Showing Your Black Russian Terrier
Many of the people interested in Black Russians want to know what is involved in showing their dog. Here is a very brief synopsis to help you understand what goes on at a dog show. You can learn more at the AKC website, the UKC website and/or the IABCA website. These are all different registries for dogs and each has their own way of awarding championships and/or rally and obedience titles.
AKC – to get an AKC championship, your dog must earn “15 points” at AKC licensed shows. Points are determined by AKC according to the number of dogs of a that breed and sex being shown in that region. Your dog can earn from 1 – 5 points at a show depending on the number of dogs competing. 1 and 2 point wins are called “singles”. A show in which a dog earns 3, 4 or 5 points is called a “major”. A dog must have a total of 15 points and 2 majors to finish his championship.
To earn “the points” you must win your class. Then all of the class winners of that sex compete for “Winners Dog” or “Winners Bitch”. It is this “Winners” award that earns points. Classes usually consist of puppy 6 months to 9 months, puppy 9 months to 12 months, 12 to 18 month class, Americanbred, Bred-by-Exhibitor class and Open class. If there was a dog in each class then the seven class winners would compete for Winners. If only two classes had dogs, then those two class winners would compete for Winners. This is not as easy as it sounds, but with luck, training and a good dog, it is fun and very rewarding.
After your dog earns his Championship, he can continue on to earn his Grand Championship. This consists of earning 25 points (including three majors) in Best of Breed competition. This last is where all the dogs who are already champions, along with the Winners Dog and the Winners Bitch, compete for the Best of Breed award.
UKC and IABCA also have conformation championships. Each one is a little different in how you earn your title. Both of these are a little more “owner-handler friendly”. Go to each group’s website to see what their requirements are.
Rally is informal obedience. It is not as exacting as regular “obedience” and many dogs and owners find it much more fun because of the relaxed atmosphere. You can use double commands, talk to your dog, encourage your dog, use hand signals and act just like you would on a walk with your dog. There are three basic rally titles Rally Novice (RN), Rally Advanced (RA) and Rally Excellent (RE). For each award you must complete all of the required exercises earning a score of 70 or more out of a possible 100 points . This must be done at three trials under at least two different judges. Rally is a lot of fun for both you and your dog and the exercises are the foundation for the more difficult exercises in regular obedience. It is great for building a bond between you and your dog. Both AKC and UKC have rally competitions and titles. There are other registries as well where you can do this type of work.
Obedience is more formal than rally, but is still a lot of fun, especially for the Black Russians. These kids are so smart that they need the challenge regular obedience presents. There are, again, three basic titles as well as an Obedience championship. The first level is Companion Dog and the title earned is a “CD”. To obtain this title you must heel on and off leash with right, left and about turns, a fast and slow pace and a normal pace. The dog must heel in a figure 8 around two people with two sits during the routine. This is done on lead. He must do a stand for examination off lead, where the dog is left in a stand and must be still while a judge touches his head, shoulders and rear. The handler then returns to the dog and releases him from the stay. There is also a recall where the dog is left in a sit-stay, called to come to you and must sit in front of you until you send him to heel position. Finally there is a one minute sit and a three minute down stay with 8-12 dogs in a group and the handlers across the ring. To obtain your title, you must earn a score of 170 out of 200 points three times under at least two different judges.
The Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) is similar, but here all work is off leash. There is a heeling pattern, a figure 8, a recall with a down in the middle, a retrieve of a dumbbell on the flat, a retrieve of the dumbbell over a high jump and a broad jump. The dog must then do a three minute sit stay and a five minute down stay in a group with the handler out of sight.
The Utility Dog (UD) has lots of fun exercises. There is a directed jumping where the dog is sent over a high jump and a bar jump at the judge’s discretion on order. A directed retrieve where the dog is sent to retrieve one of three gloves, scent discrimination where the dog must find a metal and a leather article that the handler has touched among a number of articles that the judge has touched, a signal exercise where the dog heels and performs other routines on hand signals alone and a stand exercise where the dog heels into a stand and is examined thoroughly by the judge.
Ultimately there is also a UDX which is similar to the RAE and a Obedience trial championship for top competition dogs. These are the AKC routines, but UKC also has similar titles and requirements.
This takes no preparation but your dog should be in good condition. He must be at least a year to compete. The dog is taken onto the course and must chase a lure over a course of about 440 yards within a certain time. Most BRTs love this as they like to chase things. Three qualifying runs gets a CA (Coursing Ability title), seven more get a CAA (Coursing Ability Advanced) and fifteen additional runs gets a CAX (Coursing Ability Excellent).
The Canine Good Citizen Certificate is offered by AKC. It is simple with the dog or puppy walking quietly on leash both alone and in a crowd, letting someone pet and handle him, staying until called from about ten feet away and staying in a sit or down until you return. The dog must also stay with someone unknown for several minutes while you are out of sight. All puppies should be able to obtain this quickly and should be taken through to demonstrate their good nature.
The American Temperment Testing Society provides this test. The dog must be at least eighteen months and must pass all “stations” or tests. There is a friendly stranger, a neutral stranger, a gunshot, a rattling bucket, and umbrella that is opened in their face, some strange footing – both a long piece of plastic (slippery) and a grated surface – usually an exercise pen on the ground. Finally there is the aggressive stranger. This is three tests – first he appears, then he comes toward you and the dog, then he starts waving a stick at you. The dog must not show fear and must remain beside or in front of you. This test is excellent for getting to know your dog’s reactions under stress.
There are many other things you can do with your black Russian – carting, weight pulling, herding and others. Do not just sit with your dog at home. Get out and do things. Both you and your dog will learn new skills and will get to know each other better!