Interview with Dr. Ayalla Ruvio, Breeder of Black Pearl Cane Corso
Where do I live? What is your occupation? How many years in dogs?
Dr. Ayalla Ruvio: I am a marketing professor at the Broad College of Business, Michigan State University. GO GREEN! My family and I are originally from Israel, and today we live in Williamston, which is a beautiful small town in Michigan. I have been a breeder for over 15 years. I had my first Cane Corsos, “Puma” and “Zarina,” in Israel before we moved to the US in 2008. We got them from Lazar Gerassi (Gerassi Corso) and brought them with us when we moved. Zarina was our foundation female, a true Corso and an amazing dog. She was my soulmate, and I miss her every day.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Dr. Ayalla Ruvio: Our kennel name is Black Pearl Cane Corso. We normally have between 6-7 dogs living with us. Unfortunately, in the past six months, we lost two of them to old age (11.5 years old).
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Dr. Ayalla Ruvio: Without a doubt, “Royal” (Black Pearl Guardiano Dei Reali) is our most notable winner. But, what makes him special is not all the titles that he has in any possible sport. Rather, he was my daughter’s first true show dog. They grow up together in the show ring and reached highs that I never imagined they could. Some of their remarkable achievements include winning Select Dog twice at Westminster (when Lihi was 16 and 17 years old), being ranked Top 5 in the country and No. 1 Lifetime as an owner-handler. Royal also volunteers as a Therapy Dog and he is a blood doner at MSU.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Dr. Ayalla Ruvio: Black Pearl Chai was one of the most influential dams in my breeding. She has produced a long list of Therapy Dogs. Drexel University Therapy Dogs are all related to her. As for a sire, I don’t really have one that stands out. Over the years, we’ve produced great males with solid structure and temperament.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Dr. Ayalla Ruvio: We do not have a “facility.” Our dogs live with us, and our puppies are whelped in our home and raised by my family and my dogs. They learn early how to behave in a pack and how to be great family dogs. Socialization and exposure to different activities are key for ensuring a stable temperament. We also crate-train them before sending them home. One notable thing that I will mention about raising our puppies is that they grow up with tons of stuffed animals. Softness is extremely important to puppies. When we send them to their new homes, each family gets the puppy’s most favorite stuffed animal to take with her. It helps the puppy to transition to its new home, and it is not unusual for our puppies to cherish these toys for years to come. They do not destroy them.
What is my “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies?
Dr. Ayalla Ruvio: We normally sell all of our puppies as pets. Our only requirement of our owners is that they will love their puppy as much as we love our dogs. We match our puppies with our owners based on their lifestyle, activities, other pets they may have, and other factors like these. That said, we do evaluate our puppies when they are eight weeks old in terms of conformation. This gives us an indication of the overall characteristics of each puppy. Since our puppies grow up in our home, we know their temperaments and drive at a very young age.
Do I compete in Performance Events? In Parent Club Tests & Trials?
Dr. Ayalla Ruvio: We compete with our dogs in a wide range of sports, including Obedience, Rally, Fast CAT, Lure Coursing, IGP, and others. Most of them are AKC events. Others are local events.
Is “performance” part of my decision-making when it comes to breeding?
Dr. Ayalla Ruvio: A good Performance Dog should have a sound conformation and a stable temperament. Conformation and temperament, along with overall health, are the factors that we make breeding decisions on. A Performance Dog does not necessarily mean a good producer, or even a good Performance producer. But, if you, as a breeder, focus on good conformation and solid temperament, you will have a good foundation for Performance Dogs. Drive and ability will show up naturally in some of the puppies in every litter.
Are there any health-related concerns in my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Dr. Ayalla Ruvio: Like any large size breed, Cane Corsos are susceptible to join issues such as hip or elbow dysplasia. Unfortunately, epilepsy is another health concern that many breeders struggle with, as well as heart issues. Like other mastiffs, Corso can have eye problems such as entropion or ectropion. Finally, Dental-Skeletal-Retinal Anomaly (DSRA) is a hereditary disease that results in dental irregularities, skeletal abnormalities, and progressive vision loss that is specific to the breed.
Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Dr. Ayalla Ruvio: Cane Corso can be wonderful family dogs if socialized and trained properly. This is not a breed for everyone. Those who own this breed must have the time and the commitment to make these amazing dogs truly exceptional. Anything short of that—get an easier breed.
What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?
Dr. Ayalla Ruvio: Cane Corsos do not play like other dogs. They play ruff, while crashing into each other. They are also very vocal and talkative. Taken together, they may appear aggressive to those who are unfamiliar with the breed when, in fact, they are just having fun. Corso style fun!
If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them?
Dr. Ayalla Ruvio: A Cane Corso should be a Working breed. If a dog cannot even run around the ring, that’s not a Corso.
Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?
Dr. Ayalla Ruvio: Breeding is a marathon, not a sprint. Take the time to learn about the breed, its history, its lines, and its Breed Standard. Learn how to pronounce the name of the breed correctly. And, remember that with every mistake you make, a living creature will suffer from or pay the price for it.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Working Dog?
Dr. Ayalla Ruvio: Sending your dogs out to the yard, a total of 500-pounds of pure muscle and looks that can intimidate people from miles away… then you see them all grazing like cows… oh well!
Are you looking for a Cane Corso puppy?
The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin finding a breeder? Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral person, which you can find on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.
Want to help rescue and re-home a Cane Corso dog?
Did you know nearly every recognized AKC purebred has a dedicated rescue group? Find your new best friend on the AKC Rescue Network Listing.
Cane Corso Dog Breed Magazine
Read and learn more about the majestic Cane Corso dog breed with articles and information in our Cane Corso Dog Breed Magazine.
Cane Corso Breed Magazine - Showsight