By Alex Datu
“To be a judge in dog competition, you have to breed at least three champions. Then you take the written and practicum exams. If you pass both, you get a probationary status of which you must judge two competitions before you get a regular status. Then you must judge five times in your country, before you are invited to judge international. It takes 10 years before you qualify to become all breeds judge.” – William Thio
Aside from being a newscaster of UNTV (Why News?) and GNN, only few people knew that former movie actor William Thio raises and trains dogs for international competitions. And the nice thing about this is that, he just got his license (only last year), to judge Pomeranian breed competitions issued by the Philippine Canine Club, Inc.
As of now, William feels great and overwhelmed because his current Kennel breed named Kenzo, just won a couple of days ago (September 9) in the European Junior Champion Thai Silk in Oslo, Norway. There were over a thousand dogs who joined, but he got the grand trophy.
“As of now, I’m not raising too much Pomeranians anymore. I shifted to my other love, that is Pekingese,” William relates. “My top Pekingese dog, Hard Act, won the “Best In Show” (2013) in Harsburg, Pennsylvania (USA). That’s why up to now he is my favorite dog.”
His famous dog, Pierce, also won in the Eukanoba National Championship in 2010. He claims that he won in America, Thailand and the Philippines.
“Pierce won a lot here, he’s the number two dog in all breeds. He was the local breed Pomeranian and that’s how I got started, ‘yun para bang the reward in breeding good dogs,” he shares.
Other awards William’s dogs have won include the “Best In Show” at the Tripletown, America in 2013 won by Hard Act (Pekingese). Also another one won “Best In Show” in Quinta Queen Sirikit Coup in Thailand (Pierce), and the third was from the Europe Dogs Show in Oslo, Norway, won by Kenzo.
“I must say na sa ngayon, hindi lang hundreds ang napanalunang awards ng aking mga aso, sa iba’t-ibang category, but umabot na ng a thousand already. But please don’t get me wrong, there’s no cash prize here, it’s mere passion. I just like to see my dogs win. I like to be able to create that I like and seeing it being appreciated by many people, as well. And also, understanding the hard work we’ve been through is more of a great satisfaction,” he says.
As a growing-up kid, William admits that he did not have a real tangible talent like singing, dancing or do painting, but he realized he has time of conditioning dogs for competition, understanding the nutrition and the grooming requirements. That’s how he started through selective breeding.
“Like knowing the Pekingese, how to line-breed, how to outcross. By knowing these, you can very much predict kung anong magiging itsura noong specimen, anong magiging kulay, at kung ano ang magiging movement and the type of what you want to breed,” he says.
At this point, William admits that he has already sold dogs with more than a million pesos.
“I don’t sell puppies,” he stresses. “I sell them only when they are champions. Right now, I’m going to start on the younger generation, and I always have this stuff , like a 24-hour hair conditioning, exercises, and my handlers come from different countries to do the grooming. But they don’t really stay here. They go to different parts of the world to compete.
“My family loves dogs, but as pets. Pero ako masasabi kong ‘baliw’ ako (laughs!) I would say, kabaliwan talaga ito kasi hindi naman ito ginagawa ng ordinaryong tao. Kabaliwan forever, my Kennel dog is already known and for as long as I live, this will be my commitment,” he quips.