About Our Kennel
The History of the Grande.
Cabeza [ca-BAY-sa] Grande [GRAHN-day] is translated into ‘Great Head’ in Spanish. When we started our kennel in 1991 we thought long and hard about what we wanted to be known for. We wanted the name of our kennel to reflect the one most important thing we personally thought made a great dog. That’s a hard thing to come up with, then put into simple words to use as a name. We thought, health, temperament, and type, but what does this mean? A good-looking dog with a great head on its shoulders! So first and foremost, while we do want to produce beautiful dogs with strong temperaments and sound health, we thought that a dog with a ‘great head’ on its shoulders was the most important aspect.
The Canario “Type” Debate.
Unfortunately, the scope of different ‘types’ of dog labeled Presa Canario is so vast as to hardly resemble the same breed. Contrary to what some breeders tell you, the Canario does have a specific breed type and yes, even a breed standard. Not four standards, not a standard made up by US breeders to fit their dogs, but a real standard made up by those interested in recognition and reclamation. Like many dog breeds, the Canario has been bred so indiscriminately that it is in quite a sad shape.
In the midst of all the hype and rhetoric about what’s real and what’s fake, we decided to add one more tool to our arsenal. Starting at the beginning of 2009, all Grande breeding dogs will have DNA profiles available. This service is offered by UKC as yet another positive breeding tool.
Presa VS. Dogo.
The fact is that these dogs all go back to the same foundation dogs and their DNA is exactly the same. But it is also a fact that too many people are breeding for heavy, overdone dogs with no focus on proper structure or health. This breed is a medium-sized, utility dog and should not be short and fat or built like a Great Dane. There are poorly bred dogs who can’t work due to lack of temperament or improper structure that are known as Dogo Canario and the same in the Presa Canario community. The opposite is also true. There are well-bred, structurally correct working dogs that are known as Dogo or Presa Canario. It is much less important to know what the breeder’s dogs are called than it is that the breeder him/herself is breeding with a strong focus on health and a proper working structure.
Gossip and the Dog Community.
One of the most malignant and harmful issues in any dog community is gossip. While sometimes information about dogs can only be obtained by speaking to people whose knowledge may only be secondhand, for the most part this way of communication is of no value. In our breeds community, we have a lot of infighting and rivalries that are ongoing. This side fights with that side, that side fights with this side and it’s almost impossible for a newcomer to sift through all of it and come out with any better understanding of the whole situation. A good rule of thumb is to avoid breeders who talk badly about other breeders. Unless they have empirical evidence of the claims they make, its just gossip being told by possibly a rival breeder or disgruntled former client. If you call us, we will not talk about other breeders, if we have nothing good to say, we say nothing at all. So please do not ask us to comment about other breeders. We prefer to talk about our own program and goals, what we think is good and bad about each of our own dogs, and leave the gossip to the used car salesmen and the old ladies [or young men] in show rings.
Hobby Breeder Vs. Commercial Breeder.
There is a lot of debate as to which kind of breeder is out for the betterment of the breed and which breeder is out for money. The hobby breeder will tell you he has only a couple of dogs so therefore he, by definition has more time for those dogs, he must be better. The commercial breeder will tell you he devotes his entire life to the dogs, has no other jobs, often has staff to help him so he must be better.
I guess I should start by giving my definition of the two breeders. A hobby breeder is one who does not live off the proceeds he makes from dogs. Dog breeding is a hobby for him, not his livelihood. A commercial breeder is one who lives off of the dogs. He, by definition often has many dogs. He will often have a staff of people to take care of the dogs and he survives off of what he can make from his dogs.
In my opinion, neither breeder is automatically better. It is more about how each of those breeders takes care of, houses, socializes, trains, tests and proves their breeding dogs that makes them better than the rest. If you have a hobby breeder who keeps his dogs in a backyard with no socialization or interaction, even though he only has a couple of dogs, he is not the kind of breeder you should buy from. This is considered a Puppy Peddler. On the other hand, if a commercial breeder has many dogs, they aren’t well kept, they aren’t socialized, aren’t tested or proven etc…he is also not the type of breeder you want to buy from. This is considered a Puppy Mill.
Whatever type of breeder you decide to go with, make sure they do hip and temperament testing. Go see the dogs, are they groomed, well taken care of, seem to know their names and their owners? Are they trained, are they worked, do they show? Don’t judge a book by its cover, go see for yourself. Cabeza Grande Kennel is a small hobby kennel, we do not make our living off of dogs and you are welcome to come visit anytime.
Our Presa Puppies. All of our puppies are raised in our home with constant attention from the day they are born. They are kept in a contained area that can be moved to wherever we are for maximum exposure to sights, sounds and people. Stress stimuli is introduced as early as 3 days old and continue until 16 days old. Environmental socialization is continued from there including different surfaces (linoleum, wood, carpet, lattice, plastic tarps, etc), people of all ages, different sounds (gunshots, sirens, etc) and as many different situations as we can creatively choose for them. After 8 weeks the socialization generally continues off the property with trips to parks, large lumber stores, and sometimes even Wal Mart. It is important that you continue this strenuous course of socialization for the rest of the pup’s development. No puppies raised in kennels.
Worth the Wait?
At Cabeza Grande Kennel, we do not have litters available all year long. We believe it takes time and research to produce quality litters and our frequency of breeding reflects that. While we do not keep a bunch of dogs at any given time, we use the resources of outside kennels whose dogs may best compliment ours. Most of our puppies are sold in advance but if you would like to be added to our puppy waiting list, please feel free to call and discuss it with us.
Working Vs. Show?
At Cabeza Grande Kennel, our first goal is to produce healthy, functional companion guardians. For all of our Presa breeding dogs, we expect a certain level of drive, nerve and courage. They pass a basic working temperament test before they can be used for breeding. Those of you interested in showing, obedience, agility, weight pull or any other non-protection sport type of activity, these companion guardians are well suited for just such tasks.
People who are looking for a Protection Sport candidate need and expect more from their dog. These Canarios will come from specific pairings that have proven themselves to have not only the ability to stand their ground when threatened and protect the property on which they live, they have also a higher level of drive and athleticism needed for the rigors of sport work. Be careful what you ask for as these puppies may not always make for the normally calm family dog the Presa usually does.
All of our dogs are guaranteed to be capable family companions and guardians but due to the variance in training, socialization and other environmental factors, we can not guarantee a dog will get a title in any official protection sport.
Pet Quality Vs. Breeding Quality? Our dogs are guaranteed to be capable family companions and guardians but due to the variance in training, socialization and other environmental factors, we can not guarantee a dog will get a title in any official protection sport.
The majority of our dogs are sold as either working guardians or breeding candidates with the hopes to improve our rare breed’s genetic pool. A few of our puppies may be deemed ‘pet quality’ due to some fault causing them to be either not breed quality or not working quality. These puppies can not be shipped site unseen due to new USDA APHIS regulations. All puppies sold to the pet market must be seen by the buyer or a representative of that buyer. What that means is you will have to travel here to view the puppy yourself or have a representative do it for you prior to the purchase. I can provide you with a certified trainer to act as your representative at no extra charge to you.
Pet Quality puppies will not have bad temperaments nor will they be unhealthy. They may have a minor health fault (retained testicle for example) or a minor conformation fault but will never been unstable or fearful in temperament. Their fault will not negatively affect the quality of life or their ability to be a great family pet. If breeding is not your thing, and a working guardian is not your need, then a pet quality puppy may be the way to go.
We offer a 3-year guarantee on any genetic health and temperament defects and a 1-year guarantee (on show quality pups) on type issues. Pet quality puppies come with a 3-year guarantee on defects relating to their quality of life only and no guarantees on their breed worthiness will be offered. In the event of a problem, we will not make you give your beloved pet back to us as a condition of the guarantee. You will be required to provide proof of the health problem and proof of the dog’s alteration. Upon submission of this proof, we will give you a puppy of equal or greater value when one becomes available.
We Strive to be Better in All Aspects. It is our goal to place our puppies with qualified owners. We may ask you a lot of questions, some you will not be used to being asked. We may offend you with some of these questions, be assured it is not our intention. Its very important for you to not only find out the right breed to fit your lifestyle but it’s important for us to find the right owner to fit our puppies. We like to stay in contact with the new owners of our puppies. If it’s a show-quality puppy, we would like to help you get into showing if you are not already. If the working aspects are what you are interested in, we would like to help you find a good trainer, know about the dogs progress, hear about that big trial win. Dogs are a big part of our life, but they are not our livelihood. We consider the puppies we produce extensions of our breeding program. If our kennel produces good quality puppies, that shows we’ve done things right.