This is a fascinating exploration of the genesis of a new breed born of necessity from the ashes of the Second World War. Donald B. Anderson looks in some detail at the formative years and the [verifiable] breeds employed in creating the Black Russian Terrier. In 2004, Anderson discovered the fabled existence of a new breed, the massive, aggressive Black [Russian] Terrier. Having been a breeder of Giant Schnauzers, he was immediately captivated by a statement proclaiming this canine to be based on the Giant Schnauzer. With little information readily available, Anderson (launching himself onto the investigative trail) decided to undertake the search for more knowledge on the evolution and development of this Stalin-era, post-WWII-Russia, military dog. Data strongly suggests that this beast was created as the result of a post World War II edict of Premier Josef Stalin’s demand for a national military and gulag guard dog. With the Stalin years fraught with secrecy and ruled by applying unbridled psychological fear on the public, discovering sources of information, and forging a spirit of mutual trust, was not to be an easy task. What Anderson discovered was an undertaking of monumental proportions, a project that could only be accomplished through the availability of unlimited government financial resources, and political commitment. A strategy was launched by a large team of Russia’s foremost geneticists and cynologists to undertake massive multi-breed experimental combinations of dogs with the aim of melding a collection of the best traits into a “super” military canine. In outlining this “historical” exploration, Anderson has ferreted out evidence previously not readily available outside Russia, and has made every effort to gather, evaluate and produce an account that can be substantiated as being reasonably accurate. Anderson’s stratagem was not only to describe the emerging “Black Terrier”, but to include historical data on the origins of the breeds that went into its makeup, thus providing readers with a Paint by Number portrait of the big picture. Anderson portrays the evolution from the original concept of a dog of war to that of a family companion. His purpose for this eight-year odyssey was not only with writing an historical presentation for the English-speaking canine fancy, but an invitation to journey with him along a road of adventure. His chronology of the Black Russian Terrier became so massive and complex that it could only be rationally presented in a series of volumes.
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With nearly sixty years’ experience within the world of dogs, Donald B. Anderson was drawn by destiny to the Black Russian Terrier in 2004. This interest was initiated by information that this “new dog” had been created by the Russian military under Stalin’s rule, following WWII. The captivating attraction was that its format was founded on Anderson’s beloved Giant Schnauzer breed. This discovery was the driving force that hurtled him head on into a complex labyrinth of dead ends, closed doors and false promises — the nightmare of research projects. His professional approach to the world of dogs, bolstered by a 40-year career in international conference organization and high level international protocol, served well in establishing contacts and working relationships, over time, within the world of the Black Russian Terrier. Despite the inevitable challenges in breaking the perceived Russian codes of secrecy, Anderson has garnered a phenomenal amount of information. In 1961 he began showing Bullmastiffs in Eastern Ontario and in1967 introduced the Giant Schnauzer to Canada. He boldly took on the dog-fancy establishment of the day, being ostracized for refusing to crop the ears of his Giants. Only one young female, Jannel, in his Prestigia Kennel, was cropped and she came that way. He was obviously ahead of his time. In 1966, he began a 46-year (part time) research project on the history of a native Canadian breed, the Tahltan Bear Dog. Anderson has acquired a great deal of data, including “one of a kind” documents and personal letters from long-departed breeders and owners of that now extinct breed. Over the years, Donald Anderson has collaborated with the Canadian Museum of Natural History, the Provincial Museum of Natural History of British Columbia and the Canadian Kennel Club. The National Museum honoured him by giving permission to photograph the only preserved specimen of the Tahltan Bear Dog in existence. The Tahltan Bear Dog was determined to be extinct in the mid 1970s. Donald B. Anderson is the holder of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal. He also is the recipient of Awards of Excellence for Exemplary Professionalism in the Federal Public Service of Canada. He holds a Degree in Law and Security Administration.
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