Having had on good authority that Orlando's Dante is considered amongst the most beautiful Mastini in the world at this present moment, I was anxious to make the two-hour drive to see him in reality.

We met at Orlando's restaurant, a family-run business, and were immediately invited to take lunch before taking a short drive to the home of the Di Palma Mastini.

Di Palma

On arrival, I could hear beautiful Opera music, which Orlando plays for the dogs when he is away at work. He claims this has a very calming influence and for sure, the dogs were all completely relaxed and happy in their environment! The kennels were immaculate with cooling fans going into each to combat the heat and free-running areas backing onto a large fruit orchard.

Kim Slater, UK author of article with Orlando Di Palma.

Orlando is originally from the Amalfi region and was brought up around dogs. His Uncle was an owner of Mastini and when Orlando was 17, was gifted his first dog. He is quick to stress that Mastino is for him a passionate hobby and that his business is the restaurant that brought him from Amalfi to the North of Italy. He breeds infrequently and shows occasionally, but both have unfortunately been impeded by a recent bout of ill health. Thankfully, he is now slowly recovering.


Italian Champion Dante di Palma Orlando at three years of age.

First, we were proudly presented with the beautiful Dante who had been running free on the grounds when we arrived. I was not disappointed! What a handsome and complete Mastino he is. At just turned 3 yrs, he possesses a very powerful body, is 75cm tall, with great bone and feet. This is complimented by this truly beautiful head. Masculine, clean, and not overdone, particularly in the short dewlap.

Italian Champion Dante di Palma Orlando (photo is 2, 3 years after this article was written).

Orlando with his Italian Champion Dante di Palma Orlando (photo is 2, 3 years after this article was written).

Sculpture head of Italian Champion Dante di Palma Orlando.

Perhaps the most important title a Mastini can ever have is that of Italian Champion of Reproduction, a copy of ENCI title for Dante.

He is a son of Orlando's own female, Belinda, a daughter of his own Leone (not to confuse with DSV), and Illimani Salvadore, a son of Ida.

Belinda di Palma Orlando, mother of Italian Champion Dante di Palma Orlando.

Illimani Salvador, here one year of age sire to Italian Champion Dante di Palma Orlando.

Orlando is an advocate of outcross breeding to try to achieve a healthier but still highly typical and beautiful Mastino. He stated he has great respect and admiration for many of the breeders who line and inbreed, but says for him, it is not the way he wishes to go.


Camilla, sister to Dante from the same father and the litter sister to Belinda

Camilla di Palma Orlando, photo Vicenzo Tenga.

Finally, we viewed a female called Eva which was for me very interesting. Just 12 months old, she is tall, and elegant with a beautiful construction. I was told by Orlando that a very famous commercial breeder had visited a few weeks prior to enquiring about taking a stud from Dante, had spotted this female, and immediately offered to buy her. But was informed she was not for sale. Orlando intends to show her at the TMQ in September along with Dante and I am quite sure she will take some beating!

Eva di Palma Orlando (here at an older age, not 12 months as described by the author).

Many thanks to Orlando Di Palma for his great hospitality and for taking the time to show me his dogs and I wish him continued improvement in his health and much success with his Mastini. He is a small, but significant jewel in Italy's crown!

Bravo, Orlando!

Orlando, and Leone!