Thanks to Prensa Latina for this article.
Havana Dogs Have Their Day
Images and text by Mike Fuller
Havana, Apr 14 (Prensa Latina) The Cuban Canine Federation held its spring show in western Havana this weekend, drawing dog breeders, judges and lovers from half a dozen countries and about 30 different breeds.
The organizations true name is the Cuban Cynological Federation, and the word cynology technically means canine related sciences, or dog breeding, which began to gain ground seriously in the late 1800s.
The origin of the word is probably linked to the root cynic, which describes followers of the 300 BC Greek philosopher Diogenes, who Wikipedia says was a beggar that made a virtue of extreme poverty. “He debunked social values, ate in the marketplace and urinated on people who insulted him,” it claims.
The pooches at the stadium in general had much better manners and showed great prowess in obedience exercises like heeling without a leash, handler accompanied sprints and more.
Enrique Comendeiro, a 12 year old owner said his husky Kina sleeps under his bed and is very sensitive. He said once she witnessed a chow chow attack a stray, and her hair bristled as she tried to help from inside the house, but couldnt and was depressed for three days after.
Abel Canizares, a 30 year-old dalmatian trainer and accountant said his dog is very intelligent and brings her empty plate when hungry. He commented on the mostly voluntary nature of thoroughbred trainers in Cuba, and claimed their main drive is love of dogs, not money.
THE JUDGES SPEAK Melba Castro was a judge from the Dominican Republic and self-proclaimed addict to canine culture. She echoed the reference to spirituality versus economy, and said “Look at how hard things are in Cuba and there are still so many of us here.”
Costa Rican Luis Vargas said this was a “meeting of people crazy about dogs.”
Javier Ramirez from Mexico, a dog show judge for 15 years, said he owns 20 dogs, but is trying to get down to six.
Top Cuba arbiter Nelson Borroto said he loves dog breeding, which he described as “a scientific factor that unites us all. Cynology is very demanding, especially the genetic work.”
His eyes glowed as he described his canophile adventures, one of which included a Brazil show he was judging when an angry participant took a bite out of the rear of his suit.
CANINE CULTURE IN CUBA The organizing committee had 13 members, with nine ring commissioners, eight international judges and dozens of groups, sections, races and ages, sponsored by at least 10 Cuban entities from civil society and government.
There are at least 15 different dog associations in Cuba, including those for poodles, boxers, collies, great danes and the famous Bichon Habanero, a lap dog created in Cuba.
The dalmatian contingent proudly explained their breed is the only that can cross over any of the 13 categories, can run a full marathon, is agile and a known firefighter helper.
Luis Laza Tamayo of the Federation directive board and journalist by profession, has a hairless Mexican xoloitzcuintle named Dobaolo that has won its category more times than one has fingers. He said this breed is a favorite in Cuba, and there are more than 200 in the club and over five thousand in Cuba.
As a matter of fact, they can be seen among others in the pedigreeless packs that roam the streets, who also visited this fair to get a look at the well-groomed members of their species.