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Black Russian Terrier: Temperament, Exercise, Grooming, Health

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About Black Russian Terrier

Country of Origin, History of Black Russian Terriers

The Black Russian Terrier was specially designed and bred by the Soviet Russian Red army in the 1940s at their own “Red Star Kennel.” The new breed needed to be massive and robust but high-spirited, highly trainable, and always willing to work. He needed to be able to withstand all types of climate, but especially the long, cold, harsh winters. His coat had to be protective but low maintenance.

The Black Russian Terrier counts Giant Schnauzer, Rottweiler, Airedale, Newfoundland, Caucasian Ovcharka, Great Dane, Eastern European Shepherd and Russian Water Dog among the 17 breeds in his background. His character and temperament stabilized but his appearance took longer. The Russian DOSAAF worked to standardize the breed.

The Black Russian Terrier is to the Russian army as the Malinois is to the French army and the German Shepherd Dog was to the German Army.

Some puppies were sold to hobby breeders starting in 1958. The breed spread to the Baltic countries, the Ukraine and Siberia. A few were sold to breeders in Finland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and the United States. In 1984 the breed was recognized by the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale).

Black Russian Terrier Tools

Breed Selector Tool - is the Black Russian Terrier the right breed for you?

Is the Black Russian Terrier the right breed for you and your family?

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Check Your Black Russian Terrier's Learning Style

Are you aware dogs also have a learning style that can greatly affect their ability to housetrain as well as be trained correctly. Evaluate your Black Russian Terrier's learning style and personality using our free Learning Style tool so that you are better able to provide him with the proper Black Russian Terrier training methods.

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Black Russian Terrier Calorie Calculator

Do you know how many calories your Black Russian Terrier needs every day and how many cups of food you should be giving it every day? Click here to use our Black Russian Terrier Calorie Calculator.

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A General Appearance of the Dog

The Black Russian Terrier is called a medium dog, but if you see one, you will think it is a large-boned dog. It is very rectangular, muscularly strong, and robust. Its blocky head is broad with a mustache and beard and full, square nose and muzzle. Dark eyes and triangular, small pendant ears finish the look of the head.

The Black Terrier is even muscular in his neck and legs. His large feet appear bear-like with thick, dark pads. Although his gait is strong and powerful, he is well coordinated and appears light on his feet. His high-set tail is cropped.

Coat Color

The Black Russian Terrier is all black. Any other color of hairs in the coat is a disqualification unless it is gray in an older dog, especially around his face.

Coat Type

The Black Russian’s outer coat is waterproof. It is fairly coarse, about 1.5 to 4 inches in length, and can be slightly wavy. Legs should be covered with 2 -4 inches of coarse hair. The feet are covered with hair. The dog’s coat should appear full and tousled. The undercoat is thick and soft.


Males: 27 -30 inches
Females: 26 – 29 inches


80 – 150 lbs

Do not overfeed; make sure they get plenty of exercise.

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Black Russian Terrier Personality Traits

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Temperament of the Dog

Black Russian Terriers were created to be the perfect all-around dog. He is very adaptable, alert and lively, easily trainable, and even-tempered. He is self-confident and brave, wary of strangers with a good dose of natural guarding instincts. And, on top of that, he has a low maintenance coat.

Since they are a large dog, they need to start training early with someone who will be firm and consistent with them. They take to the leash without much encouragement. They are easy to housebreak. They enjoy training because they love to please their masters.

Quick to act, the Black Russian Terrier will be very protective of his owner and his home. Because of this dominance, they may not get along well with other large or dominant dogs, but they do get along well with almost all other animals.

Black Russians want intense contact with humans and other animals. They bark only when they think it is necessary.

Black Russian Terrier Puppies are very inquisitive and will get into everything. They are late maturers and many adult characteristics will not appear until they are 1.5 to 2 years old.

Better suited to an indoor or outdoor lifestyle?

They seem able to live outdoors year-round, but this would be mean to this gentle dog. They really want and need to be close to their family. They are little trouble in the house and are very happy there with play times and walks outdoors. Close contact with the family hones the good qualities of this breed.

If the BRT is kenneled outside, he will not learn what to protect and may one day protect his kennel against his owner.

Are they suited to homes with kids?

Black Russian Terriers love children and love to play with children (especially the females).

Black Russian Terrier Activity Level

How Active is the Breed?

Black Russian Terriers are always ready for a long, daily walk or several very active play times in a securely fenced yard. They love to romp and play. Most of them love to play in the snow or in the water.

How Much Exercise Does the Dog Need at every stage of its Life?

Black Russian Terriers are always ready for a long, daily walk or several very active play times in a securely fenced yard. They love to romp and play.


Weekly brushing will keep the Black Russian Terrier from shedding. They do not have seasonal shedding.

Remove hair from ear ducts. Trim the paws.

Regular trimming and Black Russian Terrier grooming 3-4 times a year by a professional groomer will really help the Black Russian Terrier look and feel his best. Handstripping may be necessary.

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Free Black Russian Terrier Training Secrets

Free Course on Black Russian Terrier Training & Obedience
Stop All Bad Behavior, Excessive Barking and Biting

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Health and Care

Genetic Problems

Hip dysplasia and ear infections are the only known problems.

Litter Size: 6-12 puppies

Life Span: The average life span is 10 – 11 years.

National Breed Clubs

National Breed Clubs

British – Russian Black Terrier Club –
US – Black Russian Terrier Club of America (BRTCA) –

Other Recognition: CKC, FCI, NKC, ANKC, APRI, AKC, ACR

Rescue Link:

Group: AKC Working Dogs, KCGB Working Group (Russian Black Terrier)

AKC Popularity Ranking: 134

Also Known As: Black Terrier, Russian Black Terrier, Russian Bear Schnauzer, Chornyi, BRT

Train Your Black Russian Terrier To Listen To You

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  • How to lead and think like a pack dog - the new psychology.

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Whereas other dog training related web sites and books offer generic information for dogs in general, ours is the ONLY web site that offers Black Terrier information specifically, from a renowned panel of experts - because as you probably know, Black Terriers have their own special training requirements that other dogs don't have.

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