Russian Black Terrier

Russian Black Terrier
Russian Black Terrier pictures
Russian Black Terrier suitability

In my own words


Some people think that I’m a bit of a funny looking dog, what with my abundant facial hair and dishevelled coat. Personally, I think that my moustache is rather handsome. At the very least it makes me stand out from the crowd. Strong and athletic, I’m a proud breed and come from the very top ranks of the former USSR. While I make a great police or working dog, I’m also totally at home just being a part of the family. I’m very protective and loving with children and equally at ease with adults. I’m also very adaptable and can live in the city or country, house or apartment. I do need lots of exercise, so please don’t take me on unless you’re prepared to get physical and take me walking regularly. I adore my family, especially when they shower me with love and affection, and will make a very devoted pet.


My ideal owner(s)


People who like long walks


Active singles


Families with older children


Outdoorsy types


What they say about me






Please read on, to find out more about me, and whether I will be someone you can be happy with for the next 12 years, or even longer!


Is this Russian Black Terrier for you?

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Information essential about the Russian Black Terrier


Kennel Club Group:



Large: Weight Male 110-160 lb (50-73 kg) Female 80-120 lbs (36-54 kg) Height Male 26-30”  (66-76 cm) Female 25.5-28” (65-71 cm)




The popularity of the Black Russian Terrier has spread beyond the former USSR to USA and UK.


Breed History:


Black Russian Terrier is derived from a mix of Giant Schnauzers, Rottweilers, Newfoundlands and Airedale Terriers. The breeding stock was largely imported from USSR occupied countries, especially East Germany. Bred to be a dependable and robust, the breed has since made its way out of Russia to Siberia, Nova Scotia, the United States and beyond. The Russian Black Terrier was originally bred solely by the state owned Red Star Kennel. These dogs were bred for working ability rather than appearance and resembled today's Black Russian Terrier in their build and coat type, until 1957 when puppies began being sold to civilian breeders. These breeders began to breed for looks while still retaining the dogs renowned working ability.


Despite what its name suggests, the Black Russian Terrier is not a true terrier. Rather, it is believed that roughly twenty breeds were used in its development, including the Airedale, the Giant Schnauzer, the Rottweiler, the Newfoundland, the Caucasian Ovtcharka and the now extinct Moscow Water Dog. The Black Russian Terrier is still relatively rare outside the countries of the former Soviet Union but beginning to be formally recognized elsewhere. The breed was recognized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale  in 1984 and on July 1, 2004, it was recognized by the American Kennel Club in the Working Group.




Black Russian Terrier is a watchful, inquisitive and adaptable dog. It loves to be with its family and is naturally protective and loving with children. Due to its robust form and boundless energy it will make the perfect playmate. It should be noted that your companion does require a lot of affection and attention and will rarely stray far from you. A highly adaptable breed, the Black Russian Terrier is suited to apartment living despite its size, as it loves to relax indoors. This being said, it is integral that it receives sufficient exercise and needs several daily walks. It also loves the outdoors, so if you can arrange to take your dog out to a protected area, it will truly have a ball. This breed will do well in urban, suburban or country setting providing that it gets a reasonable amount of exercise. A working dog by nature, the Black Russian Terrier may become hyperactive and destructive if it does not have a chance to burn off its energy. It is happiest when doing some form of work whether it is playing games, agility, obedience or protection. As well as being intelligent and highly trainable, the Black Russian Terrier is easily adaptable to different climatic conditions and owners life-style,




The Black Russian Terrier is a very energetic breed that will delight in joining you whether you go fishing, swimming, biking or hiking. They are happiest with an owner who will keep them busy and can give them plenty of jobs to do. Originally bred as a working dog, the Black Russian Terrier has retained a strong work ethic, and will bore easily if not kept active and faced with new challenges. While they have a stable temperament, they are very lively and defensive and will spring to action if they feel that their family is being threatened. Endlessly loyal and courageous, this breed is very loving with children and other animals, provided that proper socialisation has taken place. The Black Russian Terrier thrives on human companionship and bonds deeply to its family. Their balanced temperament and high intelligence ensures that they take well to training and are affable and obedient. Confident and brave, Black Russian Terriers are wonderful companions and a loyal family member.





Black Russian Terriers have large, sturdy frames that are covered in thick black coats. They should give the impression of great strength, athleticism and courage. Black Russians have broad, powerful heads, oval-shaped eyes, bearded muzzles and big, black noses. Their small, V-shaped ears hang close to the cheek. They should have strong necks, deep chests, sturdy backs and thick tails that are usually docked and carried high. Black Russian Terrier males should be noticeably more masculine than the females. While athletic and powerful, Black Russian Terriers are slightly dishevelled in appearance and should not look as though their coats are sculpted or trimmed. Their hair is rough, ample and extremely dense, with a well-developed undercoat. The overcoat should measure between 2-6 inches (5-15 cm) in length. The rough coat covers the forelegs and hind legs, forming a mane on the neck and the withers. This distinctive coat forms a rough, bushy moustache on the upper lip and a beard on the lower lip. The beard and eyebrows on the face and the slight mane around the withers and neck are more pronounced in males.




The Black Russian Terrier is black with some grey hair




Training is easy with the Black Russian Terrier, as it is an intelligent breed that rates higher than average in learning speed and problem solving skills. However, training must be commenced at an early age, as the dog will exploit any owner who has failed to establish clear dominance. They are very responsive to firm, consistent training, and excel at obedience competitions and other dog sports.




The Black Russian Terrier has a wiry coat that needs to be brushed several times a week and clipped by a professional several times a year. The ears, nails and teeth will require sufficient attention.



Black Russian Terrier can live as long as 12 years with relatively few genetic health problems. However, if your Black Russian Terrier does achieve a good old age, the normal complaints that we all suffer from, such as arthritis and failing eyesight may begin to develop. While they are rare, potential health problems include progressive retinal atrophy and dwarfism. Hip and elbow dysplasia can also occur, and it is a good idea to get your puppy hip and elbow scored if you are thinking of breeding later on. This is why it is so important to screen any potential breeders as well as their breeding stock. A well-intended breeder will have all health checks on all breeding stock before making the decision to breed their dogs. If you are careful who you buy from, your Black Russian Terrier should give you many years of good health, fun and loving companionship.



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Advice on choosing your breed »

Find an animal shelter or rescue home where a Russian Black Terrier is waiting for a new home »


The following grid gives a fast track review which covers all breeds. You can apply it to help you decide if a Black Russian Terrier is suitable for you, the environment where you live, your personality and your lifestyle. On the grid, 1= strongly disagree, and 5= strongly agree. For example, if you are looking for a dog that likes to swim, look down the list under Activities, and you will see that Black Russian Terriers love water and are strong swimmers, scoring 5. If you want a playful companion, look down the same list, and you will see that Black Russian Terriers love to learn new tricks, and score 5. You might like to save or print off this section and keep it for reference while you check some other breeds before making your final choice.



Be the first to rate this breed »

Noahs Breed Rating | Community Breed Rating

Good jogging companion5/5
Good walking companion5/5
Likes water/swimming5/5
Likes learning new tricks5/5
Likes to hunt2/5
Likes to fetch2/5
Good gundog/retriever2/5
Barks a lot2/5
Gets easily jealous1/5
Friendly with strangers5/5
Expensive to insure1/5
Expensive to feed1/5
Happy to sleep outside1/5
Prefers countryside5/5
Suits urban environment5/5
Prefers temperate climate3/5
Prefers hot climate3/5
Prefers cold climate3/5
Moults a lot3/5
Requires lots of grooming3/5
Role and Suitability
Ideal for elderly3/5
Ideal for singles5/5
Ideal for couples with no children5/5
Ideal for family with children5/5
Good watch dog4/5
Good guard dog4/5
Good with other pets5/5
Good with other dogs5/5
Time and Energy
Happy being left alone for 4hrs1/5
Happy being left alone for 2hrs2/5
Requires lots of exercise5/5
Training and Obedience
Good for first time owners5/5
Good for experienced owners5/5
Good recall5/5
Easy to train5/5
Good jogging companion0/5
Good walking companion0/5
Likes water/swimming0/5
Likes learning new tricks0/5
Likes to hunt0/5
Likes to fetch0/5
Good gundog/retriever0/5
Barks a lot0/5
Gets easily jealous0/5
Friendly with strangers0/5
Expensive to insure0/5
Expensive to feed0/5
Happy to sleep outside0/5
Prefers countryside0/5
Suits urban environment0/5
Prefers temperate climate0/5
Prefers hot climate0/5
Prefers cold climate0/5
Moults a lot0/5
Requires lots of grooming0/5
Role and Suitability
Ideal for elderly0/5
Ideal for singles0/5
Ideal for couples with no children0/5
Ideal for family with children0/5
Good watch dog0/5
Good guard dog0/5
Good with other pets0/5
Good with other dogs0/5
Time and Energy
Happy being left alone for 4hrs0/5
Happy being left alone for 2hrs0/5
Requires lots of exercise0/5
Training and Obedience
Good for first time owners0/5
Good for experienced owners0/5
Good recall0/5
Easy to train0/5

*PLEASE NOTE: All our breed profiles are general, and all dogs are individuals. Always talk to the breeders and meet the owners you are buying from. Try to meet the dog and its parents if it is a puppy in their home environment.

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