Dogo Canario Club of America -- Resume

The DCCA (originally PCCA) was founded in 1997. The original mission statement was "a club for all members, by all members". It was formed to counteract the breed clubs that were currently in existence that were formed by one kennel, mostly for their customers, and run and dominated by them. So our first belief was based in a democratic club.

Our second belief was based in supporting the country of origin's official standard...i.e. the RSCE's 86 standard, and the CEDC as the official recognized breed club for Spain.

Our third belief was based in health and knowledge. Most breeders did not even acknowledge that HD was a factor, much less a problem. And no one tested for it to prove their inaccurate delusions.

The founder of the club, and first president, Tracy Hennings had dog #2 and 3 for the breed on the OFA list. Dog #2's father was the first. (there was no PH then)

We were the first club to reach out to the CEDC for a relationship, in 1997; and the FCPR in 2000.
We were the first club to bring over a breed specialist, and the CEDC president, to examine existing US dogs, and guide us.
We were the first, and only, US club to be named a CEDC affiliate.
We were the first US club to send a delegate to a Monographica, to foster club relations and breeder relationships.
We were the first club to hold OPEN ENTRY events (first our national specialties from 1997 on, our regional specialties, and then the Monographicas: By Open Entry I mean you did not have to be a member of our club to enter) which continue to this day.
First breed club to bring over FCI judges to judge our shows
First breed club to combine show and working events into one weekend.
First breed club to have a breed specific TT
First breed club to offer and recognize the European TAN test
First breed club to offer the Iron Dog Triathlon events.
First breed club to cultivate community relationships, by partnering with the Cane Corso Preservation Society, to host the Molosserstock series of dog shows, open to all FCI group 2 rare breeds. The MS series was also the first show to offer the opportunity for written critiques to ALL competing breeds, as well as use ONLY FCI judges.
First breed club to heavily educate about hip dysplasia and advocate health testing for all breeding stock.
Only club to maintain public records of current working titles, passing health results and conformation rating results.

Most (show) international winning Presa Canario to date, owned and campaigned by DCCA members. (Ch Tor)
Most winning ARBA Presa Canario to date,(CH Jazz), owned and campaigned by DCCA members
First SCH II Presa bred by, and owned by DCCA members. (Aurra del Darkforce)
First UKC CH bred and owned by DCCA members. (Truehearts Chata del Darkforce)
First (I think, if not, then one of the first- Riggs?) UKC sporting dog titled dog owned and bred by DCCA members.
Highest known PennHIP scored dog, owned by a DCCA member (IPKs Kong)

Two of our BOD went on to form the Working Dogo Canario Alliance.
One member, and past president, has gone on to become the only American breed specialist judge for FCPR, and an FCPR judge

The Founding Years.

The Dogo Canario Club of America was originally known as the Presa Canario Club of America. It was started by an early American breeder named Tom Metzger. Tom had a small kennel going, and ran the club for a few years, primarily for his dogs registration. After a devastating fire costing him his house and several dogs, he decided to pass it on to someone else to carry on.

Tom passed it on to Tracy Hennings, who he knew through the local Presa Canario community. Tracy was mildly active in the early 90's Presa Canario show scene under the kennel name of Darkforce Kennels, and decided to take the club in a different direction. After viewing for herself the varieties in type being shown as Presa Canarios, ranging from mostly white dogs that looked like American Bulldogs, to 170 lb brindle mastiffs, to blue dogs resembling pit bulls, Tracy felt there was the need for a club that promoted the Canarian breed, not the breed made up in each breeder's backyard. There was also the need for a club that acknowledged that Hip Dysplasia was a problem in the breed, rather then pretending it didn't exist, or only existed in the "badly bred" lines.

The internet was beginning to take off then, and reach out further to bring more people together. So Tracy put up an ad seeking interested parties on the only Presa Canario forum at the time, Presa Canario on the Web, which was run by Canarian Elias Rodriguez Ventura from Gran Canaria. Through this internet forum, she attracted two supporting members, Carla and Steven Walker who helped establish and promote the club in its formative years. Through PCotW forum, and with the help of Elias Rodriguez Ventura, the club was then able to get in touch with the Spanish breed club, Club Espanol del Presa Canario, and it's president Antonio Gomez Rodriguez. Antonio was intrigued by this little club that was dedicating itself to what the breed really should be, not just capitalizing on the dogs being bred.

In the meantime, the club made it's first priorities to separate the correct Presa Canario type dogs, from the "pseudopresas"; to spread the word about Hip Dysplasia and hip testing; and to begin to show the Presa Canario as a working breed, rather then just the show dog and home guardian/companion it was shown as up to this point.

After much discussion, a show was organized. Letters were mailed and emails sent out to every Presa Canario breeder whose information could be found personally inviting them to the show. The first PCCA specialty was held in Ohio. We were the first club or organization EVER to bring over a expert breed judge from the Canary Islands...Judge Augustin Melo Lopez of Ancor Warrior kennels, and CEPRC licensed Presa judge. Judge Melo Lopez was accompanied by CEPRC President Antonio Gomez Ramirez. The two of them would evaluate the American dogs presented to them, and discern the intent of this fledgling club, and decide it's fate in the breed.

People came from all over the USA to exhibit their dogs. Unfortunately, some went home unhappy, after being told their dogs weren't enough to be called Presa Canario. PCCA president Tracy was one of these people. She had two dogs from American bred lines, that were rejected by the judges, and one dog was approved. Instead of simply raging against the judgment, proclaiming the judges inexperienced (as some would later do to justify continuing to breed their rejected dogs), Tracy matched actions to words and altered the rejected dogs, and started her breeding program over.

After the approval process, which was called "Conformacion and Registro" in the Canary Islands at the time, there was a show held for the approved dogs. When that was done, Irina and Alex Vyatkin, early PCCA members and Presa breeder/trainers, put on an exhibition of obedience and protection training for those assembled.

By the end of the weekend, CEPRC President Gomez and Judge Melo were very pleased overall with what they had observed from this bunch of Presa Canario fanciers, and decided to make this fledgling club the first, and only, American delegation to the Club Espanol del Presa Canario.

Moving On...and continuing to break new ground.

With their new international acceptance by the FCI in 2000, and the support of the Spanish parent breed club, the club continued on their mission to spread the word about correct type, health screening and temperament testing. Each year, at least one specialty was held, combining a conformation show and temperament testing, or a working event as more dogs were trained in PP. The conformation shows were always judged by a Canarian or Spanish breed expert.
Along the way, members were lost and added, mainly due to personality conflicts or directional disagreements. Presa owners have to be a certain type of person to hang on in this breed, and quite often, like their dogs, that means they don't always play well with others.

When the breed was accepted by FCI, and the name was changed, the PCCA followed the lead of the CEPRC, and accepted the Dogo moniker, becoming the Dogo Canario Club of America. This enabled the breed, and our club members greater access to world events through the FCI. The FCI club in Puerto Rico allowed registration of US born dogs, and through DCCA member Luis Ortiz, our club was granted special privileges to continue to register un-papered dogs who met breed type requirements, regardless of their kennel affiliation or pedigree. If they demonstrated enough Presa Canario type to approved qualified judges, they were accepted into the FCI registries. We were the only Presa Canario club to have been granted this special arrangement.

In 2005, current club president Carla Walker and club member / WDCA co-founder Randy Green had an idea. The first few specialties the club held were open to all comers. After a few years of this, only dogs who had Spanish papers, or had passed "Conformacion or Registro" were allowed to show. Carla and Randy decided to open up the events again, and make it BIGGER and BETTER then had ever been seen in the USA before! They decided to call this show the "American Monographica" named after the big club shows held yearly in Spain and the Canary Islands. Again, all clubs and breeders that could be found were invited to participate. If you called your dog a Presa Canario, you were welcome to show, regardless of club affiliation, kennel, registry or pedigree. In the end, new CEDC president Ricardo Oramas Miranda was the presiding judge, and the Working Dogo Canario Alliance provided the working events and temperament testing. Close to 100 dogs participated in the two day event, making it the largest Presa Canarios gathering ever. The second year the Monographica was held, beat the first year's numbers, and holds the record to this day for most participating Presa Canarios at an event.

For the Future...

The DCCA is constantly striving to continue it's efforts towards betterment of the breed. We walk a fine line between education and estrangement. Unfortunately we still continue to see problems in the breed that we saw when it all began. Although the breed as a whole has moved towards a better uniform "type" (no blue, no mostly white etc), the number of "breeders" have skyrocketed, many of them simply looking to make some money. Although public awareness has been raised about Hip Dysplasia, and several breeders screen for it, the ones that do simply aren't enough. Novice owners turned on to the breed, fall short in their research, stopping at the closest located "bargain" rather then investing possibly more for a better dog, and then ending up disappointed in various ways.
We continue working towards a more uniform, healthy, stable Presa Canario through conformation events, working venues and above all education.