You have done your research by studying and understanding the history of the breed, the genetic traits that combine to form the nature of the Black Russian Terrier, the Breed Standards (there are several depending on the country; i.e., AKC, FCI, RKF) which describes the ideal Black Russian Terrier, and hopefully you have been able to speak with other BRT owners and/or breeders and had the opportunity to discuss the breed and meet several BRTs. You have now made the decision that a Black Russian Terrier is the right dog for your family and your lifestyle. The next question is, “Where can I go to purchase a Black Russian Terrier?”
The BRTCA has several suggestions to help you with your search in locating a reputable breeder and encourage your selection from breeders who are publicly committed to breeding only dogs who have passed their health testing.
Do not buy from a pet store. These dogs are generally the result of puppy mill breeding and not the kind of dog you would want for a pet. Check out any advertisements over the internet very carefully before sending any money. Scammers have reached the dogs for sale ads as well as every other aspect of internet sales and due caution is advised.
With the advent of internet sales, puppy mills can now sell directly to unsuspecting buyers. Good questions to ask the breeder in order to weed out a potential puppy mill operation might be:
1. How many Black Russian Terrier bitches are you breeding?
2. How many litters a year do you register?
3. How many and which other breeds of dogs are you involved with and breeding? How many total litters per year are registered under your Kennel name?
4. Where is your kennel located, and can I come to view the dogs and the area in which they are kept and raised?
5. Ask for references from others who have purchased puppies from the breeder and call the references.
While still a relatively rare breed, a simple Google search of Black Russian Terriers will bring up a number of breeders worldwide. We offer suggestions on how to separate fact from fiction in the breeding world.
As you know from your research, BRTs have health issues, including hip and elbow dysplasia. Make sure that your potential breeder has performed full health checks on the parents. The most important test are hip and elbows x-rays for dysplasia which have been submitted to The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for reading. The web site link is www.offa.org. Additionally eyes (CERF), heart and thyroid should be checked. Do your research by checking as many relatives as possible for health clearances. Although not a guarantee that dogs of parents having good test results will likewise have good results, the percentages are significantly higher. Go to the “Search OFA Records” link and pull up the kennel name in the search that you are researching. By doing this you will get an overview of all of the dogs that have OFA results posted. By doing this you will be able to see at a glance how many of the kennel’s breedings have produced passing OFA results. If you see a conspicuously large number of dogs missing elbow or hip results you can suspect that they are missing because the dogs failed one or the other and the breeder does not wish that information to be published. Realize that what is listedis generally only a small percentage of the dogs bred by the breederas many of the puppy buyers do not get the recommended tests performed.
Check the results for yourself at www.offa.org. Passing grades on hips are Fair, Good, and Excellent. Any reading below that indicates that the dog is dysplastic to one degree or another. Elbows should be Normal.If you pull up a potential breeding and all tests are listed but either hips or elbows are missing, you should assume that it is because the dog failed the test. Don’t accept any excuse for not having the results posted; there are no good ones.Any dog over the age of 2 should have final results posted. If preliminary results are posted and the dog is well over the age of 2find out why the final approval is not posted.Don’t accept the breeder telling you, “Oh yes, all of my dogs are OFA’d.” as if that information was proof that the dog had passed. All of the dogs could be OFA’d and they could all have failed. Would you want to take the odds that a puppy from that breeder might pass?
Hyperuricurosia (urate bladder stones) is a test also being offered by the University of California/Davis. They have conducted studies on the problem in the Black Russian Terriers. Preliminary results indicate that 56% of BRTs are either carriers of the genetic mutation (carrying one copy of the autosomal gene) or affected (carrying a copy of the genetic mutation from each parent). Breeders are being encouraged to test their breeding stock and make informed breeding choices.
Breeders might tell you, “Oh yes, my dog is CHIC certified.” CHIC (Canine Health Information Center), web site www.caninehealthinfo.org, indicates that the tests have been performed and made public, it does not assure that the dog has passed the tests. If the breeder tells you the dog is CHIC certified, get the CHIC number and look
up the results yourself.
If you are buying the dog as a show dog, check the breeder to see how many Champions the prospective parents have produced. If you cannot physically go over the dogs, try to get as many pictures as possible of the dogs from all angles, including side, front, rear, and bite, as well as the dog standing naturally (not stacked).A video of the dogs moving both away from and towards the camera as well as a side gait shot will show structure that may not be seen in a photograph. Remember that because this is a coated breed, grooming can both enhance and hide faults. Funny as it may sound, pictures of the dog when wet will show you a whole lot more about the structure of the dog than a picture of the dog that has just been groomed for show.
Always examine the parents of the dogs and as many immediate relatives as possible (either in person or through photographs or video). With the assistance of the Internet, this may be easier than you think. Remember that it is very probable that your potential dog will look similar to one or several of his/her relatives.
If you are buying the dog for its working abilities, check the working titles that the breeder has on his dogs and on the parents and other relatives.
All dogs produced should be bred to the Standard of the Breed. Whether the dog is being acquired as a show dog or pet, determine why the dog is considered a pet
as opposed to a show dog.It is not uncommon that dogs sold as pets be required to be altered or spayed at an appropriate age. A responsible breeder will require pets to be altered and not reproduce.
Find out from your breeder is she has bred the prospective parents before.If so, see if they are willing to give you the names of the puppy owners from the other litter. Contact some of the other owners to find out about how these dogs turned out, their health, temperaments and if the owners were satisfied with their breeders.See if they
would get another dog from the breeder.
Ask the breeder about his dog’s temperaments. Some lines of Black Russian Terriers are “sharper” than others. Discuss your preferences and your needs with the breeder. Review with the breeder your lifestyle, whether other animals will be present in the home, children and their ages and lifestyle, friends, etc. The breeder should be able to help you determine what temperament might work best or not work for your home. A good breeder is more concerned with the dog fitting well in its new home and having a forever home rather than making a sale. If the breeder doesn’t believe your lifestyle is suitable to his particular dog, he may suggest another breeder who might have a dog that will.
Is the Breeder asking you questions? A responsible breeder knows that the BRT is not a dog suited for all dog owners. Your prospective breeder should be questioning your experiences with dogs, why you chose this breed, the environment that the dog will be kept in, the amount of time you plan to devote to obedience training and grooming. Getting a BRT from a reputable breeder is much like getting a job...there is an interview process to make sure that this breed is really the correct breed for you.
Request references from the breeder and take the time to contact the references.
Before you negotiate for a dog, ask for the breeder’s contract and examine it carefully. Make sure that it is one you can live with and you won’t end up feeling like you have an albatross around your neck. If you are entering into a co-owner arrangement make sure that each party’s responsibilities are clearly spelled out. There are advantages and disadvantages to co ownership..make sure that you understand them.
Make sure that all guarantees are in writing and that health guarantees, if any, are clearly defined, including what occurs if the dog later has health issues and at what age (refund of all or part of the purchase price, replacement, whether you retain ownership of the dog, return the dog to the breeder, etc.). If no health guarantees are offered, obtain a satisfactory explanation from the breeder.
Does your breeder offer to take back any dog bred at any age if for some reason the new owner is unable for any reason to keep the dog? That is a breeder concerned about the welfare of his dogs.
The breeder you select is as important as the dog you select from that breeder. The breeder should be willing to be your mentor, always available to offer advice and encouragement throughout the life of the dog, from puppy rearing, diet, grooming, training, to friendship. If you are acquiring a dog from another country, this may be more difficult. If you are importing a dog ask if the breeder will give you references of others that she has placed puppies with in your country.
Joining the BRTCA will give you access to more information about the breed. Take time to study both the breed and your prospective breeder before you make this very important decision.
BRTCA Membership Application
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