Black Russian Terrier Dog Breed (Complete Guide)

Black Russian Terrier Dog Overview

The Black Russian Terrier is both physically and mentally robust.

This is a large-boned, well-muscled dog that is strong and agile enough to negotiate rugged terrain or overcome an opponent.

The head and neck are extremely powerful. A dog with strong protective instincts must have a stable intellectual disposition, as well as courage.

The weatherproof outer coat repels water, while the undercoat insulates the dog from cold temperatures. Coat length should range from 1.5′′ to 4′′, with longer coats detracting from the dog’s working capacity.

Black Russian Terrier Highlights

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  • Blackies require employment. They were raised for it and will be unhappy if they don’t have one. As your companion, they may compete in agility, obedience, Schutzhund, or other canine sports.
  • Black Russian Terriers require at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. They are educated and powerful, and exercise gives them a much-needed release. With enough outside activity, a Black Russian can live in an apartment. For the Blackie who lives in a house, a fenced yard is ideal.
  • They bark and shed a little, but not a lot.
  • Blackies prefer to stay close to their human pack because they appreciate the companionship of their family. They don’t fare well when left alone in the backyard.
  • Blackie, who can be rebellious at times, needs tough training as soon as you bring them home so that they don’t try to position themselves as the pack leader.
  • Blackies are naturally reserved around strangers, and unless they are regularly exposed to a variety of people—ideally beginning in puppyhood—they can become unduly protective of you around strangers. Biting may occur as a result of fear and hostility. Allow your Blackie to interact with friends, family, neighbors, and even strangers to help them develop their social abilities.

Black Russian Terrier Breed Features & Ratings:

Rated base on a 5 Star Scale
ENERGY LEVEL:                                2 Star
PLAYFULNESS:                                  2 Star
AFFECTION LEVEL:                           4 Star
FRIENDLINESS TO DOGS:                3 Star
WATCHFULNESS:                               5 Star
EASE OF TRAINING:                           3 Star
HEAT SENSITIVITY:                             4 Star
VOCALITY                                             5 Star

Black Russian Terrier Characteristics:

  • Dog Breed Group:  Working Dogs
  • Height:  At the shoulder, it should be 26 to 28 inches 
  • Weight:  80 to 140 pounds
  • Life Span: 10 to 11 years 
  • Type: Purebred 
  • AREA OF ORIGIN:  Russia
  • DATE OF ORIGIN:  1950’s
  • OTHER NAMES:  Chornyi, Terrier Noir Russem, Schwarzer Russicher Terrier, Tchiorny Terrier, Mustaterrieri, Black Terrier, Russian Bear Schnauzer, BRT, Stalin’s Dog
  • Temperament: Brave, Confident, Energetic, Hardy, Lively, Stable
  • Activities: Police and Military Work, Search and Rescue, Tracking, Agility, Obedience, Schutzhund, Conformation
  • Color: Black, may have a few gray hairs
  • Litter Size: 6 to 12 puppies 
  • Puppy Prices: $3000 – $4000 USD

Black Russian Terrier Health:

A responsible breeder will evaluate breeding stock for health issues like allergies, urinary tract stones, hip and elbow dysplasia, and also the progressive retinal atrophy, which can cause vision loss and blindness.

As with all breeds, a Black Russian Terrier’s ears and teeth should be checked on a regular basis.

The National Breed Club recommends the following health tests:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam
  • JLPP DNA Test

Black Russian Terrier Grooming:

Although blackies have black coats, a scattering of gray hair can be noticed on occasion, even in puppies.

They have a double coat with a tough outer coat and a soft and dense undercoat. Its length ranges from 1.5 to 4 inches. Blackies have a tousled coat, which some may mistake for wiry or curly.

Brushing is a weekly occurrence for Blackies, as they require regular and frequent maintenance to avoid matting. You’ll need a slicker brush, an undercoat rake, and a stripping comb to brush that coat.

Any of these grooming items can be found at a good pet supply store. Blackies don’t shed much, but dogs with longer coats may leave small clumps of hair around if not groomed on a regular basis.

The brows, moustache, and beard are left alone and untrimmed. Show grooming is a time-consuming process for Blackies, but if your pet isn’t exhibiting in conformation, the coat can be cut twice a year for manageability.

If you brush them regularly, your Blackie should only need a bath when they’re dirty. To avoid drying out your dog’s skin and coat, use a dog shampoo.

Because the Blackie beard absorbs water, which they can then lavishly spray around the house, the beard may require a little extra attention when brushing.

Brush your Blackie’s teeth at least twice a week to remove tartar and the bacteria that live inside it. Brushing twice a day is even preferable if you want to avoid gum disease and foul breath.

If your pet’s nails don’t wear down naturally, choose to trim it once or twice a month to prevent acquiring unpleasant tears and other issues. Nails are long if you can hear them clicking on the floor.

Dog toenails include blood veins, so cutting too far can result in bleeding, and your canine may refuse to comply the other time the nail clippers come out.

So, if you’re not used to clipping dog nails, get advice from a vet or groomer. The dog’s ears should be checked on a weekly basis for redness or odor, which can suggest an infection.

When cleaning your dog’s ears, use a cotton ball wet with a moderate, pH-balanced ear cleanser to help avoid infections. Do not place anything into the dog’s ear canal; instead, clean the outside of the ear.

When your Blackie is a puppy, start accustoming them to being brushed and examined. Handle their paws frequently (dogs are finicky about their feet) and inspect their mouths.

Make grooming a pleasurable process full of praise and prizes, and you’ll build the framework for smooth veterinarian tests and other handling when they’re an adult.

Check for sores, rashes, or symptoms of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, nose, mouth, and eyes, and feet while you groom.

There should be no explicit redness or discharge in the eyes. Your thorough weekly examination will assist you in detecting potential health issues early on.

Black Russian Terrier Exercise:

Every day, the Black Russian Terrier requires at least 30 to 40 minutes of exercise. He is eager to join his owner for brisk walks, long runs, bike rides, swims, and hikes.

He and his owner can spend time playing with a ball or a flying disc in the backyard.

If a BRT does not receive enough exercise, he will become unhappy and disruptive, and if he does not acquire  enough time with his human family, he will acquire aggressive tendencies.

Many BRTs excel in canine sports like obedience, agility, rally, and Schutzhund (protection).

Black Russian Terrier Training:

A Black Russian Terrier should not be purchased by someone who is unwilling or unable to train a strong, willful animal.

To prevent aggressive behavior, socialization should begin in puppyhood and continue throughout the dog’s life. Obedience training should also begin as early as feasible and continue well into maturity.

BRTs are dominant and will bully everyone they can scare. Training must be tough and persistent, but it must always be reward-based rather than punishment-based.

The BRT is smart and fast to learn, but only if he is treated with care and respect.

Black Russian Terrier Food and Nutrition:

The Black Russian terrier is not  a picky eater. As per the Black Russian Terrier Club of America, a dog of this size in maturity will likely consume 4 to 6 cups of food each day.

Feeding a high-quality dog food or a homemade recipe (authorized by your vet) may be costly, but it will be indeed worth it in the long run for your dog’s health and vitality.

You should also consider the canines’ size and height. A dog that can stand 5 feet or more on his hind legs can easily swipe a snack from the edge of a table or counter.

To avoid losing your lunch, take the necessary precautions to keep your meal out of reach of your dog.

Black Russian Terrier Temperament and Personality:

Black Russian Terriers are calm, self-assured, and brave. These canines’ nervous systems are very steady, and they exude confidence and tranquillity.

They’re self-assured, loyal, and aloof toward individuals they don’t know, having been bred by the military.

Blackies, who were created to guard and defend, may become dangerous if they lacked their well-known mental stability.

Because Blackies are very clever and require a job to accomplish, training is simple. Begin early to avoid a sense of overprotection.

Blackies adore youngsters and will protect anybody who come into contact with them. They’re house dogs who need to feel like they’re a member of the family; they’re not cut out for life in the backyard.

Blackies require almost constant care and guidance, and if you don’t provide it, they’ll withdraw. A variety of factors influence temperament, including heredity, training, and socialization.

Puppies with good temperaments are interested and playful, eager to approach and be held by people.

Meeting the parent dogs, siblings, or other blood relatives can be beneficial in determining what a puppy will be like when it grows up, but it is not a certainty.

The Black Russian Terrier, like all dogs, requires early socialization—exposure to a variety of people, sights, sounds, and experiences—when they are young.

Socialization ensures that your Blackie puppy develops into a well-rounded dog. The better socialized Blackies are with other dogs, albeit some will only enjoy other canine companions who live in their household.

Enrolling them in puppy kindergarten is a terrific place to start. Inviting guests over on a regular basis, as well as taking them to busy parks, stores that permit dogs, alongside on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors, will help them improve their social skills.

Black Russian Terrier Care/Upkeep:

There’s a lot to learn about how to properly train and care for a Black Russian terrier, or Blackie as they’re popularly known.

Because of its size, strength, and intelligence, this breed should not be underestimated or left to its own ways.

Interestingly, despite their intimidating size and power, these dogs are known for their emotional stability and are not prone to impulsive or neurotic behavior—as long as they receive proper training, exercise, and mental stimulation.

This makes sense given that the military was looking for a dog that was big and imposing and dependable and easy to control by its owner.

Because of their strong feeling of authority, the BRT is not recommended for inexperienced dog owners. Given their enormous size, these canines will take advantage of anyone they believe they can impose on.

However, this natural behavior should not be confused with a desire for a position. The BRT is more concerned with getting his way than with going up in the pack.

Of course, in the absence of firm and fair leadership, this dog will automatically assume the role of pack leader.

The goal of training a Black Russian terrier should be to create clear lines of communication so that the canine understands what is expected of him.

Given their size and strength, it is critical to acquire the willing participation of this breed.

While some companion dog breeds perform well with minimal training, the BRT requires constant, steady, and intentional training.

Breed aficionados generally advise against employing a BRT as an outdoor guard dog who is isolated from the house and family for extended periods of time.

This is likely to result in these dogs guarding their area. On the other hand, these dogs require a sense of belonging to their owner and their environment.

Black Russian Terrier Relationship with Children and Other Pets

Despite their intimidating size, Blackies are kind and protective of children.

Females appear to be more ready to play with children than males, yet both sexes treat youngsters with gentleness and respect with whom they are nurtured.

However, keep in mind that Blackies are enormous and active friends, and very young children may be pushed down or damaged by a playful and energetic dog of this size. When dealing with very young children, exercise extreme caution.

Blackies that haven’t been around children since they were puppies may be less tolerant—something to consider if you’re seeking to add an older or rescue dog to your family.

In either case, teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and constantly  monitor any encounters between dogs and small children to prevent biting or ear or tail pulling on either party’s side.

Teach your youngster to never approach a dog who is eating or sleeping, or to try to take the dog’s food. No dog, no matter how nice, should be left alone with a youngster.

As a puppy and as an adult, make sure your Blackie is adequately socialized so that he or she does not become overly protective of their family and property.

Male Black Russians do not get along with other domineering canines. Because of this, many of them are unsuitable for dog parks.

They do well at home with other canine companions who are already established in the house. They are fine with non-dominant or tiny dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, and other pets.

Black Russian Terrier Names 

RankBoy NamesGirl Names

All About Black Russian Terrier

To perform its tasks as a dependable guard and military dog, the Black Russian Terrier must be physically and mentally robust.

This is a large-boned, well-muscled dog that can carry a hefty burden while yet being agile enough to cross rugged terrain or overcome an adversary. The head and neck are extremely powerful.

A dog with strong protective instincts must have a loyal, intelligent disposition, as well as courage. The weatherproof outercoat repels water, while the undercoat insulates the dog from cold temperatures.

Coat length should range from 1.5 to 4 inches, with longer coats detracting from the dog’s ability to work.

The Black Russian Terrier is calm, confident, and courageous. BRTs are reserved with strangers because they are particularly attached to and protective of their family.

They are quick learners, but also independent thinkers, and if forced to do anything they don’t want to do, they can be stubborn. BRTs are friendly and social.

Even within the house, they tend to stay close to their people. When it comes to children, they are gentle and playful.

They may not get along with unknown or dominating dogs, but they get along with other pets and smaller canine companions quite fine.

Black Russian Terrier History:

The Black Russian Terrier, a Cold War relic, was bred by Soviet Army scientists looking for the ideal working canine.

The Black Russian, which is perfectly acclimated to the harsh Russian winters, was bred to patrol the frontiers alongside soldiers.

The scientists were not attempting to create a new breed; they desired a dog that would meet their military requirements.

The Red Star Kennel, where the breeding occurred, was formed by the Red Army and had access to all of the government’s resources.

Dog breeding had taken a back seat happened during the twentieth century due to the Russian Revolution, World War II, and other economic challenges, and the team, which constitutes breeders and geneticists, didn’t have much-homebred stock with which to work.

They did, however, do an admirable job. They desired an endurance dog capable of running lengthy fence lines, chasing and catching intruders, and remaining warm enough to survive.

They began by crossing Giant Schnauzers, Airedales, and Rottweilers, but there are indications of 17 different breeds, including Great Danes and several enormous Russian breeds like the Ovcharka.

The Blackies excelled at working at rail crossings, jails, and various military locations, including gulags.

When the gulags began to close in the 1950s, they had more canines than needed, so the Army began selling this breed to the general people.

Fanciers made a few alterations to the breeding, such as adding Newfoundlands for stability. The Soviet Army established the first breed standard for the Black Russian Terrier in 1958.

The Soviet Ministry of Agriculture officially recognized the Black Russian Terrier as a breed in 1981.

It did not take a lot of time for them to become one of the world’s most admired breeds due to their many good characteristics, including their huge size, capacity to protect house and family, excellent working abilities, courage, exquisite appearance, sociability, and love of children.

Between 1989 and 1990, Black Russian Terriers were imported into the United States. A Russian immigrant couple established one of the first American kennels to develop Black Russians in Mississippi.

In 2001, the AKC accepted the Black Russian Terrier into the Miscellaneous Class. On July 1, 2004, the breed was accepted into the AKC Working Group.

Breeders have labored overtime to eliminate the health difficulties and physical flaws that the breed was born with.

Now, the Blackie is a healthy and hearty breed that is only now known to legions of dog enthusiasts.

Where to Adopt Black Russian Terrier:

Purchasing a Black Russian terrier will most likely require some perseverance and patience. These dogs are still uncommon in the United States, with only a few litters born each year.

Prepare to be placed on a waiting list and to be questioned by a breeder about your abilities to care for such a courageous breed.

At the same time, make sure to conduct your homework on any breeder you’re thinking about hiring.

Examine the dog’s history thoroughly and request necessary health and temperament evaluations.

Look for a breeder who is primarily concerned with temperament breeding; you may even inquire whether any dogs in the lineage have been utilized in service or therapeutic work or have gotten ‘Canine Good Citizen’ certifications.

If you encompass skills and an interest in the breed, you should also look into BRT rescue organizations.

The BRT can develop negative traits and habits in the hands of an untrained or unsuitable owner, which may result in owner surrender.

Frequently, the behavior is the result of poor training or other factors beyond the dog’s control.

To properly address the situation and rehabilitate the dog, however, experience, patience, and a lot of love are required.

These are some organizations that can assist you get started:

  • Black Russian Terrier Club of America Rescue
  • Rescue Me—Black Russian Terriers
  • American Kennel Club Breeder Listing

More Dog Breeds and Further Research:

The Black Russian terrier has a lot to teach us. There’s a lot to admire about these unique working dogs, just like a priceless pearl.

Do your homework to see if this dog is a good fit for you, your experience, and your lifestyle.

Read what other canine owners have to say about working with a BRT, but also try to visit active kennels or meet the breed at a dog show.

Here are some more working breeds to look into:

Black Russian Terrier Fun Facts:

  1. This is a very new breed.
  2. They were military dogs for the Soviet Union.
  3. Their name is a misnomer.
  4. Seventeen breeds were used to cReate the BRT.
  5. Creating the breed was a challenge

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Are Black Russian Terriers uncommon?

The Black Russian Terrier, a relatively new and still rare dog breed, is a working dog that can protect a home or company, play with the family’s children, and thrive in agility and obedience competition. Blackies, also known as the “Black Pearls of Russia,” are people-oriented and prefer to be near to the activity at all times.

How intelligent are black Russian terriers?

The Black Russian Terrier is a dog breed that is calm, confident, fearless, and self-assured, yet it can also be stubborn and lethargic. He is quite clever and responds well to training. Originally, the Black Russian Terrier was meant to defend and protect.

Are Black Russian Terriers suitable as pets?

Black Russian Terriers are brave and self-assured, and they may be quite loving. However, this should not be your family’s first dog. They, like many other dogs, perform better when they are supervised by children. Strangers might make Black Russian Terriers suspicious.

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