Virtual Breed Notes
TIME WITH CABOKA LOVERS (Russian
In 1999 I befriended a fellow lover of
the Irish Setter called Nino Lazareva via
the Internet. Over time we conversed, we
exchanged views and discussed our passion
of dogs and especially the Irish Setter.
Sadly, Nino lost her Irish Bitch,
Russian Field Champion called Linda (BANTRI
x LORA), in 1999. In 1994, Linda whelped
a litter of eight puppies, but
unfortunately, to Ninos dismay, the
litter suffered broken tails
and could not be shown like their mother.
Eventually Nino began to look for another
quality Irish Setter of the
type she liked. Due to the
fact that Russian breeding was focused on
the hunting abilities of the Irish Setter
and with no separation of 'Show and Field'
dogs prior to 1990, this proved to be
rather difficult. Given this, Nino looked
towards the UK.
1995, Nino travelled alone to England,
to the IRISH SETTER BREEDERS CLUB
Championship Show held at Newark. Here,
she found that many of the Breeders were
not forthcoming, but one person, Linda
King of the Kirkavagh Kennel, was very
helpful and discussed the Breed and Show
format at length. To a Russian person in
a new country, this was delightful.
Nino acquired the Year-Book and continued
to study the bloodlines in order to find
her Setter. However, one burning question
remained, would Irish Setter Breeders in
the UK consider exporting a puppy to live
and show in Russia? In 1999 she asked the
same question of me, so on her behalf, I
asked several Breeders and advertised on
the Midland Irish Setter Society Web Site
Nino and her husband George invited my
husband Mark and myself to visit Moscow
to see how dogs lived in Russia and also
to visit EURASIA the Russian
equivalent of Crufts.
We boarded the flight at Birmingham
airport at 06:55 armed with Visas,
guide books and translation software. We
could not speak Russian and we had no
idea how much English Nino could speak.
We transferred flights at Munich and
arrived in Moscow at 16:30 hours. Russia
is 3 hours behind our time, so we were
wide-awake. The views from the plane were
breathtaking and the space was
overwhelming! The airport seemed daunting
and the Police presence was evident. We
worried about our Visas, after all,
a dog show was at stake! However, we went
through without any difficulty, but once
through, there was no sign of Nino and
George! Then I realised that the times
given to me by the travel agent did not
take into account the time difference.
Because of this, Nino expected us at 19:30,
but in actual fact it was only 16:30!
What should we do? I telephoned Nino with
phonetic phrases in my mind. I had never
spoken to her before and I did not know
what to expect, would she understand me?
A very gentle voice answered the
telephone, I pathetically mentioned
"Airport, here now," and was
greeted with, "Hello Wendy, welcome,
we will come straight away." Was I
pleased! Whilst we waited in the airport,
many people came to us and offered "Taxi."
On reflection we were afraid because this
was Russia, but I dont think we
would have been concerned with the
attention from the taxi drivers, if it
had been Spain!
George and Nino found us. They were
accompanied by their youngest child, 10
month old Show Junior Saluki Dariy
imported from the Caravan Kennel in
Norway. How would a Russian speaking
youngster greet us we wondered? With a
wagging tail of course!
OUR HOSTS &
Nino and George reside in an apartment.
How would an Irish Setter, or any other
dog, enjoy life in an apartment in Russia?
Silly question, as many dogs in England
live in a flat, but this was Russia, so
we expected things to be different. As we
entered the lift to the flat, we were
informed that they have a young sight
hound, the ever tail wagging Saluki,
Dariy. "He is still in the
destructive phrase," we were told. I
wondered how I would explain that we had
four adult Irish Setters that leave their
mark in disgust when they are left, with
not even the excuse that they are young!
The apartment was very clean and tidy;
attention to dog comfort was very much in
evidence, with couches and toys in
abundance, very much a home from
home. Certainly, our hosts, like us,
love their dogs. They were as described,
Cobakas' or, doggie lovers.
To compensate for the lack of a handy
garden, Russian dogs are walked in
spacious gardens, conveniently placed to
the front and rear of the apartments.
Access to larger areas of free
running are never far away, as
Russia has lots of open spaces. That
night the temperature became very cold;
the usual, "Lets go out, - wee
wees," was preceded by the
donning of wool jackets and waterproof
jackets, for the dogs, not the humans!
We arrived at the hall at 10:30am, the
immediate impression being that things
were fairly chaotic but soon it became
evident that the arrangement was no
different to a very large Open Show in
Britain. Show dogs waited patiently with
their excited exhibitors beside their
allocated rings and the judging order was
evident, although foreign to us, as it
was in Russian. Each breed was given a
judging time slot, enabling a
constant flow of exhibitors, into the
ring. That familiar feeling of excitement
was soon contagiously evident, even
though we lacked a brush, a slobber cloth
and a familiar wagging tail!
The Irish Setter entry was a total of
6 dogs. Unfortunately we missed the
judging which had commenced with only
four dogs showing, so the class was over
very quickly. However, we were able to
meet the BOB BIG II Sciroccos Phil
the Red Destiny (Bardonhill Rivers of
Time X Sciroccos Fairness) DOB 17.07.98.
He was imported from kennels in Germany.
I was fortunate enough to be able to take
a long look at this boy and found him to
be very pleasing. He was a nice dark
colour and had a pleasing head, with good
bend of stifle and front angulation. Phil
has been very successful in the ring and
is very different in type from the other
Irish Setters in Russia. His owner Lena
Petrova lives in St Petersburg with her
husband Taras and their son Anton. Her
web site address is: http://members.xoom.com/ktaras
where you will find more photographs and
information regarding showing and judging
Moscow is a very dog-friendly place,
where dogs are very much in evidence and
accepted into most areas, including,
shops, banks and airports etc. How nice
it would be to be able to take your four-legged
friend with you when you shop.
On the day we went to the food hall,
fresh produce was fully available and the
fresh flowers were superb! Dariy was with
us. He is known at the market and was not
a hindrance (I can only dream of our
Setters being at Tescos). In Russia
it is acceptable to taste the produce
before you buy, so a great time was had
by all. There we were, a Saluki with a
large T-bone steak in his mouth, a
husband with fresh tomatoes and I
volunteered for the taste of Black caviar!
The prices were astounding. "Fillet
steak of beef is a good diet for a dog?"
I was asked. "Good diet for the
owner," I replied. We shopped with
vengeance; Im good at shopping. Our
bags were laden with goodies, among the
items lay Black Caviar and Cognac. "Do
you like Black Caviar"? I was asked.
"Not sure," I replied, trying
not to look ignorant. "Dariy, (the
Saluki), prefers Red Caviar to Black,"
I was informed. Now is that a spoilt
Saluki or am I jealous?
One evening we decided to visit the
American Diner where Nino had designed
all the advertising. Dariy is only a
young dog of 10 months, so all
precautions were taken prior to us
leaving. Dariy was in the hall with the
doors firmly closed. He had many toys, a
very large bone and scattered pieces of
cheese hidden in places to amuse him.
"He will be fine," I
confidently announced, after all, Irish
Setters can be naughty when theyre
young. At the Diner a vibrant display of
advertising was evident. Nino met us
there and was quite rightly proud of her
achievement. More talk of shows, Setters
and comparability of available foods
commenced over a delicious Strawberry
When we left, George attracted a taxi
in the usual manner of stepping into the
road. A strange road system operates in
Moscow, there are three lanes for traffic,
but there can be up to six lanes of cars.
During our journey home, a rare event
occurred, we were stopped by the Police
for a document check. We stood to the
rear of the car while George spoke on our
behalf. The Policeman, who was wearing a
firearm, was very authoritative. After
what seemed like an eternity, we returned
to the taxi and continued home. George
stated "It was just a check."
These checks are for foreigners only and
only occur in large cities, but it seemed
very different to us, having to carry
passports for checks, but then it would,
We arrived en mass at the apartment
and as the door opened the destruction
was evident. All the beautiful woodwork
around the door had been ripped from the
wall and the plaster had been shredded! A
very sheepish looking Saluki
greeted us with flat ears and tail. I
think I would have been far angrier than
our hosts! Russian words were exchanged
between George and Nino, whilst Dariy
watched. He understood, even though we
did not! Much to our amusement we heard,
"Asshole Saluki," but the only
advice I could muster was "Maybe a
large cage?" I recall our English
Setters idea of fun whilst we were
out, was to pluck out the entire contents
of our settee and spread soft stuffing
material around like confetti and pull
down the curtains for good measure!
Due to the lateness of the night, it
was agreed to let Dariy stay with us for
the night. Our Russian vocabulary now
consisted of Dariy pronounced in a
Russian way and Niet (No).
Our hosts left with looks of doting
parents leaving a child with strangers
for the first time. After George and Nino
left, I mentioned to Mark that maybe
Dariy should visit the garden prior to
bedtime. "You walk, Ill feed,"
I suggested, (wise female), it was 150C
outside. As I prepared Dariys
supper, I imagined that I heard an
English voice shout. I looked out of the
window and saw nothing. Five minutes
later Mark appeared looking very flushed,
with a grubby looking Saluki
beside him. Dariy had slipped his collar
and had been running around the garden,
near a busy road, playing catch me.
Apparently, Dariy thought this was a good
game especially as he spoke no English.
Luckily for Mark and Dariy, George and
Nino witnessed the fun and persuaded the
bouncing Dariy that playtime was over.
What a night!
Ninos parents, Victor and Larisa,
both work in Moscow and at weekends they
travel to the family house at Istra,
which is about 50km from Moscow. Nino and
George also spend weekends at the family
home, taking their dogs with them; it is
a good place for the dogs to stretch
their legs. The house was fantastic, all
the floors were marble and under-floor
heating kept the house very comfortable.
Istra was still cold and had heavy
snowfall; the temperature was rising in
Moscow, with the snow melting, so it was
a pleasure to see. Ninos
grandparents, who spoke only a few words
of English, greeted us very
enthusiastically. We enjoyed a large
spread of beautiful food, salads, meats
and traditional Georgian
dishes remembered from the family origins.
In Russia, it is traditional to toast
between courses, with many references to
families, friends and dogs. One toast
caused amusement; Victor asked me, "Do
you like politics?" I replied,
"No." This was translated to
all the guests and loud laughter followed
and of course another glass of Vodka.
After dinner we went to the garden with
the dogs, Anzor, the Middle Asian
Shepherd Dog, was the biggest dog I have
ever seen. Anzor is a guard-dog and lives
at the house with Nino's grandfather, we
were advised to be watchful with no
sudden movements. Anzor's duty is to
protect the contents of the house and the
people; we were, of course, respectful of
his duty! In the summerhouse, there was a
large fire and we sat on a bench,
watching the fire, drinking Cognac and
wearing warm clothing. The silence was
incredible as the snow fell, creating a
very memorable evening.
As we retired to our room, influenced
by Cognac, Vodka and the general ambience
of the evening, in marched Anzor, who
proceeded to climb on my bed for a cuddle,
so I moved over and gave him room! In the
morning, the rarity of this action was
discussed at length. Indeed, a dog lover
is recognised by dogs, even if they do
not understand the language.
The following morning we left the
warmth of the house and a few steps from
the path left me thigh deep in snow, much
to the amusement of the party and dogs!
It was hard not to laugh. We walked to
the frozen lake. It was about 15km long
and a similar width, people were fishing
in the centre through holes in the ice.
Dariy did cause concern when he ran onto
the ice at speed and continued to try and
cross the lake, but much shouting by all
in the party, enticed the frolicking
Dariy to return, much to our relief.
The snow fell around us although the
sun was warm, we walked through the
forest with the dogs running free,
certainly, there were no problems of
meeting people whilst walking. Amazingly,
I was informed that wild bears and wolves
still occupied the forest, but the ever-watchful,
180lb Anzor was more than capable of
protection. In the forest, the trees were
mainly Silver Birch, with snow-laden
branches, the epitomy of a Christmas card.
Amusingly, Anzor has a harness, which is
used to attach him to a small sledge. We
took turns to have a ride, even I had a
go after protesting he could not possibly
pull me, (Im no twiglet), still,
away I went. It was a unique feeling to
be pulled along like butter by Anzor.
Apparently, Grandfather uses the sledge
to visit the shop when the snow is high;
it causes amusement when he arrives with
Anzor, especially when his mobile phone
rings in the shop.
We returned to the house to eat a
large lunch of wild trout and salads, I
asked if the trout were from the lake?
"No, the market," was the reply.
The men returned to the Summerhouse for
more fire building and male bonding,
whilst Nino and I continued to talk of
Setters, shows and dreams. We returned to
Moscow that evening and slept very
soundly including a suitably tired Dariy.
When we returned to England we arrived
home tired, but elated. As I proceeded to
unpack our suitcases our four Setters
were very interested in the Russian
Saluki smells, but they consider
suitcases to be 'fun' anyway. Our cases
had been in the bedroom where Dariy had
taken great delight in checking for
interesting smells, but then, I had
expected a certain amount of interest.
Our youngest Setter, Devon, was
particularly interested in one of the
cases and eventually uncovered a well
chewed chewy strip tucked
neatly in the bottom corner of the case.
Was this a present from a Russian Saluki,
to the Setters maybe?
We enjoyed our time in Russia
immensely; the people were very friendly
to us and very interested in the show
scene in England. Preparation of the dogs
was similar, although sprays and other
beauty items are accepted.
George and Nino are not Rich people,
they are similar to us and enjoy their
dogs, as we do. Many people I have spoken
to in England, remark about the wide
spread poverty that they believe to
exist in Russia, yes, there are some poor
people but then poor people also exist in
To return to the original question;
Would an Irish Setter Breeder,
allow an Irish Setter to be exported to
Russia?, maybe this letter will
help, plans are hopeful. A recent mating
of Olivia Hensons bitch,
Ornella Vienna for Tatsbro to
our boy Shebonnae Dancing Deacon of
Kegil, will produce a suitable
puppy. Olivia has agreed to
allow a puppy to be exported. I am sure
that puppy will grow up in a warm, loving
home, not in England, but in Russia.
Nino and George would be interested to
hear from Setter, Saluki and Weimaraner
Nino and Georges E-mail address
© Wendy Lewis email: firstname.lastname@example.org
© Michelle Webster
A SPOT OF BOTHER!
This year for the first time, I was able
to take both the boys to Crufts and
was looking forward to our day out. I was
rather concerned, however, about
how Flynn would settle, as he had never
before been in such a crowded
atmosphere, or had to stay on a bench for
such a long time. I need not have
worried, as both the boys had numerous
admirers all day and they loved every
minute of it!
Flynn wasn't placed, but I was extremely
proud of him nevertheless, as for
once in his life, he didn't misbehave and
he put his all into it. I was
thrilled and delighted when Fergus was
placed 3rd in his class. After we'd
had our turn, we joined on the end of the
line as the Judge worked her way
through the rest of the dogs in the class.
Suddenly, Fergus lunged at the
chap in front of me, grabbing his crotch!
'Oh my God,' he yelped, 'it's a good job
I dress on the other side!' I was
helpless with laughter and I couldn't
stop myself as I replied, 'I know he's
obsessed with balls, but that's taking it
a bit too far!'
Apparently, he had a large chunk of liver
in his trouser pocket, which he
then moved over to the other side, only
to be attacked by the dog on that
side of him. At this point Fergus became
very vocal, as I'm sure he was
worried that the other dog would get the
liver. He was up on his hind legs,
waving his front legs in the air, talking
LOUDLY! The people nearby were in
stitches. It certainly was an
unforgettable experience, especially for
chap concerned, but it's not what you
would really expect to see in the ring
at Crufts is it?
Michelle Webster ©2000