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.


Mark Churchill said...

Ironic that the Soviets created a new breed of terrier at the same time they were trying to destroy native dog breeds such as the Siberian husky and malamute. These, of course, were bred by minority ethnic groups and had to go in the name of "cultural assimilation". Fortunately they had been "discovered" by Americans interested in dogsledding, and some were brought over before the genocide.

Anonymous said...

Seems a bit biased. The way our BRT treats our young children, you would never characterize the breed as oppressive. All of the literature I've read about the breed indicates that the BRT came about as a result of Russia having been decimated from WWII, with very little left in the way of indigenous dog breeds.

So, the Red Star Kennels went about rebuilding Russia's working dog breeds with what is now known as the BRT. (Reference Wikipedia, the AKC, BRT Club of America, and "Black Russian Terrier: Special Rare-Breed Edition : A Comprehensive Owner's Guide")

There are much tougher breeds in Russia, such as the Moscow Watchdog (like a large Saint Bernard on steroids).

Chris O'Connell
coconnell. mba00 @ alumni. stern. nyu. edu (spaces utilized to avoid spam)

PBurns said...

Read a little more!

The AKC site itself says: "Under the leadership of Colonel G. Medvedev of the Central Military School of Working Dogs, The Red Star Kennel, the breed was developed. ... The first standard for the Black Russian Terrier was published in "Regulations and Requirements for Training and Usage of Military Dogs" in 1958. Just prior to this the Red Star Kennel began to sell puppies of the second and third generation crosses to hobby dog breeders creating greater diversity within the stock.

OK. So is that it? No. Here's what you have to do now: Look up Medvedev and the Red Star Kennel. If you do that, you will find that Medvedev started building the Black Russian Terrier exactly when I said he did, or maybe even a little before. You have the wars wrong. See >>

"With the Russian revolutian and the civil war in the years 1917 - 23 most private kennels were destroyed and about 90% of the pure-bred dogs got lost. But the army and the police needed more and more service dogs, but the sources were gone. In 1924 the governement issued the resolution about the utilisation of dogs for military purposes. Upon this, the 'Central Army School of Kynology' was opened. Joined to this school was a kennel for military and sport dogs with a scientific laboratory. The biggest centre of this system was the kennel 'Krsnaya zvezda' (Red Star)." Medvedev's first successful crosses were in the mid 1930s.

Bottom line: these dogs were created to patrol the borders (no one out) and the Gulags. You may not like that, but there it is.

There is a Moscow Watch Dog and a Moscow Water Dog, but you should know that both breeds were developed by the Russian Military at the Red Star Kennels and also for military work. In Russia and the Soviet Union, the military is a force of oppression, not enlightenment. It is not there to guarantee freedom and civil liberties, but to remove it.


David said...

The BRT's I've seen at the shows resemble unfenotypical Bouviers. No offense intended.

Sean said...

How is this relevant to modern BRT's and their owners? I was going to get one but now I'm afraid that they "hate us for our freedom."

PBurns said...

The modern BRTs have not exactly taken off because the dogs are a bit shaggy for our warm country, they do not bring new functionality to the table, and a small breed pool has resulted in some serious health problems and not just a few. Out of 164 AKC breeds in 2009, the BRT was 130. I count that as a failure!


Giz Rhoads said...

Our BRT is the most affectionate and loyal dog that we have owned. He is extremely intelligent, with remarkable problem-soling skills. I do consider the coat high maintenance, but I would also warn potential owners, that the BRT will tolerate NO aggressive behavior, from other dogs, or people, with the only exception being, his 'pack leader'. He is incredibly responsive, off leash, but much more resistive to commands, when constrained by a leash.