Black Russian Terrier Breed Magazine - Showsight


Size without substance should not be rewarded. Substance without proper proportion and balance should not be rewarded. All things being equal, the dog with the desired height and substance is preferred and should be rewarded. Serious faults must be applied, and include light bone, lack of substance, poor muscula- ture, mature male under 27" or over 30", mature female under 26" or over 29", light colored eyes, one missing tooth, shyness or excessive excitability. I have frequently observed that judges do not have a sense of height, especial- ly when faced with an entry of varying heights and varying degrees of substance and coat. Judges are not alone – exhibitors have the same problem. It is very important that judges develop an eye for determining height – be it is a mark on clothing, where fingertips reach, top of the ring table, etc. so as to avoid potential optical illusions of height. Height is measured from the top of the withers, not from the top of the coat on top of the withers (which can add an additional inch). Th ickness of coat contributes to the illu- sion of being oversized or hides an under- sized frame or fills an undeveloped chest. It is therefore important that the judge is able to determine what lies beneath the coat, both by feel and visually. Once height has been determined, eval- uate for substance and musculature, and finally for balance. All components must be present in the Black Russian Terrier to move harmoniously: correct height, sub- stance, musculature and balance. Th e Black Russian Terrier is a working breed, developed as a multi-purpose mili- tary dog by the Russian Red Star Kennel in Moscow. While the majority of the dogs being shown have been conditioned and schooled in proper ring etiquette, remem- ber this breed’s function of guarding and

protection, and judges should respect the fact that much of the breed retains this working protective quality. Su ffi cient spac- ing should be maintained between dogs while gaiting in a group and handlers should be cautioned against running up on an opponent or otherwise encourag- ing his dog to jump, spin and “play” in the ring. Th is is not only distracting, but can be antagonizing to other exhibits when the other dog’s space is invaded. Physical examination of the dog should be performed in a confident, thorough yet expeditious manner. Approach from the front in a purposeful and confident man- ner. Th e majority of experienced handlers prefer to show the bite and to lift the fall for examination of the eyes themselves for the judge. Do check for a scissors bite and for missing teeth (severe fault to DQ). Th e Black Russian is an aloof breed. Don’t stare into his eyes. Care should be taken to not bend over the dog, but be e ffi cient and thorough in feeling the framework and musculature of the dog under the coat. A heavy coat and experienced groomer can present a beautiful picture in stack while hiding a multitude of structural faults. Substance should be confirmed by feeling the circumstance of leg bones, base of tail and breadth of chest. Feel for key points: head size, head length and neck length being approximately equal, width of chest between the front legs, prosternum, shoul- der placement and angle, depth of chest, length of back and loin, angle of croup and tail set, thigh muscle mass, bend of stifle and hocks. Th e coat should be trimmed so that the dog’s outline is clearly defined. Check the coat quality and texture during exami- nation of the body. As the guard hair is often scissored o ff in grooming, check for coat texture by feeling the leg furnish- ings. Grooming should not be given more

weight than structure, movement and bal- ance in evaluating the dog. Again, it is nec- essary that the judge determine what is or is not present under the coat. Look for balance and agility in move- ment. Proper front and rear angulation coupled with correct body proportion will result in a harmonious and e ff ortless gait. Remember in observing the dog in move- ment that he must be large and strong yet agile. Movement is best observed in a moderate gait. Know and feel comfortable with the Black Russian Terrier and its standard. Don’t fault judge. Judge the overall dog, prioritizing important features. Reward the dog that possesses the appearance of a “robust, large, balanced, agile and power- ful dog” with “large bone and well-devel- oped muscles” exhibiting “great strength and endurance” and “a stable and reliable temperament, possessing self-assurance and courage.” Withhold rewards for those specimens which do not. Th e Black Russian Terrier Club of America is currently in the process of developing an illustrated standard which will hopefully be completed sometime in 2014. It should be brought to the judges’ attention that the purported photograph of a Black Russian Terrier posted next to the breed standard on the AKC breed website was not provided by the parent club and the photograph is not represen- tative of the breed standard. Th e club will be contacting AKC and asking that the photograph be replaced. Should any judge have questions about the breed standard or judging the Black Russian Terrier, please feel free to contact Susan Sholar, Judges Education Coordinator and Del- egate for the Black Russian Terrier Club of America, at Judges, the future of the Black Russian Terrier is in your ring.

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