SHE may be a Russian black terrier by breed, but a two-year-old pooch will be flying the flags of Jersey and Ukraine at the world’s most famous dog show this week.
River, whose full name is Holodnaya Zhara Vivat! Poltava, will be appearing alongside about 24,000 other dogs at Crufts in Birmingham with her handler, Katya Lynnyk-Ali.
The duo, who are almost the same age once you consider the traditional seven-to-one calculation for dog years – Katya is 15, River was recently two – will be making their second appearance at the show.
It will be a busy trip for the family group, which also includes Katya’s father, Omar Ali, and mother, Oksana Lynnyk.
They are due back in Jersey on Sunday to minimise the time off school for Katya, who attends Jersey College for Girls.
River, who weighs 45kg, was bought by the family in 2021 from Mrs Lynnyk-Ali’s native Ukraine.
The dog qualified to take part in the breed class for Russian black terriers, the ‘Good Citizen’ obedience class and the working stakes class for Young Kennel Club members.
Mr Ali said: ‘Everyone’s really looking forward to it. River is more confident; she and Katya have worked with the Jersey Dog Handlers Association and have now done a number of shows.’ While Russian entrants remain banned from Crufts as a result of the invasion of Ukraine 13 months ago, the UK’s Russian Black Terrier Club will be wearing Ukrainian rosettes to denote their support for the under-siege nation.
Mr Ali added: ‘There’s been such great support for Ukraine from the people of Jersey, so we are even more proud to be representing Jersey and Ukraine.
‘River loves showing, and hearing people clapping, so it’ll be great to see her out there again with Katya.’