Black Russian Terrier
Dog Breeds

Black Russian Terrier

Other names: Stalin ‘s dog, Beria ‘s dog , black terrier , blackie , BRT

The Russian black terrier, also known as the Black Terrier, also known as the BRT, is a service dog breed bred by Soviet breeders. Ideal as a companion, guard, rescuer and searcher.

Characteristics of Black Russian Terrier

Country of originUSSR
The sizeLarge
Growthmales 66-72 cm, females 64-70 cm
Weightmales 50-50 kg, females 45-50 kg
Age10-11 years
FCI breed groupN/A
Black Russian Terrier Characteristics

Basic moments

  • Black Russian Terriers can be classified as slow maturing dogs, reaching full physical maturity only by 2.5 years.
  • Despite the fact that representatives of this breed are not decorative pets, you still have to pay attention to the animal’s coat. The long hair on the dog’s muzzle, which gets wet and dirty when the animal drinks or eats, will require special attention.
  • Adult BRTs are physically strong and hardy individuals who need to work hard to be in shape. Get ready for long walks, runs, agility and other joys of service breeds.
  • Despite the presence of the word “terrier” in the name of the breed, blackies are included in the group of pinschers and schnauzers.
  • Like all dogs, whose main purpose was service and security activities, Russian black terriers are distinguished by a strong character, which should be managed by a serious and authoritative owner. At the same time, they are quite accommodating and very friendly towards children, if they do not abuse their loyalty and trust.
  • Having a fairly thick coat with abundant undercoat, BRTs are adapted to low temperatures and winter quietly in insulated booths and aviaries (does not apply to puppies).
  • With the development of the breed, the nature of the animals has undergone significant changes. Today’s Black Terriers are no longer guard dogs, but serious companions with a minimum level of aggression towards strangers. At the same time, if necessary, they are still able to stand up for themselves and for the owner.
  • From the Russian black terrier, you can bring up a highly qualified watchman, who even the most experienced housekeeper will not be able to outwit.
Black Russian Terrier

Russian black terrier – the legend and pride of Soviet cynology; a serious intellectual with a developed protective instinct and a restrained character, always striving to please his own owner. In a philistine environment, BRTs are often labeled as ferocious and unruly bodyguards, ready to tear to shreds anyone who looks askance at the owner. In fact, the aggressive image that was once attached to the breed is greatly exaggerated. Trained and properly socialized blackies are prudent, understanding and extremely adequate pets that will never allow themselves to get into a rage just like that.

History of the Black Russian Terrier breed

Russian black terrier
Russian black terrier

The Black Russian Terrier is one of the few domestic breeds that was bred not spontaneously, but by order of the government. In the mid-1940s, the Soviet kennel Krasnaya Zvezda was commissioned to develop a variety of service dogs capable of working productively in extreme weather conditions. The initiator of the experiment was the “father of peoples” himself, hence the alternative name – “Stalin’s dog”.

It did not take much time to create the ideal four-legged guard, which cannot be said about the number of animals that took part in the crossing. According to some reports, about 17 breeds gave their genes to Russian black terriers, including the Airedale Terrier , Newfoundland , East European Shepherd Dog , Giant Schnauzer , Great Dane and Rottweiler .

Soviet breeders met the first representatives of the Black Terrier clan already in 1957, at the All-Union Exhibition. And a year later, for the BRT (abbreviated name of the breed), its own appearance standard was created. In the late 70s, the blacks began to expand the boundaries of their own popularity, gradually moving to Europe and the American continent. As a result, in 1983 they were recognized by the FCI. As for the US specifically, where the wards of the “Red Star” made a splash, the first club of breed lovers appeared there back in 1993. But the AKC (American Kennel Club) persisted for another long 11 years, registering black terriers as a separate type of guard dog only in 2004.

Video: Black Russian Terrier

Black Russian Terrier - Top 10 Facts

The appearance of the Russian black terrier

Black Russian Terrier puppy with mother
Black Russian Terrier puppy with mother

The Black Russian Terrier is a charismatic mustachioed athlete dressed in a glossy black two-layer coat. The growth of this brutal varies between 72-76 cm (for males), and the weight can reach 60 kg. Bitches are more graceful than “boys”, but they are also far from babies. The average “girl” of the BRT weighs from 42 to 50 kg, and this is with a height of 68-72 cm. .

It is worth noting that modern blacks are very different from the BRT of the 50s. The exterior of the animals became more refined (the hair of the individuals presented at the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition was noticeably shorter and denser), and their temperament became more stable. Pronounced aggressiveness and increased suspicion left the breed along with the first generations of dogs, around the 80s. At the same time, starting from the moment of the announcement and to this day, work continues to improve the phenotype of the black terrier, as babies periodically “slip” in litters that outwardly strongly resemble their own ancestors, that is, Airedale Terriers, Giant Schnauzers and Newfoundlands.


Massive, proportional to the body of the dog. The cranium is elongated, of good width, with a flat frontal part. In general, the head of the Black Russian Terrier is not particularly prominent, and the superciliary ridges, feet, and occipital zone of the representatives of this breed are not marked too sharply. The muzzle of all BRTs is strong, broad and relatively short.

Teeth and jaws

Curly back of a black terrier
Curly back of a black terrier

The strong teeth of the dog are close to each other. The jaws are closed in a scissor bite.


Triangular type, dense, front edge tightly fitting to the head of the dog. The type of ear cloth is hanging, the size of the ear is medium.


Small, set wide apart, oval in shape. The eyelids of the Black Russian Terrier are black, of a dry type, close fitting to the eyeball.


Lobe black, large.


Very dry, but muscular, with a well defined nape.

Black Russian Terrier
Black Russian Terrier muzzle


Representatives of the Black Russian Terrier breed are characterized by a strong, voluminous body with a straight back, complemented by a relief withers and a wide, short loin. The chest of the BRT is deep, elongated-oval in shape, with slightly convex ribs. The abdomen is slightly tucked up and reaches almost to the level of the elbows.


All Black Russian Terriers have straight legs, long, prominently laid back shoulder blades, and wide, fleshy thighs. The elbows of the representatives of this clan are tightly pressed to the body, and the short and massive pasterns stand at a slight slope. The front paws of the dog are noticeably larger than the hind legs and more rounded in shape. At the same time, the pads and claws on both the front and hind limbs have the same color – black.


Tail of black russian terrier
Tail of black russian terrier

Saber-shaped, with a thickened base. In Russia, black Russian terriers usually have their tail docked. At the same time, the natural length of this part of the body is not considered a disadvantage.


Ideally, a black terrier should have a dense double coat: a stiff awn 5 to 15 cm long + a dense undercoat. The muzzle of the dog should be richly decorated with wavy hair, forming a lush mustache, a neat beard and shaggy eyebrows.


Everything is simple here: only black color and no more variations. The only exception is a light gray “blotch” on no more than ⅓ of the blackie’s body.

Disadvantages and disqualifying defects of the breed

flying gait
flying gait

Minor deviations from the breed standard do not affect the show karma, unless their number is too large. But with more serious defects such as a small chest, a squirrel tail, a too short head or bright eyes, an animal can sign up for a maximum of “good” students, but not “excellent students”. If we talk about disqualification, then black Russian terriers are most often subjected to it, having:

  • too obvious resemblance to the ancestral breeds (Giant Schnauzer, Newfoundland, Airedale Terrier);
  • depigmented nose;
  • malocclusion;
  • eye thorns or eyes of different colors;
  • white marks on the coat;
  • straight wool;
  • spots of gray “plaque” with a distinct contour.

Animals that do not have adorning hair on their heads and legs, as well as dogs with too unstable mentality and behavioral disorders, will also not be allowed to the exhibition.

Photo of black russian terrier

The nature of the Russian black terrier

Curious by nature
Curious by nature

The Russian Black Terrier is both a bodyguard, a watchman and a devoted friend at the same time. Regardless of their professional qualifications, these serious “horses” relatively quickly get used to the role of family pets, easily establishing contact even with small children. Suspicion and distrust of strangers – qualities that, by definition, any service breed should have – are manifested in black terriers to a sufficient extent, although not as pronounced as in their ancestors who lived in the 50s and 60s. At the same time, they do not start with a half turn, preferring once again to ascertain the reality of the threat.

Animals will risk attacking the enemy only when they feel that he encroaches on the safety of their owner. Moreover, they will never wag the jacket or the skin of the aggressor until the victory. Their task is to put the attacker to flight, and not cause him serious injury. The blackie will not meet guests who accidentally look at the light with dissatisfied grumbling (provided that he is properly brought up), but he will not joyfully jump around them, demanding attention and affection. The stock of love and tenderness in these shaggy bodyguards is extremely limited, so the dog prefers to spend it on members of the family in which he lives, but not on casual acquaintances.

Let me hug you!
Let me hug you!

Russian black terriers guard the owner’s property diligently. For example, it is possible to leave not only a house, but also an entire estate to these responsible “jocks” without any fear. Be sure that the animal will not be too lazy to explore every corner of the territory entrusted to it and will not let a single living soul into it. There is an opinion that Russian Black Terriers have a vindictive and ferocious character. Indeed, the memory of this breed is phenomenal, but this does not mean that its representatives only remember the evil done to them. The pet will never forget the pleasant moments and the kindness of the owner. By the way, about kindness. In everyday life, BRTs are very proud, which does not prevent them from respecting and sincerely loving their owner. The main thing is not to go too far and not try to bring up a black terrier as a porter of master’s slippers, thereby humiliating his working qualities.

In general, today’s blackies are quite calm and serious pets that will play with children and run after the owner’s bike with pleasure. In addition, they are smart enough to understand the mood of the owner by intonation and facial expressions. If the latter is out of sorts, the Black Russian Terrier will never impose its company on him and will go about his own business. With other dogs, “bearded campaigners” are quite capable of getting along. True, only if they do not see rivals in them. Therefore, if you already keep two “tails” in the family, then it is best that one of them be a representative of a decorative breed.

Training and education

We listen to you carefully
We listen to you carefully

Service dogs are always a burden of responsibility, especially since others perceive such animals as potential killers and treat them without much sympathy. Approach raising a pet professionally or, if this is the first dog in your life, entrust this matter to a specialist. Remember, from a puppy of a Russian black terrier, you can mold both a calm children’s nanny and a vigilant security guard – it all depends on who exactly you want to see in it and what training method you prefer.

Nobody canceled the leadership habits of blackies, so do not trust their training to children or the elderly, in whom the dog sees a “lower caste”. The Russian Black Terrier needs a strict but fair mentor who respects the dignity of the animal, but does not forget about himself. In general, diligent students are obtained from Russian Black Terriers, if the peculiarities of their temperament and psychology are taken into account. So, for example, in the case of this breed, multiple repetitions will not work. The animal will execute the command and pass the obstacle course once or twice, after which it will stop any actions. And the point here is not so much in stubbornness, but in the self-esteem of a dog that does not want to play in public. Do not get annoyed if the pet thinks too long before executing the command. Measure seven times and cut once – this is just about blackies.

Important: Black Russian Terriers can be trained both as a puppy and as an adult, but in the second case, the process will be more difficult. In addition, it is important to immediately choose the right technique, since it will not be possible to correct mistakes made during training later. BRT are not retrained in principle.

Russian black terrier watching the neighborhood
Russian black terrier watching the neighborhood

Do not discount the youth of the breed. The genus of Russian Black Terriers is still developing and pumping, so among dogs there can be individuals with completely different learning abilities. For example, animals in which the genes of shepherds and rottweilers predominate are better accustomed to the role of bodyguards. Individuals who have inherited the nature of the Airedale Terriers are more cunning and friendly, so they make ideal companions.

Like most puppies, young blackies are very playful and restless, which is fraught with inevitable destruction in housing. From the first days of the appearance of the baby in the house, curb his violent temper by finding alternative activities for him. For example, buy more rubber squeakers for your puppy, keep him occupied with bones and other safe items.

What Not to Do

  • Abuse the commands “Fu!”, “No!”, Turning the life of a pet into one continuous ban.
  • To provoke a puppy in games until he starts to bite.
  • Play drag and drop with a toddler or teen who has not yet fully developed an overbite.
  • It is rude to take away objects that have been damaged by the dog and apply physical violence to it.

Care and maintenance

Well, if before you buy a puppy of a black terrier, you managed to acquire a country mansion with a land plot for a full-fledged walking of a pet. If this did not happen, then it is also possible to experiment with keeping the “Stalin’s dog” in a city apartment, but much more effort will have to be spent. Firstly, because Russian BRTs bark quite loudly, which, of course, will not please your housemates. The way out of the problem: come to grips with training and curbing the “vocal talents” of the pet. Secondly, the Russian Black Terrier is an exclusively working breed, and it is not easy for her to live without physical exertion, so she will have to walk the apartment dwellers more often and longer.

BRTs living in private houses can be settled in a booth or an aviary, since these shaggy watchmen are accustomed to low temperatures. But for the autumn-winter period, the dog house will have to be thoroughly insulated. By the way, planting an animal in an aviary for a day, or even several days, is a real barbarism. Even a blackie who lives in the yard and has the opportunity to warm up a little still needs to have a good time on the sports ground or in the field.


Russian black terrier with owner
Russian black terrier with owner

Have you already read on Internet forums that the breed does not shed? Now forget about it, because in fact, the seasonal “hairfall” in Russian Black Terriers still takes place. Yes, the hair of the BRT does not crumble, but rather falls into tangles, but you still have to take care of it in order to maintain the spectacular appearance of the pet.

Experts recommend combing the dog every day, and removing matted hair and trimming the animal superficially a couple of times a month. However, there are some nuances here as well. In particular, among this breed there are both individuals with hard and soft hair, and they take care of them in different ways. Wirehaired blackies are less problematic in terms of care. Their hair is not so actively falling off and tangled, so there is no need to be on duty with a comb and a plier near them. In dogs with soft hair, things are exactly the opposite: if they are not combed daily and the tangles are not cut off in a timely manner, they quickly lose their gloss.

A few words about the “bangs” of the black terrier. Uninformed dog lovers often comment on the fact that the long hair on the forehead of the animal prevents him from seeing. Moreover, according to the same theory, wool collected in a ponytail is also not a panacea. Allegedly, after such a procedure, the dog will certainly go blind. In fact, you can remove the pet’s decorating hair as you like or even braid it into pigtails. This fact will not affect visual acuity in any way. Nobody forbids leaving a bang falling over the eyes of a dog either. Believe me, what he needs, the black terrier will definitely see through thick strands.

Bathing the BRT is recommended in cases where the dog’s coat is thoroughly soiled, which often happens with regularly walking individuals. They wash the dog with a zoo shampoo, which can be replaced with “human” remedies for dry and brittle hair, diluted in water. The final stage of washing is applying a conditioner or rinsing the wool in an vinegar solution (1 tablespoon of vinegar per liter of water). To prevent the Black Russian Terrier’s hair from becoming dry and coarse, never blow-dry it or comb it immediately after bathing. Too frequent exposure of the animal to the sun also affects the condition of its coat, therefore, if the dog lives in an aviary, build a canopy for it for the summer, under which it could hide from the heat.

Black Russian Terrier haircut

Usually, a salon haircut is done to show-class individuals, and pets can shorten their hair on their own. To do this, buy hairdressing and thinning scissors, a stainless steel comb and a slicker. You can also purchase a special machine for wool, a haircut with which is faster.

Trimmed black russian terrier with docked tail
Trimmed black russian terrier with docked tail

Do not remove too much hair on the body of the blackie, as representatives of this breed love to scratch. The dense undercoat serves as a protective layer that protects the skin of the dog from his own claws, and if it is cut too short, wounds on the body are inevitable, so the ideal hair length on the body is 1.5 cm. The same rule applies to the ears, on which it is necessary to leave from 6 to 12 mm wool. The bangs and mustaches of the Russian Black Terrier, if shortened, are very slightly, as this distorts the appearance of the breed. In addition, the hair in these areas of the body grows very slowly. It is best to cut only the head, not reaching 2-3 cm to the superciliary arches. Between the eyes, you can also cut out the right triangle with a call to the bridge of the nose, which will make the appearance of the pet more advantageous.

On the forelimbs and metatarsals, the hair is left longer than on the body. They do the same with the hair on the shins and thighs, which is simply neatly trimmed. But the tufts of hair between the fingers must be carefully cut, as they are the main “garbage bins”. For hygienic purposes, the abdomen, groin area and the area around the anus are also cut short.


With the Russian black terrier, you need to walk a lot and productively, this is especially true for apartment dwellers who experience a lack of physical activity. Until the puppy has had its first vaccination, walks should be short but frequent. Individuals that have been vaccinated can be taken to longer promenades. The optimal walking time for a one-year-old terrier is 1 hour, and you will have to go outside with the dog at least three times a day. By the age of one and a half years, the blackie can be transferred to a two-time paddock.

Since your pet will not have time to let off steam during ordinary excursions around the city or park, it is better to load him with additional physical exercises. For example, you can practice agility with your dog or have him run after your bike. It is very useful to create artificial difficulties for the dog. For example, invite her to run on loose, falling snow, or a sandy beach. Such entertainment takes a lot of strength from the animal, while training its endurance.

Do not forget: in places of possible appearance of people, Russian Black Terriers are walked only on a leash and in a muzzle.


Черные терьеры тоже любят осенние фотки в листьях
Black terriers also love autumn pictures in the leaves

Black Terriers are natural meat eaters. Of course, the body of dogs also successfully breaks down vegetable proteins, but you are unlikely to succeed in making a blackie a lover of cereals and carrots. Meat should be at least half, and preferably ⅔ of the animal’s diet, but no requirements are imposed on its quality. The wiry trimmings of horse meat, old beef or winded rabbit will be eaten by a black terrier with the same pleasure as a first-class tenderloin.

In order to save money, meat can be replaced with offal, which dogs also adore. But you will have to be careful with sea fish, because, for example, the abuse of pollock, haddock, blue whiting, whiting and hake can provoke anemia in your pet. It is better to cook porridge from several types of cereals, so that the blackie’s body receives all the necessary trace elements in one serving. As for pasta and other flour products, it is better not to give them at all, although black terriers will almost sell their souls for them. But as a compromise, a piece of stale or dried rye bread is suitable. In addition, the black terrier’s diet should include seasonal fruits and vegetables (cuts, juices, purees), fresh herbs, low-fat sour milk and eggs.

It is better to feed a four-legged friend from a stand, forming the correct posture in him. After eating, the mustache and beard of the dog are usually clogged with crumbs, so after each meal the muzzle must be wiped or even washed. In addition, most blackies are incredible water drinkers, which is why the hair on their lower jaw is constantly wet. If you do not pay attention to this factor, then over time a fungus will start in the beard of the Russian black terrier, therefore, having noticed drops falling from the pet’s chin, do not be too lazy to blot his face with a towel.

Health and Diseases of the Black Russian Terrier

Russian Black Terriers are practically not susceptible to viral and infectious diseases, and they do not have numerous genetic ailments. But the breed did not succeed in avoiding elbow and hip dysplasia, so before buying a puppy, make sure that his parents successfully passed the test for dysplasia. Otherwise, get ready not to get out of veterinary clinics. Of the ailments that are not related to heredity, Russian black terriers are most often diagnosed with ear inflammation, as well as eye diseases (retinal atrophy, entropy).

How to choose a puppy

What you are looking at? Go
What you are looking at? Go

Once you have decided on a kennel, looked at the puppy’s pedigree, and got to know at least one of its parents, proceed to tests that will help you get some idea about the character of the future pet. Check the degree of contact of the baby by sitting him in the distance and beckoning with your hand. Black Russian Terrier puppies with guard potential approach a stranger immediately and with loud barks. Toddlers with the makings of a companion behave more balanced and quiet.

It will not be superfluous to check the tiny blackies for obedience. Lay the puppy on its side, intercepting it under the chest and observe its behavior. The future leader will immediately begin to resist and break out. You can lift the Black Russian Terrier off the ground by holding it with crossed arms on its stomach so that it looks into your eyes. The reaction of the future companion and family man to this action will be relatively calm, although a little resistance at the beginning of the procedure is also a good indicator. The dominant will do its best to wriggle out of your hands, simultaneously trying to bite them properly.

Another effective way is to give your puppy a good pat when you first meet him. A kid with a stable psyche after such an “execution” will simply shake himself off and move away from you. An unbalanced aggressor, on the contrary, will begin to whine, growl and gnaw at your fingers. And of course, immediately dismiss overly timid puppies for the simple reason that, like overly angry individuals, they are very difficult to train.

Photo of black russian terrier puppies

How much is a black russian terrier

The Black Russian Terrier is a rather rare breed both abroad and in Russia, which could not but affect its value. On average, you can buy a Black Russian Terrier puppy from domestic breeders for 600 – 700$. A price tag of 900$ rubles and more is set for babies from a female and a male with interchampionship titles, promising to repeat their parental career in the future.

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