This is the 4th in our MEMBER PROFILE series. We asked Virginia Dowty to tell us her story.
What is your interest in Bolognese?
I enjoy breeding and showing Bolognese and have for the past 15 years had dogs in partnership firstly with Marguerite Seeberger in Switzerland and then with Kathryn Begg and recently with Adam Davidson as well. It makes sense to pool resources and experience. I am particularly interested in increasing the gene pool and ensuring that the dogs we have are healthy and happy. None of mine are caged or penned they have free roaming of over an acre of a secure garden. I also am compiling a book on the breed which is mainly statistics of the breed in the UK going back to when they were first introduced to the UK.
Why are Bolognese the breed for you?
The size is perfect and each one is unique. Not one dog is the same, they all have their distinct characters.
When did you first get involved in the breed?
Over 25 years ago. Initially the breed wasn’t even on the Import Register, so interests in showing the breed only came later. I am the longest/oldest breeder still breeding and showing in the UK.
Tell us a little about your dogs?
I have had Top Bolognese since 2008 and Top Puppy since 2010 and Top Breeder for the last 5 years, including in partnership with others. I fell in love with a gorgeous Bolognese dog over 16 years ago called Lenny Valasske Hory and was fortunate to become co-owner. He won BOB at Crufts, my Veteran bitch Audrey won World Show Veteran Winner in 2015 and European Veteran Winner in 2016, Kathy’s and my homebred Clarchien Happy won Best Junior at The European show 2016. Several years ago Kathy and I decided to import some dogs from the Little White Wonder Kennel, incl one outstanding dog Little White Wonder Othello Matteo (Otti) who was Top Puppy Joint (all breeds) in 2015 and then in 2016 he became Top Rare Breed in the UK.
What is your background in dogs?
My first dog was a Cavalier in 1971, then I got in to Bernese Mountain Dogs when they were still considered a Rare Breed in the UK. I made up the first ever dual UK and Irish Ch. As I got older I realised that they were going to be too big for me to manage and also very difficult in terms of getting on and off the Isle of Man to shows and they have very large litters! I actually originally wanted a Coton de Tulear but at the time there were none in the UK and so my late husband bought me a Bolognese from one of Liz Stannard’s first litters. I was hooked and have not looked back. I also have Australian Silky Terriers, though my daughter takes the lead in showing and breeding them. I am Chairperson of the Australian Silky Terrier Club.
Pro-members in their second year of membership are invited to take part. Check out the other profiles in the series