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Apie LKD – FCI leidinyje

Artėjant Tarptautinės kinologų federacijos 100-mečio jubiliejui, specialiame jos leidinyje „FCI. For Dogs Worldwide“ pristatoma ir Lietuvos kinologų draugija. Straipsnyje apžvelgiama mūsų draugijos kūrimosi istorija, parodos, siekiai…

(Straipsnis pateikiamas originalo kalba).

Formalities

During the times when the Baltic States were a part of the Soviet Union, dog breeding was regulated by the Voluntary Society of Assistance to the Army, the Air Force and the Navy.  Breeders were advised on which studs to use with their bitches and they were also expected to donate a part of the litter to the Army.  Toy breeds were not in favor due to the lack of the practical use, but hunting breeds presented a common alternative to working breeds.  However, dog shows were popular and numbers of dogs in classes would have impressed any contemporary dog show exhibitor.  1982 marked separation of dog breeding clubs in Lithuania into independent organizations.  Some cities had two or three clubs. 

By 1990 dog breeding became chaotic and uncontrolled so several larger clubs made an attempt to form a union.  However, they did not find a common ground.  Soon forces divided into two organizations: Lithuanian Kennel Union and Lithuanian Club of Dog Owners.  In 1991 a group of enthusiasts once again began discussing the possibility of uniting dog owners of Lithuania under one strong organization. 

The motion to set up Lithuanian Kynological Society (Lietuvos kinologų draugija) was born in 1991 when its goals and directions were unified and documented.  The first organizational meeting took place on April 25, 1992 and LKD was registered in the Lithuanian Ministry of Justice on June 19, 1992 as the only cynological organization in Lithuania that from now on represents Lithuanian dog owners in the country and abroad.  With the help of Hungarian Kennel Club (MEOE) LKD began a process of joining FCI.  The first dog show held by FCI rules ran in Vilnius on March 20-21, 1993.  All of the judges were FCI licensed and many of them travelled to Lithuania from Hungary.  The official observers from FCI also were MEOE members. In the spring of 1996 LKD entered into the partnership agreement with FCI and held its first International dog show in August.  This marked a new stage for Lithuanian dog fancy. 
 
By 2001 LKD proved that it deserves to be accepted by the worldwide community.  Every year it conducted two International dog shows and various dog sport events.  The quantity and quality of dogs also increased.  First three dogs from Lithuania became International champions in 1998. 

On June 6, 2005, Lithuanian Kynological Society (Lietuvos kinologų draugija) became a full member of FCI.  Besides promoting and sanctioning events for purebred dogs, LKD is also active in supporting fair dog related legislation in Lithuania and its major cities and consults and lobbies lawmakers.    Breeders are required to test their dogs for hip displasia prior to breeding since 1995.  Since 2008 LKD requires patellar luxation exam of dogs of several breeds to establish their breeding quality.
 
National breed

Written sources state that Lithuanians began hunting with hounds as early as 1566.  Dusburg Chronicles mention 11 varieties of dogs  – several of them – hounds.  During the middle ages, Lithuanian and Polish nobility learned the art of hunting sport from French and German aristocrats.  Lithuanian hounds first were described in the Russian hunting magazines.  An article published in 1875 in the Emperor‘s Hunting Society Magazine mentioned two types of hounds used in hunting in the North West parts on the Russian Empire.  „There are two types of hounds – one larger and one smaller type.  The larger one is also called Lithuanian Ogar.  They are large and strong dogs fit to track large animals on the flatlands.  Due to their size they can not be used in the mountains.  Most of the dogs are black and tan.“

Lithuanian hound was also mentioned in the book published in Poland in 1922 „Years of hunting“.  Author noted that traditions of purebred dog breeding almost do not exist and the breed is on the edge of dissapearing.

In 1957-1958 Lithuanian breeder Zigmas Goštautas began restoring the breed.  Several purebreed dogs remained in the hands of hunters and they became foundation for the contemporary Lithuanian hound stock.  First standard was written in 1966 and it was updated in 1983.  By 1986 there were around 500 registered Lithuanian hounds, but the numbers began to decrease and by 1998 there were only 137 dogs left.  According to the Lithuanian Hound Assosiation current number is approaching 300 dogs, but this number is not supported by the club documentation.

Lithuanian hound belongs in the slow hound group – it is perfect for use in the smaller hunting grounds.  Besides searching for the animal and rounding it in front of the hunters, Lithuanian hounds are used for blood tracking and chasing animals from their hiding and retrieving smaller game to the hunders.  Usually Lithuanian hounds do not need any special training – young dogs are taken out to the field along with adults and quickly begin to follow the example. 
Many hunters keep only one dog, some live in apartments in the cities.  Lithuanian hound is a calm and kind dog who can be an excellent house pet.  Just like many hounds, it uses its voice to express frustration, joy or excitement.

It is obvious that numbers of Lithuanian hound will not increase any time soon – like everywhere in Europe, hunting is becoming an expensive hobby in the Baltics.  The breed might have a chance of surviving if breeders will begin selecting more obedient reproducers and try to diversify use of the hound.  The future of the breed lies solely in the hands of the seevral enthusiasts who organized a club that became a member of Lietuvos kinologų draugija and follows FCI rules and guidelines in its work.

New Generations
 
21 century is the age of the young people.  Young people all over the world are making history including dog show history in Lithuania.  Our Junior Handlers can be noticed at the largest shows – last year Urte Tamaseviciute, born and raised in a small Lithuanian town Jonava, became the ultimate winner of the European JH competition in Budapest.  She is actively helping her mom by showing their own chow-chows. 
 
Goda Jurgilaite, Top Junior Handler of Lithuania 2007-2009 and European JH Champion, was seen in the finals of European and World Junior Handling Competitions and Crufts International Junior Handling from 2006 to 2009.
 
Junior Handling and much of the dog sport in Lithuania is driven by energetic and determined youth and their parents who understand the importance of maintaining the high standards of sportsmanship and keeping the kids involved in after-school activities.  Many Junior Handlers continue the work their parents began in breeding and showing dogs.
 
Close proximity to European and Scandinavian countries allows Lithuanian breeders and dog show enthusiasts to travel easily to the biggest shows.  They quickly picked up the newest breed trends and fearlessly spend their earnings on abroad matings obtaining the results many breeders strive to get for years.  After Lithuania became a part of European Union, many young handlers and breeders went off to work and learn from the top handlers and breeders, often with just room and board and no pay.  They bring home expertise and information and continue the work of their mentors at their home countries.  Lithuanian shows are popular among Scandinavian and Russian show dog enthusiasts who bring their best dogs to compete for the prestigious titles, but the times when only foreign dogs were competing in the groups are over.  Our dogs make a strong competition to visitors and many of our kennels are becoming well-known across the borders.

LKD unites 43 clubs – 15 regional and 26 breed clubs, Junior Handlers Club and Lithuanian Dog Sport Assosiation.  LKD and its member clubs annually hold over 50 National Shows and Breed Specialties and 8 International Conformation shows.  In addition, hunting and working trials and competitions and various seminars and classes for dog owners and breeders are conducted throughout the year.  Once in three years in cooperation with Estonia and Latvia, Lithuania holds a prestigious Baltic Winner Show – the largest and most highly attended show in the Baltics.  LKD also actively cooperates with Latvian Kynologycal Federation (Latvijas Kinologiska Federacija) and Estonian Kennel Club (Eesti Kennelliit ) in various organizational aspects.  Besides its closest neighbors, LKD has working agreements with many Kennel Clubs – members of FCI.

Written for the FCI Magazine by S.Valujeva, 2010

Photo S.Valujeva