Black Russian Terrier

Fast Facts

Country of Origin:Russia
AKC Group:Working Group
UKC Group:Guardian
Use today:Guardian, rescue dog
Life Span:10 to 12 years
Color:Black or black with scattered gray hairs
Coat:Low-shedding, hard, wiry and wavy.
Grooming:Brush weekly.
Size:Large Dog Breed
Height:26 to 30 inches at the shoulder
Weight:Proportionate to height

This is a young breed that was created in the 1960s by Soviet dog lovers who melded Giant Schnauzers, Airedales, Rottweilers and other breeds into a big, tough dog with a weather-resistant coat and agile movement. The breed was used as a guard dog, but it has also found its way into the Russian home, where it is a common family pet. This is a protective dog with quick defenses and a suspicious attitude toward strangers. The Black Russian Terrier stands 26 to 30 inches at the withers, so it's best suited to a large home. Its coarse, dense coat is 2 to 4 inches long and needs to be brushed about three times a week.


Black Russian Terrier

Sarah Christie


Black Russian TerrierThe Black Russian Terrier claims the same status in the Russian Army as the German Shepherd Dog does in American police forces. Eager to conquer extreme weather and rugged terrain, this stalwart, developed in military kennels of the former Soviet Union, defies the scruffy-little-Terrier image.

With an appearance akin to a Rottweiler in a Poodle suit, the Black Russian Terrier warms up to its owner with amicable, good-natured behavior. Just be sure to wear running shoes when asking a Black Russian Terrier to go to work. These perceptive powerhouses crave assignment and have the courage and will to defend their owner and territory.

"Black Russian Terriers are very owner-oriented and protective without being aggressive," says Elena Brailovsky, a New York fancier and member of the  Black Russian Terrier Club of America.

Developed at the Russian Army's Red Star Kennel in the 1940s, the Black Russian Terrier offered the big, robust, high-spirited traits needed to endure formidable land and weather. By combining the Airedale Terrier, Rottweiler and Giant Schnauzer, the created the foundation for a new working dog breed.

Even in its formative years, the Black Russian Terrier displayed the characteristics it's prized for today: protective, loyal, lively and active, yet controllable. Black Russian Terrier breeders were able to refine and stabilize the dog's appearance without compromising its character traits. In 1984, the Black Russian Terrier gained recognition as a distinct dog breed when it was accepted into the European kennel club Federation Cynologique Internationale.

Intelligent and loyal but pushy, this dog breed is laid back unless they think their owner is in trouble. Black Russian Terriers often bond intensely with one person and are fiercely protective in threatening circumstances.

Like all large dog breeds, Black Russian Terriers are prone to hip dysplasia. Hip X-rays are recommended for all Black Russian Terrier breeding stock.

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