OnOctober 27th and 28th (1984) took place in Santa Cruz de Tenerife the IV National Dog Show in which several breeds competed for the CAC.
On the 27th, the canary dogs of prey were presented out of competition. The total number in the catalog was 19 copies. Adult male fawns 4; adult female fawns 1; adult male tabby 5 (bardinos would say a canary using their terminology, also berdino (in Tenerife); adult female tabby 4; male tabby cubs 2; female tabby cubs 1; male fawn cubs 2. Only 19 specimens, and all from Tenerife, none from Gran Canaria.
And how is that possible, wondered some fans from Gran Canaria who came to Santa Cruz de Tenerife to attend the contest. And so it was. Days before the show, the CPPC, that is to say, the president, the secretary and two or three other people – the rest of the members are mere extras – decided to make a pre-selection of Canary Island Presa dogs in order to present a uniform lot at the IV National Dog Show in Tenerife so as not to make a fool of themselves in Madrid. Of course, at the moment of the selection they only took into account the dogs of four gentlemen, members, of course, of the club -of honor, as a former breeder of presas commented to me. From Dr. Mario Montequi 7 dogs, from Juan Cruz Rojas 4, from Juan E. Flores Jorge 3, from Silverio Mesa 2, from Juan J. Alvarez Perez 1, from Luis Hernandez Martin 1, and one bred by the writer of this chronicle, totaling 19 dogs. And the fathers and mothers of these dogs are repeated, as it was to be expected.
And typicality… That is, they said that typicality had to be taken into account. But what typicality, if what is being bred, each in its own way, is nothing more than the product of crosses with foreign breeds, crosses that in most cases do not go back beyond the second generation?
And the color. According to the CPPC the coat of the Presas Canarios must be uniform: fawn and brindle. And why is that, if the Presa dogs in the Canary Islands were never selected for their color but for their qualities, for their functionality? The colors in the traditional dams were always very diverse: black, white, full bardinos, full fawns, bardinos in white, bardinos in white and collared, and ties, fawns in white, or collared only, also browns, and ashes. What seems to be uncontested is the length of the hair. They were mostly, in the past, smooth, today all.
Of course, the Bullmastiffs are brindle or fawn, and this is, it seems, the reason why these gentlemen, in comandita, constituted in Club, say: “The Perro de Presa Canario has to be brindle or fawn”. Evidently, their dogs are brindle and fawn, and, moreover, very similar to bullmastiffs.
It seems to me that the easiest thing to do would have been to massively import bullmastiffs from England and present them in Tenerife, without even crossing them (with their ears cropped) as Canary Island dogs of prey. And it is very likely that the judges of the Spanish Central Kennel Club would not have noticed the fraud, or would have overlooked it because of the need to please the fans.
And finally, the big one: the canary dogs of prey were presented at the dog show. And the judge of the Central Canina Española, Mr. Álvaro de Linaje y de León, who had been informed by the board of directors of the breed club, gave a detailed and wide-ranging lecture, microphone in hand, with a young specimen in front of him and in full view of the public, about what the physical-typological characteristics of a good Presa Canario are, or should be, like. And so, one after the other, he listed the qualities and defects of the nineteen specimens that were presented there. Of course, nothing was said there about genetics, about functionality, about the crossovers that were taking place day after day.
And at the end of the show, the finishing touch, the official endorsement that the aforementioned club apparently needed, official endorsement? “Continue on this path, you have worked very well, congratulations, do not lose heart, go ahead”, concluded Mr. Linaje, who did not speak of lineages.
It is clear that this IV Tenerife Dog Show was not attended by the majority of the Canary Island Presa Dog fanciers. And what was presented there was only an insignificant part of what is bred in Tenerife, nothing of what is bred in Gran Canaria, and of course, except for the gentlemen who attended the exhibition with their dogs, no one took seriously what was said there about the type and colors of the Canary Island dogs.
Published by the author on November 16, 1984 in El Día (Tenerife).