This story was updated Feb. 10 to correct the accomplishments of GrandCru Giaconda, who has won 16 best of show awards.
Bluffton’s champion greyhound can’t stop winning.
Melanie Steele’s greyhound GrandCru Giaconda opened 2016 by winning best of breed at two dog shows, running her total to 16 best of breed awards and 58 hound group wins since she won best of breed at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2015.
On Monday, Gia will return to the dog show at Madison Square Garden to defend her best of breed title and compete in the hound group, Steele said Tuesday.
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Gia will be joined at Westminster by Mack, an 11-month-old Lagotto Romagnolo puppy who was named a grand champion in Atlanta last week, Steele said. Mack is one of nine Lagotto Romagnolo dogs competing Tuesday after the American Kennel Club recognized the breed last year.
Steele got Mack from a breeder in the Netherlands she had connected with through her greyhounds, she said. Lagotto Romagnolo dogs have a long history in Europe and are connected to many water retriever breeds, but are rarely used in that role.
Instead, Lagotto Romagnolos are known as Italian Truffle dogs, using their powerful noses to search out truffles, Steele said. Lagotto Romagnolos replaced pigs in the search for truffles, since pigs would find them and eat them, she said.
Steele said in December that 2016 would likely be Gia’s last year competing, but she said Tuesday she hasn’t decided whether this year’s Westminster will be Gia’s last.
As to when the wins will end, no one knows.