In Russia, the system of hunting dog breeding requires that every pedigreed dog must pass several expertise tests at shows, preliminary shows of young dogs, field trials and hunting dog contests. This is absolutely obligatory and any dog that did not go through official expertise testing in the conformation and working qualities of the breed, does not belong to the registered breeding stock. Conducting dog expertise testing is allowed only by people qualified in certain group of dogs or field trials for working qualities. They have expert cynologist certification for certain breed groups and certain field trials. This indicates that an expert being qualified for a certain group of breeds may not be qualified to conduct expertise of working qualities of dogs and vice versa.
The goal of this article is to familiarize interested readers with the Russian system of certification of hunting dog experts, their responsibilities, and rights. Existing regulations in this area are based on “Rules for Experts in Hunting, Working and Decorative Dog Breeding” approved by Chief Department on the Preservation of Nature, Nature Reserves, Forestry and Hunting Affairs of Ministry of Agriculture of the USSR, No. 20, May 18, 1981. At the present time, the following ranks of qualifications of expert cynologists are in force: the Third Category, the Second Category, the First Category and All Russian Category. Former All Union Category awarded prior 1992 is also accepted. Expert ranks are awarded with such rights as qualification commissions and rank of All Russian Category is approved by the Ministry of Agriculture of Russian Federation. As already mentioned, expert ranks of each category are given according to breed and kinds of field trials. Hunting dog breeds are divided into groups: sight hounds, Laikas, scent hounds, earth hole hunting dogs, bird pointing dogs, and spaniels. Ranks of experts on field trials are given according to specialization for each of the groups of breeds listed above. For the primary, the Third category, the following documents should be presented to the Qualification Commission: a) Personal application; b) A copy of Diploma as a proof of educational background; c) Written document confirming the completion of classes in cynology or extracurricular exams; d) Special form; e) Autobiography including records of cynological activities, experience, etc; f) Characteristics from the last employer; g) A petition from a Section, Club, or Association of Hunting Dogs, where the applicant for the expert rank participates actively or gained certain experience, etc.; h) Two photographs; and i) Other documents required for awarding a dog Expert Ranks. Conditions necessary for awarding of Expert Rank are described in a special chapter of the Rules. For example, the minimal requirement for awarding the Third Category rank includes educational level not less then high school graduation, completion of special cynological classes or passing extracurricular exams meeting requirements of their programs, and at least three years experience of cynological work. Other requirements of the applicant include his participation in at least two dog shows (or one dog show and one examination of young dogs called “vyvodka”) and a report about on-the-job training including at least 30 hunting dogs of one group, and also a positive review and recommendation written by another expert ranked at least Second Category in the same group of dog breeds, who witnessed the on-the-job training of the applicant at the dog show ring. For officially certified qualification in field trials, requirements include active participation in at least two field trials, presentation of the report about judging performance of at least 15 dogs of one hunting breed group, and a positive review written by another expert of at least the Second Category in the same group of breeds, who witnessed on-the-job training of the applicant. An expert of the First Category can upgrade his qualification and become expert of the Second Category after he has worked as a cynologist for at least three years. He must present a report including all his activities, what kind of work he performed, the number of dogs and their breeds, that passed his expertise. Qualification rank, according to a breed group, is awarded under conditions of available Third Category rank and judging at least 150 dogs at three or more different dog shows. At least 50 dogs should pass his expertise at the show ring, when the applicant was a major expert in charge at the show ring. Qualification rank, according to specific field trials, requires him to be an expert of at least the Third Category and judging at least 40 dogs of one breed group in three different field trials or contests being a Chairman of expert commission. He must present a report and a recommendation letter written by another expert having at least the First Category qualification in the same breed group and who witnessed work of the applicant.
An expert of the Second Category can upgrade his qualification and become an expert of the First Category after he continues to work with dogs for at least three years becoming expert of the Second Category. The applicant needs to present a report describing his activities in cynological work as an expert, what kind of work he has done, and number of dogs, by breeds, that he judged.
In addition to this, experts in specific breed groups at the rank of the Second Category must examine dogs at least in three different dog shows of provincial and higher level and judge not less then 200 dogs of one breed group and assisted during work of expert of the First Category or expert of All Russian Category (or formerly All-Union Category) at the show ring in the same group of breeds. The expert of the First Category, with whom the dog expertise at the show ring has been conducted, should write a recommendation letter for the applicant.
Experts in field trials, who need to get a qualification of expert of the First Category, should conduct expertise at the Second Category level in field trials or contests with participation of at least 80 dogs of one group of breeds in a role of Chairman of Expert Commission. Being a Chairman of Expert Commission, he must participate in at least five field trials and contests of the same breed group dogs. To be an expert member in the Commission in at least two field trials, where Chairman of the Expert Commission has qualification of least First Category and who will write a recommendation letter witnessing work of the applicant.
Rank of expert of All Russian Category is awarded to experts of the First Category after he/she had worked for at least five years at the level of expert of the First Category. Personal application is not needed, but a solicitation by organizations, such as clubs and associations, where the expert had been active, describing his/her cynological experience is required
All Russian Category qualification award by breed groups requires to be an expert at the First Category level and conduct expertise of at least 300 dogs in all Russian, provincial, inter-provincial or Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Ekaterinburg or Novosibirsk provincial dog shows. He must present a written report signed by one expert of all Russian Category with a positive recommendation or signed by at least two experts of the First Category; at least one of them should witness his work at the show rings.
Requirements for awarding qualification of expert of all Russian Category in field trials include the following: to be an expert of the First Category; perform expertise of at least 100 dogs at five field trials and two contests at least at a provincial level; presenting a report with a favorable opinion written by an expert of All Russian Category or by two experts of the First Category; and a written recommendation by an expert of All Russian Category or by two experts of the First Category specialized in the same group of breeds. The following part is dedicated to rights of dog experts. Rights of a dog expert depend on his recognized qualification level:
a) An expert of the Third Category can conduct expertise of dogs on his own at regional dog shows and participate as an assistant at dog shows of all levels, except All Russian Dog Show.
b) An expert of the Second Category can conduct dog expertise at provincial, and territorial dog shows and participate as an assistant at any dog shows of a certain breed or group of breeds.
c) An expert of the First Category can conduct independent dog expertise at dog shows of any breed and at any level.
d) An expert of All Russian Category can conduct independent expertise of dogs of any breed and in all dog shows of any level.
Experts in area of field trials of hunting dogs have rights, depending on their recognized qualification.
a) Expert of the Third Category can be a head of commissions at regional and provincial dog trials or to be a member of commission at provincial contests on group of breeds of his specialization;
b) Expert of the Second Category can be a head of commissions at provincial and territorial field trials and to be a member of interporvincial and All Russian trials and contests.
c) Expert of the First Category can be a head of Commission of all field trials and contests of any breeds.
d) Expert of All Russian Category can be a head of commission of all hunting dog trials and contests on all hunting breeds.
Dog experts have other rights and responsibilities, according to their qualification. They have to be guided by cynological documents, such as breed standards, rules and laws; write reports; teach junior and lower ranking experts and write recommendation and suggestions associated with upgrading qualification.
Experts are accountable for ungrounded expertise, false conclusions, poor quality reports, improper documentation and evading performing their duties without good reasons. They can be disciplined by a “warning”, a “reprimand”, a ”strong reprimand”, lowering the qualification rank, suspension up to one to three years and complete disqualification.
In this article, I listed only basic rules for conditions required for awarding expert qualifications, their rights and responsibilities based on the “Rules, 1981”, taking into account certain historic changes. I should also mention that there are other Rules, such as Rules of Russian Cynological Federation and Russian Federation of Hunting Dogs, which strongly contradict each other and the “Rules, 1981” mentioned above. Today, awarding of qualification ranks of dogs experts and their duties in area of hunting dogs is based mainly on “Rules for Experts in Hunting Dogs” signed by Chief of the Russian Federation of Hunting Dogs Mr. A. A. Ulitin, in 1994. However, it was have not been approved the Ministry of Agriculture of Russian Federation and therefore, not ratified. Law about Dog Experts of Russian Cynologic Federation signed by its head Mr. E. L. Yerusalimsky, 1992, possibly was approved by the Ministry of Agriculture 0n 28 of August, 1992, but I do not know about any documents on this matter.
Unfortunately, there was no any work done for updating basic guiding documents in this area. Understandably, this results in confusion and casing problems in breeding purebred dogs. However, actual application, evaluation of judicial existing documents and development of new rules are beyond the scope of this article and would be a theme for the next one.