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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Black Russian Terrier

Black Russian Terrier

Origin: Russia

AKC Group: Working

Height: 26 inches (Male)

Weight: 80 pounds (Male)

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Male height: 
26 inches
Male weight: 
80 pounds
Double coat with hard, rough, ample, broken outercoat and thick, soft undercoat; rough, brushy mustache and beard.
Black, black with gray hairs.

In the 1930s, Red Star Kennel (a military kennel located outside of Moscow) began to create a large working terrier to be part of the national security force. Finding purebred stock was not easy at the time, as the Russian Revolution had decimated much of the breeding stock. The two World Wars also delayed the breeding program, but after World War II, Red Star Kennel was able to import quality dogs to help with the creation of the new breed. Giant Schnauzers were crossed with Airedale Terriers, Rottweilers and other working breeds to create the Black Russian Terrier ("BRT"). Black Russian Terriers were used by the military police exclusively until 1956, when they were released to private breeders. The Red Army created the first breed standard for the Black Russian Terrier, which was revised several times until accepted by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in 1984. The BRT is still an all-purpose working and protection dog who can withstand the variety of environments found in Russia.

BRTs have a strong protective instinct but a balanced temperament. They are calm, confident and loyal and can be aloof with strangers. This is a highly intelligent breed - sensitive and enthusiastic. They thrive on contact with their human family and do not function well without it. Thorough obedience training and socialization are essential with this breed.
At home: 
BRTs are versatile and can do surprisingly well in a small space for such a large dog, provided they are given proper exercise. They must be with their family - this is not a breed that can be relegated to the backyard. A fenced-in yard is a necessity for this large, protective dog. They will be territorial of what they consider "their" property, so you must be in control of your dog at all times. (This is why obedience training is a must.) BRTs love the cold but do not usually enjoy the heat.
This large, athletic dog needs several daily jaunts to stay in shape. He is playful and boisterous outdoors, particularly loving the snow. He tends to be calmer inside the home and is happy moving from room to room with his family to keep them in sight.
The large BRT needs a high-quality food - and a lot of it.
Although the BRT looks large and imposing, this is a very smart and sensitive breed, and his training must be undertaken with a loving but firm hand. Obedience training and early socialization are necessary to help curb any overly protective instincts.
BRTs love children and are amenable to most other animals as long as they are socialized to them from an early age. They may be aggressive with other dogs if not introduced properly or well socialized.
The average life span of the Black Russian Terrier is 10 to 12 years. Breed health concerns may include bloat and hip dysplasia.
Fun fact: 

A total of 17 breeds went into making the large, agile, tough and weather-resistant Black Russian Terrier.

Grooming blurb: 
The Black Russian Terrier has a distinctive mop of hair over his eyes and under his chin (the beard); the hair there needs to be combed so that it doesn't tangle, but it should never be cut. The coarse fur on his body is typically hand-stripped (like that of most terriers), and professional grooming is advised to keep him looking his best.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.