Let's talk Black Russian Terriers

Regal and staunchly steadfast, the Black Russian Terrier stands head and shoulders (literally) above fellow canines when it comes to strength and stature, and they’re pretty smart, too. Measuring an average 30 inches (76cm) at the shoulder, this breed can be imposing. Their calm, protective manner however makes them a superb dog to welcome to the family - preferably one with lots of land as the Black Russian Terrier was bred as a watchdog. Courage is a given for this lovely, loyal breed.

Official name: Black Russian Terrier

Other names: BRT, Russian Black Terrier, Tchiornyi Terrier, Chornyi, Russian Bear Schnauzer

Origins: Russia

 Drooling tendencies


Warm weather? Medium
 Shedding level Very low
Suited to apartment living?  Low
 Energy Level (high, low, medium)* High Family Pet?* 
 Compatibility with other pets Low
Can stay alone?* Very low

 * We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.
For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs.
Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.
Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.
All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company.  However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age.  Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

64 - 70 cm Height
36 - 50 kg Weight
66 - 72 cm Height
36 - 50 kg Weight

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 8 months
 Adult age 8 months to 2 years
 Mature age  2 to 5 years
 Senior age  from 5 years


Get to know the Black Russian Terrier

All you need to know about the breed

It’s impossible not to notice the Black Russian Terrier. One of the giant breeds, they possess lion-like paws and substantial limbs that move this dog swiftly across terrain and a flowing coat that kept them the top choice as a watchdog for the Russian Army. They’re nicknamed the “Black Pearl of Russia.”

Very high intelligence and a quiet reserve are just the starting points for this great dog, never mind their hulking musculature. The Black Russian Terrier temperament is upbeat and they thrive on being around people, but he was bred to be a working canine so is by nature a serious sort. Give him a job and you will have one pleased dog.

Their rich ebony fur is topped by a square-shaped head and a naturally confident gaze. The breed is inclined to be calm but can at times be standoffish with those he doesn’t know. Getting your Black Russian Terrier puppy used to friends and family of all sorts will help them expand their world.


2 facts about Black Russian Terriers

1. Super smart

A superior intellect is among the Black Russian Terrier’s best attributes. This is one very very smart dog. They learn fast, thus are a pleasure to train, but make sure to do so early or the Black Russian Terrier’s obstinate streak will settle in and he may be hard to manage.

2. Terrier, Not a Terrier

The Black Russian Terrier is, in fact, not a terrier at all. Bred in Russia from a combination of a few breeds, including the Giant Schnauzer, Airedale, Rottweiler, and even Great Dane, the dog only resembles a Terrier with their bearded appearance. The American Kennel Club places the dog in the Working Group, not in the Terrier Group.


History of the breed

In the Cold War years of the Twentieth Century, the U.S.S.R. was cementing its place in the world and needed a hardy breed to demonstrate its might. Soviet Army scientists started to develop a dog for the Red Army at the Red Star Kennel, striving for one that could patrol borders and catch criminals. They also needed to handle harsh winters - and to stay warm in a very frigid clime.

The scientists crossed some 17 breeds to come up with the Black Russian Terrier, including Airedales, Giant Schnauzers, Rottweilers, and Great Danes. Newfoundlands were then added and the first breed standard was written by the Soviet Army in 1958.

The dog obtained breed status from the Soviet Ministry of Agriculture in 1981. The AKC recognised the Black Russian Terrier as part of the Miscellaneous Class in 2001, adding them to the Working Group in 2004.


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Black Russian Terriers


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Black Russian Terrier

Me? Moult?

Along with their many other superb traits, the Black Russian Terrier does not moult, so sheds very, very little. Moulting is a twice-yearly process - usually taking place in the spring and the fall - wherein the dog sheds their fur, making way for a new fresh coat to grow in. Their long lustrous coat still needs to be brushed frequently to keep it in top shape and to keep its jet-black tone shining through.

A vital life

The Black Russian Terrier has a generally healthy constitution but can be prone to cataracts or progressive retinal atrophy, both diseases of the eye common to many breeds. A proper screening from your vet will rule out any issues. As with all large breeds - especially working ones - regular tests for hip and elbow dysplasia, the joint issue that can arise with an active dog of this size,  should be performed. The main health problem for Black Russian Terriers:  simply their size. They’re very big and will start presenting signs of arthritis from around 5 years of age. Keeping them slim is very important, to limit the weight and workload on joints, and well-exercised, to maintain good muscle mass as muscles hold the joints together.


Caring for your Black Russian Terrier

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Ah, the long coat -a sight to behold. But then the grooming begins. The Black Russian Terrierhas a double coat -a coarse outer coat with a softer undercoat -that will need frequent brushing, at least a few times a week. As a very active dog who may be spending a good deal of time outside, be sure to check for debris under their long hair. Keeping their nails trimmed and their teeth cleaned is very important as well. This dog was bred as a watchdog, one who was accustomed to patrolling borders, so the Black Russian Terrier will need lots of exercise-at least two good walks a day if they are a suburban resident; if a country dweller, they are lucky to be able to roam and stretch their large limbs.Training is a breeze for the Black Russian Terrier breedas they desire nothing more than to please their owner. They very much need the company of others, so respond well to training.As an assertive and very smart breed however, make sure commands are extra firm and that your dog knows who’s the boss. And that it is you.

All about Black Russian Terriers

The Black Russian Terrier is not hugely known outside of their native Russia. The breed is not commonly found in other countries - for no particular reason it has just not typically been bred in North America.  Despite their irregularity, the dog is extremely loyal and makes for a very faithful companion.

If you want a hugely people-oriented, demonstrative, devoted sidekick, the Black Russian Terrier is for you. In a constant state of play and always up for a walk, the breed is a superb family pet. Not for novices however, they require an energetic owner and are best suited for families with older children as their large size could prove accidentally hazardous to little ones. To note:  the Black Russian Terrier breed possesses long hair that will need very frequent grooming.


1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/