In a world where the group of small dogs known as toys and/or companion dogs begin to blur into one generic fuzzy coated small dog, the Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka, or Bolonka, quite simply redefines the meaning of "companion dog". The Tsvetnaya Bolonka is a new breed of toy dog discovered after the Iron Curtain fell but whose origins can possibly be dated back to the early 18th century when a small sized Maltese type dog from the courts of Louis IV was presented to Russian nobility as gifts.
HHistorically, Russia was never known for toy breeds due to older Russian attitudes of utilitarianism. Merchants and farmers would never keep an animal that was not a"working dog" of some kind. The ancestors of today's Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka migrated to the Russian Empire with Napoleon's army and were known as "French Bolonka". Bolonka simply means "lapdog" and Tsvetnaya Bolonka means "coloured lap dog". After Napoleon's army retreated, a few of the breed remained in Russia and become the foundation stock the present day Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka.
After World War II, there was a surge of interest in new breeds of dogs and this interest expanded to include the non-sporting and toy breeds. During the Soviet regime it was all most impossible to import dogs from other countries. Gradually new breeds of dogs were developed by selection from already existing breeds such as the French Franzuska or Bichon Frise. the Maltese, the Shih Tsu and the Yorkshire Terrier. However during the Stalin era it was all most impossible to resurrect the Dog Fancy for anything but working dogs. When Khrushchev came to power in the 1960, restrictions of propagating toy breeds lifted somewhat and the demand for these little dogs grew.
The focused development of a sociable toy breed was in part a response to scarce housing and the growth of apartments where keeping large working dogs was not practicable. However, in an effort to inculcate some "working" attributes into the breed, guardianship of its territory was inculcated into the Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka. Wherever there was a hobby-breeder in anyone particular town who was interested in selection, new populations of dogs were created. This is how the Russian toy breeds came into existence. Today Russian Toy Breeds include the Russian Toy Terrier, both smooth and long coated also known as the Moscow long-hair toy terrier and the Tsvetnaya Bolonka. The standards for these breeds were confirmed by the Russian Kennel Federation (RKF) in the summer of 1997.
At one time the Russian Bolonka (also known as the French Bolonka or Franszuskiaya Bolonka), was also considered an Italian Bolognese. At a Russian dog show in 1997, an FCI expert from Italy, Mario Perricone, called the Russian white Bolonkas typical Italian Bolognese of high-quality and therefore from the point on, white Bolonkas were to be considered as Italian Bolognese and their pedigrees were adjusted accordingly. The Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka is a small breed created with localized breeding in Moscow and St. Petersburg (Leningrad). The breed evolved from mixes of Lhasa-Apsos, Toy Poodles, Shi-Tzu, French Bolognese and Pekingese as well as local small fluffy mongrel dogs.
While histories of modern dogs are often undergirded with and driven by fanciers preferences, the history of the Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka is undergirded with the necessities and scarcities encountered living in a Communist State where lap dogs were considered bourgeois luxuries. The soft looping silky curls of today's Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka were developed in response to and within the parameters of scarcity and necessity..
The first dogs were, according to Romanenkova, depressing in appearance as efforts to develop coat, as well as effective coat care, had to deal with he scarcity of water and fine shampoos and conditioners used in the west. For example , harsh homemade laundry soaps with lye as its base were first used to wash the dogs with a rapid and devastating drying of the coat. Another example is reflected in the color of the Tsvetnaya Bolonka. While there is now a rainbow of colors, the black remains the dominant color having been specifically bred into the breed in order to accommodate the scarcity of water and shampoo for washing a long coated dog. Similarity the tear drainage seen in dogs is less noticeable in a black or dark dog than a white dog. The mats that more often than not accompany longer coated breeds could not be readily detangled in the Former Soviet Union therefore breeding programs encouraged the development of the silky looping curls which have a soft and downy undercoat possessing soil-repellant qualities that also decreases the incidence of matting.
The wonderful temperament is what distinguishes the Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka from most other toy breeds. they are very easy going, not easily excitable making them a wonderful companion for children as well as senior citizens. They live amicable with animals exhibiting little aggression unless they are first aggressed against. They are quite social animal bonding hard and fast to their Humans and are quick to alert to a alert approaching. Bolonka puppies, like the bejeweled and sumptuous Faberge egg, are exquisite little charmers. Their affection knows no bounds. They are happily curious and wonderful members of the family, getting along well with older dogs, children, and visitors. Today, the Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonkas are becoming increasingly popular and are being called the Dogs of the XXI century as more families prefer smaller dogs and legislation is being enacted deeming small breeds of larger dogs: dangerous.
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Bolonkas could only be found occasionally in the United States prior to 2002 when, after long negotiations and agreements with the Russian Kennel Federation and the President of the National Russian Bolonka Club to honor and maintain the standard of its home country, Candace Mogavero of Faireland Kennel imported the first Bolonka from Russia. More importantly the Bolonka came with the translated export pedigrees and legitimate papers needed in order for a rare breed to acquire American Kennel Club (AKC) recognition. Ladushki Ocharovashka a bitch from breeder Elvira Romanenkova was imported April 2000 and two more Tsvetnaya Bolonkas imported the following years.
The breed is being actively shown on the Rare Breed Circuit where it is recognized by the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA) and Rarities. A bit more denser in bone than some toys such as the Silky or Yorkshire terriers, the Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka is a very happy and active dog which comes in an amazing variety of colors including creme, beige, brown, orange, black/tan, gray/white, and black/gray with all kinds of shades. A large amount of white is not acceptable. Their coats are soft, wavy to curly. They are unique in their ability to adjust their exercise needs to the level of their household. Tsvetnaya Bolonkas weight from 8-10 lbs. with a height of range from 8-10 inches and are close to square in overall conformation. Their coat is long, shiny and wavy with big curls with rich undercoat. The coat should not be too soft or too long like the Yorkshire Terrier. The ears are down, lightly attached to the head or slightly protruding, but not short or too long. The tail set is very important it should be completely over rte back with its tip touching the back. The mustache and beard are distinguishing characteristic of the breed being more prominent in males the females.
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This history draws from the history provided in translation by Elvira Romenkova, president of the National Tsvetnaya Bolonka Club in Russia as well as other sources as researched by Dr. McRae