As strange as it may seem one of the most ancient dogs bred by man appeared in Russia just 15 years ago. The first Greyhounds were imported from Poland in the late 1980’s. The first three litters came in 1989. It is worthy noting that after the collapse of the Iron Curtain citizens of then the USSR get an opportunity to visit western countries. They brought back a lot of different dogs both traditionally bred in this country and not known before. Unfortunately, a few realized what kind of dogs and breeds are worth the paid money. And nobody was familiar with the structure of new “exotic” breeds and peculiarities of their lines and breeding.
That is why along with a brilliant representative of the English show type From Polish Idol Skierdy (Ch. Ballalyn’s Thunder Cloudbey x Ch. Exhurst Mary Rose), that became a World Winner’90 later, two bitches of typical Central European breeding, daughters of Blue Joy v. Sonnenhugel out of mothers of Poland-Chez bloods, Delta z Alabastrowego Ogrodu and Abigail Czarna Malina and granddaughter of his littermate Joker, Imperia Complement, were imported. Though these bitches had a good conformation, they were still not good enough to be called show dogs. Be it as it may, these four dogs determined the following breeding of the Greyhounds in Russia.
In the mid 80’s, the first races for a mechanical lure were staged in Moscow and other large cities of the former USSR. The main aim was to create an alternative to obligatory hunting trials for the Borzoi. Furthermore, imported earlier Afghans also took active participation in those races. No wonder that a lot of people fond of races were very enthusiastic about the Greyhounds. The only thing that was known about these dogs was that they were the fastest breed. People started importing dogs from the Chez Republic, Hungary, and Yugoslavia. Occasionally, those Greyhounds had really good working qualities. But most often they could be related to the running lines only because of their poor conformation. We have to note that although a lot of attempts were made to commercialize the races, first of all they have always been, and still are, an amusement for the sighthounds owners. The running Greyhound cannot become a popular breed if there is no a dog races industry in the country. That is why the first races did not exert any influence on the breed’s popularity. However, they definitely had an impact on the Greyhound breeding in Russia. Idol’s daughters and bitches from his father Ballalyn’s Thunder Cloudsbey and Delta were mated to imported dogs of the working lines. This Russian experience did not justify hopes of breeders. Those dogs lost the harmony of constitution and did not gained any good running qualities.
The mid 90’s enjoyed an increasing popularity of the Greyhounds among hunters. The hunting with the Borzoi is allowed in Russia. In some regions of the country it is very popular. Field contests are frequently arranged where diplomas of three degrees are awarded. The value of a field diploma is a lot higher than of a racing one. Contrary to beliefs of many hunters, Borzoi-fanciers, the Greyhounds managed to prove that they are an outstanding breed not only “for chasing a lure”, but also on the field. It is worth noting that the best hunting results are shown by dogs of the show bloods. They usually win over their racing opponents who belong to the coursing lines. Besides field contests, hunters stage their own exhibitions (shows?) where usually working dogs are presented. In addition to conformation evaluations, so-called complex evaluations are made, which include show grades, field diplomas, and quantity of offsprings who have already received conformation grades and working diplomas. Unfortunately, judges-hunters while evaluating dogs often forget that good constitution means not only the lack of defects of various points but also, and first of all, the harmony of the whole body. Any good Greyhound must be well balanced, elegant and noble; it must posses a so-called “breed air“.
It was not until the mid 90’s that Russian breeders suddenly recollected and made the first attempts to divide the Greyhounds by lines. Attempts were made to develop the Idol line. Some of them enjoyed success; but some failed. Unfortunately, Ch. Namestnik Skierdy (Ch. Ballalyn Thunder Cloudbey x Ch. Baldrey Ring of Roses) brought to Vyatka in 1990 was not sufficiently used and had almost no influence on the foundation stock of the Greyhounds in Russia.
At the same time it became clear that it was impossible to go on without inflow of fresh bloods. It took almost ten years after Idol to import 10 months old red Cyrano’s Red Ryder (Ch. Mokan’s Drakkar of Saurel x Ch. Cyrano’s Gilded Amorini) in the late 1997. Several months later followed an addition – red puppy Noblegrey MacGregor (Ch. Noblegrey Scarlet Paddington x Ch. Noblegrey April Love), white and red puppy Gaysyde Christmas Spirit (Ch. Repeat Performance x Qattara Edie), and 2 years old Wilhellmiinan Ei-Erkimpi (Ch. Jet’s Big Boy Don’t Cry x Ch. Piderag’s Dream Drive In). All of them confirmed their quality when they became Champions of Russia. Three of them became International Champions. Never Say Never Ypsylon brought from Poland in 1999 also was named the Russian Champion. All these males have sires out of Russian bred bitches. Despite the fact that puppies excel their mothers in conformation, it is clear that it is difficult to achieve any success without quality dams. In 2000 puppy bitch Hyperions High Society was brought to Moscow from the USA. Hopefully, she will be become an excellent dam being at the same time a great show Greyhound. We also hope that more bitches will follow her.
The keeping and breeding of the Greyhounds have some peculiarities in Russia. First of all, the foundation stock can be found in large cities especially Moscow. In this 10 million city the most prestigious shows are held, and the best litters are whelped. Secondly, regardless of the quality and reasons for keeping a dog almost all Greyhounds live under one roof with their owners being family companions. Russia is a country of small kennels with only one or two bitches (dams). On them alone the condition of the breed in the present days and in the future depends.
We have already drawn conclusions from our not too successful experience of the show Greyhounds breeding. Now we are encouraged to follow guidelines of the world’s best kennels to rear a quality Greyhound stock, which is no doubt necessary for the future show and stud development.
THE HISTORY OF GREYHOUNDS IN RUSSIA
Secondly, all four males have already had litters in Russia. First one to become a father was Cyrano’s Red Ryder (Rurik). Three of his puppies were named Champions of Russia; the bitch from the first litter – Artefakt Alana – also became Class Winner at Euro Dog Show-2000 held in Poznan.
Gaysyde Christmas Spirit (Haig) produced his first litter in the late 1999. Unfortunately, only one puppy out of three is shown. It is Hepi Hepri Irbis exported to Estonia. However, his success is evident: World Promise 2000 (World Dog Show in Milan), Champion of Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia and Finland. The second litter was born in June of 2001. From this litter also only one bitch – Tonika - is showed. This year she became Russian and RKF Champion, as well as a lure coursing Champion. Puppies from Haig’s third litter are one year old now. Two of them began their show careers quite successfully; and red bitch - Severny Elf Danaya - already became Russian Young Champion.
The third male to become a father was Wilhellmiinan Ei-Erkimpi. His first and only litter was born in the middle of 2000 out of From Polish Idol Skierdy’s daughter (Elisaveta Golima), one of the best bitches of Russia. By now two of his offsprings - Ludovik Van Blue and Lourience Van Blue - became champions.
Of course, we understand that the work on show Greyhounds in Russia is only in the making. It was already noticed that all produced puppies surpassed their Russian-bred mothers in quality. Nowadays, we are trying to plan our future pedigree breeding. The second generation of dogs produced from imported males is very important. It’s already scheduled to mate one of MacGregor’s daughters (Sanbri Stela Fli Violina) with Gaysyde Christmas Spirit. By this combination we hope to secure such advantages of this young bitch as a long and elegant neck which beautifully passes into well marked withers, and to add a more strong bone to her puppies.