Black Russian Terrier

August 3, 2020 // 6 minute read

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Black Russian Terriers are giant-sized dogs of black color. They stand at the height of 30 inches, featuring a long, rough coat that covers their eyes and forms a beard. The Black Russian Terrier was bred by the Russian army to guard in areas with very cold environments.

Black Russian Terrier dogs are not for first-time dog owners, especially those who can be easily intimidated by their size. These dogs are very smart and can be very stubborn. They need someone who knows how to show authority that they can follow.

Black Russian Terrier Care

Black Russian Terrier Breed Statistics

Dog Breed GroupWorking
Breed SizeLarge to Giant
Height27-30 inches (male); 26-29 inches (female)
Weight80-30 pounds
Lifespan10-12 years

Black Russian Terrier Breed Ratings

Energy level
Exercise needs
Requires attention
Friendly with family
Friendly with kids
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other dogs
Prey Drive

Black Russian Terrier History

Black Russian Terriers are known to have been bred during the Cold War. They were bred by Soviet Army scientists in Russia around the 1930s. The goal was to create the perfect working dog – a “super dog” that can patrol and guard the borders even under harsh weather climates.

It is believed that 17 breeds were used for the breeding program. Some dogs included were Giant Schnauzers, Airedale Terriers, Rottweilers, and Newfoundland. They also mixed a large Russian breed of their own such as Ovcharka and Moscow Retriever.

When the breeding program was a success, Black Russian Terriers were deployed at border crossings, remorse prisons, and military bases. They have worked for years; however, by the 1950s, gulags began closing.

Russians noticed how they have more dogs than needed that they had to sell Black Russian Terrier puppies to the public. To ensure that the breed standard was kept, the Soviet Army wrote the first breed standard in 1958.

By 1981, Black Russian Terriers became one of the most admired breeds in the world. They are large, protectors, great working dogs, fearless, elegant, and friendly.

It was only between 1989 and 1990 when Black Russian Terriers were imported to the US. However, it took years before the American Kennel Club recognized them as a breed in 2004.

Black Russian Terriers currently rank 118th as the most popular dog breed in the US. It may be a long way to the top, especially that not everyone can handle them. However, for those who do, they are truly majestic companion dogs.


Black Russian Terriers are intelligent, calm, and powerful dogs. They have strong guarding instincts that are ready to protect when things get tough.

These dogs are very active and much better living in homes with a large backyard. They are also best paired with families who are active and can give him enough time and attention.

Black Russian Terriers should not be left alone for long periods. They can become destructive; given their size, they can turn your house into a mess.

Despite their large size, these dogs love children. They are gentle with them and will surely protect them. They can quickly get along well with other pets raised with them; however, they have tendencies of chasing strange smaller animals.

As they are bred to guard and protect, Black Russian Terriers are suspicious of strangers. This is why it’s essential to socialize them at an early age as this will help them become more well-rounded. This will also allow them to be calm when faced with anything new.

Training can be challenging. These are smart dogs and can be very stubborn. They get bored quickly and will do what they want unless you provide firm and consistent leadership.

Don’t let him do repetitive commands, and as much as possible, dog training should be short and exciting. Positive reinforcements will play an important role here, but also remember to be patient.

Black Russian Terrier Facts

Care Requirements

  • Nutrition: Black Russian Terriers require high-quality and well-balanced meals to support their daily activity needs. Their food should be nourishing and should be able to provide them high energies. Food must contain proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. You can get these from animal meat, fish oils, chicken oils, and whole grains. However, make sure only to buy high-quality ingredients for your dog. If you’re going to feed him dog food, pick those that are of premium quality. These shouldn’t contain fillers and harmful additives that may affect your dog’s digestion. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of fiber and are best to add to your dog’s meal.
  • Grooming: Black Russian Terriers have thick, double coats that shed seasonally. However, their coats need regular maintenance, so it remains shiny and healthy. Daily brushing is essential. This will help get rid of dirt, debris, excess hair, and, most importantly, mats and tangles. The hair around their face should also be trimmed to keep him looking his best. You can take him to a professional groomer to have this done, especially if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself. Baths can also be given during this time, but it’s best to have clean their ears regularly. Pay attention to your dog’s nails too. Make sure to keep it short, as long nails can cause pain and discomfort to your dogs.
  • Exercise: Black Russian Terriers are energetic dogs that need around 30-40 minutes of exercise daily. This will help keep his joints healthy. Forms of exercises you can give them are brisk walks, long runs, bike rides, swimming, and hiking. You can also create play sessions in your backyard, such as chasing balls or discs. You can let him participate in dog sports too. There, he’ll be able to showcase his impressive skills, and training him daily is an excellent form of exercise.
  • Health: Black Russian Terriers are healthy dog breeds with a long lifespan, unlike most breeds of this size. Efforts have been made to reduce any health complications, and as dog owners, it’s important to be aware of what these health problems are. For this dog breed, allergies, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy are common. There might be other possible health concerns like urinary tract stones but are not so common. It’s best to have your dog take a screening test to detect specific diseases early. It’s highly recommended to meet at least one of your dog’s parents to see possible hereditary conditions.
  • Lifespan: The life expectancy of Black Russian Terriers is 10-12 years.

Black Russian Terrier Dog Breed

Famous Black Russian Terriers

  • Vsevolod: The first World Champion of the Black Russian Terrier breed
  • Nikola: A Black Russian Terrier that won the EuropeChampionship in 2004

Fun Facts about Black Russian Terriers

  • Black Russian Terriers originated from Moscow, Russia, around the 1930s.
  • They were developed by the Russian army.
  • There were 17 breeds used to produce these dogs, which include Giant Schnauzers, Rottweilers, Airedale Terriers, and Newfoundlands.
  • Black Russian Terriers were bred to be guard dogs that can withstand cold environments.
  • Despite their name, these dogs are not Terriers; they belong in the working group.
  • These dogs came to the United States in the 1980s.
  • They were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2004.
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