Black Terrier Seminar for Judges
Russian Black Terrier Club again selected the impressive Wentworth
Castle near Barnsley, this time for its Seminar for Judges.
Hon Secretary, Janet Huxley, had put her all energy into planning
the days event, and likened it to the organisation of
a wedding celebration, relieved when it was all over!
Some visitors were just there for the general seminar, others
of us with an opportunity to go over Russian Black Terriers.
For me this was the highlight of the day. I was not alone in
being rather disappointed to find that the hands on
session was the first item on the days agenda, for I was
hoping to have had some initial input from the guest speakers.
In my mind I had a number of points concerning the breed standard
that I would have liked clarified, but these had to wait until
later in the day. Had my queries been qualified beforehand,
I would have been wiser about certain aspects when observing
the breed at close quarters.
Master of ceremonies was Chairman, Ralph Holmes, who was anxious
that we should all enjoy ourselves with a smile on our faces,
and there is no doubting that we did. The dogs to be gone over
were wonderfully patient, and even a seven-month-old puppy lasted
the course like a real trouper. We must all be grateful to them,
and to their owners and handlers, for allowing us the valuable
experience of getting our hands on seven representatives of
this numerically small breed. Afterwards the weather was good
enough for the dogs to be taken outside, for our assessment
of their movement.
The Russian Black Terrier has made very rapid progress in its
short time in Britain, and certainly there were some high quality
specimens there for us to assess. But, as is the case with all
breeds in their formative years of establishment in a country,
there was a wide variation in quality.
We then all watched an absorbing video of the RBTs in the Mersiyanovs
Malahovskiy Kennel. Mrs Elena Mersiyanova was one of the intended
speakers, but sadly she was unable to get a visa, so Russian-born
Svetlana Dervyn, who lives in France, kindly came along in her
The video portrayed the breed in all its glory, and we were
treated not only to show shots, but also the breed interacting
with loved ones and children, as well as with thieves
that were well-padded for protection! The latter was really
an eye opener, and I still have a vivid image of one RBT hanging
on to a mans arm reaching over a wall. The dog would simply
not let go, its feet suspended in mid-air, until it eventually
ran off with the padding in its mouth. Certainly this is a breed
that can readily distinguish friend from foe! There were also
some lovely snow shots of RBTs pulling a person on a toboggan
and another on skis.
Finally Italian breed expert, Marco Galli of the famed Lisander
prefix, and Svetlana Dervyn took centre stage, a moment we had
all been waiting for. Now there was an opportunity for those
burning questions to be answered. Something that had confused
several of us was coat quality and texture, for it had become
apparent that few of the coats we had observed in the breed
seemed to fit the standard. Svetlana told the audience that
the Russians are now taking steps to change the breed standard
to suit accordingly, and Marco said that the coat is not
the same harsh coat as in the first standard.
Part of my own mental confusion, was that for personal research
I had read not only the English, but also the FCI and Russian
breed standards, and found several discrepancies. I put my point
to the chair and was glad to find that those in authority recognised
this was indeed so. It is to be hoped that for the sake of the
breed they can all work together to bring these into line.
Movement was something else that clearly differs greatly within
the breed, and only when watching the video of top winners in
Europe was I able to weigh up in my mind quite how much hind
extension is apparently desired.
The discussion moved on to the pros and cons of hip scoring
at this early stage in the breeds history. This is not
done in Russia as there seems to be a problem there with anaesthesia,
and owners are understandably not prepared to risk this. Marco
also mentioned that he felt the breed in Britain needed more
exercise, and that owners should not allow their RBTs to get
too fat. This also applied to puppies, he said, for if they
were overweight this would affect their developmental structure.
The speakers recommended feeding puppies three small meals each
day, up to the age of six months.
On the subject of food, there had been several human tummy
rumbles over the final hour or so, but the day closed
with an informal buffet lunch, a chance to enjoy
good company and to discuss the issues of the day. A few of
us later went back to Janet and Tom Huxleys home, for
more dog talk and more eats, a warm
and enjoyable end to a thoroughly informative days events.
by Juliette Cunliffe
Movement was assessed on the castle lawns
by Juliette Cunliffe
Master of ceremonies was Chairman Ralph Holmes (right) pictured
Italian breed expert, Marco Galli (Lisander) and Svetlana Dervyn
by Juliette Cunliffe
Bryn cadogan examines one the live models on the
which was presented by club President Mr Tom Huxley