Specializing in the preservation and hobby breeding of Heritage Gamefowl
Puerto Rican Rajah Murgh Asil
( No fowl sold for any illegal purpose in violation of any federal law of The United States or any State Law therein. All sales intended for show or breed purposes only. )
" Cuban Game Fowl "
" History on how the original Cuban Game fowl found its way to the United States "
Gustavo Sanchez, breeder extraordinaire, died in Miami on March 10, 1996. He leaves behind two sons and a daughter, Gustavo, Luis Manuel, and Maria, and his wife of more than 55 years, Maria Luisa Sanchez. With the death, a chapter in the breeding of Cuban Gamefowl in the United States has come to an end.
Gustavo was born on December 17, 1915 in Pinar del Rio, one of the hotbeds of Cuban cocking. He was related to and considered as friends of the most important breeders and cockfighters in Cuba, including Chin Chin Sierra, Florentino Valle and Esteban Leal. In 1938, at the age of 23, he began fighting and breeding his own Gamefowl. He became a member of various of the great clubs in Cuba, including the main Havana Club in Vedado and the Pinar del Rio Club. In 1951, Gustavo’s friendship with one of the greatest of Cuban breeders deepened. Col. Carlos Medieta offered his friendship and his birds to Gustavo. This was not a pattern with the Colonel who was very careful with his strain, which he had maintained as a closed population for more than 50 years. Mendieta had been President of Cuba and was a physician as well. One of the sadder moments in the last days of Don Gustavo’s life was to find out last year that the Colonel’s last living relative, his daughter, had died in Cuba.
Although Col. Mendieta was not known as an outstanding winner, persons lucky enough to receive fowl from him immediately began producing better fowl that they had previously. In this, the Colonel was similar to Sandy Hatch, who was not known as a big winner but helped many others improved immediately by breeding to his fowl. Don Gustavo was lucky enough to inherit more than 80% of Col Mendieta’s fowl when he died on September 27, 1960 at 91 years of age.
On January 18, 1966, Don Gustavo abandoned his dearly beloved land and arrived in Miami. He did not think that “I would even leave my beloved land, but I was not born to tolerate tyranny.” Prior to arriving in Miami, Don Gustavo had sent his oldest son, Gustavo (known by his friends as Gus) and his older brother, Mimio, some of his outstanding cocks and hens, via Mexico. In this way, he began breeding in Miami the same exact fowl that he had in Cuba, and which were crosses of his own lines with those of Col. Mendieta. Among these fowl was the Chocolate cock, a cross of a Col. Mendieta cock (Candela) and a pyle hen out of the original brood stock from Chin Chin Sierra (La No. 5). This cock, born February 21, 1963, helped form some of the great lines to come out of Miami, including the fowl of Rene Valle, Pedro Suarez and Daniel M. Rodriguez.
Through the quality and fame of his fowl, Don Gustavo was able to develop a thriving business producing fighting and breeding fowl for clients throughout Latin America. Different from gaff and knife fowl, the Cuban and Spanish birds are known for their effectivity in natural heels and their variants, including postizas made from cockspurs, aluminum and plastic. Their balance, endurance and cutting ability are phenomenal. It was this type of fowl that Don Gustavo produced.
In my trips throughout Latin America, the comments on Gustavo Sanchez’ fowl were overwhelmingly positive. Many of the great lines in Colombia, Venezuela, Martinique, St. Martin, Costa Rica, Panama, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic can trace their beginnings to brood stock from Gustavo Sanchez.
With the passing of Don Gustavo, and previously, his brother Mimio, a chapter in the legacy of the Cuban Gamefowl has closed. Although his son, Gus will continue to breed and maintain Don Gustavo’s bloodline, it will never again be the same. Rest in Peace Don Gustavo.—John Roman (taken from The Gamecock Magazine, July 1996 pages 178-182
**Also adding to this article, its difficult these days to find pure Cuban Gamebirds like these anymore. Most have been crossed to Oriental breeds like Asil and Shamo. Thus creating a larger bird with more power . These birds also recover quicker than the pure Cubans. Most have transitioned into the hybrid birds, finding their suited styles in linebreeding back and forth. Some refer to the birds in Spanish as "Pava" or "Pavo".
Some Like Mr. Gustavo Sanchez Jr. still breed true to type and have preserved the original type Cuban Game fowl.
In Cuba most have the hybrid birds and still swear by them like in Miami as " The next best thing! "