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Black Russian Terrier


Black Russian Terrier Facts

  • Group
  • Working
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 26" - 30" (66 - 76cm)
  • Weight
  • 80 - 150lbs (36.3 - 68kg)
  • Lifespan
  • 12 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • High - This breed requires vigorous daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Average Training Time
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Difficult
  • Colors
    • Black
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

The Black Russian Terrier is also known as Blackie, Russkji Tchornji Terrier, or Chornyi Terrier.


The Black Russian Terrier breed was developed at the Red Star Army Kennels in Russia.

Date Of Origin

The Black Russian Terrier began development in 1930, but by 1956, the bloodlines had stabilized and the Red Star Kennel released dogs to private breeders.


During the 1930's the military kennel named Red Star (Moscow) started working on a native breed that would be part of the national security force. After dealing with dwindling numbers of purebred dogs due to war and economic recessions, the breeding program at Red Star came to life after World War II, when quality Giant Schnauzer and Rottweiler dogs were brought into Russia.

Red Star Kennel designed the Black Russian Terrier using selective breeding using Giant Schnauzer, Rottweiler, Airedale, Newfoundland, the now extinct Moscow Water Dog, and more breeds.The breeding stock was largely imported from the occupied countries, especially East Germany. A total of 17 breeds were used in the development of the modern Black Russian Terrier.

The early Black Russian Terrier was bred for working ability and trainability, rather than appearance, and early examples only resembled today's Black Russian Terrier in their build and coat type. Early dogs were bred solely by the state owned Red Star Kennel until 1957, when the bloodlines stabilized and the dogs were released to private breeders. Private breeders began to breed for looks (as the original was rather plain) with the goal of retaining working ability.

The Black Russian Terrier was recognized by the Russian Ministry of Agriculture in May of 1981, and internationally by the FCI in May of 1984.

The Black Russian Terrier was recognized by the UKC in 1995 and by the AKC in 2004.


The Black Russian Terrier is a powerful, large-size, muscular dog that is only slightly longer than it is tall. The head is long with a flat skull and a powerful, wedge shaped muzzle with a black nose. The eyes are small and dark, and the drop ears are short and triangular. The chest is deep. The double coat ranges from 1.5" to 4" in length and covers the entire body. There is a dense undercoat and wiry short or medium length outer coat. Short hair dogs have straight hair while medium haired dogs have wiry hair with a beard, eyebrows, and mustache.


The Black Russian terrier is an alert and energetic dog that is affectionate and gentle with family but protective of its property and wary with strangers. The Black Russian Terrier requires human contact and is not a dog to be left outside. They crave the company of their family and make very loyal companions.

Stable, highly trainable and adaptable, Black Russian Terriers are capable of being trained to a wide variety of tasks. Obedience training and early and continued socialization are required in order to keep the breed from becoming overly protective. Due to their intelligence, the Black Russian Terriers excel in obedience, agility, and other working dog sports.

The Black Russian Terriers require moderate daily exercise such as walking, running, or training in agility sports. Without sufficient exercise, the breed may destroy household items as an outlet of their energy.

The Black Russian Terrier may not be good with other dogs, especially those of the same gender.


The Black Russian Terrier were initially used by the military police at border crossings, prisons, and military installations. Currently, the breed is most commonly found as an aid to police officers, a general purpose working dog, and as a family guard and companion.

Health Concerns

Possible health concerns for the Black Russian Terrier include eye problems and hip and elbow dysplasia.

Additional Information

The Black Russian Terrier breed requires a dog-experienced owner, but is adaptable to city, suburban, or rural life as long as he is provided with ample exercise.

Although the Black Russian Terrier is a good family dog, care should be taken when interacting with younger children due to the physical size of the breed and the chance for unintentional injuries.

Grooming for the Black Russian Terrier includes daily brushing and professional grooming every 4 - 6 weeks. The cost to groom a dog of this size may exceed $100 per visit, and should be considered before purchasing the breed. The beard is often wet from drool and after drinking and may need drying, combing, or cleaning.

Show Sources & Contributors +



Publisher: WikiMedia Foundation, On Going

Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

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