Claudia Waller Orlandi, PhD
and Guillermo Gonzalez Suarez

Claudia pictured
above with a
Topsfield puppy.

Claudia and husband, Guillermo
González Suárez (Lebrera
Basset Hounds) with their
Topsfield-Lebrera pack in Spain.

Topsfield Basset Hounds is nestled on 200 acres in northern Vermont and was founded by Claudia and her late husband, Dom Orlandi. Both Dom’s and Claudia’s involvement in owning and showing various breeds of dogs and horses began when they were both teenagers. Dom showed Dobermans and Dalmatians in the 1950’s and Claudia showed a St Bernard and competed in Junior Showmanship in the 1960’s.

Claudia and her St Bernard, the future Best in Show winner, Ch Bowser Waller (Waller is Claudia’s maiden name), are pictured right, winning the First Company Governor’s Foot Guard Jr Showmanship competition in 1962. The judge was Basset Hound breeder, Howard Nygood.

Perhaps it was fate that almost 25 years later she herself fell in love with the Basset Hound breed, with which Howard and his wife, Blackie, were also involved!

Michele was an excellent mentor in the fabulous world of the hunting Basset. When she and her hounds relocated to Maine in the early 1990’s, Claudia and Dom decided to breed Basset Hounds for the show ring. It was at this time they chose the prefix “Topsfield”, hoping to convey their goal of producing hounds that are capable of being “tops” in any field of endeavor, from the hunting field to the show ring.

After being smitten with a Basset Hound at a horse show in 1985, Claudia and Dom purchased Salmon Brook Sweet Emma from Michele Maulucci’s Salmon Brook kennel in Vermont. Although she worked with show bloodlines, Michele’s passion was pack hunting. Emma, who proved to have a good nose, soon formed part of the Salmon Brook pack along with several other Bassets the Orlandi’s subsequently purchased from the Timber Ridge pack of Maryland, one of which was CH Strathalbyn Beguiling (pictured right).

Topsfield has produced over 180 champions and has won over 140 Bests in Show and more than 500 Group Firsts. Topsfield Bassets have won 4 Hound Dog of the Year Awards for most group firsts in a calendar year and at the time of this writing, they have been Number One All Breed Basset Hound for 17 out of the last 21 years. Topsfield hounds hold a number of breed records.

Ch Topsfield Bumper Cars, CD, ROM, Winner of 45 Bests in Show, is the top Group Winning Basset Hound in breed history with 250 group firsts.

Ch Topsfield-Vision Silver Noodles, CD, BN, RA, NAP, NJP, CGC, TDI, sired by Ch Topsfield Beethoven and bred by Nancy Richmond, Lisa Brackett, Anne Testoni and Bjorn Zetterlund, is the top winning bitch in breed history.

Ch Topsfield Jingle Bells, ROM, is the top producing Basset Hound dam in breed history with 21 titled offspring.

Topsfield has produced numerous dual champions and, along with Nancy Richmond, of Vision Bassets, bred the 2021 Absolute winner at the BHCA National Field Trial with subsequent dual champion, Topsfield-Lebrera Vision Gone With the Wind (Scarlett) (pictured left). Pictured below is DC Topsfield-Lebrera Vision Goodbyye Mr Chips, a litter brother to Scarlett.

Claudia’s enthusiasm for breeding is matched only by her passion for teaching and working with other breeders. She is a lay expert and her ABC’s of Dog Breeding and Practical Canine Anatomy & Movement Home Study programs, which have been sponsored by the American Kennel Club, are based on the enthusiastic response to her educational seminars on breeding. Knowledge, coupled with integrity and honesty about health problems, are cornerstones of her breeding and teaching philosophy.

For many years Claudia chaired the Basset Hound Club of America’s Judges’ and Breeders’ Education Committees for which she developed an educational concept called Basset Hound University, whose course designs are available for parent clubs to use as templates

She has spoken at over 150 dog clubs and AKC/CHF Breeder’s Symposia and was honored by Dog Fancy Magazine (March 2015) as one of the “45 People Who Changed the Dog World” by helping to improve dog breeding and making canine genetics easier to understand. She conducts the following seminars: The ABC’s of Dog Breeding; Practical Canine Anatomy & Movement; Hands-On Angle Evaluation in Dogs and the Official Judges’ Education Seminar on the Basset Hound.

Claudia was honored by Dog Fancy Magazine (March 2015) as one of the “45 People Who Changed the Dog World” by helping to improve dog breeding and making canine genetics easier to understand.

She judges Basset Hounds, Dachshunds, PBGV’s, Beagles, Basenjis, Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Junior Showmanship.

Claudia is the 2009 American Kennel Club Breeder of the Year, a 2009 Dogs in Review Outstanding Breeder nominee and the 2018 American Kennel Club Lifetime Achievement Award Winner in Conformation.

Claudia was a 2009 Dogs in Review Outstanding Breeder nominee.

Claudia was honored to be named as the 2009 AKC Breeder of the Year which was awarded during the 2009 AKC Eukanuba Championships.

In 2009, Claudia was named the AKC Breeder of the Year. She received the
AKC Lifetime Achievement Award in Conformation in 2018.

Education and Professional Background

Claudia Waller Orlandi, PhD

Upon earning an MA and PhD in Spanish in the mid 1970’s, Claudia began course work toward a 2nd PhD, this time in psychology at the University of Vermont. Although commitments to her family’s business curtailed plans for completing another doctoral degree, her studies in experimental psychology and the sciences furthered her interest in genetics.

For over 50 years the Orlandi’s FoodScience Corporation, which oversees Vetri-Science and DaVinci Laboratories of Vermont, has been a pioneer in the field of preventive medicine through researching and formulating nutritional supplements for veterinarians and physicians. Selling the company in 2021, Claudia’s experience in the field of canine preventive health and a love of academics and teaching have all combined to enrich and improve her life as a breeder.

ShowSight Magazine July 2023 Interview with Claudia Orlandi, PhD
The Bassets of Topsfield”
Purina Today’s Breeder
“Hounding Excellence” AKC Gazette Aug 2010