Rafael de Santiago, a renowned name in the world of dogs, has been involved with Kennel Clubs and the FCI for a number of years. Rafael is one of the leading names synonymous with world of show dogs; he has enjoyed a long and highly successful history in dogs which spans over 4 decades. In 1972, in partnership with Roberto Vélez-Picó, founded the world famous RADESA line of Afghan Hounds. This launched them onto international dog show circuit both as exhibitors and breeders. A noteworthy and well travelled Afghan, with many accolades was Blue Boy do Vale Negro, campaigned by Rafael across the United States, Europe and Latin America.
Rafael is an FCPR International All Breed judge, since 1984. He has judged in 6 continents at the most prestigious shows including 20 FCI World Dog Shows , the Supreme FCI Champion of Champions Show in Switzerland , Westminster in New York, the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, the Eukanuba World Challenge to name a few.
Traveling worldwide to shows to fulfill judging assignments at least every three weekends out of four, Rafael still finds the time to work in his capacity as the President of Imagen Optima, an Advertising and Public Relations agency in San Juan. Rafael is also President of the Federación Canófila de Puerto Rico (Kennel Club of Puerto Rico). In 1997, he headed up the organizing committee and judged Best in Show at the FCI World Dog Show in home city of San Juan.
Mr. de Santiago’s dedication to the FCI started in 1979, after leading the recognition of the Kennel Club of Puerto Rico as member of the FCI. In 1991, was elected as member of the Standard Commission and serve two terms. At the 1999 FCI General Assembly, de Santiago was elected as member of the General Committee and appointed as Treasurer of the FCI. He occupied this position until 2011 when he was re-elected to the General Committee and appointed as Vice-President of the FCI.
In May 2013, in Budapest, Rafael de Santiago was elected as President of the FCI by a great majority of votes becoming the first non-European person to be elected as president by the General Assembly of the Federation Cynologique Internationale. In his speech before the General Assembly, Rafael, presented the FCI Plan for the Future, a very comprehensive plan to take the World’s most important dog organization to the next level of excellence, with innovation, technology, research and team work.