Home Dogs Black Russian Terrier Dog breed – Origin, Characteristic, Personality, Care

Black Russian Terrier Dog breed – Origin, Characteristic, Personality, Care

Known as the “Black Pearl of Russia” or Blackie, the Black Russian Terrier (BRT) is the result of crossbreeding nearly 20 different dog breeds and is a breed designed for leadership.

Large, majestic, and extremely rare are terms used to describe this dog!

Origin of the Black Russian Terrier

In the 1940s and 1950s, the Red Star Military Kennel Club began breeding dogs to meet military needs. Top breeding experts from the Soviet Union participated in a program to develop a new breed suitable for special tasks. The breeding process involved about 17 different dog breeds, including Giant Schnauzers, Rottweilers, Airedales, Newfoundlands, Caucasian Shepherd Dogs, and many others, resulting in the magnificent Black Russian Terrier – a large, powerful, intelligent, calm, and well-suited breed for the Russian climate.

The Black Russian Terrier was then introduced to serve the Soviet Army and was officially declared a breed by the Soviet Ministry of Agriculture in 1981. Around 1989-1990, this breed began to make its way to the United States through Russian immigrants. In 1997, the Black Russian Terrier Club of America was established. In 2004, the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the Black Russian Terrier and placed it in the Working Group rather than the Terrier Group.

Physical Characteristics of the Black Russian Terrier

The Black Russian Terrier is a giant breed, with an average height of 68-76 cm and a weight of about 45-60 kg. Males are typically much larger than females.

Black Russian Terrier.
Black Russian Terrier.

Their head is relatively large compared to the body. They have medium-sized almond-shaped eyes, dark in color, and set somewhat apart. Their medium-sized triangular ears lie close to their head and fold over at the midpoint of the cheeks. The mouth is broad and tapers towards the nose, with a thick, dark, fleshy upper lip that creates a square appearance. The nose is large and black. Their lips are thick, fleshy, and glossy. They have large teeth, with the front incisors forming a straight line at the base, creating a precise scissor bite.

The Black Russian Terrier has a balanced and beautiful physique: an oval chest, deep and well-sprung ribs, and broad shoulders. They have large, muscular, and gently sloping hindquarters (5-10 degrees). Their tail is thick, usually carried at a 45-degree angle above the back. Their abdomen is lean and firm.

These dogs have a powerful and sturdy gait, with straight, parallel legs when viewed from the front. Their feet are round, large, and covered in dense fur, with shiny black nails.

Their entire body is covered in long black fur, ranging from 4-15 cm, with a slight wave, and consists of two layers: an outer layer that is waterproof and an inner layer that is soft and dense. They also have long tufts of fur on the head that nearly cover the entire face, along with a distinctive beard that adds to their charming appearance.

Personality Traits of the Black Russian Terrier

Black Russian Terriers are calm, confident, and courageous. They are primarily used for protecting their families, homes, and their owner’s property. When encountering strangers, they are cautious and reserved, barking only when necessary.

Due to their high intelligence, training these dogs is relatively easy. However, they also have an independent nature, both in thought and task execution. Therefore, training should be carried out with fairness, gentleness, and consistency. These dogs desire respect and trust from their owners. It’s important to start their training from a young age so they can interact regularly with family members and other pets, as this helps them develop strong bonds within the family and exhibit good behavior towards other house pets. They are particularly fond of children and will diligently protect their family members.

Health Issues of the Black Russian Terrier

Black Russian Terriers have a relatively long lifespan, ranging from 10 to 14 years, and generally enjoy good health. However, they can be prone to a few health conditions, including hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, allergies, and progressive retinal atrophy. If you notice any unusual signs or symptoms in your dog, it’s essential to take them to a veterinarian for an examination promptly.

Caring for the Black Russian Terrier

Living Conditions

Black Russian Terriers can adapt to both large and small living spaces. They will be comfortable in an apartment with a spacious yard and secure fencing. These dogs are highly energetic, requiring daily walks, runs, playtime, frisbee games, cycling, swimming, or other physical activities for at least 30 minutes daily.

For dogs under 18 months of age, it’s best not to over-exercise them, as it can affect their developing skeletal and joint systems, potentially leading to joint issues in the future.

Black Russian Terriers are very affectionate and tend to follow their owners around. They enjoy being near their owners, so avoid confining them unless necessary. They should have access to a cool and clean living space.


Provide high-quality dog food for your Black Russian Terrier. It’s best to consult a veterinarian to determine the most suitable diet for your pet. Some dogs are prone to overeating, so monitoring their calorie consumption and weight is important. Make sure they have access to clean water at all times.


Regularly brush their teeth at least 2-3 times weekly to keep them clean and white. While they don’t shed much, regular grooming of their fur and beard can help reduce future shedding. They should be bathed periodically and trim their coat twice a year to maintain their appearance.

Check their ears weekly for signs of infection. Keep their nails trimmed every 1-2 months to prevent injury and damage to household items.

Black Russian Terrier Price

Black Russian Terriers are not common worldwide and are considered quite rare. The price of a Black Russian Terrier puppy typically starts at over $2,800 (not including taxes and fees) for imported puppies from the United States with all the necessary certifications from the AKC.

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