Let’s Talk Breed Education!
LEARNING A LITTLE RUSSIAN— TOY, THAT IS! by MARTHA GUIMOND photos courtesy of OLGA PALTSEVA of FAVORIT STYLE RUSSIAN TOYS
T he Russian Toy is a Foundation Stock Service Breed (FSS) in the American Kennel Club. Hope- fully in the near future, with the help of the AKC, the breed will move up to join the Miscellaneous and ultimately the Toy group! Th e breed was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2008, where is it known as the Russkiy Toy. Getting involved as owner, breeder and exhibitor of a “rare” or “new to the USA” breed is a daunting task. Finding some- one to be a mentor or reliable resource is most di ffi cult since there are few estab- lished and knowledgeable breeders in this country and they are often many states away from where you live. Th ere are few, if any, dogs to be seen at rare breed shows, matches or AKC open shows, and many that are exhibited may not be the best rep- resentatives of the breed. To add to these di ffi culties, too often there is more than one group or breed club
that wishes to represent the breed—each group can be passionate and obstinate in their determination to be the only voice representing the dogs in the AKC and usu- ally do not work well together. At some point you may have to decide to join one group in the full understanding it will be seen as heresy to the others and you will be banished from their tribe. Another major obstacle with more than one group claim- ing to be the breed representative is that the AKC will want the groups to merge before naming or accepting one club as the Parent Club for the breed. Without a Parent Club accepted by the AKC—or if the breed is not far enough along in the recognition process—there is no “o ffi cial” AKC standard. In its place, the breed fan- cier must back on the FCI breed standard or the standard from the country of origin or founding breed organization. If you use the country of origin and that country is Russia, add language
problems on top. Th e language barrier also limits resources to gain essential knowl- edge on type, blood lines, health issues and all other aspects of the breed knowledge since most of the established experts and breeders in Russia do not speak English, and many of us (including yours truly) definitely cannot read nor converse in Rus- sian. Internet translation systems help a little, but far too often the resulting tangle of Russian to English words is at best frus- trating and of little use. Along the way, I also learned how to send money to Russia (not as easy as you think and there are no guarantees that the money will not just “disappear”), how to get a very small dog safely into the coun- try (they came on non-stops flights to New York City by courier in business class cabin —a method of travel I can not a ff ord for myself !) and the fact that Russian bureau- cracies actually can be worse than our own (red tape is well named)!
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Even for someone with over thirty years of experience successfully breeding and showing toy dogs (Cavaliers and English toys), this is a challenge. It is rather like being on one of those reality TV show— you have an address for a distant and unfa- miliar destination that you must reach and you know how to drive a car. BUT just how you are going to obtain a vehicle and then get there with limited resources and all sorts of obstacles to overcome is the prob- lem. Why did I embark on this journey? All because my friend Jacqueline Rayner, AKC judge (who exhibited my Cavalier King Charles and English Toy Spaniels most successfully in her bygone career as a handler) four years ago asked if I would do an “new” breed—the Russian Toy. I said I would take a look at them, and so began our partnership as Détente Russian Toys. With quite a few “bumps in the road” on our way, we have finally established relation-
ships with fine breeders in Russia who have been most generous in sharing their dogs with us. We have also been able to meet and gain insight from the few folks in this coun- try who have seen the breed in Russia and have true knowledge of breeding and pre- senting the Russian Toy here in the USA. One of these is Scarlett King, who resides in Alabama and has bred and shown them for over ten years. Since four years in any breed is certainly not long enough to gain the title of “expert”, if you take exception to my comments made in this article about breed type—please direct all complaints to Scarlett, since she is editing for accuracy!! Russian Toys is the FULL and COM- PLETE breed name. Folks keep wanting to add something to it. Th ey do go under a di ff erent name in the UKS, Russkiy Toys, and long coats were once called Moscow Toy Terriers, but in both the AKC and Russia, they are just Russian
Toys. Th e height of our dogs in the RKF (that is the Russian Kennel Club) and the FCI standards is 20 to 28 cm ( to those of use not familiar with metric units that is 7.8 to 11 inches—just another part of the challenge dealing with “foreign” stan- dards) In these standards the dogs may weigh up to 3 kg (that translates to 6.6 lbs here in America) Th ey come in two varieties: Long Coat and Smooth Coat. Coat colors are the same for both varieties and are limited to: Black and Tan, Chocolate and Tan, Blue and Tan, Red, Red Sable, and Red Brown. Even small patches of white on the chest or toes are considered a fault! Th e Chocolate and Tan, Red Brown and Blue and Tan dogs have noses and eye rims that match coat color, while the other colors should have black noses and eye rims. Smooths have short, shiny, close lying hair with no undercoat and no
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bald patches. Long coats have moderately long hair on the body that should not hide the outline of the body. Front and back legs as well as the tail should be feathered and there needs to be enough hair on the feet to cover the nails. Ears should be covered with thick, long hair that creates a fringe. Of course, pup- pies will not carry this fringe, and dogs over three years old may have so much heavy fringe that it can cause the ear to tip over but NOT hang. Ears must be erect on both varieties and should be large and set high on the head—when alert, no Papillon ear set, please! Heads are small compared to the body, have a pronounced stop with a lean and pointed muzzle that is slightly shorter than the skull. Th e eyes are quite large, round, slightly prominent and set well apart in a high skull that is wide, but the width at the level of the zygomatic arch (cheek bones) can not exceed the depth of skull—at this point, pictures may be more useful than words. Necks are slightly arched, long and carried high followed by a gradually slop- ing, level topline. Tails can be docked, but
generally are now left natural. Both docked and natural tails are carried high when moving. Th e natural or long tail should be carried ideally as a sickle tail, and should not be held lower than horizontal. Too much curl or a tail held tight against the back while moving is a fault. When resting or standing, the tail is generally held lower, but not tucked under. Th e Russian Toy must always appear elegant, lively and long legged. Th is is a fine boned breed with lean muscle on a square built dog. Th e height at the elbow should be slightly more than half of the height of the dog at the withers. Dogs should move easily and fast—no distinc- tive or unusual action here, just good, ground-covering gait! Once we obtained some lovely dogs, the task of properly presenting the breed was the next challenge. Th ese are very intel- ligent, sensitive dogs that may not always take kindly to standing still on a table for strangers to touch them. Like some other toy breeds, they exhibit best on the ground but of course must be trained properly to allow examination on the table.
Once they are place on the ground and moved for the judge, the head, ears and tail should go up—it is essential breed type that the Russian Toy exhibits those essentials of breed type—a long-legged dog. Th e Russian Toy is a lean muscled and truly elegant toy dog. When our Rus- sian Toy comes toward our judge stop or when standing, the tail will usually go down and the dog will be shown free stacked. Of course, a novice dog or one in a threatening environment, may be stead- ied by the handler (hard stacked). Joining the world of Russian Toy fan- ciers has been a rewarding experience— from introducing the breed to literally thousands of people at the New York City Meet the Breeds to exhibiting our dogs to judges who are getting their first oppor- tunity to evaluate the breed “up close and personal”. Th en there is that magi- cal first litter—so frightening with all the unknowns and so rewarding with the first healthy and hopefully wonderful home breds that can now be labeled “Ameri- can Made”! We look forward to bringing them to a show near you!
Photos to the left were chosen by the penultimate and the last Presidents of National Club of Breed for submission of the home page of the official site of breed.
“THESE ARE VERY INTELLIGENT, SENSITIVE DOGS...”
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PRESENTATION OF THE RUSSIAN TOY by SCARLETT KING
T he Russian Toy is a small com- panion dog that is elegant, lively and long legged with fine bone and lean muscles. It comes in two varieties: smooth coat (short, silky, close lying) and long coat (feathered, close lying as to not hide the natural contour of the body). Th ere should be very little noticeable di ff erence between males and females. Th e behavior of the Russian Toy is one of an active and cheerful companion dog. Th ey can be a little aloof with strangers, as they are totally devoted to their people and can become quite territorial. Th e breed should be presented in a free, self-stacking manner. Th at’s not to say that an insecure or young dog cannot be “hard stacked” to reassure him. Th e Russian Toy should be judged on the ground to see its lively, cheerful attitude. Th e table should be used to check for important details and for disqualifications. An important proportion to remem- ber is that the Russian Toy is a square built dog. The height at elbows is only slightly more than half of the height at withers; the chest is suff iciently deep. Behavior and temperament for this breed includes: Active, very cheerful, neither cowardly nor aggressive.
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“CORRECT BREED TYPE INCLUDES ITS LARGE EARS...”
Th e head of the Russian Toy is small in comparison to its body. Th e Skull is NOT wide (width at the level of zygomatic arch- es does not exceed the depth of the skull). Th e stop is clearly pronounced. Th e shape of the head is triangular when viewed from above. Correct breed type includes its large ears, which are big, erect and set high. Important breed characteristics to remember are a square built dog with long legs and fine bone. Large erect ears, slight- ly sloping topline and a slight rounded croup. Th e tail is carried high, never below the horizontal of the backline. On the long coated variety, the decoration of the ear fringe on a mature dog usually at an age over three can be quite attractive. When judging the Russian Toy you will easily find that every thing about
the breed is one that is built for speed and great agility! Movement is described as easy, straightforward and fast. No noticeable change in the topline when moving. Both Varieties will be given equal consideration. Th e Smooth is the original variety. Th e ears are mobile and can be facing any direction on the move. Th e tail must be carried up above the horizontal on the move but may drop when not in motion. You will see a variety of tail carriage in a line up. Some up and wagging, others down yet attentive. Presently, the FCI standard calls for the Russian Toy to be a “docked” tail breed, allowing for the tail to left in its natural state in countries where docking is prohibited. Th e Breed has developed
over the last decade as to be left in its natural state. Th e tail should be carried in a sickle according to the FCI standard. However, a sickle in AKC language is not the same. Size in the Russian Toy has a great vari- ance from four pounds and four and one half inches from the lower to upper ends of the standard. Th at is a great variance for a toy breed. It will not be uncommon to see dogs in these ranges. 7-11 ½ inches is the ideal range and weight has a minimum of 2.2-to a maximum 6 pounds range! Th ere should be no preference, but the breed has been bred as a small decorative companion and should remain an elegant toy! In closing, I hope you have a good visu- al of what is correct Russian Toy type and how it should be presented.
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