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Karakan – Russian Breed Special Show

Text & photos by Gábor Szalánczi

The Karakan Club is the Hungarian Russian Breeds’ section of the Hungarian Kennel Club (MEOE), which held it’s Club show in April this year. Since most of these breeds are seldom seen in Western Europe, perhaps we should explain what some of the words mean. “Ovcharka” means Sheepdog, and includes both herding types and flock guards. The “Laika’s” are Hunting and sometimes sled dogs, they are not hounds, but are more akin to the Spitz breeds, particularly the Finnish Spitz, who find and hold the hunted animal until the hunter arrives with his gun. The third type is the guard dog, whose sole purpose in life is to protect it’s owner and his property. There are several other Russian breeds that as yet are not found in Hungary, including (among others) the Karelian Bear Dog. The East Siberian Laika, and the Moscow Terrier, plus various lesser known hounds. The Borzoi of course came originally from Russia, but is so well known throughout the world, that they have their own group and are not included among the Russian breeds mentioned here.

The following breeds are represented by the Hungarian club: The South-Russian Ovcharka, Caucasian Ovcharka, Middle-Asian Ovcharka, Moscow Guard Dog, Russian Black Terrier, West-Siberian Laika, Russian-European Laika.

The Club show was held in a small sports centre in Eastern-Budapest, and had an entry of 138 exhibits. The show was held outside where 3 rings had been laid out for judging. The weather was rather mixed, mostly sunshine, with the odd shower, but even when the sun shone there was a cold wind, which kept temperatures down throughout the day. The judges were: Mr. Jozsef Hodosi, Mrs. Elena Balazsovits, Mr. Gabor Hargitai, President of the Karakan Club.

These breeds are not particularly popular here in Hungary, but most of those that do have them, either breeders or owners, are really enthusiastic, and love to promote their breeds. Their stock has been imported not only from Russia, but Gruziya, Armenia, Azerbajan, Tajikistan, and Uzbegistan, as well.

The South-Russian Ovcharkas had 9 entries. There are about 6-700 of this breed registered in Hungary, and one of these was even a World Winner dog last year in Dortmund. At our all breed shows there are usually 5-6 of this breed entered. Here there were 9, and BOB was Int.Ch. E'Happy Nikita Corsaire Casch, bred by Kupcikova owned by Roland Tarjányi. This bitch came forward from the Champion bitch class, and is a Champion of 6 countries, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Yugoslavia and Romania.
The Caucasian Ovcharka entry was the highest, with 54 at the show. This breed is the most popular of the Russian breeds here, (about 1500-2000 in Hungary), but they are kept mostly as a house guard dog, not a show dog. But only last year there were two Hungarian bred Caucasians who became European winners at Bratislava. The Caucasian Ovcharka is one of the best guard dogs, and do not have problem coats like our own Komondors. They are very territorial, having a natural instinct to defend their houses and surrounding territory without any training. This means of course that the Caucasians could be considered as dangerous, and they are often muzzled when appearing at a show. They are very independent minded and powerful dogs, and have a strong determination to become pack leader. Because of this, they will usually only accept orders from the male in their owners household. In recent years there has been an improvement in the breed, particularly in heads and movement. BOB at this show was Reménydombi Artur, bred by Zsolt Kecskés, and owned by Mr. György Hubert.

There were 35 Middle-Asian Ovcharka entries. This breed can be as large and heavy boned as the Caucasian. They are usually seen with stumpy tails. Like the Caucasian, they too are popular in Hungary. in the past Hungarian bred members of the breed have been successful at the great European and World shows. In more recent years however it has been the Russian bred dogs who have dominated the rings. BOB here went to the Junior class winning male Rengõhegyi Ormán Basa Igor, bred by Mrs. Szabó, and owned by Zoltán Takács.

There were only 5 West-Siberian Laikas entered, not surprising really, as there are only two breeders in Hungary who actively support this breed. Despite that, they have produced some very good specimens, several of whom have done very well at both European and World shows over the past few years. The Laikas are excellent hunting dogs, but in Hungary the hunting method is very different from the one used in their homeland of Siberia, the result being that most Hungarian hunters use the more familiar Hungarian breeds for this work. The Laikas really excel in the great wilds of Siberia, but of the breeds they hunt there, only the wild boar are found in Hungary. This must be an intellingent and versatile breed, as in Germany Laikas have been used as sled dogs. This breed first came to Hungary in 1976, and at present there are some 100-150 in the country.

Yet another Laika breed is the Russian-European Laika, but it has not really caught on here as yet, the population being only around 20-25. The Russian-European Laika is another good hunting dog, but is not widely known. It is similar in appearence to the Karelian Bear Dog at first glance, and the uninitiated need to see them side by side if they are to note the differences. BOB was Kara-Kitáj Fortel, a champion dog, bred by Mrs. Jancsó and Miss Julianna Jancsó, owned by Mr. Kálmán Németh.

The Moscow Guard Dogs had 11 entries, the BOB being Hamvaskõi Devil, bred by Mrs. Rétki, owned by Zoltán Szabó. These are big powerful dogs of around 100 to 150 lbs weight. The breed is said to have been birthed soon after World War 2. The Muscovites who developed the breed were hoping to produce a good guard dog of large size, but one more receptive and willing to take orders than the Caucasian. With this in mind, the Caucasian was crossed with the St Bernard, which fulfilled the requirements with regard to size and strength, but is also known for it’s gentle and kindly nature. The cross proved succesful, and whilst the breed has been gaining in popularity in it’s homeland, it is only infrequently found in other countries as yet.

The Russian Black Terrier is the most fashionable of the Russian breeds in Hungary (and elsewhere) at present. there are some 1500-2000 dogs in my country. There were only 24 entered here, but at the big shows, this breed is the most well known and dominant of the Russian and Ukraine breeds. It is second only to the Hungarian breeds in popularity.. One of the breed enthusiast is the Brazilian Ambassador to Hungary, Mr. Roberto Soares-de-Oliveira. His father was the founder and President of the Brazilian Kennel club for 30 years.

Mr. Soares attended the show, and sat very discretely beside the RBT ring. he gave special prizes for the breed winners. The BOB was Chernaja Zvezda Atos 'Syn Romantika, bred by Mr. L. Tomai, and owned by Mrs. Gyetvánné Szûcs Éva. The Junior Handler winner was Lucia Heldova from Slovakia, again with a RBT. The brace class and Breeding Group Winners came from the same RBT breeder/ owner Sonja Heldová’s Cierny Sen RBT kennel. It is hard to believe that this breed, which is gaining in popularity worldwide, was only developed in the 1960’s.

The Baby Res BIS was Molodec Lutiy, a South-Russian Ovcharka , bred by Novikov, and owned by Tarjányi Roland, the Baby BIS was Szibériai Borisz, West-Siberian Laika, bred by Miklós Fehér, and owned by Szabolcs Bakos. The Puppy resBIS was Bozsoki Harci Misa, a Moscow Guard Dog bred and owned by Mrs. Kasza. The Puppy BIS was More-Hvana Vladobor, RBT, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Friskó. The Veteran resBIS was Jackpot Fáraó, RBT, owned by Sandor Dobai, the Veteran BIS was the 13 years old HCh Vállalkozó Alma, a West Siberian Laika, bred by Mrs. Polyák, owned by Mrs. Jancsó and Miss Julianna Jancsó.

The Junior resBIS was the BOB of Middle-Asian Ovcharka, Rengõhegyi Ormán Basa Igor, bred by Mrs. Szabó, owned by Zoltán Takács. The Junior BIS was the South-Russian Ovcharka, Amina Lutaya, bred by Novikov, owned by Mr. Roland Tarjányi. The resBIS was the Caucasian Ovcharka BOB Reménydombi Artur, bred by Zsolt Kecskés, owned by Mr. György Hubert. The BIS of the Karakan Club Show was the Russian Black Terrier, Chernaja Zvezda Atos 'Syn Romantika, bred by Mr. L. Tomai, owned by Mrs. Gyetvánné Szûcs Éva.