Interview with Gabriella Zaro

Gabriella Zaro

Gabriella Zaro is an Italian Shar Pei breeder, her kennel “Shar Pei DelPeodoro” is registered with the FCI. She is Vice President of the Kennel Club “Gruppo Cinofilo Isontino”, founding member of the “Shar Pei Club Italiano” (SPCI) and a member of the “Chinese Shar pei Club America” (CSPCA).


You have a long history with the Shar Pei. Could you tell us how and when you got in contact with the breed?

Well, I bought my first Shar Pei, a brush coat cream boy, in November 1991. At the time Shar Pei were not that common in Italy. I saw my first Shar Pei in the shop where I worked in 1989. It was a black horse coat and I liked him. He captured my attention. When I arrived back home I talked with my future husband and showed him a picture of this breed, I looked up in an encyclopedia of dogs. After some years my husband showed me an advertisement, that someone was selling Shar pei puppies not so far away from us. Immediately, we both decided to call and to see this litter. Obviously we came back home with an almost 6 months old boy. He was our very first Shar Pei called Gialou’s Pompeo. In 1993 we were able to start showing him, because the breed was not recognized by the FCI before. He achieved  several titles, as Italian, International, Slovenian and Croatian Champion. After some years we decided to add a girl to our family as well, her name was Tia Maria, a fawn horse coat.

How many years have you been breeding Shar Pei?

Gabriella Zaro
source: Gabriella Zaro

I had my first litter in 1996. So right now, I am breeding for  23 years. I do not breed many litters, all together there were are 36 until this day. I prefer going slow and check over time what came out of my  mating decisions. I registered my Kennel name “Del Peodoro “in 2000. After my first horse coat puppy I fell in love with horse coat Shar Pei. I have a little soft spot for them! I attended several American Nationals Specialty shows, and I imported some dogs from the USA. The first one was a black horse coat boy called Houston (Wonder’s Takin It N’Stride). Then came Whiskey,  another corse coat boy (Elite’s Whiskey Bid’Niz), as well as some brush coat Shar Pei from Good Fortune Kennel.

What do you like most about the breed?

It is difficult to say, because I like everything. But if I had to choose a single treat, I love their the unique silhouette, the muscular body, the expression, and the loyal and reserved temper, the short harsh coat, ... and I should to stop here because I honestly like every aspect.

Can you tell us about the history of Shar Pei in Italy? When and where did the first Shar Pei come from in Italy?

Gabriella Zaro
source: Gabriella Zaro

From what I know, the first Shar Pei were imported into Italy in or around 1980.  I am not sure who was first, but surely among the first was Miss Isabella Pizzamiglio. She imported a Shar Pei from Hong Kong. The breeder was Mr. Matgo Law. Then there also was Miss Theresa Holland Bucci . She had a dog from the USA. Some new breeders start to establish, in the late 2000’s some of us start to try to build a Club for the breed. On June 24th 2003 the Official Shar pei Club Italiano was founded.

The founding members were: Me Zaro Gabriella, Becheroni Oretta, Renzoni Marco, Soranzio Furio, Galluccio Carmelina, Massetani Walter and Holland Bucci Theresa.

What do you find the most challenging aspect with breeding Shar Pei?

The big challenge for me is to find a good balance between breeding a healthy dog as my first priority, but which also fits the standard; a complete package. This is not a easy challenge.

Besides breeding, you also like to exhibit your dogs in Dog Shows. How important do you find showing dogs and what effect can it have for breeding?

Gabriella Zaro
source: Gabriella Zaro

Yes I like to show my dogs and surely think that is is important to show. First, because a show judge (who supposedly knows the standard) is able to judge, evaluate and reward a dog’s features and how it fits the standard in every aspect. Although judges are unable to judge health aspects of their subjects, the judges evaluations establish homogeneity in a breed. This prevents breeders from going her or his own way with their own point of view.
Second, I like showing dogs, because it is a good way to put us breeders work in comparison with each other. I showed almost all of my own dogs myself,  and had a quiet nice time. We achieved a lot of titles each one, as well as a WDS champion and Best of Breed with “Zinka” and “Something To Talk About Del Peodoro”  a horse coat girl who lived in Russia. Then some Best of Breed’s and Best of Show’s at our Raduno in Italy with my absolute favorite soul-mate heart dog “Trinitoluene T.N.T Del Peodoro”, a horse coat girl I  called “Trilly”, who made Veteran World winner in Milan 2015 as well.

How important is it to you to always have the breeds’ standard in mind when breeding?

Having the standard in mind is always important. It especially helps us to stay on the right track. Sometimes we may lose pigment, harshness of coat, etc… The standard is a good tool to keep us focused, to try to work for and breed dogs as possibly close to the standard as we are able to do.

An experienced breeder once told me that the quality of a dog should be measured by the puppies he or she is having. Do you agree with this statement?

Gabriella Zaro
source: Gabriella Zaro

I Agree. If a mating results in puppies which all carry the best features of their parents, those parents are of high quality. Quantity of puppies or mateings is not a factor.

What are your hopes and wishes for the breeds future?

My hope and wish is that our beloved breed can start to be become healthier. I think that a stepping back and reevaluating  will be good, as we have new scientific tests. Although some of these tests have clear yes-or-no results, others are more possibilistic and need interpretation. Yet they enable breeders to make better choices ensuring the complete package phenotype, temper, etc. Also, these new tests are an addition to the established ones. Further, hip, elbow, patella and cardiorenal syndrome post mortems may also  help in my opinion.

It would make me happy if the standard becomes a bit more accurate in some points.

Thank you Gabriella Zaro for this interview.

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