Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Russia's Terriers of Oppression
The Black Russian Terrier may be the only breed of dog ever created by a state purely to subjugate its people.
The Black Russian Terrier was created by the Russian military, beginning in the 1930s with the intent of creating a heavy aggressive but tractable dog capable of patrolling prisons, military bases, and border areas during brutal Russian winters. In addition to patrol work, dogs were occassionally expected to pull carts, locate land mines, and aid wounded men.
The Black Russian Terrier is essentially a cross between three breeds: Giant Schnauzers, Airedales, and Rottweilers, with a little Newfoundland,Caucasian Ovcharka, Great Dane and Eastern European Shepherd blood thrown in for confusion.
Breed uniformity was achieved over a 20-year period by the state-owned Red Star Kennel whose sole function was to provide dogs to the Soviet armed services for border control and prison patrol.
The first breed standard was approved in 1958, with dogs standing 27-30 inches tall and weighing from 80-145 pounds. The personalities of Black Russian Terriers are quite variable, and the dog is prone to hip dysplasia as the Russians did no x-raying of hips during their breeding program.
The coat of the Black Russian Terrier takes some keeping up, as it is a long-haired breed requiring regular combing and brushing, as well as scissoring every two months or so.
The Black Russian terrier entered the AKC in July of 2004.