Uncle Chico Newsletter # 244
Another exceptional, deep and crystalline article signed by
Quinzinho Liberato demonstrating the subversion and fallacy of the OFB theory.
My dears CAFIB and Fila Brasileiro (FB) friends,
Please find below another exceptional, deep and crystalline article signed by Quinzinho Liberato, former president of Anfibra and who recently returned to the breast
of the CAFIB, demonstrating the subversion and fallacy in the newly invented theory of the new type of dog called OFB, that most resembles a Fila Pointer, which was posted on Facebook of the Boa Sorte Kennel, whose link is https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2690155754331335&id=378735655473368¬if_id=1555970667215112¬if_t=page_post_reaction
and also in Quinbzinho`s profile https://www.facebook.com/Canilboasorte/posts/2451203394913633?comment_id=2451386284895344¬if_id=1555979961915639¬if_t=feed_comment
Quinzinho has not, like the great majority of breeders, afraid to compromise by exposing his thinking publicly. For him, the FB is above friendships. Quinzinho made a point of mentioning the relationship of friendship between him and the mentor of the OFB, but also that he does not mix nor “cross” friendship with the deal with the Truth referring to Fila Brasileiro and CAFIB.
That is: friends, friends; new theories aside …
I hope that the lazy people and the functional illiterates are able to read this excellent article and know how to interpret it correctly.
OFB Project – Revolution or Subversion?
The subject of the moment, in the scope of the Fila Brasileiro, is the dispute about the project entitled Original Fila Brasileiro – OFB. The heated upheavals between the defenders and critics of the above program have become commonplace; in fact, everything has been ruled today, especially in Cynophilia, a historic arena of frantic discussions.
First of all, I would like to make it very clear that the main creator of OFB, breeder Antonio Carlos Linhares Borges (Caramonã Kennel) has been a long-time personal friend of the Boa Sorte Kennel for decades, whose creation was even benefited, some time ago, with the arrival of the Caramonã specimen’s blood. Precisely for this reason, I feel rather comfortable emphasizing the following considerations that follow, without the risk of being interpreted as pure and simple personal litigation or ideological caseload.
The text below aims at reflecting my understanding of the matter, for the little that has already been presented to us, drawing on the experience of long-time breeder, judge and former leader of a cynophile entity, in the hope of helping the enthusiastic public of the true Fila Brasileiro Dog to produce their convictions regarding the theme. With the long history of disputes that the Breed has already suffered I believe it is the obligation of the most experienced people to be alert and to become available as guides regarding the difference of a welcome initiative, as opposed to another one, even under the auspices of the best intentions, which may come the to harm it once again. The Fila Brasileiro is strong and rustic, but History has already proved that it is not immune to the aggressions of those who have exactly set out to be their “saviors”. All care and attention are little in these cases.
The OFB Project proposes to us, in very brief terms, a kind of “redesign” of the Fila Brasileiro Dog, as we know it today in detail, under the allegation that, over the years, and due to failure in guidance/ judgments of clubs and entities responsible for the Breed (with resulting poor selection of the specimens), the phenotypic typology of the FB would have evolved to a point not compatible with the original specimens found on farms in the interior of Brazil, animals known to serve as base for the studies and pioneering observations of Dr. Paulo Santos Cruz and resulting elaboration of the first Racial Standard in the late 1940’s of the 20th century.
Furthermore, the OFB Project presents to us a postulate typical of racial origin (Iberian dogs) and also uses some techniques of handling and selection based on methodologies proper of the universe of sport and work dogs with the assistance of professional trainers, all this promoted in an efficient dissemination /marketing strategy. It is no small thing …. One could even speak of a revolution of ideas, if a few ambiguities of the project did not focus on the tenuous, and often masked, difference of understanding between verbs to revolutionize and subvert. Both expressions may be understood by attempts at abrupt or radical changes on previously established bases; yet, the former usually carries a more pragmatic, positive, and innovative symbolism or perception, usually geared toward perfection. On the other hand, the latter is almost always associated with a substantially confrontational, abrasive, many times anarchic attitude, without clear or concrete practical purposes or, at worst, the most objectionable of them.
The points can be further explained by analyzing them by topics:
I – RACIAL ORIGIN
As for the (new) proposal of racial origin, it is necessary to remember the virtual impossibility of assigning a technical, historical, or minimally reliable origin to those dog breeds not woven by human hands, but naturally created, as it was the case of the Fila Brasileiro, whose descriptive regulation (elaboration of the Racial Standard) occurred later on, with the Breed already established. The geographic, cultural and economic conditions of the interior of older Brazil (18th and 19th centuries) did not allow the existence of a “canine culture” that left traces or reliable records. In the old farms, dogs were simply dogs, or at best a work tool which, if not useful, was replaced by another, without any formal concerns. Because of this context, and because of the lack of elements derived from it, the racial origin of the Fila Brasileiro, in definitive terms, still remains indeterminate exclusively because of the lack of substance that gives it the verisimilitude of a sustainable thesis.
There is even a certain amount of haste in attributing a formal origin to naturally formed canine breeds. Some consider it relevant to “see” in their dogs the characteristics of the Breeds in formation; others see a certain lack of “nobility” in Breeds that do not have a clear indication of their origin, and there are also those who wish, simply and uniquely, to speculate on the matter, perhaps in an attempt to achieve followers to their ideas, justify their now inadequate stocks or, perhaps, elevate themselves to the status of “Patrons” or “Fathers of History”. This is not the first time that this is observed and certainly shall not be the last.
The question about the admissibility of an axiom of racial origin is not restricted to the fact of having scientific or empirical bases, but in doing so, or not, presents itself supported by a minimum protocol of experimentation and results. Historical, geographic, or registry records about the existence and sufficient amount of forming breeds, information on circumscription, linkage, proportion and timing of facts and experiments, as well as data on their results. All this is presented within a coherent and contextualized narrative that provides it with a credible aura and carries a possibility, however small, of being factual. Beyond this, any hypothesis will inhabit the domain of conjectures, an area in which all are free to create theirs, however without having to take the liberty, or the pretense, of making them universal or absolute.
As can be seen, the argument presented by the OFB for the origin of the Fila Brasileiro Dog does not manage to reach a point beyond personal reasoning, and many consider its propagation, in the form in which it is, not a revolution, but a subversion to ideas and the most rudimentary principles of empirical or scientific experimentation, in addition to the (good) common sense that governs any activity.
II – PROJECT DESIGNATION.
The following unusual point is the very titling of the project. It is very well known that the designation “Fila Brasileiro Dog” was only given after the approval of the first Racial Standard (1951), as a result of the work of studies and pioneering prospects of Dr. Paulo Santos Cruz, in addition to the efforts of several other individuals involved. Even for a brief period prior to this (late 1930’s, 1940’s) it was provisionally termed as the “Fila Nacional”, due to its first appearances in exhibitions and the first RI’s (1945), still as an unrecognized Breed.
It is also well known that the term “Fila Dog” had never been used in the Breed’s origin environment. In the old farms, in the nooks and bushlands where the dog already existed, its most common denominations were Cabeçudo, Boiadeiro (or Cabeçudo-Boiadeiro), Onceiro, Amarelo Boca Preta and others, never Fila. It is assumed that the nickname “Fila Dog” came from São Paulo, where dogs acquired in MG were taken by farmers from São Paulo, these were the first to give a greater canine projection to those dogs that came from the interior of Brazil.
The very denomination of the project induces, in a first perception, to the suggestion of purity and originality to the animals that belong to it, leading to believe that only its specimens are true, pure and original Filas Brasileiros, thus impelling, by direct analogy, all the remaining specimens to a kind of “racial limbo”. It is undoubtedly an ambiguity and iniquity of huge proportions to History, facts and so many that, over the decades, have made efforts, put on dedication time and personal investments to the genuine Fila Brasileiro Dog.
Again, by force of the unfounded tramping of facts, elements, and licit circumstances that have already been well-proven, there is no way to fail conceiving this point of the OFB Project as a “Subversion” to widely consecrated bases and notions, never a “Revolution”.
III – TECHNICAL PART
In its technical proposal, from the little it is already been known, the OFB transits between obviousness and new conceptions, however clearly dressed in new clothes, conferring to the scientific features, exclusive or pioneering.
Banal situations, like fights between pups of the same litter, or everyday, like pregnant she-dogs that gave birth repositioning their litters in more sheltered places, are taken to the public as if they were something rare. They are not, under any hypothesis !! Very rare are the litters where there are no fierce disputes between siblings and the extreme care of she-dogs with their litter are so notorious that there is a specific area and terminology for this (Maternal Ability) in studies of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine.
The attention of the OFB regarding the behavior, character and temperament of the dogs (nervous system, stability, courage and determination), in spite of always being welcome, is not about novelty, already being present since the first Racial Standard and on the agenda of (good and correct) breeding and selection of Fila Brasileiro from its beginnings, as well as being a fundamental part of CAFIB’s work, the largest, most active and oldest preservation club of the Fila Brasileiro that exists, through the Analysis of Phenotype and Temperament – APT and exhibition judgments.
As for the phenotypic proposal to the stock, the OFB, from what has already been manifested in this aspect through images, flags basically to a very marked regression, to the typing of the so-called “Farm Dogs”, of low average quality, without the improvement and, especially, the selection that followed its formal establishment as Pure Breed, improved and enhanced subsequently by Dr. Paulo himself, along with CAFIB, even because of the miscegenation that occurred in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Up to this point, this approach of the OFB allows it to simply appear as an innocent imprecision, a simple mismatch of course, perhaps motivated by a conceptual radicalization on the subject. The problem, in this case, is that this “possible error” conflicts directly with narrative and historical data already legitimized and of wide public knowledge, there not being a lot of space for the experienced breeders of the Project to claim ignorance of them.
It is imperative to remember that, in the packs of the old rural estates, among these “farm” dogs, there could indeed be authentic Filas; however, these coexisted with specimens of other breeds and certainly mix-breeders of genuine Filas. One can take for granted that the main and perhaps most arduous task that Dr. Paulo had at the beginning of his work, as soon as he faced these stocks, was the due identification of the animals that were legitimate Filas from those that, even if similar, were nothing more than fruits of cross-breeding with other Breeds.
Other points of the OFB’s technical proposal are still pending better and further clarification. Some of them, for the little that has already been presented, involve some suggestions of structural modifications in the specimens. For example, we have been flagging at a somewhat shorter dog figure, with a shallower chest and somewhat taller, including the suggestion of more open (> 90 °) scapula-humeral angulation. If this is indeed the case, a certain divergence will be created between this idea and the studies on the dynamics and morphology of the dogs, especially directed at the natural utility of the Fila Brasileiro, made by Dr. Paulo and CAFIB and published in the late 70’s and beginning of the 80’s. It is not allowed to see benefits in erecting the figure of the dog, with the resulting elevation and dislocation of its center of gravity, this dog having the functional need to have agility and speed in sudden changes of movement direction, besides efficiency in grabbing and immobilization of cattle. Nor is there any glimpse at the advantage in changing bone proportions or angulations, naturally conceived to the primary utility of the Breed.
The more evident damages observed with the increase of the shoulder angle (scapula-humeral), besides the virtual greater impact vertical to the structure of the animal, would be an apparent loss of the upper chest and, mainly, on the repositioning in more vertical senses of the scapula, and humerus muscles, which may influence the upper line of the dog (higher withers) or lack of better support to the chest (lower elbow tip). Regarding vertical impacts, it is known that the entire constitution of the Fila Brasileiro, in relation to its support members, is shown turned to the minimization of stocks with the ground in walking. Since the configuration of feet and plantar pads, position of metacarpals and metatarsals and perfectly angled bones and united by “loose” joints, all lead to the reduction and best absorption of taps on the ground during movement, even more so because they are animals that easily exceed 50 Kg and that, by duty of primary function, must be capable of dislocate through long distances. These differences, which for some may seem small, may not be detrimental in short trot on an exhibition track, but may be decisive in a 20-km journey or more, a situation that is not at all unusual for specimens of rural properties, the environment of origin of the Breed, that still works through long distances and handles cattle.
Regarding the use of training professionals in the project, although there are excellent experts in the area, it becomes a controversial point due to the fact that the vast majority of these technicians have their respective development, methods and conceptualizations set on the basis of other canine Breeds, more prone to the use of sport dogs or a specific work. The Fila Brasileiro is outside this universe and this has always been presented as the cause of a lot of divergence, result of misinformation. The full Brazilian Fila is born ready, and so it is by means of the (good) genetic work and the correct orientation to the selection. It is even very understandable that professional handlers and trainers find this assumption strange, because their idea of full dog goes through several stages of tests and training until final evaluation, as the technical protocol of those Breeds so requires. Not in the case of the Fila Brasileiro, where the eventual insertion of the item “trainability” is not desired, nor necessary in any way to the perfect selection and breeding of the Breed.
After closing the technical part, and seeing with great concern, the OFB presents, even if in a shy way, an indication that may consider the use of disproportionately brindle dogs (forming spots), or even the black ones, called in the project of “melanic”.
Regarding this, it is imperative to remember that, in 2019, four exact decades have gone by since the publication of the article “There is no Black Fila” by Dr. Paulo Santos Cruz, published in the CAFIB Bulletin No. 7. In this matter, any doubts on the subject are settled, including those that Dr. Paulo himself had previously raised in the beginning of contacts, work and research with the Breed, which were always mischievously misused by the defenders of black and half-breed dogs, without however succeeding in confirming the undeniable …… There Is No Black Fila. In these 40 years, absolutely everything that was learned in terms of studies, technical analysis, investigations and accumulated experiments fully confirm this assertion.
Flanks and possibilities to this premise were opened (spotted dogs and black) constitute an unjustifiable and unreasonable attitude, only comparable to that of the old BKC with its infamous “Waiting Book”, where half-bred dog records were compiled awaiting future approval. To vent, even hypothetically, this route is to disregard, or subvert, all the work done by Dr. Paulo and CAFIB, which was not little or easy, but that resulted in the rescue of the Breed as it is now recognized and admired all over the planet.
IV – CONCLUSION
In a first and shallow vision, the OFB Project may even resemble an auspicious initiative of a “necessary revision” of the Fila Brasileiro Breed, according to its understanding. However, reality proves different as, we evaluating in more depth the proposals that are presented in “slices” rather than with a didactic or assertive care, and are outlined in a well-designed advertising strategy.
The media employment of dubious, comparative, imprecise or decontextualized examples on dogs, in the typology proposed by the OFB, awarded in previous exhibitions (especially those of CAFIB) refers to a severe conceptual error. If indeed they were, it was certainly a regrettable but possible misconception, which, as one sees in the truth of the facts, remained in the sphere of exception, from the “point off the curve,” never of the rules qualified of guidance, selection, or judgments. If they actually occurred, they were an objectionable exception, they were never made as a rule.
It is also surprising that a project allegedly of technical and scientific nature, when confronted to the discordant, shows so many difficulties in the refutation of the arguments, making use of the presentation of different claims placed to them, thus creating difficulties or disorientation to any negotiation that is intended to make up logical reasoning. It has become customary in the OFB manifestations to suggest that the overwhelming majority of the Breed’s technicians, breeders and hobbyists have been affected for years by a kind of visual and cognitive nearsightedness in relation to their dogs (and the Breed itself) not observing the clear and distinct phenotypic changes that, according to the OFB, are only perceived by the followers of the Project. I do not believe that this is a technical or scientific presupposition, but rather a slip toward messianism based only on personal conceptions.
The difficulties pointed out in the text above, some of them of dangerous and negative relevance, failed, incoherent and conflicting points with reality and facts have long been established. Project obstacles, the “loose ends”, induction into the false concept of “racial virginity” and “everything is possible, in principle” give the OFB an amorphous and unfocused shape. Under a more critical and analytical view than that which has already been presented, it can be ascertained that the OFB still shows itself as a good and well-set, yet fallacious, story. A rather elaborated landscape but illusory in its essence. The doubt that goes on is, as always, the motivation, the why for such an initiative.
In an attempt to answer the above question it is necessary to point out, to the less “connected” readers, that from some time back until now, there has been the emergence, through social media (new “Field of Knowledge of Cynophilia”), of a group of people who vigorously protest against the alleged excesses or exaggerations of award-winning dogs in exhibitions, or of breeding in general, even in the case of traditional preservation organizations regarded as serious and strict, such as CAFIB. The points that unite this group are that they never adequately clarify what they consider “exaggerations” or “excesses”, position themselves in the first instance against “all that there is ” without, however, offering proactive collaboration to already established entities and are so active in the digital media as inexperienced in the world of the Fila Brasileiro. One does not observe a single breeder, judge, or experienced leader sharing such principles. A kind of “market niche”, has been created, strengthened by the presence of lay enthusiasts, breeders of limited practical experience and canine training professionals, in which the OFB emerges as the panacea that shall replace the Fila Brasileiro in its due original tracks.
Revolution or subversion? Chimeras or truths? The work of Dr. Paulo and CAFIB or the review of what has already been done? Market opportunity or personalism? None of this is in the interest of CAFIB, its associates, and all who mirror their creations in their solidified philosophy more than 40 years ago, on their own merits. I do believe that preserving the Fila Brasileiro Breed should be, among other things, owning and practicing, as a non-negotiable value, a deep respect for its legitimized History and for the facts that truly formed it. To subvert them, surely, is to play against.
Joaquim Liberato Barroso / Owner of the Boa Sorte Kennel
Best regards, Chico Peltier.