The Black Russian Terrier was scientifically developed to be a total boss. Seriously! Scientists combined seventeen dog breeds to make this majestic—and very rare—breed. Admittedly, they are a little top-heavy: a Black Russian Terrier's head accounts for 40% of total bodyweight. These impressive dogs served in the military for the former Soviet Union and only arrived in the US in the 1980s.
Originally from the region formerly known as the Soviet Union, this large and moderate-energy breed can grow to between 80-130 pounds and lives an average of 10-12 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Working Dog group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Personal Protection, Search and Rescue
Origin: Soviet Union
Breed Group: Working Dog
Average Lifespan: 10-12 years
Size: Extra Large
Bark Factor: Moderate
AKC RANKING n/a
AREA OF ORIGIN Soviet Union
DATE OF ORIGIN 1950s
ORIGINAL FUNCTION Military
TODAY'S FUNCTION Personal protection, search and rescue
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 27 - 30 Weight: 80 - 145
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 26 - 29 Weight: 80 - 145
OTHER NAME Chornyi, Terrier Noir Russem, Schwarzer Russicher Terrier, Tchiorny Terrier, Mustaterrieri
Energy level Low energy
Exercise needs Medium
Playfullness Not very playful
Affection level Very affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly
Friendliness toward other pets Very friendly
Friendliness toward strangers Shy
Ease of training Moderately easy to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Very protective
Grooming needs Moderate maintenance
Cold tolerance High tolerance
Heat tolerance Low tolerance
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A BLACK RUSSIAN TERRIER'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Brave and self-assured, Black Russian Terriers are somewhat family-friendly — they can be very loving, but this probably shouldn't be your family's first dog. Like many dogs, they do better when playing with supervised children.
Black Russian Terriers can be suspicious of strangers. They tend to be very affectionate but not very playful. This breed can be friendly with other dogs and family pets.
Well-exercised Black Russian Terriers make for calm housedogs. But in the yard or at the park, this dog is athletic and full of life.
WHAT IS BLACK RUSSIAN TERRIER BEHAVIOR LIKE?
Black Russian Terriers are powerful and determined. This is a strong, motivated guard dog — sturdy, large, and designed to work. Black Russian Terriers are alert and very protective of their chosen people and want to keep an eye on them at all times.
Your Black Russian Terrier will need space to spread out and can be somewhat prone to barking.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A BLACK RUSSIAN TERRIER?
Black Russian Terriers are intelligent, adept at obedience exercises, and can be trained for water rescue. Start early and be patient and consistent with your furry friend. This breed wants nothing more than to be sure you're safe, so don't leave them alone outside. A neglected Black Russian Terrier can become aggressive.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO BLACK RUSSIAN TERRIERS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Black Russian Terriers' furry double coats are wavy, wiry, and weatherproof. They are seasonal shedders. Their fluffy faces need regular trimming, and their thick coats require consistent brushing and grooming. Plan to schedule an appointment with your groomer at least every other month. Baths should happen at least once a season.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO BLACK RUSSIAN TERRIERS HAVE?
Black Russian Terriers are usually a healthy breed. These dogs can suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia and eye ailments (particularly progressive retinal atrophy). Some are also prone to bloat.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE BLACK RUSSIAN TERRIERS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Black Russian Terriers among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and allergy-aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, so they produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as large as a Black Russian Terrier! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT'S A BLACK RUSSIAN TERRIER'S BEST DAY?
Any day this dog can spend watching over you and ensuring your safety would be its best day.
SHOULD I ADOPT A BLACK RUSSIAN TERRIER?
Black Russian Terriers are not well-suited to apartment living and will much prefer an air-conditioned home in warmer locations. They also snore like buzzsaws. They are smart and driven and want to be with you whenever possible. This dog has a high cold tolerance and loves the snow. If you're looking for a dog who makes your safety its highest priority, the Black Russian Terrier might be for you.
Have you decided that a Black Russian Terrier is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.