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Cretan Hound Gives Greece Another 1st at World Dog Show

Cretan Hound
“Peristeris” in Geneva with Cretan Hound President Nikos Anetakis. Credit: Nikos Anetakis

A Cretan Hound (Kritikos Lagonikos) named “Peristeris” just cleared a massive hurdle for his ancient breed to be recognized internationally.

By Phil Butler

Competing at the FCI Federation Cynologique Internationale World Dog Show 2023 in Geneva, the hunter from Chania made Crete and Greece proud by becoming the first of his ancient breed to participate in the World Morphology Exhibition 2023.

“Peristeris,” a male Kritikos Lagonikos owned by Giannis Perrakis from Chania, not only participated, he took home several coveted prizes from the exhibition in Switzerland. Handled by the President of the Cretan Hound Club in Heraklion, Nikos Anetakis, “Peristeris” was awarded a “1st,” Best Adult Male, Best of Breed, and Geneva World Cup Winner 2023 by the renowned Lithuanian Judge Ramune Kazlauskaite.

The Cretan Hound dates back almost 6,000 years

For those unfamiliar, the Cretan Hound is a primitive breed with a line that dates back almost 6,000 years. Coveted and bred in secret and seclusion on Crete over the centuries, this rare combination of sight and scent hound developed unmatched agility and endurance in the harsh environment of Greece’s largest island. Known by enthusiasts as the “Living Legend,” Kritikos Lagonikos is the finest hare hunter in the world.

Nikos Anetakis told us about the overall experience in Geneva and added some interesting anecdotes. Reaching the hotel after the stressful scramble for planes and so forth, the Cretan Hound breeder was very impressed with Geneva. He offered this:

“The first-night walking Peristeris in Geneva, I was amazed by the purebred dogs walking the street with their owners. At first, I thought it was because of the World Dog Show, but that wasn’t it. There were also families and ordinary citizens of the country walking with their dogs. I didn’t expect circumstances and people to help us so much to release this stress.”

Cretan hound
“Peristeris” in the field back home in Crete. Credit: Giannis Perrakis

During the exhibition, “Peristeris” impressed the judges and spectators with the good manners, calm, and intelligence the breed is well-known for. Giannis Perrakis, who could not travel to Geneva, said this about his dog’s performance and what it means to KL owners.

“I was pleased about this success and congratulated Nikos for his efforts to highlight the breed. The journey to international recognition continues; this is just the beginning.”

Sadly, Europe’s oldest hunting breed has yet to be recognized internationally. One of the rarest breeds in the world, the dogs were recognized by the Kennel Club of Greece (KOE) in 2003. They were subsequently recognized in Germany, where they are coveted for their unique capabilities at hunting and agility. This World Dog Show showing is a huge step toward this primitive breed being recognized internationally.

Anetakis, his colleague Charis Arvanitis, and “Peristeris” were helped to appear in Geneva by a score of organizations and individuals, including the Kennel Club of Greece (KOE), The First Hunting Federation of Crete & Dodecanese (AKOKD), the Cretan Hound Club, and many more.

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