often seen in the U.S. and weren’t recognized by the American Kennel Club purebred registry until 2000. Thomas fell in love with the sporting breed about 15 years ago, after a reunion with the best man from his wedding, who brought along his dog.

“In walked this goofy looking, ragtag dog and I said ‘What on earth is that dog?’ It turned out to be a spinone Italiano,” said Thomas.

He and his wife, Bev, began researching the breed named after its coat — spinone means “very wiry” in Italian — and decided it was a perfect fit. Now they breed the dogs at their Grand Bay Kennels in Traverse City and show them at dog shows around the country, where they’re always noticed. Click here for the rest of the story.

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