II ExpoFila España 2005

My personal impressions and opinions.

More than half a year the upcoming CAFIB show in the Plaza de Toros in Ondara, the village where I live, was on my mind. Anybody who is familiar with organizations of events knows what it means on paperwork, contacts with the responsible people of the town hall, veterinarian inspection, selecting a hotel where dogs are allowed in the room, trying out restaurants and so on. The organization was realized by Jaime Pérez and myself, both doing our specialized part of the work, later during the days of the event the other people from the group who live far away, could give us a hand.

The judge
Good wine needs no bush and this counts also for the judge Mr. Airton Campbell.
This Fila authority is Fila history himself. He belongs to the first people, which were worried about the quality of the breed in the seventies of the past century, and belonged to the CAFIB when it was still a CBKC commission. For over ten years he worked close to Dr. Paulo Santos Cruz. We were honored that he came to Spain because he and Americo Cardoso are the most important pure Fila judges by seniority nowadays. For our group of breeders and enthusiastic it was a great experience to be able to learn from his comments and his decisions.

Due to a small misunderstanding we did not have the Plaza de Toros on Saturday afternoon for the analysis of the Filas. A big group of motor fanatics with their machines and a rock and roll concert occupied the place. So we decided to analyse my dogs in the morning close to my house between the orange trees and the dogs of the other participants, which arrived in the afternoon at the barbecue place of the hotel.
I know that there are many Fila owners in the world who feel some fear to have their dogs analysed because it is not nice to hear that one owns a specimen that cannot join the CAFIB family. Even I felt rather nervous and tensed when showing my dogs to Airton Campbell in spite of having offspring of good CAFIB Filas. The judge made his reports, was full of attention for the dog, tested the nervous system by making a noise comparable with a pistol. Jaime Perez Marhuenda and his wife Elvira made the pictures for the CAFIB archive, measured the dogs, and Jaime realized temperament tests. My husband and I showed 13 Filas and only one was reproved because of lack of ojeriza. We never trained our dogs for temperament test; they are completely “green”, use to defend their territory very well by barking at the fence or the gate. During the analyze the attack reaction had to be activated by some of them while other ones acted perfectly. Later, reading carefully all the reports I realized the importance of having an evaluation of the stock in a kennel by an expert. Many times a breeder or owner can be blind for some errors or even could not appreciate enough other details. The experience of having my dogs analysed made me realize the points to improve and gave me a satisfaction where the comments of such an expert as Mr. Airton Campbell were positive. I really advise everybody who loves the authentic breed to take the Filas to CAFIB because a CAFIB approved dog is a dog with a quality label in the sense that there are no signs of mix breeding and that the dog has its ojeriza. The organizers of a CAFIB event must be aware that it is important to repeat this kind of analyses and shows frequently, if they can every year because an approved Fila (with the correct phenotype) can have not typical offspring, especially in case of a bad genotype. This risk is very big if we have a dog that entered the CAFIB family recently and which ancestors are not analysed. Dogs with a CAFIB history of many generations use to give homogeneous litters; however also for them it is necessary to apply a strict control. Having a CAFIB dog means that the owner cares for the preservation of the authentic breed. On the other hand it’s no guarantee for health problems or dysplasia problems. This is a matter that must be well treated by the breeder by selection and conscientious breeding, it’s a task that never ends and to my opinion a breeder may never think that he reached everything, there is always something to improve.
After lunch we went to the hotel where a few remaining dogs waited for their analysis, many of the participators in the exposition already had their analysis during the CAFIB show the year before in Malaga.

Dinner dance
Nowadays there is an enormous come back in ballroom dancing in Europe so I hoped that organizing the Saturday evening dinner in a restaurant with a small orchestra for the dancing would be a great success. I must say that I was rather disappointed because it seems that men when they are married one time, prefer their rest instead of some healthy movement on the dancing floor. The excuse of most Filafellows was even a severe grade of hip dysplasia. Only a very small group of Fileiros with rhythm in their body appreciated the possibility to move. Until two ‘o clock at night a group was still sitting in the garden, talking and having champagne.

Show Plaza de Toros
When passing by the Plaza de Toros in Ondara late at night I noticed that the rock and roll party was still going on. I feared to find a lot of garbage the next day when building up the ring for our show, but no, at the contrary, the Plaza de Toros was clean at nine o’ clock in the morning. Another very important thing was the good weather, the rest of Spain had rain, for days I followed the weatherforcast praying for sun in Ondara and yes, it promised to be a splendid day. Within a very short time our working group build up a very nice ring, the dogs arrived as well as my vet to control the documents and the show began.
The participants were in alphabetic order:
Acaboclado kennel owned by Jaime Perez Marhuenda with 5 Filas
La Contienda kennel owned by Francisco Gil Pareja with 2 Filas
Lisardo Rodriguez Sanchez from Granada with 1 fila
Los Tres Naranjos with 6 filas
Olaf Rohmannn from Holland with 1 Fila
Puerta Oscura Kennel owned by José Manuel Lopez Montosa with 1 Fila
Santiago López Martines with 1 Fila
Tamajon kennel owned by Iñigo Moneo Lopez with 1 Fila

There was only one participant in the puppy class.
In the very young males class was a nice group of dogs and the winner was the very promising Boiadeiro do Tripui, bred by Geraldo Barroso, a well known veterinarian doctor in Belo Horizonte and owned by Jaime Perez Marhuenda of the Acaboclado Kennel.

The youth class had one female and one male participant, brother and sister bred by the São José da Lapa Kennel from Olegário Bretas Ferreira in Belo Horizonte. The boy Olun (Ollie) belongs to me (Los Tres Naranjos) and the sister Olma belongs to the Acaboclado Kennel. In this class for dogs from 12 months to 18 months the temperaments test is obliged. To protect the dog’s neck while being provoked and jumping towards the agitator the lead is fastened to a harness. I own three harnesses for Filas, all gifts from Brazilian friends during the years but never had the opportunity to use them. The leather of one of them was never treated and dry so when Ollie jumped towards his provoker a strap of the harness broke. It was a hilarious moment for the public. I gave him a command to stop and fastened the lead on his collar. The behavior of Ollie was a sign that a Fila wants to please the owner. I do not train my Filas for extreme obedience, they simply are like that. Because of his temperament Ollie won the trophy of best young Fila however I preferred the beauty of his sister Olma.

The open class males showed us only two specimens, winner was Demonio de Los Tres Corazones because of his spectacular temperament.

The open class females was wonderful, the best class of the show with regard to quantity as well as quality. It was not an easy task for the judge to choose his favorites among the 8 beautiful Fila ladies, he observed them carefully, did a preselection of 4 females and gave the first place to Faceira del Tamajón, 2nd to Indiana de São José da Lapa, 3rd to Iris de Los Tres Naranjos and 4th to Areia de São José da Lapa.

The next class to judge was the veteran class where my husband and I showed two of our older females, sisters from different litters. Personally I love the old Fila. This breed doesn’t show a spectacular beauty when getting older, but CAFIB is not looking for a smooth appearance, they see the type and they appreciate the rustic element in this breed that belongs more to the countryside than to the show ring. Our old girls showed their mature bodies and their gray muzzles and their good temperament and we were happy to have them taken to the Plaza de Toros. Xacará de Los Tres Naranjos was considered the best veteran by the judge.

Now it was time to choose the best male and the best female. All the male winners of their class came back to the ring and to be honest, the decision was not difficult, the title of best male was given to Boiadeiro do Tripui, winner of the very young males but in spite of his young age outstanding in type and temperament.

The best female was without any doubt Faceira del Tamajón and under big applause from the fileiros she was declared Best in Show.

For the price of the Best Head many Filas were invited to enter the ring and this proves the high quality of the present specimens. The head of the Fila is of extreme importance. Also here the judge did a preselection and gave the first price to Faceira del Tamajón and the second place to Queimada de Los Tres Naranjos.

Very impressive were the finals of the Temperament. The Filas, which were invited to participate this final, were provoked by the agitator with sleeve and stick as usual, but this time they were also provoked by the judge who handled a plastic garden chair. For many of the dogs it was a kind of surprise because most of them were “green” and not trained for attack. When the Fila is outstanding, he jumps ascending to the sleeve of the agitator, bites the sleeve, throws it away and goes back to attack the man himself, because the agitator is the enemy, not the sleeve, that’s only a “dead” object. Watching later at home, carefully a dvd of the final part of this temperament test, I noticed the surprise of some Filas which did not go on. Xacará de Los Tres Naranjos got very angry and was biting the legs of the chair different times. She got the second place. Faceira de Tamajon was the best in this test because she got very angry as well but she did not bite the chair, she understood that she had to go for the man behind it. It was really impressive to observe her trying to pass this object to get the judge.

There is quite a difference between CAFIB shows and “normal” dog shows. I like to explain this subject for the readers, which are not very familiar with this item. CAFIB uses to judge the Fila as a total of beauty and temperament whereas a Fila showing temperament in an FCI show will be disqualified immediately. FCI does not admit any kind of aggressiveness and judges must be able to touch the animals if they want to. So the place where the Fila can and must show their real character as well as the correct type is the CAFIB or some other organizations, which try to preserve the authentic breed. Another big difference is the qualification. At FCI shows getting an “excellent” is almost a general rule for a good specimen. Many dog owners consider getting a “very good” shameful. CAFIB gives rarely “excellent” because this qualification belongs to the perfection and perfection is very rare. So a “very good” in CAFIB is a qualification to be proud of and for the real fileiro of bigger value than an “excellent” given by a general judge, which does not have and cannot have the same knowledge as a CAFIB specialist.

Apart from local dog lovers we had the pleasure to receive various guests from abroad. Most important guests by seniority in Fila world were the judge Mrs. Roswitha Ketelhohn (kennel v.d. Konquistadoren) and Mrs. Beate Burger (kennel vom Auenland) from Germany and members of the German Molosser Club. They both started having and breeding Filas at the end of the seventies of the last century. Younger breeders are Marianne and Jens Snorr from the Funglssanggaard kennel in Denmark. Mrs. Marianne Snorr Nielsen is the actual president of the Danish Molosserclub. They came here for the first time to show Filas at the Monografica of the Spanish Molosserclub in 2001. It was great to have them here among us and they have plans to come back and present dogs at the next CAFIB show. Three Fila lovers from Holland joined our international Fila family as well. The presence of various veterinarian doctors and collaborators of the Clinica Marina Alta was also a pleasure. After the show I had some nice reactions and opinions. Many people that witnessed our show were used to the traditional dog shows where a dog is only judged for beauty. For the first time in their lives they have seen a CAFIB show where the dog is judged for a mixture of beauty and temperament. Everybody loved to see the temperament of the Fila and understood that a good Fila is not a crazy bunch of aggressiveness but a dog with the right reaction of defense if provoked and under control of the owner in all circumstances. Mrs. Burger stated that she had never seen such a homogeneous group of Filas in her life. I understand it very well because in Spain was an import boom of CAFIB Fila and authentic bloodline Fila half the nineties of the last century. Many of these Filas reproduced, young breeders started with this offspring whilst continuously new imports arrived. There is no other country where the breeders work that much with the original Fila Brasileiro and that makes Spain so special.

One time finished the judgments a trophy was handed over to Olaf Rohmann for being the participant which came from very far away (Holland) and there were some presents for the other visitants from abroad. In no time we managed to clean the Plaza de Toros and after that everybody enjoyed a very well deserved and delicious paella in the open air.

Some participants and friends had to go home; others were able to stay another night in the hotel where we had a nice farewell dinner. Altogether it had been a positive weekend worth for repeating next year because for the second time in Spain we enjoyed the real CAFIB spirit, we had seen and admired each others dogs, nobody criticized the decisions of Airton Campbell, everybody was satisfied with the results and aware of one of the most important things: having an approved CAFIB dog is a victory!

Ines van Damme, November 2005.