Black Russian Terrier

Black Russian Terrier

Group: Working Group

Origin: Russia


    – Males range from 25½ to 28 inches (66-72 cm)
    – Females range from 25 to 27 inches (64-70 cm).

Other Names: Tchiorny Terrier

Black Russian Terrier
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Photo: Midnight Solo Kennel

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Breed Profile

The Black Russian Terrier was developed by Soviet dog fanciers in the 1960s. The Giant Schnauzer was crossed with the Airedale Terrier, Rottweiler and a few other large breeds, resulting in a large, strong dog that has proven to be a popular choice for professional guard work.

The Black Russian Terrier is very energetic but with a stable temperament. He should never be timid, fearful, or excessively excitable. He is confident, enduring, and courageous. Highly intelligent, extremely reliable, assertive, and wary of strangers, the Black Russian Terrier has strong protective instincts. Originally used by the former Russian Red Army to guard military installations, border troops, prison camps, as well as by police forces. Today the Black Russian Terrier is seen participating in a variety of functions, including guarding, search and rescue, as well as many dog sports.

He has massive bone structure and well-developed muscles. The skin is tight and elastic, without any folds or dewlap. His coat is either black or black with grey hairs and is rough, hard and very dense. He wears a moustache on the upper lip, a beard on the lower lip and eyebrows that are rough and bristled. The coat is longer on the neck and withers forming a mane.

Health Issues

If you are considering the adoption of a Black Russian Terrier puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Testing should be done for hips (OFA, PennHip, or OVC), elbows (OFA or OVC), eyes should be tested annually by an opthamologist and cardiac testing should also be done. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the General Information page.)

Recommended Health Screening:

The Black Russian Terrier Club of America recommends testing of hips, elbows, and cardiac.

For the Black Russian Terrier, the CHICNote 1 database includes health screenings for:

  • Hip Dysplasia;
  • Elbow Dysplasia;
  • Optional testing includes: Eye examination by a board Opthamologist; and Congenital Cardiac Database

Additional Health Resources:


Grooming Information

The Black Russian Terrier needs weekly brushing as well as grooming every 6 to 8 weeks.

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.


Training Resources

The Black Russian Terrier may be stubborn at times and is considered to be very intelligent. Early socialization is a must as the BRT can be aloof with strangers. Because the breed was developed to be a guard and protection dog, it is important that training be done responsibly. He was bred to work in partnership with his handler and is known as a thinking dog who responds to logic rather than force. Positive reinforcement methods of training should be used.

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.


Additional Information

  • Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
  • Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.


*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit:

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

Breed Listing

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