SS: Size within standard recommended, coat and texture to protect during harsh Russian winter and dependable temperament. 3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? AG: Each breed was bred for a purpose. Movement is a great part of this. Both breeders and judges alike need to see breeds doing their job to truly understand what their movement should be. I have seen many breeds have wide-open gaits that would be useless doing their job. Never breed or judge for fashion; breed and judge for breed purpose. EL: No, the Black Russian Standard does a good job describ- ing the breed and I think we are seeing dogs that meet that standard. GN: Some try to improve the breed by grooming, rather than improving the dog under the hair. SS: Grooming, but nothing within structure. 4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? AG: There are a couple of things that have definitely improved. When the breed first entered the AKC and CKC ring, they were mostly imports. One thing that went against them was what language they understood. It sounds odd, but when English is not the language any dog is used to hearing, it affects them. To an import we sound different, we smell different (mostly from the food we eat) and dress or look differ- ent in body structure.
Another thing was some these dogs came from breed- ing kennels and not used to the North American way of being shown. I once had five in my ring and had to excuse three of them, as I could not get near them. I could see they were of good quality, but very unhappy to be there. I am not seeing that any more—great progress. EL: We see good rears and solid backlines, which do not roll more now than when the breed first came into the Work- ing Group. Even now, many young dogs need to improve their musculature and soundness in the rear. GN: Generally, I think that the breed has improved. There is a stabilization of breed type. I also see some negatives with straight upper arms and lack of bend of stifle result- ing in less-than-good angulation in the rear. “EACH BREED WAS BRED FOR A PURPOSE. MOVEMENT IS A GREAT PART OF THIS.”
SS: Not necessarily. “Tuz”, the first one brought in from Russia, was breath taking in every sense of the word. Now we have more dogs and many just as good looking. There is still some overall work to be done, but I am proud that our breeders have, for the most part kept quality up and are still striving to maintain or improve on our breed.
5. What do you think new
judges misunderstand about the breed? AG: New judges need to know this is a breed different from
any other breed in the Working Group. It might resemble at
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