By: Otto Brito (Puerto Rico)
"What a wonderful breed we get to call our own. A breed so hard and rustic, insensitive to pain and not ever sick, very loving with children, yet, wary of strangers. A breed whose trajectory has used it for almost any type of work a dog can do. The Ca de Bou descends from the old Alans and Presa dogs brought during its early days of conquest (12-14 century). Through crosses, these became very useful dogs for the meat butchers who used them to hold the bull while they came to end its life, and there the origin of the name Ca de Bou, Can-Dog de-of Bou-Bull. The Ca de Bou became also a weapon used against and for the law, since it was a breed with exceptional abilities and easily trained. During the 1700 to early 1900s the Ca de Bou gained the reputation it has today fighting against both dog and Beasts. It was used as a butcher's dog, a warrior in the fighting arenas, fighting bulls, leopards, hyenas and other Ca de Bous. The breed was mentioned by the President of the Dogue de Bordeaux Club in a French magazine in the 1920s, when the best of each breed met in Madrid for a fighting match. At this time, the Ca de Bou was used as a guard dog, a farm dog, herder, fighter, and bull catcher. Their working abilities were unmatched. We must understand that the Ca de Bou was not the only rustic breed in Mallorca, the Ca de Bestiar, a great herder and guard was also a well known breed. And it is of extreme importance to understand that both breeds had much to do in each other, as it is well known that breeding in the old days was made for one thing only, function. The Ca de Bou was a powerful bull worker with a very strong constitution and the Ca de Bestiar was a swift herder and by no means an angel. It was common for the breeds to be crossed with each other to acquire dogs that were capable of doing almost anything. It was THIS known fact that served as a basis for the recovery of the breed and its genetic makeup. Although the Ca de Bestiar of today has been bred to look somewhat smaller, it was the old Ca de Bestiar dogs with large powerful bodies, strong necks and thick bone that had much Ca de Bou in them, and these were the ones used during the recovery because of the high percentage of Ca de Bou blood in them. Even today we can see some being born in modern Ca de Bestiar litters, and also dogs that have obvious characteristics from the Ca de Bou, like the brindle color. The Ca de Bestiar, inherited the brindle color from the Ca de Bou, and even though its was recently dropped from the standard (its history dates of more than 100 years). The brindle color in the Ca de Bestiar was "wrongly" dropped from the standard, today we still see some Ca de Bestiar litters drop a brindle once in a while. This specimens, when crossed with a typical Ca de Bou, produced excellent specimens that then could become if typical enough, original register. This is not very common today, (but it is still done). It is very interesting that even though we have many owners in the breed, very few know about its recovery and its origins. In the mid to late 1990s it was a common but sad misconception that our breed should appear bulldoggish, when nothing is further from the truth. It is true that some Ca de Bou carry English bulldog in their genetic makeup, but this was proven not to be beneficial for the breed during the recovery. Those who used anything but the right ingredients eventually burned themselves with the true Ca de Bou breeders and now we can see only excellent specimens come out of Spain, from breeders that have kept very true to the original dogs.
It was in the 1980s that some gentlemen started to look for the remaining Ca de Bous in Mallorca. The fact that some Ca de Bestiar/Ca de Bou crosses were seen in the island helped them recover the genetic make up to start crossing for the correct type. Some bulldog was used to shorten the muzzle, but not to the extent we see in some specimens Northern Europe/Asia today. The grand majority of the crosses in the early recovery years were done with specimens with a high percentage of Ca de Bou blood and some of the Ca de Bestiar. After some time, an exceptional pair of brothers were born, Tito, and his brother Toby. Tito was much superior, and had the type of the dogs whose blood he carried. Later on, Toby was crossed with a very SPECIAL Ca de Bou female by the name of Nit who produced some very promising pups, one female had excellent type, her name was Anastasia. Nit, was one of the very special recovery specimens found. Tito and Anastasia, were the first considered to be authentic Ca de Bous with absolutely NO Ca de Bestiar characteristics. It was them that gave us back the breed, the sons that they produced together are the best that the breed has ever seen, Chimo, Conan (from the same lines), Ben, Leon and daughters. Tito also had a couple of sons outside of Anastasia that produced some lines of their own, like Dino. Dino was probably the nicest son out of Tito without Anastasia, smaller than the half brothers but very stocky and great temperament and type. It was at this time that it was common to see specimens of little or no typicality at all, made from crosses meant to look like Ca de Bous by people just interested in money, but in every occasion, their progeny failed to deliver, as the pups in subsequent generations showed the inferior Ca de Bou characteristics. This lines are well known and most if not all have died out in Spain. That is also why most Ca de Bous descend from Tito, Anastasia and their sons, with only a few exceptions.
Early years, legendary specimens:
Tito- The first Ca de Bou with impeccable typicality. The father of the breed. His sons are legendary in all, hard temperament, ability, structure and strength. The best line is his cross with Anastasia. It was said to me a little time ago his growl alone to other males made them curl their tail between their legs and urinate. At the same time he was, big, strong, powerful and imposing.
Toby- (picture from Tim Taylor) Tito's brother, father of Anastasia. Not Tito by any means, nevertheless he was very important in the recovery. His daughter is the most important Ca de Bou of all.
Nit- The most special Ca de Bou in the recovery, a diamond in the rough that was accidentally found, with very precious blood in her. Mother of Anastasia.
Anastasia- The mother of the top lines in the breed today, with the exception of Dino. Her sons, Chimo, Leon, Conan and Ben were amazing. She had the top typicality in the breed, but also the highest percentage of unfiltered pure blood. She simply put is the mother of the breed today.
Chimo- Even though this Champion was bought and taken away to PR in 1995. In the last 8 years almost all Champions descend from him in one way or another, most have his blood. In PR he started a dynasty. In Spain, he maintained one. He was a true rustic, proven warrior of excellent size and type that also produced many Champions.
Conan- another legend, the toughest Ca de Bou in modern history, his story could make a great book. He had the heart of a LION, and died because of his own strength, when all Ca de Bous ganged up on him in his kennel, since he was the far superior Ca de Bou, they joined to kill him. He was a Lion of a dog, majestic, a smaller, tighter version of Chimo. In the words of Mr.Manuel Calvino, he was one of the most beautiful Ca de Bous and the most notorious in temperament. His line is alive in Spain and in PR with his grandson and International Champion Conan, owned by Dr.Gallardo.
Dino- was an excellent male by Tito and Bani. Although Bani was not the best female, some of her offspring were to bulldoggish, Dino and a couple of his brothers had very hard temperament and great typicality. Dino's line is probably one of the best non Tito*Anastasia lines. He was an excellent example and a very functional and tested specimen.
Tronc- Excellent brindle specimen with typicality and temperament. His line is carried by his son and Champion Atroc, owned by Rompehuesos. [Atroc, father of my DON]
Tronc has developed a line of his one through this magnificent son that is very looked for in Spain since his line is an excellent cross with that of Chimo. Tim Taylor bred Atila and Apolo, grandsons of Tronc through their mother."
In Puerto Rico the Ca de Bou breed existed for many years brought by the Mallorcan imigrants to the island. It is written about them in our history books and most people in certain towns know the breed very well until its demise in the 1960s and further extinction in the 1970s. The Ca de Bou, appears in our history books, like the Puerto Rican Historic Encyclopedia written by Emilo Heyke. In the early 1990s, before even the recovery project was finished in Mallorca, we Puerto Ricans were very lucky, as a known dogman by the name of Dr.Antonio Gallardo went to Mallorca with the intention of bringing back the finest Ca de Bou available, and he did, as Chimo, son of Tito and Anastasia, a pure Old Lined Ca de Bou was aquired. THIS WAS THE BEGININING, and today, after much work and early efforts by Dr.Gallardo, Edgardo Pauneto, Carlos Rivera and myself, we have what in MY OPINION is one of the finest group of Ca de Bou's in the world. To prove this, I went to Mallorca with Dr.Gallardo in 2003 to take one of our top males (Mauro) to compete in the Monografica, were he became the first foreign bred Ca de Bou to travel to Mallorca from abroad, and win. A group of dedicated owners created the Ca de Bou Club of Puerto Rico in 2006, and have organized the first Monografica with Sergio Gual as invited judge for November 2007. Our goal, to maintain the unique Old Lines we recieved from Gallardo's Imports, and continue to maintain the working ability and hard temperment the breed must have. I invite you to go to our Puerto Rican Ca de Bou Yahoo Group (mallorquinpr) were you will see pictures of Ca de bous from everywere, as well as historic pictures of the breed.