The Visual Standard of the Fila Brasileiro Breed and Other Stories - Chapter 5
full text written by the founders, directors and judges of CAFIB
Américo Cardoso dos Santos Júnior
Luiz Antonio Maciel
THE EPIC OF FIGHTING MIX-BREEDING AND THE RESCUE OF THE PURE FILA VISUAL IMAGE
In this story, written in prose, but with the poetic spirit of the struggle for the rescue of a breed threatened with extinction by mix-breeding - a hazard that still lingers through the attempt to reintroduce, once again, in the breeding, animals that out of the standard -, we present and document all the facts and huge battles fought in the early years of this good struggle to deprecate mix-breeding, organize forms of struggle, dispute the right to establish an entity that could defend the pure Fila Brasileiro, disseminate technical knowledge and develop the unprecedented Visual Standard of our breed, in addition to a new and definitive written standard that not only thoroughly described a pure Fila but also pointed out the faults arising from mix-breeding, true evidence of a continuing crime that nearly destroyed, and still threatens, in other ways, the true Fila Brasileiro.
In Germany, outrage over cross-breeding
In that year, 1979, the efficiency of CAFIB's work for the standardization and genetic improvement of the Fila Brasileiro consolidated its international recognition. In February, Christofer Habig, then Chief Judge in Germany and director of Club FürMolosser e. V., reported, in a letter to our representative in Europe, Chico Peltier (reproduced in "O Fila" number 4, Year I, March 1979), his outrage at the arrival of crossbred “filas” to his country (including one with harlequin coat), exported by Brazilian breeders. And at Molosser-Magazin, the bilingual magazine (in German and English) published by his club, Habig expressed his support to CAFIB in the fight against cross-breeding. In addition to translating and reproducing the articles in the “O Fila” bulletin, this important German publication, starting with its number 7, in 1983, formalized CAFIB's judge Américo Cardoso dos Santos Jr. as its official correspondent in Brazil.
Habig, who has been a judge at the VDH / FCI Championship Exhibitions since 1977, is authorized to judge more than 100 breeds, 3 groups and Best In Show. He was elected a member of The Kennel Club (England) in 1992 and has already judged the Crufts Exhibition six times (including the Working Group in 2020), considered the most important in the world. From 2006 to 2009, he held the position of President of the VDH - Verbandfür das Deutsche Hundewesen (the official German cynophilia association, based in Dortmund, which relies on 650,000 members distributed throughout 176 clubs). And he was vice president of the FCI from 2009 to 2011. To clearly illustrate the ignorance and petulance of the then directors of the so-called official Brazilian cynophilia, in 1983 Habig was punished by BKC for having committed the “debauchery” of attending a CAFIB Exhibition in Campinas, SP.
The new written standard and the first Analysis
Finally, in July 1979, the new Fila Brasileiro Breed Standard was published in "O Fila" number 8, written by Paulo Santos Cruz with the collaboration of CAFIB members and which had initially also had the official support of BKC. As already mentioned, in an unprecedented initiative, he listed, as disqualifying faults, the phenotypic characteristics resulting from the cross-breeding with Neapolitan Mastiff, Great Dane and English Mastiff.
This new standard was presented by CAFIB to BKC, as agreed, in a meeting, in May, at the home of Dr. Paulo, and was accompanied by a suggestion for the Registration Ruling, although the tense atmosphere between the two entities kept on worsening.
On August 26, 1979, CAFIB, which in that month declared itself independent from BKC due to the entity's inertia in solving the Fila problem, carried out its first Phenotype and Temperament Analysis, in São Paulo, for Filas with or without pedigree. This historical event was attended by fans from other states and gathered 113 dogs, analyzed by judges Airton Campbell, Américo Cardoso dos Santos Jr., Paulo Santos Cruz and Roberto Maruyama, assistant judge Luiz Antonio Maciel, secretary Marília Penteado Maruyama and Rosely Campbell, and veterinarian in charge Cleide Maria Cocito Cardoso dos Santos, on our Exhibition track, at Av. Eliseu de Almeida, 765.
The BKC's wrath and the expulsion of judges
The split between the two entities was finally triggered by a number of factors. BKC, which had already reiterated its repudiation vow to CAFIB, increased pressure against us and now expressed its firm intention to ban members of its already “unbearable” Commission from its panel of arbitrators: Airton Campbell, Américo Cardoso dos Santos Jr., Marilda Mallet, Marília and Roberto Maruyama and even Paulo Santos Cruz, who had been a professor of some of those same judges who, after having learned so much from him, now wanted to expel him. All were placed “sub judice” until they responded to a letter in which they were pressured to choose between BKC and CAFIB.
The petulance and the lack of a sense of ridicule went so far as to decide that the FCI should be informed, in a letter, that CAFIB had no authority for any pronouncement on the Fila Brasileiro breed, contrary to the carte blanche given at the “Estadão” roundtable by Colonel Ayrton Schaeffer.
The right to freedom of expression of thought, guaranteed by the Brazilian Constitution, was also forbidden to Francisco Peltier de Queiroz, who, as he did not belong to the Referee Board, could not be expelled from it and, therefore, was “shamefully”, considered persona non grata of national cynophilia. (Evidently, those would-be dictators did not know the famous phrase attributed to Voltaire: "I don't agree with a single word of what you say, but I defend your right to say it until death.")
Several factors made our declaration of independence inevitable. After almost two years of warnings, denunciations and notices, made by protocol and in writing to the BKC, about mix-breeding and falsification of pedigrees, finally CAFIB had sent, through the 1st Registry of Deeds and Documents, an extrajudicial notification demanding measures against this situation and charging punishments for counterfeiters. Evidently, until today, CAFIB and CAFIB have received no response. Only in 1983, in a letter addressed to the magazine Molosser-Magazin and its readers, dated August 12, did the then president of CBKC Eugênio Henrique Pereira de Lucena officially recognized, for the first time, “that there was, years ago, crossbreeding of Fila dogs with other breeds in Brazil ”. And announced, as a solution, a new standard (one more of a series) for the Fila Brasileiro, “much stricter than the previous one”, which would come into force as of January 1, 1984, with litter verification, concession of qualification to reproduce after 12 months of age and definition of 13 disqualifying failures. Measures only for English (or better, for German) see... In practice, Fila's situation and its crossbreds has remained the same at CBKC and its affiliated clubs until today.
Only Marilda Mallet, who had no Filas and could not abandon her professional activity as a painter and portraitist of dogs and, therefore, needed to attend exhibitions of all breeds promoted by the so-called “official” cynophilia, regretting having to leave CAFIB, felt compelled to choose BKC. All the others, feeling free to break any ties with that entity, started to act with absolute independence in favor of the Fila Brasileiro. And it was then that we transformed the Fila Brasileiro Improvement Commission into the Fila Brasileiro Improvement Club, maintaining the already respected abbreviation CAFIB.
From that moment on, August 1979 ("O Fila", number 9, Year I, page 3: “OUR OPINION - It is time for freedom for the pure Fila”), the fight against mix-breeding and for the preservation of the breed's purity was reinvigorated , its continuity maintained (and continues today, and shall continue so) under the leadership of the Club, always following the advice of the old “Father of the Breed”, who guided everyone to move forward, unwavering, jumping or circumventing obstacles, without ever deviating from the direction that leads to the goal of defending and improving the pure Brazilian Fila.
These obstacles were and have been many. We have already lost count of how many clubs and associations have emerged over these four decades, not to improve the Fila Brasileiro, but with the specific objective of attacking and destroying CAFIB. There are cases of people, often resentful, who were not successful as breeders, due to the choice of inappropriate breeders and females, producing animals that did not stand out in the breeding stock, or that, after a certain moment, after being successful, did not know or did not manage to maintain the same level of reproduction, being surpassed by other selectors, which generated non-conformism and revolt. Instead of analyzing their mistakes, some decided to blame the Club for the poor performance of their dogs and started to attack it. In some cases, they decided to found competing associations, in which their dogs would never be discredited or in which they could freely pontificate about the Fila and its origin, traveling in time to justify, with an allegedly historical, philosophical, scientific and technical language, the junction, in a breed, of types visibly distinct from each other and allegedly linked by a functionality that is not exclusive to the Fila Brasileiro and can be exercised by other breeds of working dogs and even by our dear SRD (meaning without defined breed) dogs.
Paulo Santos Cruz continued to play an active role in CAFIB, as a “Master of Breeding”, as its president for two consecutive times (from 1982 to 1986) and, most of the time, as a member of the Club, until shortly before his death in September 27, 1990, at the age of 75. At the time, many comments circulated that CAFIB would not resist Paulo Santos Cruz's absence and would also die shortly. However, we kept the same course, without any changes in our regulations, statutes and standard. And we are sure that, wherever he is, Paulo Santos Cruz, who was a spiritist, observes, with satisfaction and pride, the continuity and success of the work conducted by the group he gathered. Regardless of religious beliefs, the spirit of the "Father of the Breed" remains among us, as a result of his work, his thought, his testimony and his example of life in preserving the pure Fila. And we, in all modesty, are also proud of the respect and admiration of the whole world for the exhaustive and successful work that we have developed to save the true Fila Brasileiro from extinction, as a result of the uninterrupted and growing improvement of the breed and the confirmation of the increase in the number of specimens increasingly similar to the Visual Standard.
Yesterday, today and always, in each analysis, in each exhibition, in each mating, the objective of reaching as close as possible the Visual Standard of the Pure Fila Brasileiro remains unwavering. The legitimate and true Fila.