RIP Guido, More Than Just A Dog

Guido is dead. News that a dog has died does not generally make it onto the front page of websites about motorcycle racing, but as with every rule, there's always an exception. And in motorcycle racing, exceptions to the rule generally mean that Valentino Rossi is involved somehow.

The reason that Guido's death is garnering so much attention - even meriting a mention in Italy's most prestigious sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport - is that Guido is Valentino Rossi's dog.

But Guido was more than just a pet. The white bulldog was also Valentino Rossi's mascot, appearing on Rossi's helmet and his bike, as much lucky charm as household pet. Indeed, such was Rossi's attachment to the dog that Guido even starred in Quarantasei, a graphic novel produced by Milo Manara containing a fictional account of Valentino Rossi's adventures and eventual triumph in motorcycle racing. It must be said that Guido was very much the co-star of the book, the star of the show being Rossi's M1 motorcycle.

So, it is a sad day for Valentino Rossi, and our thoughts, and most likely the thoughts of thousands of Rossi fans around the world, go out to the Italian superstar. May Guido spend the rest of eternity chasing rabbits across the Elysian Fields. 

Guido, Valentino Rossi's dog

Photo: Scott Jones, Turn2Photography




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So his tears are more real than our own? You curse the relentless push of F1's commercial tide, and then you pray in its church.

I've got mates who raced motorcycles and outlived their dogs. Get real.




I may curse the relentless push of commercialism, but still marvel at how it works. After all, Valentino Rossi successfully turned his dog into a commercial icon without the need to resort to artificial measures, such as introducing new rules under the guise of safety.

And my commiserations to your friends, who have lost their faithful companions.

Sorry Krop, I was a bit acidic for a first post. I like your site and I obviously like racing motorcycles and I respect those who ride them well but I'm not into riders pets or the minutiae of their private lifes. It's froth and when it appears I tend to bite. But you have your job to do and I respect that.

The dog may have been a commercial icon but Rossi gets so much publicity he could adopt a portacon for a mascot and achieve the same end. My cynical mind suggests he has paid advisors carefully choreographing his every public move for maximum gain, and his private dog and its public image are very much separate entities - am I wrong?

I think part of Rossi's genius as a marketing icon is that it's impossible to tell. He is certainly genuinely attached to his dog, but no one outside of Valentino Rossi will know how much of his use of the dog as an icon is down to affection, and how much is a cunning marketing ploy. Marketing is a trick that has to be done with immense care if it is not to come off feeling horribly fake. Rossi manages this better than most people on the planet, which is interesting in and of itself.