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Black Russian Terrier… Everything You Need to Know in a Glance!

If you’re looking for the perfect guard dog, that also makes a great family pet, you’re definitely going to want to keep the Black Russian Terrier on your “short list” of options.

Also know as…

The Tchiorny Terrier, this dog was specifically designed by the Russian Government to be big, strong and highly intelligent so that they could perform a variety of duties including pulling supplies, guarding borders and even detecting explosive devices!

But don’t let…

This scare you because at their “core” the Black Russian Terrier is an incredibly loyal sweetheart who’s primary desire is to protect those who he belongs to.  This is why, this breed has been able to make the “jump” from the soviet Red Star Kennels to homes all throughout the world.

But is…

The Black Russian Terrier going to be the “right” dog for you?  That’s the…

“ Million Ruble question”

And one that we hope to help you answer in this review article of the Black Russian Terrier.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Black Russian Terrier Dog Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin: Russia

Original Purpose:  Working Dog, Guard Dog

Height:  26 to 30 inches tall

Weight:  80 to 145 pounds

Life Span: 10 to 11 years

Dog Breed Classification: Working

Origins of the Black Russian Terrier

The Black Russian Terrier is from Russia… obviously!  It is there that in the early 1940’s with war on just about everyone’s mind that this dog was specifically designed and breed by the state-owned Red Star Kennel program to create the perfect military dog.

And what they…

Did was they took the Giant Schnauzer dog breed and cross bred it with a variety of other “black terrier” dogs including:

  • Rottweilers,
  • Moscow Retrievers
  • And Airedale Terriers

Ultimately creating the Black Russian Terrier, which is quite a formidable animal that is capable of performing very complex tasks in some of the most inhospitable environments.

The Black Russian Terrier or BRT…

Is currently recognized by the Federation Cynologique International, which is an international organization that represents the kennel clubs of all countries outside of the United States and the UK.

And while…

The BRT was rarely seen in the United States until a few years ago. Today he is quite common. Which is a testament to just how “great” this dog is and probably why the American Kennel Club (AKC) chose to also “officially” recognize the breed in 2004. He is today a popular guard dog.

Physical Characteristics of the Black Russian Terrier

The Black Russian Terrier breed standard is a large dog, weighing up to 145 pounds and reaching up to 30 inches in height, this is not a dog folks are just naturally going to want to run up on!

He has…

A wavy double coat (that is obviously going to be black), large ears and hair that falls over the eyes.  And like the Giant Schnauzer, the BRT will also have that classic beard and mustache fur pattern, only his will tend to be a bit longer than the Giant Schnauzer’s.

These dogs are…

also commonly called “blackies” because of their thick black double coat, which comes only in black, with a few streaks of gray.

Black Russian Terrier Temperament

Any time you’re talking about a dog that can be as big as the BRT, it’s important to understand what kind of temperament that he or she is likely to be born with and uses these “natural” tendencies to the best of your ability to create a “well mannored” dog.


What you have is a “huge” problem on your hands.  Because even the most “friendly” 145 pound dog can be a problem if he or she likes to jump up and great new visitors.

This is why…

Regardless of how “great” the Black Russian Terrier is, if you don’t think that you’re going to be and to put in the time to train him or her properly, please don’t adopt a BRT.  It’s just not going to work!

The good news is…

That if you’re willing to put in the work, so will your BRT!  In fact, because these dogs were breed to be able to follow complex instructions, they are actually pretty easy to train provided you’re able to get a “handle’ on their independence streak.

You see…

The BRT is an independent minded dog and very clear about what he wants. That is why you should train and socialize him as a very young puppy so that he sees you as the leader of his pack.

He’s also a…

Very active and athletic dog, that loves running. So, you’ll want to be sure to set him loose when at a park or at a trail so that he can burn of steam!

Grooming the BRT

Taking care of the BRT can be a lot of hard work… Because of his thick beard, your BRT is likely to drip water and food from his moustache and beard when he eats or drinks. So, he has to be cleaned up after every meal.


His thick coat is just going to naturally pick up a lot of dirt and debris from the house and outside, especially if you give him free reign to roam when one his own.  So you should be sure and give a good brush down twice a week, at least, and expect to need to give him a bath every weekend or so.

Now at this point…

You may be thinking…

“Wow this all sounds like a TON of work!”

So, let’s just take a moment and discuss what make the Black Russian Terrier such a good dog….

And for starters…

He is a very loyal dog, devoted to his human family. He will be very protective of you and the other family members and will want to follow you everywhere.  And the beauty of having a dog like a BRT with you is that most folks who have even an ounce of common sense and value their life and well being, aren’t going to think it’s a very good idea to mess with you with one of these guys around!


Despite what he may look like to “strangers” your BRT is likely to be a total sweetheart to you.  Ready and willing to follow you to the ends of the world and committed to becoming your best friend for life!

Always on alert…

He will always have one eye on you and one eye looking to see if anyone is trespassing on your property. He is a courageous dog and will put himself in harm’s way and fight off intruders if needed – You can count on him to protect and defend your family in a dangerous situation.


As you can see, this big guy also has his “good points” too.


The Black Russian Terrier also happens to be a VERY health breed too boot!

Black Russian Terrier Health Concerns

While the BRT is one of the healthiest and strongest of all dog breeds, even he is susceptible to certain genetic conditions. That is why it is important to get a DNA test done before buying a BRT from a breeder.

Specifically, he may from the following health problems…

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Cataracts
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (Bloat)
  • Elbow Dysplasia

This is why…

Even though the Black Russian Terrier dog breed is a pretty healthy dog breed in general, we here at IndulgeYourPet always like to recommend that any new dog owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to be able to purchase a quality pet insurance policy for your new loved one.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, of course not.  But until you know what these types of policies will and won’t cover and what it might cost for you to get insured how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information about who we feel currently offer the “best” pet insurance policies on the market today, be sure to check out out  Best Pet Insurance Company article.

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