The Black Russian Terrier
Schwarzer Russlcher Terrier
"Terrier Noir Russem"

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Dog breed info
Black Russian Terrier
Weight 80 — 145 lbs
Height:Male 27” — 30”
Height Female 26” — 29”
AKC Rank 2008 #119
Lifespan: 10—12 yrs
Group: Working
Origin: Russia

Dog Breed Info - Black Russian Terrier

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Breed Overview

Origin 1950’s. Original function: Military Today: personal protection, search and rescue. Colors: Black, black w/some grey hair.

This breed stems from a concentrated effort by the Russians to supply their military with working dogs in the 1940’s. The breed was arrived at by crossing a Giant Schnauzer named “Roy” with other suitable all-black working dog stock, namely the Rottweiler, Moscow Water Dog and Airedale Terrier . The offspring became known ad the “Black Terrier” group which was then selectively bred among themselves in 1957 to arrive at the best possible breed called the Black Russian Terrier. This dog had a thick black coat that could withstand the cold Russian winters. Russian Terriers became popular companion house pets in Russia. The AKC registered the breed into the Working Group in America in 2004.


The Russian Terrier is curious, exploring new things, and eager to learn. He responds well to clicker training with positive reinforcement. He needs to start training as a young puppy, 4 or 5 weeks old, and continue through his life. This breed needs a firm, dominant, kind, good-natured trainer. Never let the BRT get the upper hand and you will have a wonderful, affectionate and obedient dog to show for your training effort.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Russian Terrier puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The Black Russian Terrier puppy is generally easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

The handsome Black Russian Terrier
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This is a breed that is known to be self-confident, courageous and a superb protector of family and property. The most important thing with the BRT is intense socialization as a very young puppy as well as obedience training. This dog must be socialized throughout his life. He can NOT be tied up in the backyard. Rather he needs to be indoors with people. The Black Russian Terrier gets along well with children, is calm, curious and well-mannered. The KEY to that is heavy socialization and plenty of exercise and mind-stimulating walks. This is a very affectionate dog that craves human companionship and alpha leadership in the family. Without adequate training and socialization, the BRT can be very dominating and difficult to live with. The BRT becomes very attached to his human family. They have a stubborn streak and may not always obey a command. These dogs are quiet indoors and do not bark unless there’s something really serious happening.

If you happen to get a Russian Terrier with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

The Russian Terrier will pick and choose his dog friends. He is not keen about dominant dogs or dogs he doesn’t know.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

.Yes, gets along well with non-dominant animals like cats and smaller dogs in the house.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Not friendly with strangers. This is a guard dog and he will keep people away from his domain unless he knows them.


Not overly playful. He might chase a ball but no serious play.


Yes, very affectionate. Loves family, kids. Needs a lot of human companionship.

Good with children?

Yes, does well with older, well-mannered children 6 or 7 and up. They tend to be gentle and a bit playful with kids, but not as playful as some kids would like. This is a big, heavy dog so very young kids must be supervised closely to avoid accidents.

Good with Seniors over 65?

No. Too big and heavy, not playful.

Living environment

Needs house with medium to large fenced back yard where he can explore and roam around, run after a ball or whatever. A farm or ranch setting is good too.

Do NOT kennel this breed in a yard. The Black Russian Terrier must have indoor human contact or he’ll turn into some kind evil monster.


Energy level

Low to moderate. Give this 3 bars out of 10.

Exercise needs, daily

Moderate. A long walk daily and possibly a game or some fetch the ball should do it.


Excellent. It’s his heritage.

Guard dog

Excellent. The Black Russian Terrier is known for guarding ability.


Low—Very little shedding.


Brush or comb the coat twice a week. Trim and shape every two months with scissors.
You can use a stiff bristle brush or a metal comb from the pet store.


Suggested Reading - Black Russian Terrier

  • The 158 page hardcover book on the left is a comprehensive Owners Guide to the Black Russian Terrier. The book is in very limited supply and quite rare around here.

  • "50 Games You Can Play With Your Dog" says it all for the book in the center. These games are easy to teach and play. They are great mental exercise games as well as helpful in bonding for the dog and owner.

  • The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog health, emergencies and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for every dog owner. This is Vol 2 and comes with a DVD, Copyright 2008.

Black Russian Terrier Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Black Russian Terrier puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that REALLY know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been VERY well socialized and started in obedience training.
Black Russian Terrier Breeders with puppies for sale. You may want to go online and search for Black Russian Terrier Breeders or puppies. (This is a rare breed in the USA.)

Black Russian Terrier Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Black Russian Terrier Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Black Russian Terrier Rescue At the time of this notation, Petfinder is listing only 4 Russian Terriers available for adoption for the entire USA! That's an indication of how rare the breed is in this country. In the event you do find one to adopt, try to locate the dog health records for possible future reference.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but you will likely have to search online for Black Russian Terrier Rescue or clubs with dogs for sale.

Dog Health Issues For Black Russian Terriers
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Russian Terrier by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, hind/back leg acts lame, can't move, weak legs. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing the Black Russian Terrier great pain, weakness and difficulty walking. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Atopic dermatitis's—Atopy. Hereditary. Shows at 1 to 3 years age. Skin allergy triggered by dust mites, pollen, poor quality foods and other garbage we put into the dog’s environment. Many breeds are prone to this. The dog will lick, rub, chew and scratch the infected areas. Allergens can also come from fleas, bacteria and yeast infections. See your vet. There are many treatments ranging from medicines, antihistamines, diets, bathing, cleansing the house of dust mites and so on.

  • Elbow Dysplasia—Dislocated elbow joint. This, as with hip dysplasia, is something the dog is born with. Wear and time in the front legs (elbow joints) cause lameness by the time the dog is roughly a year old. If you have a dog prone to this disease, have an early x-ray to see if surgery to the joints will stave off further damage to the joints. Typically, there has been no cure, but recently doctors have come up with some ideas. 1) Keep the weight of your dog down. 2) Use anti-inflammatory medication. 3) Look into injections of stem-cells to help regenerate bone-covering cartilage to cause the bones to line up properly again. (This is new research and some vets may not know about it so ask around.)

  • Cataracts—Eye problem. Hazy or cloudy vision which if not treated can lead to total blindness.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—(PRA) An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

Other health problems could occur with your Black Russian Terrier. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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