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Circular on the 1st Exposition in Três Corações English

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Another great CAFIB success!!!

expo 3 coraçõesOld photos from Chico’s private file.

The lengthy process that, for centuries, resulted in the development of the Fila Brasileiro dog has something nebulous and has already given rise to several theories. But even if the formula was thoroughly decoded, it could not be redone because the Molossoid and Bracoid breeds that participated in that merging underwent modifications and the specimens we see today at the exhibitions are quite different from their ancestors that came to Brazil at the time of colonization. The current English Bulldog is almost a caricature of its ancestor that fought bulls; and the Mastiff that participates in the modern dog specimen shows is derived from the reconstruction of the original breed that, like almost all very large breeds, was virtually extinguished during World War II. Moreover, together with the empirical and uneven criteria that guided the owners of Filas in several Brazilian rural areas, it also worked natural selection intensely, which eliminated the less qualified specimens to survive in the harsh conditions of that environment, at the time.

The history of the Fila Brasileiro, as the race officially recognized by the Brazilian and world dog criteria, is well documented. Although there are sporadic records of participation of one or more Filas (by Benedito Faria Camargo and John Laraya) in São Paulo expositions from 1939, this history really begins in 1948, when in the Brazilian city named Santos, attorney Paulo Santos Cruz (1915-1990), known as Dr. Paulo, brought from southern Minas Gerais to the coast of São Paulo, the first specimens of the so-called National Fila, but that in different rural regions received various denominations, such as Boiadeiro, Onceiro, Cabeçudo and Atravessado. From those first puppies in Varginha, on the grounds of butcher José Gomes de Oliveira (1903-1998), known as Zé Gomes, pioneering Dr. Paulo established his Parnapuan Kennel; and his travels in small planes that he himself flew, spread to other Minas Gerais’s towns - such as Carmo de Minas (former Silvestre Ferraz), where the main supplier of genetic material was Pedro Ribeiro Junqueira de Souza (1908-1991), known as Pedrinho do Engenho, and Itanhandu, the traditional land of breeder João Costa (1905-1981) -, always acquiring dogs to which he gave names beginning with the letter "T" (Tamoyo, Tauá, Timbó, Tupi, etc.) to identify this "farm" origin because he followed the traditional alphabetical order in the litters born in his kennel. In the 1960’s, his husbandry received useful boost from an exchange with Englishman William Frederick Chalmers (1921-2002), known as Mr. Chalmers, or simply Bill, as he liked his friends to call him (perhaps because of a conscious or subconscious analogy with his almost namesake North American William Frederick Cody (1846-1917), the legendary Buffalo Bill?). This breeder came from a British family, which began to explore gold in Minas Gerais and as of the 19th century (1911) took up residence in Pedro Leopoldo, in the historic Jaguará Farm, founded in 1724. There, the strict selection of Filas was started in the 1950’s, also from specimens acquired from Pedrinho do Engenho.  As a curiosity, it is worth remembering that while it is very common in Brazilian farms to build chapels, a real church was built on those lands. And this Church of Our Lady of the Conception of Jaguará was designed and built in the 1780’s by none other than the architect, sculptor and engraver Antônio Francisco Lisboa (1738-1814), the celebrated Aleijadinho, internationally regarded as the greatest artist of colonial Brazil and whose work has been listed as World Heritage by UNESCO.

The participation of the Fila Brasileiro in exhibitions had already begun growing in São Paulo, but irregularly and in an amateurish way with dogs belonging to Carlos Alberto Euler Bueno (Vila Paulista Kennel), João Ebner (Riacho Alto Kennel), João and Dirce Accioli (Tapiocanga Kennel) and a few others, but it was not until 1952 that the Kennel Club Paulista published the first official breed standard, signed by lawyer Paulo Santos Cruz, veterinarian Erwin Waldemar Rathsam and engineer João Ebner, enabling the specimens to be evaluated by technical parameters. Also in the 1950’s, it should be highlighted that Filas breeding started by the Ukrainian architect, trained in Rome and naturalized Brazilian, Gregori Warchavichic (1896-1972), who as a result of his relationship with the group of artists and intellectuals responsible for the Week of Modern Art held at the Teatro Municipal in 1922, registered his kennel with the affix Macunaíma name of the known book written by his friend, also modernist, Mário de Andrade (1893-1945). The first official dog show - but still without the participation of representatives of the Fila Brasileiro breed - promoted by Brazil Kennel Club (later to become the entity mater of national dog breeding) had occurred in 1923, in Rio de Janeiro. The official recognition of the Fila Brasileiro breed by the entity mater of the world’s dog show took place in the 1960’s, when the Brazilian judge Antonino Barone Forzano, became the first South American to chair the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale).

From 1978, due to the uncontrolled crossbreeding that threatened the survival of the breed, the members of CAFIB - Clube de Aprimoramento do Fila Brasileiro - again went through the farms south of Minas Gerais with the aim of rescuing the remaining of those old lineages and then began to perform the analyses of Phenotype and Temperament to eliminate the mix-bred and select the pure. And in the first of these analyses, on August 26, 1979, in São Paulo, CAFIB’s Breeding Master and "all rounder" judge Paulo Santos Cruz, along with CAFIB judges Airton Campbell, Roberto Maruyama and Américo Cardoso dos Santos Jr., appraised 113 dogs. And in the second analysis, in March 1980, a highlight of the event was the arrival of Minas Gerais’s breeder José Hamilton Alves Pereira, who came from his Aguenta Sol Kennel, in Varginha, on board a Dodge truck with seven Filas in the back, between which Maroto da Jaguara, from the traditional breeding of Mr. Chalmers.

Now, in 2015, when CAFIB - with 27 representations in Brazil and abroad - celebrates its 100th National Exposition, after having surpassed 300 exhibitions and 6,000 analyses in almost all Brazilian states and in several countries in Europe and North America, we return to the south of Minas Gerais, cradle of the breed, to promote, on August 23, the 1st CAFIB Brazilian Fila Exposition of Três Corações, MG.

This town, on the margin of the Fernão Dias highway (BR-381), has a strategic location because it is equidistant from three major Brazilian capitals: at 249 km from São Paulo (SP), 250 km from Rio de Janeiro (RJ) and 253 km from Belo Horizonte (MG). In addition, it is also in the center of the region considered the cradle of the Brazilian Fila breed, among Varginha, Carmo da Cachoeira, Lavras, Itanhandu and Carmo de Minas. The most illustrious son of Três Corações, registered as Édson Arantes do Nascimento, but worldwide  known as "Rei Pelé", has become the best soccer player of all times, in addition to having been internationally recognized as the "Athlete of the Century" . At the city gate, there is a monument as a tribute to the tricordiano star.

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Those who travel to Três Corações, when nearing the city, go by several signs on the roadside indicating Venda do Chico. The establishment, founded by Francisco Carlos Gonzaga Reis, better known as Chico da Venda, began selling simple articles to rural workers. Today it has become a well-known chain of restaurants specialized in typical Minas Gerais cuisine and its menu includes dishes like chicken with okra, pork ribs with manioc, torresmo (crisp fried pork skin) and pau-a-pique (traditional round cornmeal bread wrapped in a banana leaf) . At two kilometers from the site, a larger sign, and “Venda do Chico" also announces "Fila Brasileiro".

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The fact is that this trader is a great breeder of Fila, continuing the stock started decades ago by his grandfather, maintained later by his father, who acquired from Zé Gomes, and today is run by him and his family. In fact, the diverse activities of this entrepreneur (restaurants, shops, stables and kennel) involve the whole clan: his wife, Ana Cláudia Machado Pereira Reis and his children, Thalita Pereira Gonzaga Reis, Matheus Pereira Gonzaga Reis and Francisco Carlos Gonzaga Reis Jr.

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expo 3 coraçõesPedro, Luciano, Paulo Augusto, Chico and Matheus.

In the second Venda do Chico, where the Reis’s family raises Fila Brasileiro dogs and Pampa and Mangalarga Marchador horses, are located the excellent facilities for the equestrian exhibitions and events held several times a year.

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And the grassy lane of this site (flat and surrounded with white tents, chairs and tables to accommodate large numbers of people) was the stage of CAFIB’s exposition, organized by the breeder Marcus Flávio Vilasboas Moreira, owner of Guardiões do Caracu Kennel, in Belo Horizonte (MG), with strong support from Chico’s entire family. His sons Matheus and Francisco Junior circulated by the region in pickup trucks painted with the event’s data, putting up posters and distributing flyers and pamphlets.

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The show was a great success, reaching the record number of 39 registrations for the Phenotype and Temperament analysis, with specimens that impressed the CAFIB judges because of their structure and typicality, but devoid of any source document. It is that many breeders in the region try only to select "purity and fierceness" from their Filas, never bothering to register their litters. The dogs began to be analyzed in the morning, at 09:00 am, by Judges Aírton Campbell, Peter Borotti, Jonas Tadeu Iacovantuano and Paulo Augusto Monteiro de Moura, aided by the traditional breeder Giovani Éder de Carvalho in preparation phase to become a judge. The painstaking secretarial work was performed by Mariana Campbell and Denise Gavião, while the photos were taken by Bruna Frias and Cíntia Junqueira de Barros. Fellow judge and CAFIB’s president, and Luciano Gavião, besides being the attending veterinarian, was in charge of inserting the microchips in the registered dogs, while Fabiano Nunes "Jawa" acted as an “experiment" in the temperament tests. Of the 39 dogs registered in the analysis, 11 were rejected: One for atypicality, one for sharp lower prognathism and others for disqualifying reaction in the temperament tests. Due to the large number of participants, the Analysis took long and the Exhibition was only started at 2:00 pm, with 46 specimens on track, being the male dogs judged by Jonas Iacovantuono and the female dogs by Airton Campbell. The largest class was that of Adult Males with 9 competitors. As usual, the Best Head of the Exposition and the Best Temperament of the Exposition were chosen jointly by the two judges.

The significant presence of public interested in following up the tests, added by the numerous families, including many children, who usually attend the traditional Sunday brunches at Venda do Chico, caused concern to the organizers and judges, but thanks to adequate infrastructure, reinforced by constant precautionary recommendations conveyed through the speakers, there were no accidents.

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The only "near miss" happened when Chico awarded the trophy for Best Male of the Exposition to Cipó de Itanhandu.

Breeders and exhibitors attending came from the São Paulo cities of Aparecida, Jacareí, Monte Mor, Porto Ferreira and São Bernardo do Campo; and the Minas Gerais cities of Aiuruoca, Belo Horizonte, Campos Gerais, Carmo de Minas, Caxambu, Itanhandu, Patrocínio, Três Corações and Varginha. Among the fans who encouraged the event with their presence, but did not bring their Filas, are worth mentioning José Hamilton Alves Pereira, who in addition to having been awarded the trophy for "Breeder of the Year", also organized various analyses and exhibitions in Varginha and whose known Aguenta Sol Kennel produced anthological dogs, such as Timbó do Aguenta Sol and Leãozinho do Aguenta Sol, both several times considered "Best" and awarded with Gold Medal, including by the "Father of the Breed," Paulo Santos Cruz.

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Other traditional breeders attending were Átila Luís B. Dias (from Barão dos Filas Kennel), Cristóvão Giancoti (Tabayara Kennel), Raymundo F. Cruz (Gameleira Kennel) and Robson Freitas (Leões de Minas Kennel), all from Belo Horizonte, in addition to São Paulo’s Nelson Nunes (Mantiqueira Kennel), from Cruzeiro. Everyone present, breeders or not, was again very impressed with CAFIB’s organization and the integrity and impartiality of the judgment, combined with rigorous temperament and nervous system tests, carried out with discretion and competence of experienced people and with blank shots to assess the reaction of the dogs to strong and unexpected blast waves. The big final dispute, to choose the "Best Temperament of the Exposition", featured 6 pre-selected males and 2 females and the test was carried out by two individuals who attacked simultaneously: Fabiano Nunes, with a plastic chair, and Carlos Augusto Mansur, known as "Carlão", with special protective clothing and acting with remarkable courage, coming within reach of the dogs and allowing them to get a strong hold of his sleeve.

It must also be highlighted the sad situation in which many Filas are found on the farms of this region, almost abandoned, often filled with screwworms and maggots, spending their whole life tied with ropes on tree trunks, brutally repressed when they externalize their guard instinct and reproducing without any criterion or supervision of the owners. All judges who acted in this event at Três Corações were extremely embarrassed and upset for rejecting some very typical dogs, but with disqualifying reaction in the attack test, and started an awareness job on the breeders to improve care for the animals and adopt more selective criteria in husbandry and selection of puppies, following the good example of breeders Chico and Marquinhos.

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The board of CAFIB thanks Marcus Flávio Vilasboas Moreira and Matheus Pereira Gonzaga Reis for their commitment to have this 1st exhibition in Três Corações and Chico and his whole family for the attention, warmth and kindness with which they received all CAFIB team and all breeders, exhibitors and attending audience.