Page 224 - ShowSight - February 2020
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  1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs?
2. In popularity, The Black Russian Terrier is currently ranked #118 out of 192 AKC-recognized breeds. Do you hope this will change or are you comfortable with his placement? Do these numbers help or hurt the breed?
3. Does the average person on the street recognize him for what he is?
4. Although he’s a tremendously hard-working dog with great power and stamina, he’s highly valued as a companion. What qualities in the field also come in handy around the house?
5. An energetic dog—of any size—requires a special household to be a perfect fit. What about the breed makes him an ideal companion? Drawbacks?
6. Are there any misconceptions about the breed you’d like to dispel?
7. What special challenges do BRT breeders face in our current economic and social climate?
8. At what age do you start to see definite signs of show-worthi- ness (or lack thereof)?
9. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind?
10. What’s the best way to attract newcomers to your breed and to the sport?
11. What is your ultimate goal for the breed?
12. What is your favorite dog show memory?
13. Is there anything else you’ d like to share about the breed?
Our family currently resides in Georgia.
Kaye: Outside of dogs, I am involved in our local community
as an appointee to a governing board. I’m a retired corporate gov- ernment relations executive. It’s difficult to believe, but I’ve served almost eight years now. As a former state board member for the League of Women Voters of Georgia, I remain active in matters related to civic engagement.
Layne: After taking some time away from academia, I’m cur- rently working on the final revisions of my Master’s thesis. I enjoy cooking, traveling and antiquing.
Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or are we comfort- able with the placement? Black Russians are a relatively new breed having been accepted into the working group in 2004. It is remark- able, but not surprising, that our breed’s current position ranking is 118. In my view, the BRT has increased in popularity at an appro- priate pace. Black Russians are wonderful dogs but not the right fit for every family. As purpose-bred guardians, BRTs are extremely intelligent and require extensive training and socialization through- out their lifetimes. They also require a good deal of grooming.
Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? Unfortunately the average person does not recognize the Black Rus- sian Terrier. We are often asked if they are Bouviers, Giant Schnau- zers, Poodles or a Poodle mix. As guardians of the breed, we try to educate everyone about these incredible dogs. We have great breed ambassadors at ZolaRoza. Because BRTs look like big, friendly bears, most people are surprised to learn that they were specifically developed to aggressively guard their human soldier partners, mili- tary installations and prisons.
What qualities in the field also come in handy around the house? Originally developed by the Russian Army’s Red Star Kennel to partner with soldiers, the Black Russian Terrier is extraordinarily devoted to the family pack—human and other animals. Their loy- alty, intelligence, protective instincts, and aloofness with strang- ers makes them excellent companions at home, around town and when traveling.
What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? Although very large, most Black Russians do not require a great deal of vigorous exercise but can certainly adapt to it. They do thrive when they have a job. Their versatility and intelligence makes them an excellent choice for almost anything. Our BRTs are rather quiet companions inside our home.
They are excellent travel companions. Within our own pack we have very distinctive personalities with varying degrees of protec- tiveness. Overall, we appreciate the BRT’s ability to assess a poten- tial threat and act appropriately. This ability to discern friend from foe makes them an invaluable companion. Our BRTs are family members first and live inside our home. We take time to introduce our dogs to any new visitors because they are bred to guard. The protective nature of the BRT is not ideal for everyone. Training and socialization are required. At our home it can get crowded at the front door, but we never worry about intruders.
Are there any misconceptions about the breed we’d like to dis- pel? We participate in a variety of local kennel club activities with the general public. That means we are always around many breeds of dogs and diverse groups of people. Black Russians, like many working dogs, are sometimes perceived as overly aggressive, unpre- dictable and difficult to control. Our Black Russians will guard subtly by placing themselves in front of us and standing quietly. If another dog or person enters our space and exhibits aggressive or inappropriate behavior, our BRTs will quickly establish a boundary. We always expect it; however that quick action can take people and
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