Black Russian Terrier Dog History, Health And Care

Introduction Of Black Russian Terrier Dog

The Black Russian Terrier, also known as the Black Terrier, the Chornyi, the Tchiorny Terrier, the Russian Bear Schnauzer, the Russian Black Terrier or simply the BRT, is one of the newest breeds in the world, created entirely after World War II as a guard dog for the Red Army. It was first recognized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in 1984 as a member of its Terrier Group, and later was appropriately moved into the Working Group because it is not a true terrier. This is a massive and powerful dog with strong protective and guarding instincts. The BRT was given full recognition by the American Kennel Club in 2004. In France, it is known as the Terrier Noir Russe, and in Germany it is known as the Schwarze Russische Terrier.

The Black Russian Terrier is temperamentally confident and cool. Despite their size, or maybe because of it, these dogs exude an air of self-assurance and deceptive calm. They are aloof towards strangers but form very strong bonds with their human companions. They crave attention from their people and should not be left alone for long periods of time. Black Russian Terriers need a job to do or they can become destructive and difficult to control. These dogs must be physically and mentally active for their health and happiness, and for that of their owners who must maintain an alpha role to keep the Black Russian Terrier from trying to exert dominance. Fortunately, these dogs are highly intelligent and respond to training and socialization lessons very well.

The average Black Russian Terrier stands between 26 and 30 inches at the withers and weighs between 80 and 145 pounds (as in most canine breeds, females are slightly smaller than males). Any dog or bitch less than 26 inches in height is disqualified under the AKC breed standard. Black Russian Terriers have a thick, hard and rough double coat and do not shed excessively. While they do not require extensive grooming, they should be brushed regularly to keep their coat clean and free of mats. The distinctive mop of hair over their eyes and under their chin should be brushed but never cut.

Black Russian Terrier Dog Breed Quick Facts

Affection Level 4/5
Apartment Friendly 3/5
Barking Tendencies 4/5
Cat Friendly 3/5
Child Friendly 4/5
Dog Friendly4/5
Exercise Need 3/5
Grooming Needs 3/5
Health Issues 2/5
Intelligence 4/5
Playfulness 4/5

Black Russian Terrier – Appearance & Grooming


Black Russian Terriers are large, muscular and heavy-boned dogs with a thick, tousled, black double coat. The AKC describes this breed as, “robust, large, balanced, agile and powerful.” They have a block-like head with a muzzle that is slightly shorter than the skull. Blackies have small ears that sit high atop the head, and they are triangular in shape and folded. They have dark colored gums and some sport a black mark on the tongue. Their tails are usually docked, leaving behind anywhere from 3 to 5 vertebrae.

Size and Weight

Black Russians are one of the larger terrier breeds, standing at a tall 25to 30 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 75 to 130 pounds. The preferred height for males is between 25 and 29 inches, while the proffered female height is between 25 and 28 inches. They typically weigh between 80 and 140 pounds. A Blackie’s gait should be springy, but smooth and easy going.

Coat and Color

Blackies have (obviously) black coats, but many have a slight salt-and-pepper appearance to them, even as puppies. Their double coat is made up of a coarse outer coat and a thick, soft undercoat. The length can vary from 1.5 all the way to 4 inches long. Some describe the coat as wiry or curly, but breeders call the coat “tousled.”

Grooming Needs

Show grooming a Black Russian is an involving task, but household Russians have it a lot easier. Regular, weekly brushing will keep the coat healthy, manageable and free from tangles or mats. This breed does not shed heavily, but if you find clumps of hair around the house, it’s an indication that the dog is not being brushed enough. They need to be clipped twice a year, but it is simple to clip this breed at home, and a professional groomer is not required. Blackies only need to be bathed as needed, as over bathing can dry out the skin and coat. The beard can require a bit more attention, as it gets wet, dirty and tangled from food and water dishes.

Regular brushing of the teeth can keep gums healthy, prevent tartar buildup and stave off “dog breath.” The ears should be cleaned regularly, as well, to prevent harmful bacteria from building up and causing ear infections.

Black Russian Terrier – History and Health


The Black Russian Terrier originated in Russia, created by the Krasnaya Zvezda, or “Red Star”, military kennel outside of Moscow. This facility was devoted to developing working dogs for the Russian national security forces. World War II dramatically decreased the number of working dogs in Russia, but powerful and intelligent guard dogs remained in high demand at military installations, prisons and other government sites. After the War, the Red Star Kennel set out to address these needs by cross-breeding existing large working breeds including the Rottweiler, Giant Schnauzer, Moscow Retriever and Airedale Terrier specifically to create an entirely new breed of dog with a stable temperament and consistently imposing appearance. Other breeds reported to have contributed to this elaborate project are the Newfoundland, Caucasian Sheepdog, Eastern European sheepdog, Great Dane, Borzoi and Laika. The result was a large, tough, well-muscled black dog with heavy bone and quick instinctive reactions. Offspring of these dogs were shown at the 1955 USSR dog shows and attracted many admirers. In 1956, the Red Star Kennel began selling puppies to private breeders, which accelerated the development of the Black Russian Terrier throughout Germany and other European countries. The BRT has since gained attention in the United States. It frequently is mistaken for a Giant Schnauzer or a Bouvier des Flandres, as these breeds share its massive body-type and course black coat. This is a willful breed with a strong personality. It is highly protective and must be guided early in life to become a good citizen. The Black Russian Terrier Club of America was founded in 1994. The Black Russian Terrier entered the American Kennel Club’s Working Group in July of 2004.


The average life expectancy for the Black Russian Terrier is between 10 and 12 years. They generally are healthy and hardy but may be prone to bloat and hip dysplasia, as are many other large, deep-chested breeds.

Black Russian Terrier – Temperament & Personality


Black Russian Terriers are truly man’s best friend. They thrive on human interaction and have such a strong desire to be with their family that they will follow their people from room to room, and when left alone, will wait longingly by doors or windows until they are happily reunited with the ones they love. This breed adores children – especially female Black Russians. They are patient with small children who want to climb on them and are big enough to keep up with bigger kids’ outdoor games. They have bee known to sleep in kids’ rooms or outside their bedroom doors as a guardian and protector.

Activity Requirements

Black Russian Terriers, despite their larger size, can do well living in an apartment. They don’t need an excessive amount of vigorous running time per day, but do need several walks. If left alone in a yard, Black Russian will quickly get bored and want to come inside. Outside activities should always involve interaction with kids or people in order to keep this breed interested.


Black Russian Terriers are hands down the easiest breed of terrier to train. As puppies, Black Russians should be treated firmly, but never harshly, to understand boundaries or they will take over the house when they get older. Though they can project dominance, under a consistent, confident leader they can master basic obedience very quickly. They should be graduated on to advanced training, as Black Russians like to be entertained by new and exciting tasks.

Socialization is important with this breed. They can become very protective of their family and territory so they must be taught early on to accept visitors and new situations.

Personalty Traits

Because they attach themselves to deeply to their family, separation anxiety can develop quickly in Black Russians. It is important to keep them well exercised and to keep their minds entertained with plenty of activity so that anxiety does not develop. They are not ideal for people who are out of the house a lot. Families with stay at home moms suit this people-loving dog best.

Black Russian Terriers were developed by the Soviet Red Army to act as sentries. The modern Black Russian still takes this job very seriously and is quick to protect the family and house he loves. He will sound the alarm that strangers are approaching – even if they are half a block away. Training to obey a stop barking command and proper socialization can save the family’s sanity later on.

Photo Library Of Black Russian Terrier

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.