Black Russian Terrier Dog Breed Information – All You Need to Know

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Black Russian Terrier Dog Breed Information All You Need To KnowThe Black Russian Terrier, created in the USSR in the late 1940s, is also known as the Chornyi Terrier (chornyi is Russian for black). Despite the name, this breed is not a true terrier; Black Russian Terriers are most likely a combination of more than seventeen breeds including the Airedale, Rottweiler, Newfoundland, and Giant Schnauzer. This breed was created in Red Star Kennel by the USSR government for use as a military/working dog. Now, these dogs can be seen providing services in fields of guarding, sporting, and companionship.

Originally recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2004, today the Black Russian Terrier is ranked number 118 in popularity of the 193 AKC-recognized breeds and categorized in the Working Group.


What characteristics define the Black Russian Terrier? Read on to discover what physical attributes and personality traits make the Black Russian Terrier such a unique breed.


Black Russian Terriers are easily identified by their gigantic, immensely powerful bodies, coarse black coat, and brick-shaped head. The black double-coat is long and consists of a soft undercoat and coarser overcoat that is neither wiry nor curly but has a slight to moderate wave. Longer hair on the head and face falls over the eyes and a mustache and beard adorn the muzzle. Black Russian Terriers are heavy-boned, with well-developed musculature and a deep chest. The American Kennel Club recognizes both Black and Salt & Pepper coat colors, though other unrecognized variations include Black & Tan, Blue, and Sable.

Black Russian Terriers tip the scales with weights between 80 and 140 lbs, with males ideally standing 27-30 inches high at the withers (top of the shoulder) and females between 26 and 29 inches high.


Due to its immense size, the character and temperament of a Black Russian Terrier are incredibly important. Though usually calm, confident and courageous, Black Russian Terriers can be stubborn, lazy, and intimidating to the wrong owner. The Black Russian Terrier was originally bred as a military and guard dog, so they are instinctively loyal and fiercely protective of their families, especially children.This breed needs large amounts of attention and guidance, otherwise, they will become withdrawn. Black Russian Terriers need to feel like they are part of the family; they will not thrive living in a backyard.

Black Russian Terriers are also wary and aloof of strangers in their personal space. Of paramount importance is the socialization of a young Black Russian Terrier. Exposure to as many people, places, and other animals as possible can only help create a more well-rounded individual. Black Russian Terriers can get along with other dogs in their household, but may not seek the company of outsiders.

Black Russian Terriers have a surprising life expectancy for their size of 10-12 years.


Understanding and maintaining a Black Russian Terrier’s particular needs will lead to a longer, healthier life for your dog and a more enjoyable partnership for both dog and owner. Read on to learn more about the nutrition, exercise, training, and health requirements of a thriving Black Russian Terrier to ascertain whether this is the right breed for you.


Black Russian Terriers thrive on high-quality dog food specially formulated for large breeds with high energy and exercise requirements. Whether commercial or manually prepared, diets should be appropriately tailored to an individual based on age (puppy, senior, etc) and activity level. Many dog foods have serving suggestions on their packaging, but monitoring food intake and body condition, as well as consulting with your veterinarian, are all simple ways to make sure your dog is receiving the nutrition he or she requires.


Black Russian Terriers require at least 30-60 minutes of high-energy exercise each day to maintain optimum health, whether its a brisk walk, long run or hike with a family member. Alternatively, they can enjoy fetching balls or disc toys in a backyard setting. Russian Black Terriers can excel in competitions in obedience, agility, rally, and Schutzhund (protection). This breed was bred to patrol large areas in Siberia, so they acclimate well to cold climates. A Black Russian Terrier that does not receive adequate attention and exercise may become aggressive or develop destructive tendencies. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog.


The Black Russian Terrier is a working dog. With the high-energy requirements characteristic of the breed as well as their extra-large size, training and socialization during puppyhood are absolutely essential. This powerful, willful breed is known to require a firm, dedicated owner, so consistent training and patience are key to successfully raising a well-behaved Black Russian Terrier. Puppy classes are a great way to start training and socializing a new puppy early on. At a minimum, your Black Russian Terrier should learn basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, and come. Training a Black Russian Terrier should never be punishment-based, only reward-based; this breed learns quickly, but only if treated with the correct respect and kindness they deserve.

Due to their strong familial ties, Black Russian Terriers left alone for long periods of time can resort to undesirable behaviors and aggression. Some of these behaviors can be mitigated by providing access to puzzles and interactive toys.


Although generally healthy, some Black Russian Terriers suffer from hip or elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and bloat. Hip and elbow dysplasia are both inherited joint conditions that may be assisted with the use of joint supplements. The easiest way to diagnose the problem is via a visit to the vet and x-rays.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy, or PRA, is a family of eye diseases that involve gradual deterioration of the retina. Many affected dogs adapt well to their limited vision.

Black Russian Terriers can also suffer from bloat, a common though life-threatening occurrence in most large, deep-chested dog breeds. Know the symptoms and causes of bloat to quickly identify the problem and seek medical attention.

This breed’s double coat needs regular maintenance to prevent matting. To keep the coat healthy, they should be brushed once or twice a week with a dog brush. Owners should familiarize themselves with how to maintain the Black Russian Terrier’s long facial hair or employ a professional groomer regularly.


Other breeds similar to the Black Russian Terrier include:

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