Nina Khilyk – Master of the Sumy National Agrarian University, Master of the National Pedagogical Drahomanov University, professional dog trainer with high university degree, an expert on the exterior of the Cynological Union of Ukraine, a participant of many international cynological conferences and seminars in Ukraine, Russia and China, as well as the owner of “KINU LIUTAS” an unique Tibetan Mastiff kennel.
Cynology for Nina is a life, a favorite job, a thorny path and a hobby, where Tibetan Mastiff dogs occupy a special place.
How did the story of you and the Tibetan Mastiffs begin?
My story began with a dream, a lifetime dream. A picture of an incredibly beautiful dog from my childhood impressed me so much that there was no other opportunity than to bring it into reality. And my beloved husband, who believed in my fantastic and somewhat obsessive ideas, made inhuman efforts to bring them into reality. This is how the first Tibetan Mastiff puppy appeared in our family. And then, we couldn’t stop. Today we own young, but already very famous breeding kennel in the world, with its own industry, well-built premises, employees, and not very long, but very interesting and rich history.
How long have you been engaged with this breed?
If we talk about the official existence of the kennel and about professional cynology in my life, then we are only 7 years old. 7 years of fruitful and patient work, love and care. If we look a little back, then my curiosity and interest in this breed began 15 years ago. But, of course, we couldn’t even dream of any implementation of this interest. I am a maximalist by nature and I do not like semitones. If I have a goal, it should be the highest and the way to it should be thorny. Sometimes it seems to me that I am a conqueror by nature))). That is why I observed, investigated, watched and waited in the wings.
How many dogs are there in your kennel now?
I do love this question. People often ask it.
How can you count the silent stars that illuminate the night sky, or how can you count the drops that build up tremendous strength and power of the endless ocean?
This is an absolutely direct analogy. The Tibetan Mastiff is a philosophy; it is a whole universe that, once opened before you, will never let you go.
There are not so many Teddy bears as it might seem when reading my answer. But, each of them is a small part of a whole, fantastically beautiful and indivisible organism.
Do your dogs participate in exhibitions?
Exhibitions are big words such as: titles, prize-winners, champions, cups and many others. Of course, we participate in exhibitions. But in reality, these are just our ambitions. After all, many dogs have a good life in families, where they have no idea about the dog show world.
Regarding our kennel, exhibitions are rather an opportunity to show dogs, their greatness and power, their incredibility and uniqueness. Titles and prizes are secondary. But to be honest, recognition and awards are very pleasant things. Almost all dogs of our kennel have an opportunity to participate in the show world. Most of them are young and adult champions of the country, the best of the breed, grand and super grand champions. Also, for the second year in a row, our kennel can be proud of the fact, that the best Tibetan Mastiff in the country with TOPBOB’2019, 2020 titles lives with us. This is BaiWan, our incredible conqueror of human hearts. The Tibetan Mastiff is the owner of the largest number of breed titles and awards in the country for two years now. Also, the dogs of our kennel are the owners of TOPJBOB’2019, 2020 titles during the last 2 years.
Surely, all these awards are very valuable to us. But true and unfailing love does not know titles and ranks.
Do you play sports or enjoy any activities with your dogs to keep them fit?
As to the physical activities, we prefer long walks from 2 to 10 km with already grown dogs and, of course, swimming.
Our puppies swim from an early age. Already at the age of 1.5 months we begin to master and conquer the pool. As well as trainings before the show are also an integral part of the life of our dogs. For many years, from generation to generation, our dogs have been engaged in ring training.
If we talk about sports, we take no notice of it. The Tibetan Mastiff is not interested in such activities. And, frankly speaking, sports are not intended for them.
They enjoy working! The Tibetan Mastiff is a serious dog that is definitely ready to attack anyone who breaks the peace of its family.
In a human head, the flash-like reaction of the Tibetan Mastiff is often not compatible with its size, calmness and tenderness that they give to their family. But, at the slightest threat you will face the fierce and wild lion, able to resist anyone.
Due to this, the Tibetan Mastiffs manage to be in a great shape, combining large, gentle, lazy bear and a ferocious, bloodthirsty, wild and furious lion.
What achievement are you proud of the most?
Achievements! What an interesting word in this context. Let’s say, I am proud of my husband, who stands by my side all the time and allows me to make my dream come true step by step. I am proud of the titanic work that resulted in the establishment of a kennel with these incredible and, I would say, fantastic dogs. I am proud of my little fluffy balls, which, being born in the kennel, often surpass their parents. I am proud of my children, who being so young, sincerely love dogs and give all their attention and care. I am proud of dog owners, who inspire me with their unfailing love and devotion to their pets. These are the achievements I am proud of, the achievements of our big and somehow crazy family.
How does you kennel differ from others?
Many have heard about the presence of a big number of intra-breed types of the Tibetan Mastiff, about their differences, disputes about their authenticity, belonging and purpose. This is a huge and ancient history of an incredible breed of a truly Great people. But, the officially accepted standard, written for one of the breed types, uncompromisingly striving for uniformity, suggests us to accommodate these centuries-old differences in 2 pages of printed text.
Fortunately, we can rely on a huge amount of historical documents. So, even the Chinese annals of the Han dynasty (142-87 BC) contain mentions of intra-breed differences. These are the works of: the naturalist Brian Houghton Hodgson, 1842; Charles Darwin “The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication”, 1868; William Martin “The History of the Dog”, 1845, published in Knight’s Weekly Volume; Leopold Fitzinger, German scientist and professor, 1891; the Reverend Bush, 1900; Roberta Ekvall “The role of the dog in the Tibetan nomadic society”, 1963 and many other historical documents testifying to the existing of intra-breed differences of the Tibetan Mastiff and the parallel existence of different types of breed over the centuries.
In the homeland of the breed, deep respect for each type, a careful attitude to the history of each of them and a separate selection of each type, up to keeping separate herd books, allow us today to find beautiful, outstanding representatives of different types of the Tibetan Mastiff.
As for us, once we gave our heart to one of the types of this amazing breed and we do not betray it up to this day. We are not ready, making compromises, to please the whims and, often, completely unfounded arguments, of people who do not know the breed and do not see it through the eyes of the Tibetan people.
Huge and shaggy paws; strong, heavy, sturdily build dog with a mighty bone, rich and abundant hair; impressive; looking solemn and serious. Combining majestic strength and power,
breed temperament and amazing working qualities are all inherent in the Tibetan Mastiff of the type we have chosen. The incredible value and uniqueness of our kennel lies in the fact that staying true to the values of the breed country of origin and respecting the primordial differences, we managed to collect step by step an incredibly strong gene pool of chic representatives of one of the breed types. All of them have the above qualities and characteristics. Flawlessly maintaining the type, we managed to make the dream of many people come true.
In which countries do the leavers of your kennel live?
During the seven-year period of our kennel, we have held 3 breeding seasons. All of them were successful and aimed, first of all, at strengthening the type, outstanding qualities of the dogs, improving the characteristics of interest to us, breeding the homotypic and healthy livestock, as well as at filling the kennel with incredibly beautiful animals. So the kennel is inhabited with one or two representatives from each of the breeding seasons.
During this short period, we also managed to make the dreams of our beloved owners, who have become our big Tibetan family, come true.
USA, England, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, UAE, Spain, Belgium, Czech Republic, Poland, Netherlands, Germany, Lithuania, Russia and Ukraine – each of these countries is home to a small part of our universe, called the Tibetan Mastiff.
How do you affectionately call your furry favorites?
Almost all of our dogs have incredibly beautiful names. Many of them were agreed with the best breeders in their homeland and were given to dogs either at home, or, based on the individual characteristics of each of the babies born with us. They all sound very unusual to us, but they have deep meaning and significance. And no matter how much we love them, no matter how tenderly and affectionately we treat our Tibetan babies, we always name them with full, albeit not always consonant, names.
At the same time, it is worth noting that there are 2 sisters of different ages with very cute names – Bulkotunia and Bulochka (Bubbler and Bun in Ukrainian))). They are very similar and incredibly beautiful. At birth, each of them looked like a cinnamon bun.)) This is the most delicious bun from childhood! And in fact, they both share the same name, Bulochka.
Someone buys dogs for love, someone for breeding, some popularizes the breed … What is your purpose?
My purpose is to conquer the world!
Does it sound loud enough?! Not much! You can love Tibetan Mastiffs, you can hate them, but no matter how hard you try, believe me, you cannot remain indifferent to them! This is Captivity !!! And, of course, there is love inside this captivity. Love for the fantastic, powerful species, huge heart and incredible intelligence of this stunning universe of the Tibetan Mastiff.
You often travel with dogs around the world, what problems do you face, given their size?
Perhaps I will surprise you by saying that traveling with the Tibetan Mastiff is practically not difficult. Dogs very quickly adapt to the offered conditions. I call this “power saving mode” or “standby mode”. It is like the dog turns off. It does not ask to drink, eat, and even the desire to go for a walk during travelling depends solely on the owner’s possibilities. There were times when we travelled up to 3500 km with dogs. And at the same time, they did not even give a sound, saying they would like something.
Long flights up to 12 hours are in the same mode.
There is only size issue. For this purpose we have purchased something special, very large and unusual. Now our “something special” is being completed and assembled in Italy. We look forward to boarding our ship next year.
We know that your dogs are frequent heroes of various photo and video filming, can you tell us something about this?
Yes, this is true and, to be honest, it is not surprising. Their appearance does not leave you indifferent. They are often invited to participate in the filming of all kinds of advertisements, videos, films and talk shows. But, there is one special work that won me over with its idea, scale, organization and, of course, the result. This is a French TV commercial of Antoine Bardou-Jacquet, the famous French producer. One of our dogs, having passed a huge casting, managed to win the heart of a French producer and take part in this amazing project. A small episodic role in this project is a great pride for us. The work was filmed in 2019 and to date has received more than 137 million views on Facebook social network.
You have already started your career as an exterior expert of the Cynological Union of Ukraine. What do you expect from the exhibitors?
My career of a professional dog trainer is at the very beginning. These are amazing feelings and incredible emotions! It’s hard to say what I expect from the exhibitors. I am a very demanding person and, first of all, in relation to myself. Therefore, today my expectations are connected, first of all, with me personally. Today, being a judge, I expect a great experience, long, painstaking and, I would say, even scientific work. I do really want to learn! That is why I study and train a lot. I did not restrict myself to one-year expert training courses. I wanted more. In this regard, I obtained a higher education in the field of cynology and to date I have completed internships in more than 10 countries around the world.
I remember the moment when I was first presented as a judge at my first exhibition. I cried!
I sincerely believe that I can proudly wear this high title and will do my best to contribute to the popularization and prosperity of the Cynology Union of Ukraine.
What breeds will you judge with particular interest?
I really love the second group and, in general, large dogs. Not so long ago I was in Bosnia for an internship and my heart was captured by incredibly beautiful dog Fila Brasileiro. I have almost lost my breath, when I saw it! Words cannot express it! It is a great happiness to carry out an examination of such a dog and to be able to touch such an incredible creature.
The history of the breeds, anatomy and the destiny of small dog breeds are no less interesting, but, to be honest, I am calmer about them.
If you hadn’t become a dog handler, who would you be then?
It is a very interesting question, especially in light of the events taking place today. Now, I don’t even want to think about the fact that something could be different. I do what I love, giving a hundred and ten percent to it. I did mistakes, of course. But only those who do nothing do not make mistakes!
What are you striving for now?
I am striving for many things now: for type recognition; for the correct livestock; for the opportunity to learn; for the establishment of communications within the organization; for the judging, and in the long term for the promotion of our kennel organization on the world stage. So far, a lot of this is just a little girl’s ambition. But, I sincerely believe that hard work from day to day will definitely lead to the expected result.
Can you, please, give some advice to the future owners of the Tibetan Mastiffs?
First of all, love, the ability to negotiate and a sincere desire to learn this universe!
The Tibetan Mastiff is much more than just a dog, just a breed, just a standard, just an anatomy, etc. This is an incredible opportunity for us, the people, to learn the sincerity and genuine devotion, a fantastic mind, the ability to love and, even, fierce, until the last breath, aggression.
And remember, the Tibetan Mastiff is captivity! And it’s up to you, whether to love or hate them!
Made with love
Our Kinu Liutas kennel