The first young canary dogs are already in the ring. They are similar only in color. Sad spectacle for cynologists, and for breeders who work the gene. And the public (a lot of public) watches, admires, or criticizes what they are seeing. Evaristo Sanllehí observes, meek and humble of heart (apparently at least) dressed in black like the wing of an ill-omened crow (as on the previous day), the specimens displayed before his authority. And the Spanish Central Canine in seated weight no less expectant than the public, but in an official, serious way.
Good head, good trunk, good aplomb…”, says Clemente Reyes Santana (a good dam connoisseur) that the judge said – Mr. Reyes was the Commissioner of the Ring – “Good head, good trunk, good aplomb…”. And so one dog after the other, until he got better as a youngster to a bardic coated, hollow-headed specimen with a lot of Bullterrier in it (in the standard it reads “cuboid head”). I don’t remember the young female, but don’t worry, you’re not missing anything. Then it was the turn of the adult class. There they were seen in all their arrogance, mismatched beyond the admissible count, of diverse genetic content. Bardinos some, tawny some, spotted some, and several blacks (those of discord). And just like that, following the natural process that usually occurs in beauty shows, three dogs with bardino coats ended up in the ring, with their respective owners, who looked, pleased and fearful at the same time, at their dogs (or dog), and at the others, and at the judge, who without blinking, as if giving importance, looked at one and the other, apparently interested, apparently undecided, apparently with the intention of being fair. One of the dogs was the already denounced Rokote (son of Bullmastiff bitch with pedigree), the second was a dog, also with a Bardinian coat, as it was already said, with an unbearable hint of Neapolitan Mastiff, and the third one, also Bardinian, as it was also said, was a presa descendant of a crossbreeding with English Bulldog in closed consanguinity, but of good aspect, not very robust, in all the senses, to which several premolars were missing (they say that he is somewhat trained and that he does not go well to the sleeve, unforgivable behavior in a good Perro de Presa Canario, coming from the crossbreeding that it is).
Which dog won the C.A.C.? Rokote. The choice of the brilliant judge went to the Bullmatiff mongrel named Rokote. And the whistles and boos of the public in amplified stereophony were heard even in Beijing, because everybody knew that that dog was the son of a Bullmastiff bitch. But I (not that I am a prophet, fortune teller or anything else), as well as many other fans, knew that Rokote was going to be champion, and we had told each other so. Everything was agreed, gentlemen. Its owner, Julián Celis, knew this very well, as did Judge Sanllehí and Antonio Cabezas Albamonte. The latter, the night before, told me, in front of the president of the Spanish Central Canine, “Curtó, tomorrow…, I ask you, I ask you, whoever wins… a round of applause”. And I, in my turn, told him (in front of the president of the Central Spanish Kennel Club), “the normal thing is, and I wish so, that an elaborate dog wins, not a son of a Bullterrier or another breed”. I wanted to refer to Rokote, but I could not, and I limited myself to an indirect allusion. And Cabezas understood me, and the president of the Central Canina Española? And when they made Rokote the winner I didn’t applaud, I didn’t boo, I simply said to myself, “Manuel, once again you didn’t make a mistake”. And I was glad that it was so, because either I was very wrong or from that moment on, the basis for the understanding between all (or the vast majority) of the Canarian Presa Canaria dog fanciers and breeders was going to be established. And after the general disbanding of almost the entire audience, the adult females entered the ring. And she won (pass it on) a litter sister to Rokote. I would never have imagined that Mr. Sanllehí’s brazenness could go so far. No comments. The audience, the little audience that was there, whistled and booed in such a way that the roof of the venue where the contest was ending almost came down on our heads.
Everyone (except Julian Celis and his entourage) was outraged. But how had it come to that situation? Elementary. Those of us who make the Perro de Presa Canario were promised a round table in which by common agreement we were going to elaborate the project of the standard of the Perro de Presa Canario, and it was not done. This standard was “rigged” in Madrid, based on the one received from the Club Español del Perro de Presa Canario, which, to tell the truth, even though it was very incomplete, was better than the one made official by the Canina Central Española.
But, from my point of view, what happened can lead us to very positive solutions, if we know how to extract concrete conclusions from the facts that serve as a basis for our union, that of the fanciers and breeders of both provinces, forgetting quarrels, to make the Perro de Presa Canario a common project. Because the Perro de Presa Canario has been officially recognized, yes, but now we have to make the dog, because we all know that the Perro de Presa Canario is not made.
It was said, and there was concern about it, that from now on Julián Celis is going to present his dog, and his bitch, all over the world. And I say that I think it’s great, let him present his Bullmastiff mongrels wherever he wants, he will fall. And all those judges, national or foreign, who judge those dogs will award two Bullmastiff bastards in first generation, and the same goes for all those dogs that have been granted the RRC (Registro de Raza), whether or not they are presented at future shows.
It is well known that the current Canary Island Presa dogs are the product of crosses, and that from these crosses will come out, in the end, the Perro de Presa Canario, but from that to consider the current canine individuals of presa as a breed there is an abyss. There is work to be done. And let’s not get carried away, because at the moment all we have is a lot of mestizos of all kinds. The Perro de Presa Canario is not that which from now on will be sold to the unwary or interested fan. The Perro de Presa Canario is still a project, even though the Central Spanish Kennel Club has officially recognized it as a breed, and Mr. Sanllehí agrees to award some Bullmastiff mongrels in the first generation. They can eat their own bread and butter, the time will come for the Perro de Presa Canario.
Published by the author in El Día on June 4, 1989.