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Russian women and pets.

Legal aspects of keeping animals. Attitude to pets and pet care. Popular pet names

Russian girl with a dog

Russians and their pets

According to the latest 2010 Public opinion poll 76 % of Russians own a pet. Lonely people make most of pet owners - 80% of respondents and single people – 77% of respondents. 75 % of married couples own a cat or a dog, whereas divorced people make a lower percentage of pet owners. There is the same number of pet owners among the couples with and without children. 37% of Russians have a cat. Every third Russian citizen owns a dog. With both animals Russian claim to be happy with an outbred animal rather then of a cat or a dog of a special breed. So the most popular household pet in Russia a cat.

In the United States dog is the king – 27% Americans own a dog only, 12% own only a cat. Here dog owners outnumber the ones owning a cat twofold. One out of six Americans keeps both pets. In Russia — one out of 12 have both dog and cat – mostly in rural areas. The reason behind this two difference can be found in different living conditions — in Russia most city – folks live in densely-populated cities and in rather small apartments. In contrast with Americans who enjoy more comfortable living conditions – for pets as well. Besides, Russian cities are not adapted for dog keeping – areas to air the dog are rare and small.

And only 4% of people give their love to a goldfish 3% to an in-house birds and 2% to other small animals (hamsters, turtles, ferrets, white mice, guinea pigs etc.) But only a small number of Russians can afford to keep a horse for a pet — in contrast with 2% of Americans.

25% of people blamed their love for pets on the tradition, 22% believe that pets help them to relieve stress, 14% admit that a pet helps them to feel less lonely and 10% had been convinced by their kids. Only 4% of Russians received a pet as a gift and 3% give an animal house out of pity.

A lovely Russian woman and a horse

Popular pet names

There is a great variety of pet names in Russia, yet some of them are more common than others. Besides, there are some pet names that are immediately recognizable as names for cats or dogs. Like "Тузик" (Tuzik) "Шарик" (Sharik), "Лорд" (Lord), "Рекс" (Rex), "Джим" (Jim), "Джек" (Jack), "Полкан" (Polkan) (for a male dog); "Лада" (Lada), "Найда" (Nayda), "Линда" (Linda), "Люси" (Lucy) for female dogs.

Dogs are sometimes given names after fictional dogs from literature, films, animation. For instance "Мухтар" (Mookhtar) - one of widespread Russian male dog names – owes its popularity to the famous dog Mookhtar from the film "Ko mne Mookhtar" (Mookhtar, come!) directed by Semion Tumanov.

"Мурзик" (Moorzik) (male) and "Мурка" (Moorka) (female) are among most frequent names for cats in Russia. Fluffy cats are usually called "Пушок" (Pooshok), black cats are often named "Черныш" (Chernish) and white cats - "Снежок" (Snezhok). Even though Vasiliy is a Russian male name, "Васька" (Vaska) is another popular name for a cat. Then comes "Барсик" (Barsik) and "Рыжик" (Rizhik) (for cats with a red coat), "Дымок" (Dymok) for a cat with a gray coat.

"Кеша" (Kesha), "Гоша" (Gosha), "Рома" (Roma) are most usual names for a home parrot.

A Russian woman playing with two dogs in the sea

Pet care and attitude to pets in Russia

Pet food and pet care products occupy a considerable market space in Russia. World-renowned brands producing pet food and pet products entered Russian market long ago and hold dominating positions. Nestlé, the clear leader in Russian pet food and products, announced it will invest more than CHF 38 million (RUB 1.3 billion) to double pet food production at its Purina PetCare factory in Russia’s Kaluga region. (August 2011)

Lots of online pet stores offer a great variety of pet products, most of which are imported and thus tend to cost more than in the west. However Russians showed little inclination to moderate spending when it came to their pets even after the crisis. It is true for large and less hit cities though. Veterinary medicine is cheaper though and you still need no prescription for many medicine.

The attitude to pets is very diverse in Russia. On the one hand there exists a growing category of responsible pet owners, that join online communities and unite into associations, study the aspects of pets care and breeding, register cat and dog kennels and clubs, found animal welfare organizations and alliances, take care of street animals, start campaign for and raise funds for shelters and sterilization of stray animals. Responsible and ethical breeders of Russia and Ukraine follow the same code and rules that are universally accepted and observed in the Western countries. This allows them take prizes at national and world championships and exhibitions.

On the other hand the general attitude toward pets lacks empathy and sensitivity. Many just leave their pet out in the street, do not sterilize them and let them breed wildly causing the national problem of street animals. It surprisingly contradicts the traditional Russian attitude to a dog and a cat as to a companion and friend described in Russian tales.

A beautiful Russian woman with her sheep dog

Dogs and cats breeding and dog training in Ruissia

Dog breeding has a long history in Russia dating back to Kievan Rus. Russian tsars were not only avid hunters, but also contributed greatly to hunting dog breeding. In Soviet times the national breeding was much influenced by the army dog breeding training centre and schools. Russian dog breeders have significant experience and work in accordance with internationally accepted breeding principles and common moral values and true devotion to their pets. Real breeders approach it as not only a hobby or business, but something they devote life to. They take prizes and title at International Dog shows annually. There are about twenty known dog breeds of the Russian origin. Some of them like Borzoi, Black Russian Terrier, Samoyed, Siberian Husky, Russian Toy Terrier (Russkiy Toy) and The South Russian Shepherd Dog are rather popular worldwide. There are also some Russian dog breeds that are less popular or not yet recognized internationally (Russian Spaniel, West Siberian Laika, Bolonka, Central Asian Shepherd Dog, Hortaya borzaya ...).

Kennels in Russia are registered through the Russian Cynology Federation (RCF), a member of Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). Only full-aged individual can register a kennel in Russia. He has to have a pedigree dog registered with a particular kennel, a member of a local kennel club. Bedsides, a breeder is required to have a special education (zootechnic or veterinary) or finish a course of dog trainer or dog handler. RCF is responsible for the legal environment for functioning of kennels and kennel clubs in Russia as well as dog breeding. It elaborates training methods, regulates standards of breeds, educates dog handlers, participates in arranging dog shows, etc. Bedsides it takes part in creating dog laws.

A Russian girl with her pet cat

Modern Russian legislation makes dog owners train their pets. It especially concerns the dangerous breeds, like Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, Turkmenian Sheep Dogs (Alabai) and others, that have to be registered. Owners can train their dogs on their own and then pass cynology tests where specialists check the dog behavior and dog obedience, impulse control, see if the dogs can perform standard "go lay down" commands, understand street and house rules and so on. Alternatively a dog owner can hire consultants at local dog training schools. The new Russian legislation also means fines for the owners whose pets have no training certificates.

Along with general training there is a number of schools that drill dogs as companions for blind people, guard dogs, hunting dogs and offer other special task training programs.

Russian cat clubs are also affiliated to different domestic and international registries and related felinology associations operating in Russia. Most popular are WCF ( World Cat Federation), FIFe (Federation International Feline), TICA (The International Cat Association), МФА (Международная Фелинологическая Ассоциация), ICU (International Cat Union), CFA ( The Cat Fanciers Association), CFF (the Cat Fanciers Federation), ASSOLUX TERNATIONAL (Ассолюкс), WACC (World Association of Cat Clubs).

Russian Blue Cat, Siberian Cat, Kurilian Bobtail, don sphynx, Peterbald are cat breeds of the Russian origin.

Legal aspects of keeping animals

There are no any law regulations on what pets you can keep and what you can’t, no PETA, no need to pick up your little friend’s poo in special bags. You can walk with your pet anywhere on the street or public park, no any single “no pets allowed” signs outside. There are no federal laws in Russia that protect animals either. Animals are protected only by a small section of the Penal Code. The law on keeping pets was adopted in Russia in July 2011. It actually had been under discussion for more than seven years before and still has many questionable issues like restrictions on the breeding and keeping of aggressive dogs.

Wild and exotic pets

Russian people sometimes dare to have wild animals like pets keeping them in regular flat in big multistoried building. People own reptiles, primates, foxes and even big cats - tigers, lions, and try to domesticate them. Complex Russian rules on importing rare species creates favorable conditions for the black market of exotic animals. Russian legislation does not forbid keeping a wild animal at home whatever the living conditions are. It can be taken from the owner under the court decision only. Therefore lost of animals have tragic fate as home pets. Caring for wild animal is difficult or impossible, an animal grows and shows the instincts and thus is just left in a local park and soon dies.

Stray animals - national Russian problem

Russia remains one of the few European countries where you still see wild pets living on the streets, many of which just like in other countries were abandoned by the owners. There are 35,000 stray dogs in Russia's capital – about 84 dogs per square mile. The city government has been forced to take action to protect the strays, but with mixed results. In 2002, mayor Yuri Luzhkov enacted legislation forbidding the killing of stray animals and adopted a new strategy of sterilizing them and building shelters. The measures and the budget were not enough to fix the problem. But until Russians themselves adopt the practice of sterilizing their pets, the government efforts will remain only a half-measure. Still, there is pressure from some quarters to return to the practice of catching and culling them. The chaotic kills of street animals take place regularly.

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