Getting To Know You – Black Russian Terrier

The Black Russian Terrier Club of America describes the breed as “a calm, confident, and courageous dog with a self-assurance which sometimes is rather aloof towards strangers.  They are highly intelligent and extremely reliable.  They were bred to guard and protect. BRTs require human contact and are not dogs to be left alone.  They want to be close to family members at all times and are very loyal companions.  Obedience training and early and continued socialization are required in order to keep members of this breed from becoming overly protective.  Because of their intelligence, they excel in Obedience and Agility competition, and other working dog sports.”  They are brave and observant.  As puppies, they are sensitive, adaptive and playful.  They love to learn and do so quickly, but they can have a stubborn streak.  As with other intelligent breeds, they are very inquisitive and will get into anything and everything. The strong instinct to protect generally appears as the dog matures, and it will become suspicious of strangers.  They tend to only bark when necessary, but are quick to act if needed to protect their people and home.

BRTs are large dogs.  Males are between 27 to 30 inches, while females range between 26 to 29 inches.  They weigh anywhere from 80 to 145 pounds.  These working dogs are large-boned and have very well developed muscles.  Their body should give an immediate impression of strength.  As the name implies, Black Russian Terriers come in one color only, black.  Their waterproof coat is somewhat coarse and they need regular grooming, in the form of weekly brushing.  Stripping and trimming are also necessary as they do shed, though not too much.  Despite their many wonderful qualities, one must keep in mind that this powerful breed was bred to guard and protect.  As such, it is not a good choice for inexperienced dog owners.

Known as the Black Pearl of Russia, the Black Russian Terrier was developed in the 1930s by Soviet Army scientists, at a secret location near Moscow.  These scientists wanted to create a super-breed for the Russian army.  They used many different breeds to develop the breed, among them were Rottweilers, Newfoundlands, Giant Schnauzers, Russian Water Dogs, and Airedale Terriers.  Their goal was to produce a well-rounded, energetic, robust breed who was always ready to work.  An all-around breed that was able to withstand different climates.  This breed was initially used by the military police at military installations, border crossings, and remote prisons. 

As with all breeds, there are certain health issues you should be aware of before adding a Black Russian Terrier to your family.  Some things to be vigilant for are allergies, hip and elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy,  cancer and Juvenile Laryngeal Paralysis & Polyneuropathy (JLPP).  It’s important to get guidance anytime you plan to add any dog to your family.  For more information on this lovely breed go to the Black Russian Terrier Club of America at