Amazing Irina Kuleshova
Q: Please tell us how did you get your first dog? What followed then?
A: I was obsessed with dogs since my childhood. Suppose that it is an inborn feature, because all my friends who are also breeders are used to say that. There were two dogs without any breed in my family, when I was young. But when I got my first serious job and started to get the salary, I bought my first Siberian Husky. Choosing him I planned to grab everything that was about this breed – eye-catching appearance, obedience challenge, show success, sledding… And bought a male from semi-show and semi-working breeding. Black and white, of course, with blue eyes. I failed in everything. He had bright appearance, that was true, but he ruined the flat we lived in and got all our neighbors crazy with his howl. So I’ve lost my assertiveness in dog training. Too big for shows and too heavy for races, he could be used only for amateur sledding. I still loved him so much and wasn’t disappointed with the breed. Then I bought my second Siberian Husky male – for shows only. My fawn boy with light brown eyes was pretty successful and we finished his champion titles of our country. Thus I entered the dog show world.
Q: Later you became a breeder. Why?
A: Hanging around with breeders I was watching litters planned, puppies born and understood that I wanted to be a part of all that. And one day I saw a puppy female and couldn’t resist taking her home. In two years “Marahuta” prefix was registered.
Q: Is your breed challenging in breeding? Why if or if not?
A: Siberian Husky is a primitive breed, so it has nice health and almost hasn’t got any problem in mating or giving birth to puppies. Litters are counting five or six puppies, and usually this is enough to get what you’ve planned.
Q: How do you start planning a combination?
A: The main problem in breeding Siberian Huskies nowadays is that mostly none of them have any consistency in pedigree and type. The breed gained popularity 10-15 years ago and the breeding became extemporaneous. Fresh-baked breeders take any dog they can get and breed it to any champion in hopes to get an armful of future champions. Without any reference and examination of a pedigree or progeny they just increase the population of these dogs.
I started with bitches that had such chaos in their pedigrees. So my plan now is to make linebreedings and inbreedings on the most outstanding producers in pedigrees of my girls. Then to analyze the progeny and to save the strongest type keepers. I also try to choose couples with complementary features.
Q: Russia is a big country with dogs of high quality. Do you find all your breeding material here?
A: Because of the breed’s popularity now we have a lot of Siberian Huskies here, including imported dogs from the most famous kennels all around the world. But hunting for the type still sets us off to other countries. For example, we had a litter from a male, who was born in Spain from two American dogs, but lived in Poland.
Q: What kind of a person is your ideal puppy buyer?
A: Most of all I like buyers who already have some experience with Siberian Husky. If they have one or two dogs at the same time it is a good value. Novices are also good if they are ready to listen and learn. The worst scenario is a big kennel or a handler. I will not say for all of them, but too often I see their wrong attitude for dogs. Because dogs are their work and rarely are their friends.
Q: You also show your dogs. Do you use extra hands for that and how do you choose them?
A: I usually take to shows one or two dogs and can handle them myself. But if I need help I have handlers to help me. One of them I knew since I started my work with dogs. With others I got acquainted in show rings. I used to watch them working first and then decide whether we have the same way.
Q: How do you see yourself in 5 years as a breeder?
A: My kennel is of a small family-type. I can’t afford more than ten dogs: either mentally, or materially. So I breed “slow” – one litter a year. In five years I can only have two or three new generations of dogs. Hope they will be of a strong and lookalike type.
Q: What else do you want to share?
A: Low level of breeders’ education upsets me most of all. There are so many ways to get knowledge now, but still this is a problem. I understand that for most of them breeding is a hobby. But this is not only about them, this is about dogs too. Working with a breed is a high responsibility. And the one should know a lot to maintain the proper exterior, necessary level of workability and health.
I want to ask experienced breeders, who are rarely ready to share what they know, to be more open. To beg novices to search and learn all possible information they can get before they start breeding. Let’s be honest, no one will do it instead of us.