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Breed history

After the end of WW 2 numbers of working dogs in Russia decreased greatly but there was a great need in them because of rebulding of National economy, plants, factories, prinsons and military objects. Dogs were required for both military and civilian needs.


G.P.Medvedev

That`s why as soon as war ended Central School of Military Dog Breeding ("Red Star" kennel) got an order from the goverment to prepare the groupe of watch dogs to use for guarding of economic and strategic objects in different climate conditions.

Stress was laid on breeds which could satisfy the demands of military department.

"Essentially, we don`t have any other universal breed beside German Shepherd Dog" - wrote Major-General G.P.Medvedev, who was Chief of Central School of Military Dog Breeding at the time. Collies, Boxers, Dobermans turned out to be worthless as military dogs. Even before the war Professor N.A. Iljin from Central School worked a lot of crossing of Laika and German Shepherd but we did not get positive results even in first generation. Work was stopped. But experience of professor Iljin made us come to conclution that wide crossing of several breeds in different combinations is necessary".

There were no privat kennels in Russia at that time and even if they exeisted no one was able to conduct the experiment at such scale (more than 100 dogs of 17 different breeds were used simultaneously during the development of Black Terrier), but on the other side, "Red Star" did not have any choice.

With this goal in mind different dogs of rare and unknown in USSR breeds like Newfoundlend, Rottweiler, Giant Schnauzer and others were brought from Germany to Russia. A whole special dog train delivered to town Veshnyaki in Moscow region, where Central School of Military Dog Breeding was stationed at the time. But systematic breeding of imported breeds was practically impossible because they were presented mostly by single animals.

Actually, the work that was done at that time could be called rather spontaneous with the only goal to create not a new breed but breeding of large ragged and aggresive watch dogs.

In "Red Star" they didn`t have a special aim about a concrete breed and how it should look; at that time, there was a great deal of consistency in behavior and working qualities, but little in appearance.

Experiments of the Central School were not always fruitful but nevertheless kynoligists kept searching. And though many breeds like wirehaired hound (cross of Russian hound and Airdale Terrier), Moscow Dane (an attempt to combine size and power of Great Dane with long hair and working qualities of German Shepherd), Moscow Diver (cross of Caucasian Ovcharka,Newfoundlend and German Shepherd) never established themselves,not gaining recognition and propagate, in some directions selection work brought success. The example of it is "Black Pearl of Russia" - Russian Black terrier.

But let`s not run ahead. So, kynologists from Central School of Military Dog Breeding, guided by Major-General G.P.Medvedev and professor of biology N.A.Iljin got to work.


A leader with a blacky from "Red Star"


A glad blacky`s owner got а prize of Major-General
Medvedev at an exhibition in Moscow

It started with mass crossbreeding of dogs. As result they were found out that one of the dog, Giant Schnauzer named ROY, who is recognazed as the foundation dog for the Blackies, in crossing with bitches of different breeds (Rottweiler, Airdale, South Russian Ovcharka, Newfonudlens etc.) always produced large black dogs with rough coat on the heads and legs. This is how experts described ROY: "Typical for the breed dog of sturdy-dry type of constitution, proportionally built, with well developed bones and musculature. In the front limbs there were slight toes-out, in the rear - slightly cow-hocks". ROY's bite was level. Medvedev noticed that fact and decided to continue work in that direction.

By than it could be named the first correct step in long and hard work that continues today."In creation of Black Terrier - Medvedev wrote later, by means of complex reproductive crossing we used the experience and methods of horse breeders in develpopment of Orlov Trotter and Budeonny Horse breed, as well as experience of development of Estonian hound".

Today it`s almost impossible to precisely count all the breeds which poured their blood into veins of modern Blackies but mostly they were Giant Shcnuzer, crossed Rottweilers (with hounds, Dobermans, Moscow Danes, etc.), Moscow Divers (meantioned earlier) and Airdale terriers.

If you look at old pedigrees of those Black Terriers, you could find representatives of absolutely unexpected breeds: Russian-Europian and East-Siberian Laika, South Russian Ovcharka crossed with Standart Poodles, etc. Dogs today are already clear of that accidental blood as offspring of those breeds was culled after evaluation of show results and working abilities.

It`s natural that Black Terriers of the first generation were extremely different in type and it was impossible to call them "a breed".

It`s still considered that history of the breed has lots of "white spots", that were intentionally or unintentionally not mentioned for a long time. One of them, as it`s written already, was the using of not always purebred representatives of above-mentioned breeds. Second, using of "what`s aviable" material that often did not correspond with the conformation parameters of working dogs. At that time practically everything that was present was bred, even dogs with wrong bite, incomplete dention and retained testicles (for exemple Giant Schnauzers DITTER v.DRANHENSHLUCHT, used in 1960s, was monocryptorhid and many other producers had dental problems). And that`s why during long time there was a big dental problem in the breed. Faults of the dental system were put in the very beginning and the other reason for that was dogs with the different built of the head stood at the roots of the breed.

But nothing could be done, as country needed not show but working dogs. Later strict culling became possible, and descendants of such dogs were eliminated from the breeding programm.

Black Terriers of the first generations were shown in 1955 at National Agricultural Exhibition where Central School of Military Dog Breeding had it`s own pavilion and every year spring to fall kynologists presented the cultivated breed, including the new one. For their work with the Black Terrier breed School specialists received Gold Medal of the Exhibition which was very honorable prestigious at that time, dogs got high marks from the experts and "Red Star" kennel was awared a special diplom of the Exhibition.

In 1959 "Red Star" kennel worked closely with Working Dog clubs which had to belong to DOSAAF - a speciall russian organisation in Soviet Union Voluntary Society for Assisting Army,Air Force and Navy.

Clubs supplied the stock for kennel and Central School and "Red Star" in return was selling high quality puppies for symbolic price to private owners with requests from the clubs. These dogs fanciers and professionals had been helping with eacn other, which at the end did a favor to the development of nationaly kynology.

Needless to say it was very prestigiouse to get a dog from "Red Star" and puppies were sold to very best of fanciers.


AIDINA

So alresdy in 1955-56 first Black Terries appeared in capitol`s club - Moscow City and Moscow Regional clubs of working dogs as well as in club of Svetlogorsk and Leningrad. These organisations started breeding Blackies along with "Red Star".


DEL-VITOSHA


DZOYA

Margarita Carlovna Anohina - continuouse Chairperson of Black terrier section of Moscow City Club (the owner of famous brood-bitch AIDINA), Galina Dmitrievna Danilina (the owner of famous brood-bitches DZOYA, SOLOHA, DEL-VITOSHA and VALPURGIA) and Elena Borisovna Sharapova (owner of stud-male AHILL), now leading the collective kennel "Chernaya Staya", Semen Yakovlevich Holomyansky (owner of famous stud-male DAN-ZHAN), who still did not betray the breed, and others became the first breeders in Moscow.


AHILL


DAN-ZHAN

In 1955 43 black terriers were presented at national Exhibition of Working and Sporting Dogs. The breeding groupe got recognition as very promising and draw attentaion of many fanciers who were not familiar with it earlier. This was the beginning of the long winning journey of Blackies to cities of Soviet Union.


A.P.Mazover

Breeding and improvment of Black Terrier begun not only in Moscow but also in Ural, Volga and Northern regions of the country. Numerous clubs made significant inluence on direction of selection, chamge in build, type and lenght of hair of Black terriers.

In 1958 first standart of the breeding group "Black Terrier" was published in the book "Manual for training and usage of military dogs". It allowed the spesialists to begin work toward unification of the stock. Central School`s kynologists A.P. Mazover and V.P. Sheinin guided the training of breed specislists, work with the breeding gruop became more goal-oriented and strict.

Nevertheless we have to stress than directions with the Black Terriers in clubs differed from those of Central School of Military Dog Breeding ("Red Star" kennel), where temperament, disposition and working abilities were on the first place. Central School laid special stress on breed`s features especially the conformation, that was a necessary for military and guarding dogs. The most valid argument of kennel`s kynologists was that dogs intended for the Army and military organizations should not reguire special grooming.

They insisted that working Black Terrier did not need the overabundant hair that required grooming ,scissoring and other "cosmetics", becuase it creates definite difficlties in managigng kenneled dogs - keeping the long hair in proper conditions is rather labor-consuming and require signifacant time and effort.

More over there were many blackies from the beginning treated as kenneled dogs which were agressive not only to the straingers but even to kennel`s personal and own trainers, they didn`t have close contact with people and needed to have a special very strict treatment in the work. It was not really possible to comb and brush some of them properly and it was one of the reason why "Red Star" wanted to hold this smooth type. Some dogs, taken from "Red Star" and living as family-dogs with fanciers accepted only one person as a master in a family and the rest of members they ignored or became agressive against, in this case these dogs were given back to "Red Star". That`s why fanciers went the other route, rooting not only for the working qualities but also for the beauty of their pets and more socializated mentality and behaviour. In early 1970s in Leningrad they created the first style of grooming the Black Terrier, which with small changes is still being used today. And thought rough coated Blackies look somewhat decorative and almost aristocratic in comparison with their wire coated relatives, they were the ones who got widely spread in Russia and other countries.

Today smooth and wire coated Blackies are very few and if they appear in litters, they get culled. "Red Star" kennel did not abandon the idea to develop these two branches as different varieties in the breed (just like there are long, smooth and wire haired Dachshund and each of these breeds has it`s own fanciers), as well as the work with coloured dogs (black-and-tan, fawn and silver coloures) but it looks like if it`s going to happen, it will take a very long time.


V.P.Sheinin

By the end of 1970s over 800 litters of Black Terriers had been bred and total numbers of puppies confirming to the standart exceeded 4000. But officially Black Terrierrs were called not a breed but only a breeding group.

About the same time first blackies from Leningrad and Vyborg came to Finland and spread over Europe extremely fast in spite of there was not any standart for this breed - no russian version neither FCI. Finnish Kynological magazines published articles describing the conformation and working qualities of Black Terriers. They specifically mentioned the distrustful attitude toward straingers, vigilance and at the same time a laid back and balanced temperament of these dogs. By the way, finnish kynologists were the ones to call Black Terriers "The Pearl of Soviet Dog breeding".

In 1981 Black Terrier was recognazed as a separate breed in Russia with own standart and in 1984 it was accepted in FCI.

Soon "Russian exotics" gained in Germany, Poland, Hungary, USA where own kennels became breeding these dogs, who by than were called Russian Black Terriers.

Polish kynologists became intrested in the breed to the point where they attempted to create their own Blackies, using purebred Giant Schnauzer, Airdale, Rottweiler and Newfoundlens as the foundation. But naturally they didn`t succeed to above mentioned reasons, which polish specialists probably did not suspect. Beside that, you can`t enter the same river twice...

In 1984, after the standrt was accepted by FCI, Black Terriers started to be exhibited at the big international shows where they had huge success.

In 1993 Russian Federation of Working Dogs approved the second version of the standart which better corresponds with the modern type of Black Terriers and which is valid in Russia now.

For many years Black Terrier was used as watch and guard dog - he is extremely efficient and reliable. Blackies combined the best qualities of their ancestors: they got energy and agiliuty of the Giant Schnauzer, smartness and merriness of the Airdale, strenght and courage of the Rottweiler, controlled and balanced temperament of the Newfoundlend. Beside that, crossbred ancestors passed to Blackies their exellent health, mendurance, hardiness and amazing intellect.

Today Russian Black Terrier can live as a companion and family dog but you can`t take watching and guarding qualities away from him; the dogs have a strong protective instinct, and are suspicious of strangers and quick to protect its owner. The brave, observant and highly affectionate Black Russian Terriers were very undepended in their mind and rather stubborn from the beginnin but thanks to fanciers`s selection the breed has become loyal, calm and lovely and wants and needs close human contact.

Russian Black terriers, one of the brightest pages of Russian kynology, is a strong, courageous, distrustful with the strangers, but who passes an Olympic calmness and most importatnt is absolutly controllable in any situation. For these qualities as well as for the amazing beauty and charm he was called "Black Pearl of Russia".