I’m Lynn Partridge of Alura Italian Greyhounds. I’m a hobby and preservationist breeder, and a proud Breeder/Owner Handler from Greenville, South Carolina. I’m 55 years old, and a grandmother of five. My “real” job is a long-term care nurse. (And yes, my hair is naturally curly.)
- When were you first introduced to the Italian Greyhound? To the sport? Lynn Partridge: I saw my first Italian Greyhound in 1995… the angels sang and I fell instantly in love with the breed.It took until November 2013 before I got my first Italian Greyhound, and my empty nest syndrome was instantly cured! Then, I quickly realized that I needed another IG a couple months later. We had just moved to Greenville, South Carolina, from Cincinnati the year before, and all I did was go to work and remodel our new home. My husband, Scott, had been encouraging me to “get out and meet new people… do something fun… find a new hobby.” So, I figured I’d give the “dog show thing” a try since I’d shown livestock and horses from age 9 into my 30s. Memorial Day 2014 was my first time in the ring and I haven’t stopped since. I guess my hubby has learned to be careful what he wishes for because, sometimes, I’m gone showing for two or three weeks at a time. He is a very supportive enabler of my dog show addiction and is proud of the quick success we have enjoyed with our dogs.During COVID, all I did was work my real job, as a nurse, since the shows were shut down. It was in those few months that I realized how important dog showing is to me. Although I was caring for COVID patients (and yes, that was important) I didn’t like being just a “regular” or “normal” person. Dog showing makes me much more interesting.
- How many years as an Owner Handler? Lynn Partridge: As a Breeder? Seven years… and an Owner Handler from the start in May 2014. Breeding shortly followed in November 2015.We’ve been wildly successful with only seven Alura IG litters to date, producing multiple Best in Show, Best in Specialty Show, Best in Show Owner-Handled and Group winners, #1 ranked Male IG, #1 ranked IG All-Breed, Top 3 IGs, a couple of AKC National Championship Puppy & Junior Stakes Best of Breed winners, and a VERY THRILLING Best of Breed win in Orlando for the televised Group. Got Select Dog at Westminster 2019. At our IGCA National Specialty Shows, starting in 2017, with five Alura-bred dogs, we’ve had a Top 20 winner, Sweeps winner, Best Bred-By Exhibitor, Winners Dog, Reserve Winners Dog, Select Dog, and an Award of Merit. Westminster 2021 yielded ribbon winners for Best of Opposite, Select Bitch, and an Award of Merit. Every single one of those achievements was entirely OWNER-HANDLED!
- Have you attended any show handling classes? Lynn Partridge: Attended handling seminars ? I picked the hardest breed imaginable to show. For those not familiar with Italian Greyhounds, let’s just say they’re, ahhh… “sensitive.” I’ve never attended a handling seminar. At the very beginning, I got some handling lessons from my friend and longtime Italian Greyhound person, Trevear Butler. I’ve been ringside mentored by pro handler and IG breeder, Harry Bennett, and I’m always advised, encouraged, and guided by my dear friend, Lois March, who helped me get into the breed.
- Have you found virtual learning tools to be helpful? Classes? Videos? Websites? Social Media? Lynn Partridge: All of these avenues have been helpful to me about breeding and health. Social media has been vital to me for networking with other IG people.
- Do you compete in the NOHS? Are rankings important to you? Lynn Partridge: Yes and yes. My current Special has been the #1 ranked Owner-Handled IG for the last several months. I hope to keep her there through October.
- How important is the Bred-By Class to you? How important are Specialties? Lynn Partridge: In our breed, the Bred-By Class is tough. It’s the most prestigious class to win at our National Specialty because those are the pick of the litter puppies. Specialties, especially the National, are extremely important to me. The National Specialty is the highlight and the most anticipated event of the year for me… I’m like a 5-year-old kid—on Christmas morning—hopped up on sugar during that week! It’s where I can meet Facebook friends, sit down with old friends, and mingle with IG enthusiasts from all over.
- Is it challenging to compete with your breed as a Breeder/Owner Handler? Are you intimidated by the professional handlers? By the judges? Lynn Partridge: No. Not a challenge or intimidating for me. (I’m a Leo.) Our breed is primarily all owner-handled because pro handlers find Italian Greyhounds to be a pain in the neck to show because they are clingy, needy, warmth-seeking, quirky weirdos that need to be with their humans constantly. That’s a HUGE advantage for those us who saw that pup draw its first breath of air. Now, with that being said, not all Breeder/Owner Handlers can present their dogs in the ring with the ease and confidence that the pros have. Those of us who have mastered showmanship at a pro level rise to the top and make showing IGs look easy. We know every nuance of that dog.
- Who have been your mentors as an Owner Handler?As a Breeder? Lynn Partridge: My mentors in every aspect have been Lois March of Marchwind IGs for allowing me to have great show and foundation bitches, Violet and Candy, to get a great start. Along with Lois, my very dear friends and IG breeders, Diana Chapman of Wynson IGs, Fran Matron of Marlord’s IGs, and Richard Valentini of Valhassar IGs have sat at shows or kitchen islands talking dogs with me for countless hours. I benefit from their combined hundreds of years (and dogs) of collective knowledge, and I soak in their every word. The beauty of our friendship is that we can talk frankly, respectfully, and honestly together, and offer constructive criticism and praise without hurt feelings or jealousy. We have become family. Sometimes we agree to disagree, but we ALWAYS cheer for each other and celebrate each other’s success. They help me when I stumble and encourage me every step of the way. And, most importantly, they have fast-tracked my Italian Greyhound education. I can’t imagine how hard everything would be without these relationships. Great mentors are the most vital key to success in the dog world.
- How important is the Breeder/Owner Handler to the future of the dog sport? Lynn Partridge: I’m still relatively new to the fancy and don’t know how it was before, but it would seem to me that the Breeder/Owner Handler element is the backbone of the sport, from my perspective. If you took all of us out of the show building, it would be practically empty. Some handlers, and maybe some judges, may look down on us as peasants. Handling is their job… but Breeder/Owner Handlers make it our PASSION! We eat, breath, and live for our dogs… pouring over genetics and pedigrees, planning for future generations, studying our breed in hopes of making it better, delivering each pup, and watching them grow in hopes that they will be the best yet.
- What are your goals as an Owner Handler? As a Breeder? Is there a milestone that has eluded you?Lynn Partridge: My OH goal is to finish the NOHS as the #1 IG at the end of the year. My immediate goal as a Breeder is to combine the bloodlines of my two foundation bitches together and see how that looks. (I’m currently awaiting two early August litters with these combos.)A milestone is to someday win BOB at our National Specialty and at Westminster.
- Is there a funny story that you can share about your experiences as a Breeder/Owner Handler?
Lynn Partridge: Due to the COVID shutdown, I did some serious driving to attend shows far beyond my normal home region, resulting in my lead foot getting me not one, but two (TWO!!) PRICEY SPEEDING TICKETS in August 2020. I also had a couple dogs “trapped” with my co-owner/co-breeder in Canada for a few months. She finally managed to sell one of her kidneys (wink, wink) to secure an animal transporter to get them across the Canadian border bridge in Buffalo, New York, for me to pick-up. On my very long, 12 hour drive home the following day, my supportive “dog show husband” sent me this text: “Netflix contacted me about movie rights… something about Sandra Bullock playing you… it’s about you driving across multiple states, committing moving violations on a hot dog show run… as a notorious “coyote,” moving Italian Greyhounds illegally across the Canadian border… leading the FBI on a wild lure coursing chase across the country… collecting ribbons as you go.”
We eat, breath, and live for our dogs… pouring over genetics and pedigrees, planning for future generations, studying our breed in hopes of making it better, delivering each pup, and watching them grow in hopes that they will be the best yet.