The Origins of Dubnjak

Where does the name Dubnjak come from?

"Back in the 1980s I met director Jaak Annus in Tallinn, Estonia. He gave me a book on Estonian nature: Eesti Maastikud. This book had a picture of the biggest oak tree in Estonia, Tamme-Lauri, in the village of Urvaste. This was all new and interesting to me so I decided to visit this village and see this ancient tree. I had to buy a map of Estonia (that had the location of Urvaste) from Esselte in Stockholm. In the spring of 1991 the Soviet Union still existed so I booked two months to get the visa.

In May I got my motorbike and set off. The tree was found and I measured that it was 8.10 metres in circumference. When I returned to the port of Tallinn, the customs officer ran to me saying: "Sir, you are the first tourist who has been granted a permission to travel on their motorbike, on their own, in Soviet Estonia." Earlier, an Estonian guide and a van were necessary.

Since then, my hobby has been ‘spotting’ big oak trees. I’ve been to Sweden, Småland, twice, to take photos of the biggest oak tree in Europe, Kvilleken, that is about 13 metres in circumference.

When in 1997 Roosa gave birth to our A-litter, we needed a Russian kennel name. I asked my friend, Harry Halen who was a linguistic genius at the University of Helsinki, for some advice. He suggested a few names from which myself and Ritva picked Dubnjak, the Russian word for a collection of oak trees. In our own garden (in the fenced puppy area), we have Skogshyddan’s oak tree which reached maturity, i.e. its circumference reached 170cm last fall. In Åland, all oak trees this size are protected.

There are a lot of interesting stories about oak trees, found in all European cultures starting from the Ancient Greeks. In Sweden, oak trees were protected by the state for centuries (ship-building material). Thus, there are a lot of ancient oak trees there these days.”

Written by Esko Vuohu (autumn 2004)

Ritva’s interest in borzois began in the 1950s in Vaasa. The little 5-year-old in post-war Finland didn’t know anything better than a certain lady from that town, in her mink coat, with two snowwhite borzois. There was no TV, no funfairs, not even foreigners, but the dogs were something incredibly exotic!

Childhood memories appeared again in the 1980s when Ritva’s commute to work on her bike went by the Kilo greyhound race course. On Wednesday nights, on her way home, she would stop to watch the races and admire the borzois there. In those days there were lots of borzois competing in the oval track as lure coursing hadn’t been fully developed or made an official competition.

The dream of owning a borzoi, going to exciting competitions and breeding became concrete in the summer of 1993 when the first borzoi moved in.

Essi fell in love with borzois as a teenager in the late 1980s when seeing them in books, without knowing about her mother’s childhood dreams. A few years later, getting a new dog (and a new breed!) became an issue for Ritva and Esko, and this is when Essi found out that the love for borzois runs in the family.

Essi took part in activities and walked her parents’ dogs for the first 10 years before it was possible for her to get her very own dog.

Page updated 6.12.2010