AKC Dog Breeds: Black Russian Terrier

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Working Group
Height: 25-29 inches   Weight: 80-143  pounds  Color:  black, black/grey

The Black Russian Terrier (BRT) is a robust, large and powerful dog. The dog has large bone and well developed muscles. The breed was developed in Russia and used as guard dogs for protection. They must be balanced, have a good temperament and be reliable. The dogs have great courage and strength. They are capable of endurance. Dogs must have a large frame and heavy bone. As the name suggests, the Black Russian Terrier originates from Russia, and were developed after the Second World War as military dogs. The Russian Red Army needed a dog that could withstand different weather conditions as well as be able to work independently. They needed to breed a dog that could be used for their very specific tasks. Some of these specific tasks were to guard military installations, border troops, prison camps, penal colonies, and police forces. This upbringing is what contributes to their suspicious and dominant nature. It is also what makes them very protective of their owners and makes them excellent watchdogs. This is a rare breed and comes under the miscellaneous group with the AKC. The Black Russian Terrier was registered with the AKC in 2001.

General Appearance
The wiry, dense coat lies close to the skin and is slightly wavy. The coarse coat is also weatherproof. The coloring of the coat is black, and can also be black with white hairs mixed in. This is a handsome dog, and has a distinctive curtain of hair over his eyes and face. Robust and sturdy, the Black Russian Terrier boasts an alert expression. The mustache and beard add to the squaring off of the muzzle. The stop should be well-defined but not pronounced. The nose is large, and fully pigmented, black in color. The lips are full, rounded and black at the ridges and the jaws are large and powerful. The mouth should be meaty

The Black Russian Terrier is a calm, confident, and courageous dog with a self-assurance which sometimes is rather aloof toward strangers. They are highly intelligent, extremely reliable. The Black Russian Terrier was originally bred as an army dog and therefore it is in its nature to be a watchdog. They are extremely brave and observant without the need for aggression. They respond quickly to protect their owners and home. They rarely bark unless they feel that it is necessary. They do have a dominant personality and therefore should be treated firmly and lovingly in order to guide them in the right direction. Due to their high intelligence they learn quickly and become very loyal pets. The Black Russian Terrier is an eager, fun-loving, and intelligent dog, and loves to be around humans and be part of the action. Very observant and brave the Black Russian Terrier likes to please his owners and is a very willing creature.


Weekly grooming with a brush and comb is required. Brush the BRT at least once a week. It is important to remove hairs from ear ducts and cut the hairs under the paws. The BRT sheds very little if it is regularly brushed. They do not molt. The ears, nails and teeth require ample attention. Scissoring or clipping for a Black Russian Terrier is sufficient 3-4 times a year.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
The Black Russian Terrier has a life expectancy of 10-12 years. Prone to Hip Dysplasia. X-raying the dogs is not common to the Russian Breeders, so it's up to the breeders outside Russia to overcome this problem by targeted selection. If the ears are not well cared for they have a tendency to get otitis.

Activity Level
This breed will do well in urban, suburban or country setting with reasonable amounts of exercise. Black Russian Terriers are happiest when doing some type of work, such as playing games, agility, obedience, or protection. Black Russian Terriers are always ready for a long daily walk. They love to romp, play and to be entertained. Most of them love snow and water. They will roll in the snow and splash in the water.


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Black Russian Terrier profile on Dog Encyclopedia
Black Russian Terrier on Dog Encyclopedia