The selection of the Presa Canario
An enthusiast from the American continent has contacted me by WhatsApp, asking me to please, write about the selection of the Presa Canario. But, I have already done so, it’s just a question of looking on my web and reading my articles there, I have talked and written so much about the selection of our dog. Well, my American enthusiast insists “write some more, people tend to forget”.
Therefore, here I am again writing about selection. The truth is that owing to being a relatively new breed, the Presa Canario needs to be constantly mentioned. The foundation is the selection. I have repeated this so many times. This morning, a veterinary friend and a knowledgeable enthusiast of the Presa Canario, called me to say that he had just read my latest article He is in total agreement with me that we lack in canine knowledge, general knowledge, genetic knowledge and that too much is said and not enough is done. We have spoken of many things to do with our dog that I won’t mention here at this time.
Whoever wants to breed dogs, whatever the breed, should give the chapter on Selection the utmost importance, and study, study, because without knowledge nothing of value can be produced.
I hunted rabbits here in the Canaries for many years. I got my instruction from two elderly gentlemen, Pepe Gorrín and Antonio Trujillo, two experts hunting rabbits. In my opinion this method is the most attractive as you are able to constantly watch the dogs hunting. For this method the hunters use Canary Podencos, a breed that has been selected generation after generation for this activity.
In general, the hunters of the islands are humble people, that go out to enjoy nature and have a good time and they have one thing perfectly clear, that there is no hunt unless you have quality dogs.
Here in the islands, the hunter is, who produces the dogs, generation after generation. The dog that doesn’t perform is of no interest. They only breed with those animals that stand out in the hunt.
A few days ago, a plumber friend came to my house to repair a water leak Venancio is a hunter since he was a child, and as could be no other way, we spoke about dogs and how owing to the gastroenteritis virus and Mixomatosis the rabbit population has almost disappeared. He told me that he knew of a man living in Guimar (south of Tenerife) who has some handsome Podencos, which he breeds exclusively for shows. He has no interest in hunting or that his dogs are used for this purpose.
I don’t know if the reader is following my line of thought. Clearly, those Podencos, whose function is to hunt rabbits and for this activity have been selected and bred for so many years, will lose their kinetic qualities, as well as their physical and psychological health and finally their utility.
The Presa Canario is a working dog, guard dog, hunting dog and animal for defense. It is our job to maintain this function.
I have had requests from people who want to show or to practice Agility or for fighting or…Well, they say that it takes all types!
The biggest problem our dogs comes up against is in effect the shows. Breeding useful, quality dog isn’t easy. For this reason, it’s necessary to be a breeder (in capitals) a true enthusiast, and totally professional. I always say this is the difficult direction, the other is the easy one that leads to the destruction of the canine breeds or the lines that are bred and selected solely to win prizes in the shows.
There are many hunting breeds, all over the world. In the Occident, most of these breeds have converted into two lines thanks to the selections made, the working dog and the exhibition dog. It’s clear that the hunter, for obvious reasons, will never cross his animals with the exhibition dog.
Some canine breeds, thanks to human stupidity, have converted in unhealthy urbanites. I don’t want to mention any, there are many examples for the reader to choose and classify as he or she sees fit. Canine breeds, that in the past have been really useful to us but today have become sick and diseased, and as a consequence have become an economic burden for our society.
We mustn’t forget that all the canine breeds have descended from domesticated wolves. The human has created these breeds from the wolf to carry out different and specific functions for his own benefit. This continued for thousands of years.
I refuse to allow the Presa Canario to become (or to be converted) into a sick burden for our society.
The physical and psychological health of the breed and its function and utility depends on us, the breeders, be they amateur or professional. The secret is in the selection.
Manuel Curtó Gracia
Tenerife, 19 December 2014