Black Russian Terrier (Russkiy Tchiorny Terrier)

Country of origin:
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
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black, black with insignificant intermingling gray hair
very large
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Good with kids:
Pros Cons

  • devoted and affectionate

  • smart

  • brave guardian and vigilant watcher

  • gentle with children

  • suspicious to strangers

  • special grooming needs

  • for an experienced owner


The Black Russian Terrier (Russkiy Tchiorny Terrier) is a large, robust and handsome guarding dog native to Russia. This relatively newly invented breed is nothing like a true terrier in temperament and has all vital qualities to become an outstanding family companion. Thus far it hasn’t attained much recognition outside its native country and can be ascribed to relatively rare canine varieties.


The Black Russian Terrier was developed in the 50s of the XX century as an answer to the need for a military dog, which would satisfy strict requirements of the Russian military force. The army wanted a large canine that could be able to carry out both guarding and watching duties. It was essential for the breed to be ferocious but still controllable as it was intended to work in prison camps and military installations. Moreover it would need to be resistible to hostile and unstable Russian climate. The implementation of such a large scale breeding project was entrusted to the Central Military School of Working Dogs, better known as the «Red Star» kennel.

Shortly afterwards assiduous work and professionalism of the «Red Star» kennel’ employees led to invention of this remarkable breed, namely the Black Russian Terrier. It’s a common knowledge that lots of breeds contributed to its development but there were several most influential canine varieties. The Giant Schnauzer granted the breed with weather-proof coat as well as with excellent trainability and keen intelligence. The Airedale Terrier was chosen for inclusion in the breeding program for its confident and undaunted disposition. The breed owes its strong protective drive and tenacity to the Rottweiler. Since the first generation of these dogs was characterised with certain physical and character defects breeding experiments were actively conducted in the «Red Star» kennel from 1957 to 1979.

In 1957 Soviet rule abolished the status of the Black Russian Terrier as a strictly military breed, which made it available to private breeders. Gradually quite a few separate lines were produced and two unique types appeared within the breed. Nonetheless they differed only in the length of their coat and were rather uniform in working abilities and other aspects of conformation. The breed’s development was officially completed with the approval of its standard by the «Red Star» kennel in 1979. Four years later it was also recognised by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI).

Although the Black Russian Terrier is relatively well-established in the United States it remains an unpopular and rare canine variety there. The American Kennel Club (AKC) began to register its specimens since 2001. Currently most of these dogs still serve as intrepid guardians and many of them happily combine this role with the responsibilities of a pleasant family pet.


The Black Russian Terrier is primarily valued for its incredibly powerful protective instinct as well as for its steadfast and even temperament. Thanks to the latter it’s quite possible to keep this dog in a family environment. The other distinctive characteristic of this breed, which is credited to its background as a canine soldier is its unflagging loyalty to its masters. Actually the breed does poorly as a kennel or yard dog as it needs to be actively integrated into the life of its human pack. Despite its large size and seemingly fierce nature the Black Russian Terrier is prone to be extremely gentle with children and humbly accepts a great deal of abuse from them. Of course early socialisation is a crucial requirement if you want to introduce this dog into the household with kids.

The Black Russian Terrier is notable for inherent distrust of strangers although immediate human aggression is rather untypical for this breed. This fearless dog adopts to the role of a home guardian very naturally and excels in it. It will readily sacrifice its life for its special people but its guarding tactic tends to be defensive rather than offensive. It will always alarm its masters with its loud bark if it notices something threatening in its surroundings. This implies that this dog also makes a very dependable watcher.

In general a well-socialised specimen of the Black Russian Terrier is amicable with other canines. It’s no wonder that such powerful and self-assured dog has dominant streak and it’s quite ready to unleash a conflict to prove its superior position to a strange canine. So make sure to release your pet to run and play freely only in a securely enclosed area. As a cross of guarding and hunting breeds this dog possesses prey drive of an average intensity. In most cases it won’t harass familiar pets (including home cats) especially if it gets to know them since its puppyhood.

Health Problems

· canine hip dysplasia;

· elbow dysplasia;

· hyperuricurosia;

· allergies;

· bloat;

· dwarfism.


The Black Russian Terrier needs relatively moderate amount of grooming. This dog has thick and rather long hair, which should be carefully brushed couple times a week to stay clean and neat. It’s recommended to apply a coat conditioner, which can greatly facilitate the brushing procedure. It’s also necessary to trim or strip the coat of this dog twice or three times a year. If you plan to show you pet you may want to have it professionally groomed in order to achieve more sophisticated hairstyle.

The rest care is reduced to such routines as periodic nail trimming and weekly teeth brushing. The dog’s ears should be checked on a regular basis and cleaned as needed. The Black Russian Terrier sheds averagely.


The Black Russian Terrier is a clever and docile dog with a well-developed ability to focus on a given task. There is virtually no limitation as to what it can learn when trained by a persistent and patient person. With its retentive memory it’s capable of performing even sequences of difficult commands. At the same time its successful training is possible only if the dog admits the authority of the handler and respects him as a pack leader.

This breed will never put up with harsh treatment and will turn into a violent and unmanageable beast if handled unfairly. Motivate your pet with delicious treats and verbal encouragement and it will become a quick and willing learner.


The Black Russian Terrier is a busy and amiable breed with average need for exercises. At the very least it should be taken on a half-an-hour walk each and every day but it would definitely greet any opportunity to spend time off-leash in a securely fenced area.

Be mindful though that this dog absolutely craves for company of its favourite people and should be included in their outdoor activities. Walks, jogs and playing fetch with the Black Russian Terrier will provide it with necessary outlet for its excessive energy. It’s very likely that an unexercised dog will express its disappointment with life in destructive actions and wilful behaviour.