Interview with Kahla Johnson, Breeder Beautiful Black Russian Terriers of Iowa
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Kahla Johnson: I live in Centerville, Iowa. I have been in dogs for 14 years; breeding for 11 years.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Kahla Johnson: My kennel name is Beautiful Black Russian Terriers of Iowa. I currently keep three females and two males in my home. I co-own 12 more.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Kahla Johnson: In 2019, I had three of my breeding in the Top 20: Beautiful Black BOND Jeter Bond; sister Beautiful Black Tropical Breeze BELIZE; and also a daughter of William Wallace, Beautiful Black Ellaganta.
Then, in 2021: BELIZE was in the Top 10 of NOHS in our breed throughout the US. She received a special invitation to the International Show in Orlando, Florida. Show results for 2022 have Beautiful Black ELI the Great and BELIZE in the Top 20 again.
ELI began his career in 2021 and earned Winners Dog and Best of Winners at our National Specialty, and he just keeps improving. David Harper is his professional handler and they are a great team. Thus far in 2023, ELI and David are the No. 1 Dog All-Breed. David and ELI have won multiple Reserve Bests in Show and dozens of Group Ones. We are so proud this boy.
My Foundation Male:
- GCH Queens Over’s Spectacular Bid RN, better known as “William Wallace,”
- CH Beautiful Black Bond-Jeter Bond (BOND),
- GCHS Beautiful Black ELI the Great CGC (ELI).
- GCH Beautiful Black That’s Bad N BOUJEE (BOUJEE),
- CH Beautiful Black Tropical Breeze (BELIZE),
- GCH Beautiful Black Kingsley Electra Queen Of Earth,
- CH Beautiful Black EMBER Queen Of Fire (EMBER).
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Kahla Johnson: William Wallace, aka GCH Queens Over’s Spectacular Bid RN, has sired many Grand Champion and Champion lines, and they just keep getting better. BOUJEE is a home-raised bitch, and from her first litter she has produced two Grand Champions and one Champion out of the three that have entered the Conformation ring.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Kahla Johnson: Our dogs live in our home. I have beds for each of them for their own sleeping quarters. Our theriogenologist, Dr. Voellmann, has said that William has the best of care in our home, as his semen remained in the billions up to age nine. Our lower level is dedicated to the best comfort and care that is available. My puppies are whelped in my family room where we have eyes on them consistently. They are raised with our family, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
What is my “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies?
Kahla Johnson: I watch them from birth. We do exact measuring as well. If they are a show prospect, they are definitely a Performance dog as well.
Do I compete in Performance Events? In Parent Club Tests & Trials?
Kahla Johnson: Yes, we compete in Performance Events through AKC. Our parent club does not offer tests or trials for Performance.
Is “performance” part of my decision-making when it comes to breeding?
Kahla Johnson: Yes, most definitely!
How would I define “conditioning” as it relates to my breed?
Kahla Johnson: Conformation, Rally, and Obedience conditioning is done in training. We do additional training in local classes and our own personal training at home.
Are there any health-related concerns in my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Health: Yes, as with all breeds, and to be specific, HU, which is urate stones in the kidney/bladder and urethra area. The stones have extremely sharp edges. There are three classifications for HU in our breed: 1. The best one is HU Clear; 2. HU Carrier; 3. HU Affected. We lost our beloved Anastasia and UGO and their son, Atlas, to HU affected. I made the decision to honor Anastasia after her death by being a trail blazer, sharing on social media and at our AKC dog shows the seven-foot banner of Anastasia’s photo along with our tri-fold brochure, to make a difference in the health of our breed. Ever since, my husband and I have made a pact that we would only have HU CLEAR and JLPP CLEAR stock and that is where we are today.
At Beautiful Black Russian Terriers of Iowa, you will find great Health-Conformation-Performance-Temperament because HEALTH MATTERS to us.
Nutrition: Our breed grows so fast, and it is very important to provide high-quality kibble and protein and supplements to support this big growth. There are two product lines that work great for us. DAC, as they have supplements for puppies, probiotics, female multivitamin, and Flex for joint/ligament/tendon support. The second line is Total Supplements Canine. Lisa Oberman’s product line supplies vitamins and minerals needed. These supplements need to be given for the lifetime of the dog so that they have a long and healthy life.
Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Kahla Johnson: Yes, I do. These preservation breeders are not making a financial profit on what they are raising, but the majority of them are raising some of the best health-tested prodigy because they care and choose to do the right thing.
Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Kahla Johnson: Our best candidates are families that have experience with a large breed, and understand how to be the head of the family and be “alpha.” I developed a list of 10 questions, and if our prospective families can answer “yes” to each one of them honestly, we know that they have what it takes to be a great owner of one of our Beautifiul Black Russian Terrier babies; families that are willing to bring this puppy into their home, and raise them as a true family member by taking them everywhere they go. We have BBRT families throughout the United States and we are going into other countries in 2023, as what we have is sought after.
What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?
Kahla Johnson: How very important it is to do the full two-year Obedience training, earn their CGC title, and to do Trick Dog and Rally Novice training with your dog so that you have the best relationship possible. You will save the dog’s life if you train him properly, and he will save yours if you train him properly.
The Black Russian Terrier is one of the smartest, loyalist, loving breeds available. This breed will give its life to protect you. It doesn’t get any stronger of a bond than that; a dog is willing to protect you to the very end and will sacrifice himself so that you may live.
If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them?
The Black Russian Terrier is a guard protection dog by instinct; do not come at this dog in a fast and forceful way with your whole body or you will put them on guard to do what is instinctive for them to do.
Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?
Kahla Johnson: They must LOVE the breed and have great understanding of the health, pedigree, and Breed Standard, and adhere to it.
It is not a position of financial profitability. The reward is in creating some beautiful, smart dogs that are loved by their owners. This will be their “Legacy of Love” as a breeder. One should start small and stay small in quantity, as each dog is a large labor of love with teaching and training for their lifetime.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Working Dog?
Kahla Johnson: They are like a hard-working human. They want to do a good job, and the reward is to see their accomplishment when completed.