Russian Black Terrier

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Life span

11 Years


68 Kg


Working Dogs

Russian Black Terrier Overview

The Russian Black Terrier is a large and imposing working breed with an above-average size and massive bones. It has an almost square appearance and is covered by harsh and thick coat, well furnished on the head and limbs. It features a moderately broad skull with slightly pronounced eyebrows. The muzzle slightly tapers towards the tip and sports whiskers and beard which gives the square-off shape of the muzzle. Tight fitting black lips, large black nose, and medium, oval dark eyes complete the facial features. The highly set ears are pendant and triangular in shape. It has strong jaws with complete scissor bite and a reasonably long and muscular neck that proudly supports the medium head. Straight and parallel frontlegs and equally muscular and well developed thighs help support the deep chested and moderately tucked-up body. The legs are cushioned to the ground by large, rounded and well-arched feet with thick pads. The highly set tail is customarily docked to three or four joints depending on the proportions of the dog. The weatherproof coat has a dense undercoat and comes in black or black with grey hairs.

Russian Black Terrier Characteristics

Size InformationIntelligence
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Size InformationExercise Needs
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Size InformationDogs Health
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Size InformationChild Friendly
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Size InformationApartment
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Size InformationShedding
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Size InformationGrooming Needs
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Size InformationBarking
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Size InformationAlone
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Size InformationTrainability
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Size InformationEnergy Levels
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Size InformationDog friendly
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History & Origin

The Black Russian Terrier was developed in the former USSR as a result of a need for military working dogs during the 1940s. The breed is a mix of Airedale Terrier, Caucasian Ovcharka, Rottweiler, Newfoundland, Giant and Standard Schnauzers and the Moscow Water dog (now an extinct breed). Most of these dogs were largely imported from the occupied countries, especially the former East Germany. It was developed greatly for its working ability rather than appearance and was exclusively bred by the state owned Red Star Kennel until 1957 after some puppies were sold to breeders who were not associated with the military. The breed eventually had some improvement in looks while still retaining its working ability. Among the impressive abilities of the Black Russian Terrier include explosives and mine detection, border guard patrol, transporting supplies and sledge-pulling, and search and rescue operations. It has also used in a military role during the conflicts in Bosnia and Afghanistan.

Russian Black Terrier Temperament

The Black Russian Terrier is very intelligent, brave and loyal. It is not a shy breed and will not think twice in defending its human family if they are threatened. It is typically reserved of strangers which makes it an excellent guard dog. Although it is a very bright dog, the Black Russian Terrier has a tendency to be very independent and stubborn but is quite easy to housetrain. This playful breed takes a couple of years before reaching full maturity, mentally speaking. It is not prone to excessive barking and will only bark when it feels necessary to do so.

Russian Black Terrier Training

The Black Russian Terrier requires an owner that is used to raising a dog similar to the stubbornness and independent attitude of the breed. It is not typically recommended for a novice pet owner as this working dog will exploit any owner who has failed to establish clear dominance. Training should be firm and consistent with a gentle touch. Obedience training and socialization at an early age is very important in order to raise a breed with good social values.


The coat of this low-shedding breed requires moderate grooming; weekly brushing is required and professional grooming is suggested every one and a half months.


The Black Russian Terrier is generally a healthy breed and a long-lived dog for its size, with a lifespan of 10 to 14 years. A major medical concern typical of any large dog breed is canine hip dysplasia, which can cause painful arthritis of the hips. Minor problems include elbow dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy or PRA which causes progressive vision loss that culminates in blindness.

Russian Black Terrier Exercise Needs

Daily mental and physical stimulation such as long walks is required to keep the breed in excellent condition and prevent hyperactivity and boredom from setting in. Most will enjoy playing in the snow or water if given the chance. It will do fine in an apartment dwelling as long as it is given the proper amount of exercise and interaction with humans and other pets. This breed is fairly inactive indoors and will do best in a house with a secured yard.

Children and other pets

It is a very dominant breed and may need to be socialized at an early age to be able to live well with other dogs and household animals. On the other hand, it is very gentle with children whom it enjoys playing with.

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