Generally speaking, the Ca de Bou is a healthy dog with no particularly prevalent health issues. If there is one problem in the breed recently, it has to do with type: Increasingly, we are seeing more dogs from countries to the east that have foreshortened muzzles, while the Spanish dogs have longer muzzles. When trying to preserve type, we should always remember that the Ca de Bou is a dog that comes from the island of Mallorca, and the breed standard was developed in Spain.
There are three main colors mentioned in the standard: fawn, which is preferred (and can range into a red tone), brindle and black. Black is the least desired color. Even though the standard only mentions these three colors, we see more and more “new” colors appearing, including black and tan. It seems that in order to “improve” the breed, some breeders have dipped into Dobermans, Fila Brasileiros, Dogo Canarios and Pitbulls, though of course nothing is documented.
These three Ca de Bous from the Torre Marina kennel illustrate the three colors and patterns that are permitted in the breed.
When I first got Ginger, many people told me that the Ca de Bou was very much like the Dogo Canario, but over time I began to appreciate the differences in type between the two Spanish breeds. The Ca de Bou is smaller than the Dogo Canario. His head is very different, as is his body, which has a shorter trunk and a croup that is higher than the withers.
In the history of the breed, there have been many crossings to different breeds, but since 1996 there has been a “purge” to remove all untypey Ca de Bous. Today, we don’t see dogs with Dogo Canario influence.
All those years alongside my Ginger strengthened my love for this breed, and my family has enlarged to include five more Ca de Bous. All six dogs live together except for one female, Luna, who does not get along with Ginger. I have to separate them at home, but I can walk them together without any problem. They are very tolerant outside the house, but inside, they argue over who is the pack leader. Ginger, of course, holds that position. Logic would dictate that I leave them to sort things out for themselves, but Ginger is not in good health, and so for her sake I keep them separated.
Ginger La Terreur, the author’s first Ca de Bou. Photo: Doggy Soul
As for the two males, they live very well together, but to keep things that way, they are separated when they sleep and when I’m not there to supervise them. Things can quickly degenerate if an owner is not aware and in control. Among these Mallorcans, fights are violent and can even be to the death.
This year, we decided to breed our first litter of puppies, under the affix “Mallorca Crew.” I am very involved in the breed to increase awareness of it and show its different working skills, which are still relatively unknown. I work in collaboration with Ca de Bou Spain (the Spanish breed club), and as its delegate to France, I recently started a club called Ca de Bou France, to help others in my country discover this magnificent breed.
When people see my dogs in the street or on the go, their first reaction is fear: Often they will cross to the other side of the street, or clasp their children to their sides. It all depends on the color of the dogs – some people think they are crossed with Rottweiler or American Staffordshire Terrier. There has been a big controversy in France about mastiff-type dogs since 1999, when a law was passed that labeled some breeds “dangerous.” Suddenly, people are afraid of everything mastiff.
I wish they could see and appreciate the love that a Ca de Bou has for his master. It is such that our little Izi, when she’s kissing my husband, trembles with joy!
About the Author
Christelle Boury of Nice, France, has loved animals since childhood, especially dogs. She is the founder of Ca De Bou France (www.cadebou-france.fr), which educates people about the breed, helps them find puppies and assists with rescue. Three years ago, she launched Doggy Soul (www.doggysoul-collars.com), which offers hand-crafted collars.