Interview to Paco Zanoia - De Paco's Am Staf
WHY AND WHEN DID YOU START TO KEEP AND BREED AM STAF?
The precise motivation for which I have decided to breed this Dog was the consequence of the study of more then ten years and the attendance which I had from the late 80s in the USA. Attending the exhibition of AKC and in particular seeing some Am Stafs presented by John McCartney at that time, it was born and created, inside myself, something important and ambitious which bought me, after 10 years, to breed my first litter alone. Only after having evaluated my breeding program, guided by the mentors like my dear friend John.
COULD YOU DESCRIBE, FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW, THE IDEAL TYPE OF AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIER?
I believe that my ideal Am Staf is reflected fully in the "moderate-type" of Am Staf that the seminar of STCA recommends to all the breeders to pursue, both as how it is represented in its designed tables, and also in the ideal description dictated in its comment for the standard. All the best Am Stafs that I have seen in my life are moderate type. The male should be of moderate type "but, mannish" and the female should be moderate type "but, feminine" in no case in front of these specimens I have had the necessity of controlling the gender … under the tail Emoticon wink. After saying this, always according to my point of view, I can never accept any compromise in the Temperament of our dogs: reliability, sociability, playfulness and above all reluctance in attacking people are the essential components in my ideal type of Am Staf.
IN YOUR BREEDING PROGRAM DO YOU PREFER THE OPEN BLOOD OR THE IN-BREEDING?
Depends on what I want and the aims that I have fixed in a certain phase of my breeding program. Each genetic treaty explains how to use in the best way the various selection techniques in blood relationship, it is not the theoretic answer that will bring to success in breeding Am Staf, our breed is a strain in the strain and all that normally works for instance for the Doberman we cannot obtain a satisfactory result with Am Staf. I believe that it is fundamental for us to have a deep knowledge in our reproducers' phenotype bloodline progeny.
IN THE CASE THAT YOU DO THE PAIRING WITH THE BLOOD RELATIONSHIP, TILL WHICH LEVEL? INBREEDING OR LINEBREEDING?
As previously mentioned when we have the personal and physical knowledge of our ancestors (direct or indirect relatives) of at least the last three generations (F1-F2-F3) then we can decide the adequate technique of selection; linebreeding or inbreeding or outcrossing or top crossing. Consequently to our choice we will have the correspondent grade of blood line.
COULD YOU EXPLAIN TO US ABOUT THE BLOODLINES THAT YOU HAVE USED SINCE THE BEGINNING OF YOUR BREEDING PROGRAM?
In the beginning I have mostly used the Am Stafs which are the descents of the bloodline "Sky King" date back to Sky king of Har-Wyn: son of X-Pert Rowdy Rascal. I have crossed this progeny with the lines "Northern Yuma", "Major Thor" and "Humes Texas Jack", and they also derive prevalently from dogs of Cliff Ormsby (X-Pert). Only recently I have inserted also a descent which I have wanted it from some time, the "Knight Crusader" through the bloodline Willynwood of my teacher Bill Peterson. In anyway, every three or four generations "De Paco", I use and will use a very well fixed subject in outcross and anyhow coming from the "transparent" bloodline of which I can obtain documentation and access information through the registration of the American Kennel Club.
WHAT IS THE REASON ON THE EXPLANATION OF THE USE OF YOUR LAST RE-PRODUCTORS IN YOUR BREEDING PROGRAM?
Currently I am using in linebreeding my Waco to reinforce and fix my "maternal line". The main reason is that the male has excellent temperament, its physical health, is officially tested FCI HD-A so as its parents, it has an ideal size of 49cm at wither and it is exactly where I want to direct my descent. Last explanation, I want all my Am Staf to have a tail like its. Short respect to the size, lowly attached, which reminds us of the handle of the water pump in the old fountains. Moreover, it has that protrusion under the eye, is really "… abruptly below eyes" as requested from the standard AKC.
COULD YOU PLEASE TELL US BRIEFLY THE OFA/HD TEST IN THE BREEDING PROGRAM?
OFA: Orthopedic Foundation For Animals, Hip Database. It is the reading used in the USA. A specie of 24 months pictured by radiograph from a qualify vet could obtain the OFA number only if its result fits the rule: OFA-E (Excellent) – OFA-G (Good) – OFA-F (Fair). For the FCI the recognized interpretation for the dyplasia of flank is HD which should be ideally corresponding to the grade HD-A(0) – HD-B(1) – HD-C(2). Even though it is "not compulsory", since the very beginning I have always controlled the dysplasia grade of my reproducer, I have been cautious on pairing only between the lower grades. I have avoided in all possibly way to put together a OFA-F with a HD-C and also a HD-C with a HD-C or a OFA-F with a OFA-F. When I have used these grades of dysplasia – which still fit the rules – I have done exclusively within the HD-A and / or OFA-E. The other possible remaining variants between HD-A and / or HD-B with OFA–E and / or OFA-G paired among them represent an excellent breeding program. The ideal, as mentioned, is to pair the ones without dysplasia among them. If you have any doubt, always ask for an advise from a qualify Vet for each decision that you are going to take in this subject.
FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW, IN A PAIRING, IT IS MORE IMPORTANT THE MALE OR THE FEMALE? WHY?
As for the most part of the successful breeders that I have known, I too agree on the decisive importance of the female. In reality the female is dominant in the descent of the phenotype of open pairing. But only some outstanding males have given as much contribution to the offspring in the open pairing. See Tryarr Diamondback Redbolt, Patton Red Rock Skillet and White Rock Lone Star Dallas, to mention some of the most famous.
FOR A BREEDING PROGRAM DO YOU PREFER FEMININE FEMALE OR "MASCULINE" FEMALE WHY?
For my way of seeing the breed, the "masculine" female does not exist. As I believe I have already said this way to describe the female Am Staf has bought "out type" (on the wrong way) many breeders in the whole world. For the time being the standard does not speak of "transsexual type" Emoticon wink LOL
COULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL MALE?
It does note exist. I can tell You some of these Am Staf has came near for their qualitative characteristic: Patton RedRock Skillet for the right type, White Rocker Groover, One Stone Sonny De Paco and Willynwood Rockefellar for the temperament. Fraja Ruff Rider for the style and the class, De Paco XZ Buster Rascal for the movement, Ruffian Sky King of Har-Wyn for how it has reproduced. In other words my ideal male is purely "ideal" and it is my dream in the Breed.
MANY BREEDER DEDICATE MOST PART OF THEIR ATTENTION AND USE, OF SPECIMEN WITH PEDIGREE FROMED BY FAMOUS NAMES; HOW CAN YOU DEFINE ALL THIS OR BETTER, DO YOU PREFER GENOTYPE-PHENOTYPE OR PEDIGREE?
Phenotype! My motto for the Am Staf is: "what you see is what you get". I believe in what I was presented, the temperament that I find and, what I can see basing on my personal knowledge (know-how). In our breed, specimen with renowned pedigree is checked case by case before using them. The control of the dysplasia, the heart, the thyroid and the dentition for me are more important then any other recognition obtained in an exhibition (dog show).
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE DOG SHOWS, ARE THEY NECESSARY?
Yes, they are. They are indispensable the Breed Specialty awarded by Expert Judge. These Judges, in order to become what they are, they should have contributed to the progress of our Breed with the selection and with irrefutable result in the breed in which they are now considered as Expert. The usefulness of the dog show depends on the preparation of the Judge and on their judgment.
WHAT GRADE OF IMPORTANCE YOU WOULD ASSIGN TO: TYPE, TEMPERA-MENT, SOUNDNESS AND HEALTH?
Temperament, health, type and soundness.
WHICH IS THE TYPE FOR YOU?
De Paco XZ Hollywood GoldBold is the obvious example of typical Am Staf.
WHICH IS THE SIZE THAT YOU PREFER IN A MALE AND IN A FEMALE?
When an Am Staf is in the right size, I should not be impressed by neither height nor its shortness of its limb. In the moment in which I note "not balance", I consider it wrong independently from 2cm more or less. In any case I love the Am Staf that has no exaggeration in the size. If all the circumstances are the same, I prefer that dog which is near to the maximum limit for the standard size.
DO YOU THINK THAT THE JUDGE SHOULD PENALIZE THE SPECIMEN WHICH IS OUT OF THE RECOMMANDED STANDARD?
As previously written, I believe that all of us know that it is 43-46 cm ca. for the female e of 46-49 cm ca. for the male, therefore if we are the breeders and judges that are seriously concern about this breed we should try our best not to lost sight of the requested standard. We should not breed dogs which are out of size and if it is tolerated by the judges, this should not be a fixed regulation. And if the Judge award the World Champion to a male of 56 cm or a female of 52 cm of whiter, do not worry about it, they will be remember, both the breeder and judge, as well for this issue. It happens, it will happen and it has already happened even though it should not be happening.
HOW CAN THE SIZE INFLUENCE THE MOVEMENT?
The front and the back construction of the dog influence the movement, the length of the trunk is even more influential. Also the height is itself is a con-cause.
FOR YOUR POINT OF VIEW, WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE MOVEMENT OF THE DOG?
It should not be rolling or pace nor should it amble. Personally I love those Am Stafs which have stretched but controlled trot, as if they were "big cats in movement, (action of crossing the road) keenly alive to their surrounding and very certain in their gait".
HOW DO PHYSICAL ACTIVITY OR EXERCISE INFLUENCE AN AM STAF?
The Am Staf is a born athletic and as such it needs physical activity and exercise. Swimming is the best form of exercise. The Am Staf should never be fat – not even in one day of its life.
WHAT ARE THE RECOMMANDED FEATURES ON THE HEAD OF AN AM STAF?
The head should not have a muzzle which is too short but medium length. The correct cranial axis of the face is the ones that are parallel or very lightly convergent. The convergence of the Am Staf is determined by the temperate movement of the facial muscles when the dog contracts the muscles to pay attention.
WHAT IMPORTANCE DOES THAT LACK OF TEETH (THE PREMOLAR) HAS IN THE AM STAF?
The standard does not mention the complete dentition but it only limit itself in indicating the type of closures of the teeth which should be orthogonal (like scissors). For me it is very im-portant that my champions has all the premolar, I would say it is one of the priority.
AS A BREEDER WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COLOR?
Black and white like my De Paco XZ Hollywood Dream which in this moment after about 25 years is one of the best color that I have even seen personally. Then, the brindle mahogany of Gold Rush Seargent Striker, the blue brindle of Willynwood Bluebonnet Lady and the red with white of De Paco XZ Buster Rascal. They are the color that I prefer to use in my breeding program.
DO YOU THINK THAT THE SPECIMENT WITH SOME SPECIAL COLOR HAS MORE ADVANTAGE OVER THE OTHERS IN THE DOG SHOW?
I don't think so. Although almost all that is not fawn or red are penalized by most of the judge in the dog show. Especially the black and blue color. All this is absurd and deleterious for the breed, the standard admits almost all the color combination and different type of markings.
DO YOU APPROVE ON THE STANDARD POINT WHERE IT TALKS ABOUT THE 80% WHITE IN OUR BREED?
Yes for the 80% and no for the 20%.
It is because the Am Staf white is not albino and nevertheless, the white in our breed is a solid color, a real color. It is also really impossible and little practical to fix a percentage on this issue.
AS A BREEDER, WHAT ARE THE MAJOR FAULTS THAT WE CAN ENCOUNTER IN OUR BREED NOWADAYS?
Top line and shoulder, according to my opinion, remain the foremost faults that 70% of the Am Staf can encounter. It is followed by the wrong head and terrible tails and, this can be encountered in the whole world. I believe that there are too many Am Stafs that are born randomly and improvised by the breeders.
PROVIDING YOUR OPINION, WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT IMPROVE-MENT TO BE BROUGHT TO THE BREED?
In the selection of the Am Staf it is very easy to lost a quality than to fix one. For example, many users of the "Fraja EC" line (of John McCartney) famous for the excellent "type" and for the "beautiful shoulder" of its well know champions in only one combination it has lost the angulations and later almost all the remaining. I write this to answer objectively to the question. The improvement will be possible only if the decision makers are persons which are qualified and guided by good mentors. There should not be any improvisation with "The Grand Old Breed". We should entrust this to the person who has already been in this field for at least 20-30-40 years.
ACCORDING TO YOUR CRITERIA, WHAT KIND OF JUDGE DO YOU PREFER SPECIALIST OR ALL-ROUNDER?
Specialist or all rounder makes no difference, the important issue is the preparation of the Judge and his capability to recognize the best subject basing on the quality that it possesses, respecting, other than "defect", also the aim for which Am Staf is being selected, placing therefore more attention to the temperament and to the functionality. Knowledge, integrity, incorruptibility and lucidity that are demonstrated in the rings make the difference between a normal judge and a Judge to be preferred, and to which I will always re-bring my dogs back for a judgment.
HOW DO YOU SEE THE LEVEL OF THE AM STAF IN EUROPE?
Definitely high. I have the opportunity to attend some Europe Specialties in the past months and the thing that has impressed me most is that from each Country that it is represented, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Russia some specimen which has a very high level and surely they have great possibility to win at the STCA American National Specialty.
AND IN SPAIN?
Very high, the Spanish breeding has contributed together with Italian in an further quality development of all the European level through the excellence importation from the United States and with the production of magnificent specimen: Bravi, good job!!
WHAT ADVISE YOU CAN GIVE TO THE FUTURE BREEDER?
To the future breeder I will recommend them not to improvise. Without a qualified and authoritative teacher or a mentor you cannot be good student and in the future, your time and your sacrifice will not give you the right reward. You will remain disappointed from what you don't know. The advise that I give you is to find mentors beyond the ocean from positive and qualified person. Personally, I owe all to Bill Peterson, Dick Pascoe, Hendrix Harper, Richard Gray, Wayne Brown, John McCartney, Fred Sindelar and Gigi Sager. I will never stop thanking them. Am Staf is an All-American Dog and I think that it is good to import, beside the dogs also its centenarian tradition and culture.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO ADD ANY OTHER THING?
One last prayer to all the fanciers: we should behave well in the society and in the dog show. We should keep a appropriate behavior, well mannered and correct, we should not permit our dogs to be associated to the people will mental illness behavior and we shall try, with our good action, to guarantee a bright future to this marvelous and insuperable ancient breed: the American Staffordshire Terrier. Thank you, it was an honor for me to be interviewed by You.
You are welcome.