Black Russian Terrier Breed Magazine - Showsight


died when medical intervention was not initiated quickly enough. Statistics on this condition are poor. “Carrier” or “clear” dogs are not affected by the condition. “Affected” dogs may not develop stones, but they may have elevated levels of uric acid in the urine and require a special diet. Many breeders choose not to produce “affected” puppies. Always ask for the genetic testing results on both parents and on the puppy. This test has been globally avail- able for many years. COLOR GENETICS In recent years, genetic color testing for the K Locus (dominant black gene) and the A Locus (agouti) gene have been a requirement by the BRTCA for completing CHIC testing. While these two genes may not have a direct tie to a health condition, they may still be important to preserving the integrity of the breed. After con- sulting with geneticists, researchers, and world-renowned experts in the Black Russian Terrier, it was determined that the only acceptable color for this breed shall be black. There are “throw- back” colors that are sometimes produced. Because of the number of dog breeds involved with the creation of Black Russians, genetic color combinations can be complicated. Breeding may produce a puppy that is sable, black and tan, saddle patterned, cloudy/silver, red, or even wheat-colored. Some puppies are born black and then change color as they mature. These things do happen, and even the best breeders can produce a non-black puppy. Color testing will help breeders produce puppies that most closely resemble the stan- dard, which is a black dog. Non-black dogs may be registered (they are still purebred), and they may compete in companion sports. Non-black dogs may not compete in the AKC conformation show ring. Non-black coloring is a disqualification. OTHER TESTING Some breeders will also have a patella exam. There is no known correlation in this breed between patella exams and stifle ligament tears, which do occur in dogs. Thyroid is another test sometimes completed. A passing thyroid test is no guarantee that the dog will

not have thyroid problems as an older adult. Dentition is a confus- ing “test.” It is not a test at all, but rather an exam. A veterinarian counts the dog’s teeth and notes any missing teeth. Full dentition (42 teeth) is required for Black Russian Terriers. Per the AKC breed standard, one missing tooth is considered a serious fault; however, two missing teeth is considered a disqualification. The tentition exam does not refer to a scissors bite. Any bite other than a scis- sors bite is a disqualification in Black Russians. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a condition in dogs that can cause vision impair- ment in low lighting or at night. Only recently have DNA tests identified this marker in Black Russian Terriers. Presently, there is no study on PRA in the breed. All that we know about PRA comes from general studies on dogs and a few specific breeds. There are numerous other DNA tests and other screenings that may be done. These tests may have no significant role in the breed at all. OTHER PROBLEMS IN THE BREED Ear infections, hot spots, environmental allergies, and food allergies are all problems in Black Russian Terriers, just as they are with other breeds. Not all of these conditions are related to the breeding pair or the breeder. Allergies and sensitivities can develop as a result of numerous environmental conditions. Ear infections and hot spots may be environmental or may be related to grooming and/or housekeeping. Ask about these problems in the breeding pair so you have an idea of what you may expect in a puppy. THE BLACK RUSSIAN TERRIER, A PICTURE OF HEALTH Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the beloved Black Russian Terrier. Remember, I am not a veterinarian. Always consult a licensed veterinarian for all medical information. There is a lot to learn, but being informed is essential. You’ll hear the phrase, “Do your homework,” repeated many times during your search for your next puppy. It’s good advice. Learn to look up and verify information, so you are not relying on anyone else to make an informed decision.

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