By Macy Gen Veterinary AssistantMacy Gen Last updated: 18th October 2022

Black Russian Terrier


Macy Gen Veterinary Assistant Macy Gen
Last updated: 18th October 2022

The Black Russian Terrier is a breed of working dogs, developed in Russia, with over seventeen strains contributing to its development. Robust, and powerful, these large dogs have a prominent block-shaped head, short muzzle, small, triangular, folded ears, a big black nose, dark-colored gums, black spot on their tongue and a high set tail. Their appealing presence and remarkable personality make them stand out among most other breeds.

Black Russian Terrier Pictures

Quick Information

Other NamesTchiorny Terrier, Terrier Noir Russe, Russian Bear Schnauzer, Black Terrier, Chornyi, Russian Tchiorny Terrier, Stalin’s Dog, BRT
CoatDouble coat with a coarse outer coat and a thick, soft inner coat. Hairs appear on its face giving the impression of a beard.
ColorBlack with grey hairs
GroupTerrier, Working
Lifespan/ Life Expectancy10 to 14 years
HeightMale: 27 to 30 inches; Female: 26 to 29 inches
Weight80 to 130 pounds
Litter size6 to 12
Behavioral Characteristics Confident, smart, courageous, brave, stubborn at times, loyal, intelligent
Good with childrenYes, with supervision
BarkingOn demand
Shedding (Does it shed)Minimal
Competitive Registration Qualification/ InformationACA, AKC, ACR, APRI, ANKC, BRTCA, BRAGG, DRA, CKC, NAPR, FCI, NKC

Video of a Black Russian Terrier Jumping in the Snow


The development of this robust breed was initiated in the Red Star Kennel of Russia post the Second World War, in between the late and early 1940s-50s respectively, with the purpose of creating a working dog, which could cater to their military needs.

The requirement for a robust and hardy breed, who could endure the chilling cold weather of Russia as well as run for long distances and get hold of intruders, led to the development of the BRT. For this purpose, a total of about 17 breeds were used including the Airedale Terrier, Rottweiler, Giant Schnauzer, Caucasian Shepherd Dog, Newfoundland, Great Dane, Borzoi, Laika and the Eastern European Sheepdog.

Employed at the prisons, rail crossings and several military areas like the gulags, they were majorly bred by the Red Star Kennel till 1957. However, since the numbers of dogs were more than required as the gulags started to close during the 1950s, the army began selling off the puppies to civilians. These breeders had a change in their approach, and besides retaining their working skills, they even tried to improve the looks of these dogs. The Soviet Ministry of Agriculture created the first breed standards in 1981. With its popularity spreading worldwide, it reached the U.S.A in 1989-90, and a Russian couple took the initiative of starting a kennel in Mississippi, where the first of this breed was developed.

Breed registration details

1955 – Exhibited in Moscow as a working dog

1958 – First breed standards published

1984 – Adopted by the FCI (Federation Cynologique International)

1996 – Second standard for the breed adopted by the breeders of RFW (Russian Federation Working Dogs) and RKF (Russian Kynological Federation) that was more in conformity with the present day BRT.

1996 – Introduced in the United Kingdom for the first time.

1998 – Included in the to the import register by the Kennel Club.

2001- Added to AKC’S Miscellaneous Class

2004 – Added to AKC’S Working Group


A powerful protector and a loyal companion that is what the Black Russian Terrier is.

In fact, their disposition is amazingly versatile, as, on the one hand, they display courage, confidence, determination, and fearlessness, while at the same time, these family dogs are an epitome of a devoted pet, sharing a great bond with their kith and kin, being extremely protective of them.

They do well when kept in the confines of the home while leaving them alone in the yard or kennel, unattended, would make the Black Russian Terrier withdrawn.

Bred as a guard dog, BRTs would express wariness towards strangers and even show aggression if an unknown face tries to intrude its domain, attacking him at the very instant.

Because of its intelligence and balanced temperament, it is often used as service or assistance dogs to provide aid to people with physical disabilities, helping them in their day-to-day work like picking up things from the ground, turning light switches on and off or even assisting them to stand or sit.

Their loving disposition also makes them apt as a therapy dog, providing solace to people with terminal diseases or mental illnesses.

Being extremely affectionate towards the kids of the family, they emerge as their fiercest protector, even going to the extent of sleeping in the little one’s room or keeping vigil outside their doors at night. However, parental supervision is needed when younger ones interact with this mighty breed. Though the breed in totality mingles well with the children they have been brought up with, females have a stronger bonding than the males.

The Black Russian Terrier tends to share a comfortable rapport with other canines as well as pets like cats, rabbits or horses if they have been grown up with them. However, they detest dogs or pets that are dominant or try to establish supremacy over them.



Inspite of being working dogs, they do not have an extensive exercise requirement but would suffice with a 30-minute workout or long walks on a daily basis. They do well in apartments, though some tasks given to them throughout the day would keep the Black Russian Terrier happy. Ensure not to make your BRT puppies jump or run on hard surfaces till they are eighteen months of age.


Weekly brushing is needed to keep its double coat devoid of mats and tangles.  Use a slicker brush in this regard along with an undercoat rake as well as a stripping comb to remove all dead hairs and keep its coat free from any tangles. Take special care in cleaning and combing its beard as well as trimming it whenever it grows longer as it often gets dirty in the course of eating and drinking.

Bathe it only when necessary as doing it too often may result in a dry coat and skin.

Other hygiene measures include brushing its teeth on a daily basis and cleaning its eyes and ears regularly using a damp cotton ball to keep infections at bay.

Health Problems

Though a healthy breed, it might suffer from certain hereditary conditions like hip dysplasia, hyperuricosuria, elbow dysplasia, juvenile laryngeal paralysis, panosteitis, eye ailments like entropion, conjunctivitis, ectropion, heart diseases like mitral valve dysplasia and cardiomyopathy and fungal infections.


Because of their high intelligence level, the Black Russian Terrier is a trainer’s delight. However, their stubborn and headstrong nature might not make them a right choice for first-timers.

  • Imparting socialization training to the Black Russian Terrier puppies is of utmost importance to get over their uneasiness towards unknown people. It is essential to acquaint them with different people and various experiences so that they can distinguish the good from the bad so that they can differentiate between a dangerous foe and a faithful friend.
  • Teaching it to follow basic commands like “stay,” “come”, “stop,”  would help in keeping its stubborn behavior under control.
  • As they are efficient guard dogs, ensure to leash train them since their puppy days to avoid any unpleasant occurrences. If it is adamant enough to pull at the leash try the positive reinforcement method with its favorite treat and a clicker. As you step out with your dog, wait for it to glance at you and give a goodie. Walk a few steps and again wait for it to look at you. Now click and give him the goodie. He will now understand that walking and looking at you would earn him a reward, thus minimizing his unwanted behavior of pulling at the leash.


Give your pet BRT, 4 to 5 cups of dry dog food on a regular basis. Keep a close watch on its diet as overfeeding might lead to bloating.

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