Black Russian Terrier: Dog Breed Profile and Information

Black Russian Terrier
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The Black Russian Terrier is a rare dog breed throughout Europe and Russia. They come in various colors, such as black, grey, or tan, and are famous for their intelligence and love of children.

This dog has been around since the late 1800s and was initially bred to hunt rabbits. Today, they are very friendly and are good companions for families.

Let us look into the life of the Black Russian Terrier, its history, characteristics, and health.

Quick Facts About the Black Russian Terrier

TemperamentCalm, Intelligent, Courageous
Life span10 to 12 years
Coat TypeDouble Coat, Medium and Long
Coat ColorBlack, Tan, and Gray Hair
HeightMale: 27 to 30 inches; Female: 26 to 29 inches
Weight80 to 130 Pounds
Health IssuesEpilepsy, Cancer, Bladder Stones, Elbow Dysplasia

History of the Black Russian Terrier

The Black Russian Terrier came to life during the Soviet Union in the mid-1940s and early 1950s. At first, people called it the Red Army Dog, and it worked alongside soldiers in the Soviet army.

In fact, the breed’s original name came from the nickname given to the military dogs used by the Soviets.

During World War II, there were severe problems with the supply lines of food and ammunition to the front lines.

As such, the Soviet government needed to find a way to transport supplies faster and easier across long distances. They devised the idea of creating a dog that could carry heavy loads long distances.

They achieved this breed standard by crossing three dog breeds together. These dogs were the Rottweiler, the Giant Schnauzer, and the Airedale Terrier. By doing this, the USSR created what we know today as the Black Russian Terrier.

After World War II, the Soviet Union looked for ways to use the newly developed breed in their armed forces.

One of the most important uses of the breed was during the Cold War. There were times when the Russians felt like the Americans might invade their territory.

To prevent this, they wanted to make sure that they had a powerful guard dog that could protect their home turf.

Today, the Black Russian Terriers are still being produced in the same place they came from. The breeding program is in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. And their goal is to have loyal and protective dogs.

Characteristics of the Black Russian Terrier


Due to its sturdy and muscular appearance, this dog breed works as a working animal.

Body Structure

A typical adult weighs about 25 pounds. A male Black Russian Terrier stands around 27 inches tall at the shoulder, while females average 26 inches.

Also, they weigh anywhere from 9 to 20 pounds. Their bodies are slightly longer than they are wide.

Their heads are broad, flat, and wedge-shaped, and their ears are set high and close together.

  1. Head – There is no dewlap or hair hanging down from the eyes. The skull is relatively long and narrow, and the muzzle is short and pointed.
  2. Eyes – Dark brown eyes are medium-sized and round. They are expressive and alert.
  3. Teeth – Sharp teeth are essential for the dog’s survival because it chews hard food like bones and rawhide.

Its long legs help it jump high and run fast. The size of its paws allows it to dig and climb; its tail works for balance while jumping.

Furthermore, a black nose and ears, combined with a white chest and belly, make it easy to identify. The outer coat is medium and dense, protecting against cold and rain.


The Black Russian Terrier weighs between 80 to 130 pounds.


The Black Russian Terrier is courageous and an independent thinker. These traits come from generations of breeding and training.

While they make great family pets, they can be affectionate, energetic, playful, and protective. They’re also independent animals who prefer to work rather than play. And while they might seem intimidating, they’re pretty easygoing.

With their history, Black Russian Terries are watchful and reliable dogs. These dogs are intelligent, eager to please, strong, independent, and bold.

In summary, Black Russian terriers are generally good-natured and friendly toward people. However, they can become aggressive if startled or provoked.


They need daily exercise, mental stimulation, socialization, and training because of their high energy level.


Because these dogs are highly trainable, you’ll want to start training them early. You should teach them basic commands such as sit, stay, heel, and come when they’re puppies. You can teach them tricks like fetching, retrieving, and obedience as they age.


You’ll want to expose your puppy to other dogs and children so that he learns how to interact with others.


It would help if you let your dog run free in a fenced yard or on a leash in a safe area. This will keep him active and healthy.

The Health of a Black Russian Terrier

For the most part, black Russian terriers are healthy. But like other large dog breeds, they tend to suffer from specific ailments. Here are some health conditions your fur friend might suffer from.

Retinal Atrophy

Retinal atrophy is a condition that affects the retina of the eye. It causes blindness in affected dogs and occurs naturally in old age, but it may also occur due to hereditary factors.

Degenerative Myelopathy

A genetic mutation causes this disease. It results in the degeneration of spinal cord tissue and leads to paralysis.

Hip Dysplasia

This condition affects the hip joint and causes pain, lameness, and stiffness. Hip dysplasia is more common in larger breeds, including the Black Russian Terrier.


There have been reports of cancerous tumors in this breed. If your pet has any symptoms of illness, consult your veterinarian immediately.

How to Care For Your Black Russian Terrier


Your dog needs a balanced diet consisting of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fats. Feed his meals at regular intervals throughout the day.


Your dog’s coat requires brushing regularly. Brush him weekly for the best results, as brushing keeps his coat clean and shiny.


When you bathe your dog, use only mild soap and water. Never use harsh chemicals or abrasive products.


Make sure your dog receives all required vaccinations before bringing him home. Ask your vet about which vaccines are needed for your dog.


Spay or neuter your dog to prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce the risk of diseases.

Litter Box Training

Litter box training is an essential aspect of housebreaking your dog. Place the litter box where your dog cannot reach it to avoid accidents.


If you don’t already know how to housebreak your dog, learn now! Housebreaking takes time and patience. Be patient and consistent.

Behavior Problems

Some Black Russian Terriers are prone to barking, chewing, digging, jumping, pulling, and biting. These behaviors can be challenging to control. Talk to your vet about behavior problems.

What Not To Do

  1. Never leave your dog alone in a hot car. The temperature inside a vehicle can quickly rise above 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Never allow your dog to sleep in bed with you. He could suffocate or choke on your blankets.
  3. Do not feed your dog after midnight. Dogs need to eat during their regular feeding times.
  4. Avoid giving your dog table scraps. They can cause digestive issues.
  5. Don’t give your dog chocolate. Chocolate contains caffeine, which can make your dog anxious and hyperactive.
  6. Don’t force-feed your dog. You should never offer food to your dog unless he asks for it.


We hope you find this article on the Black Russian Terrier helpful. The dog breed is a loyal and loving companion who deserves a happy life. So, take good care of your furry friend.

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