On the heights of Cahors, at Ramonets, this is where Albin Roudayre created his boarding house for dogs and cats. But not only. It is also in this place that he raises puppies. Not just any: lagotto romagnolo. Truffle dogs.
Luna runs, sniffs, searches, scratches until she finds the grail: the truffle. This Tuesday, Albin Roudayre, dog breeder, demonstrates digging at the truffle market in Lalbenque. 7 years old, Luna is not just any breed, but a lagotto romagnolo, the only species recognized as truffle for 3 to 4 years. “Is it as good as the pig?”, we ask in the audience, amazed by the performance of the dog who found the little hidden truffles in no time. For Albin, yes. “A pig gets big quickly. If it wants to eat the truffle, it’s more complicated to stop it,” he explains. Evidence to support that it’s easier with a dog: Luna tries to eat her discovery, but is quickly stopped by her master.
From 2 months the puppy is trained
If the lagotto romagnolo is the only truffle dog, it is not for nothing. “They have the natural qualities for it. They are motivated, persistent and they like to search and scratch,” says Albin. Saint-Hubert, for example, loves to search and is often used to find people. What he hates above all: scratching. So we forget the truffle.
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Albin has been a breeder for 14 years. This year he had two litters of 15 puppies. The females were already reserved, even before they were born. The little males are still looking for a family. For mating, Albin pairs his females with males from other breeders. It allows him to change.
On the heights of Cahors, at the guesthouse Perles du Quercy, the breeder has special reasons for the puppies. In the first park, the little animals go there when they are between 8 weeks and 3 months old. This is where the training begins. “I make holes to hide the truffles in,” explains the breeder. Always go through the game and reward the dog with a kibble when the truffle is found. From 2 months, the puppy is properly trained and ready to go to the truffle fields. Be careful not to look anywhere: everyone is at home.
Find the right puppy
Buying a puppy is not easy. Here, everyone is trained to look for truffles, but some go as pets. “You shouldn’t choose your puppy randomly. People go for affect, they say whoever comes to see them is in love. Not all the time, it’s often that it’s the most sociable, the most dynamic. It will not necessarily correspond to their sofa lifestyle, but rather to someone who is really looking for a truffle dog”, says Albin. You really need to find the right puppy. And above all, pay the price: a trained dog can be sold for up to 1,600 euros.
The breeder goes to the Lalbenque truffle market every Tuesday to demonstrate digging. If it is Luna, the grandmother, who makes the star, Albin brings puppies. History to crack a passerby or two, but especially to make known its brood.