Working with Russian databases


This database is derived from various Russian studbooks published by different organisations and assorted catalogues from 1875 plus some 19th century pedigrees in Russian journals and some surviving handwritten records from Perchino all in original Cyrillic script.  For dogs that were exported, the studbooks from those countries were used for information on parents etc.   Some information on modern dogs was obtained from other published Russsian books and magazines.

All names from original Cyrillic have been transcribed as they would appear in English.   In some cases of exported dogs the same animal may be entered twice where there is a very different translation of its name in the new country.  Eg Uslad in Russia became Oosslad in the UK and both names are included. The most varied name in foreign translations is Vyuga.  (V yu g a). There is only one spelling in Russia but in other countries this becomes Wjuga in Germany, Viouga in France and even Viewga in the US stud book.  This database uses Vyuga but does include Viewga as second entry.  The Russian import Nagrazhdai is another dog with foreign variations as he became Nagraschdaij in Germany and Nagrajdai in France.  He remains with his original Russian name Nagrazhdai in this database.

The Russian alphabet has additional letters and this database maintains the original version of a name on most occasions.  The Cyrillic letter for “ts” (as in tsar) is sometimes translated as a “z” in other languages.  This database uses “ts” but where exported dogs become “z” both names are listed eg Tsyklon is also listed as Zyclon.  With the Cyrillic letter for “ch” as in Chara there is no change but western tradition adds a “t” for names such as Tcherkes.  Strictly the name would be Cherkes but the database goes with tradition by adding the t when a name starts “che”.  Other names to be aware of are Sairka/Zairka and Slodeika/Zlodeika.  Both spellings can be used in Russia.

Historically the Russian studbook uses the name of the owner to identify dogs with a single name.  This is the simplest solution for knowing which dog is meant in a pedigree particularly in the 19th century.  In cases where a dog changes owners then it is entered under each owner’s name.  Complications arise when one owner or breeder uses the same name on different dogs over the years.  These dogs may have a name with a number such as Karai I and Karai II but where there are no official numbers then the database has been given numbers in chronological order at the end of the name to identify dogs of the same name and owner.  eg Zlodeika (Gatchina) 2 and Zlodeika (Gatchina) 3.  There are some dogs listed from catalogues where owners were not included in the names of the dog’s parents and this makes identification unlikely without further information.  They appear in the database as a name followed by an empty bracket eg Lezgin (    Until further research reveals an owner, there is no way of knowing which Lezgin was the sire when there is more than one that could have been used at the time.

There are some exceptions in dogs of the 19th century where the owner’s name is not used.  A bitch Zlodeika (Rataeva) bred at Gatchina had litters for Rataeva,  Kareef and Tchebishchoff but her name stays as Zlodeika (Rataeva) in all pedigrees.  There is also Vyuga bred by Sokoloff then owned by Walzoff before being dam of several litters at Perchino but she did not become Vyuga Perchino or Vyuga (Perchino).  She remained Vyuga (Walzoff).

In later years the use of registration numbers became another means of identification for single name dogs especially stud dogs and champions but not all animals had a registration number.  Generally dogs continue under owners names in the database but any pedigree with a dog’s single name and studbook number can be easily checked from the listed dogs of that name in the database to obtain the correct animal and its details.

When using the Russian database, researchers need to be very careful to use the exact spelling, owner and number where there is one and also watch out for dates when they are available.   The Vyuga born in the 1870s cannot be the dam of a litter in the 1890s even if it is the same owner’s name.

There is a lot more work to do on this database and a lot more research is required but this is a start for general research on Russian pedigrees which in some cases go back to the 1860s.  I am indebted to Andrus Koslov who kindly provided me with copies of historic studbooks and catalogues and also transcribed the handwritten Perchino papers.  Other original Russian material came from various people over the years.  Hopefully getting it all into one database will help towards recreating Russian Borzoi history.                                                      

Margaret Davis


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Arvid Andersen