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Black Russian Terrier: Your Ultimate Guide to the Breed

August 21, 2023

Welcome to our guide on the Black Russian Terrier breed, also known as BRT or Russian Black Terrier. This breed is a large, versatile working dog that is known for its loyalty and intelligence. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about the Black Russian Terrier, from its origins and unique characteristics to its exercise and grooming needs. We'll also explore its temperament, training and obedience, health issues, and much more. Whether you're considering getting a Black Russian Terrier or already have one, this guide is here to help you become a knowledgeable and responsible owner.

Black Russian Terrier in a house laying on the floor

Key Takeaways:

  • The Black Russian Terrier is a large, versatile working dog that is known for its loyalty and intelligence.
  • Our guide covers everything you need to know about this breed, including its origins, unique characteristics, exercise and grooming needs, temperament, training and obedience, health issues, and much more.
  • Whether you're considering getting a Black Russian Terrier or already have one, this guide is here to help you become a knowledgeable and responsible owner.

History of the Black Russian Terrier

The Black Russian Terrier, also known as BRT or Russian Black Terrier, is a relatively new dog breed that was developed in the Soviet Union in the mid-20th century. The breed was created by the military to serve as a versatile working dog that could perform various tasks, such as military and police work, guarding, and herding.

The development of the Black Russian Terrier was a long and complex process that involved crossing several breeds. The breeds used to create the Black Russian Terrier include the Rottweiler, Giant Schnauzer, Airedale Terrier, and the Moscow Water Dog (now extinct).

History of the Black Russian Terrier

The breeding program started in the late 1940s, and the first standard for the breed was established in 1958. The breed was officially recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in 1984, and by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2004.

Today, the Black Russian Terrier is a popular dog breed that is known for its versatility, obedience, intelligence, and loyalty. It is commonly used as a family pet, a watchdog, a police or military dog, and a therapy dog.

Characteristics and Traits

The Black Russian Terrier, also known as the BRT or Russian Black Terrier, is a large and versatile working dog breed. They are highly intelligent, obedient, and loyal, making them an excellent family pet.

One of the unique characteristics of the Black Russian Terrier is that they are hypoallergenic, which means they produce fewer allergens than other breeds. This makes them an ideal pet for those with allergies.

Black Russian Terriers are also highly trainable and have a desire to please their owners. They are known for being easy to train and excel in obedience competitions.

As a family pet, the Black Russian Terrier is very protective of their loved ones. They are watchful and cautious around strangers, making them a great watchdog. However, with proper training and socialization, they can also be friendly and affectionate with children and other pets.

Black Russian Terrier Temperament

The Black Russian Terrier is a loyal and affectionate breed that is highly intelligent, making them an excellent choice for a family pet. They are known for their calm and even-tempered nature, which makes them an excellent companion for households with children. While they tend to be reserved around strangers, they are generally affectionate and protective of their family.

As with any breed, it is important to socialize Black Russian Terriers from a young age. Early socialization will help them to develop good behavior and to feel comfortable in different situations, such as around other dogs and people. Proper training is also essential, as Black Russian Terriers can be stubborn and strong-willed at times. However, with consistent and positive reinforcement, they will learn quickly and respond well to commands.

Overall, the Black Russian Terrier is a highly adaptable and trainable breed with a loyal and affectionate personality, which makes them an excellent family pet.

Black Russian Terrier Training and Obedience

The Black Russian Terrier is often regarded as an intelligent and obedient dog breed, making training and obedience relatively easy. However, it is important to note that early socialization and consistent training is key to a well-behaved Black Russian Terrier.

Due to their history as versatile working dogs, Black Russian Terriers excel in various training activities such as tracking, obedience, and agility. In fact, they enjoy learning new skills and thrive on mental stimulation.

Black Russian Terrier Training Tips

When training a Black Russian Terrier, it is recommended to use positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, to encourage good behavior and discourage bad behavior. Consistency is also crucial in training, as a lack of consistency can lead to confusion and frustration.

Furthermore, starting training at an early age can help your Black Russian Terrier develop good habits and make training easier in the long run. Additionally, it is important to vary the training environment to expose your dog to different stimuli and situations.

Obedience Training

Obedience training is an important aspect of a Black Russian Terrier's training journey. It involves teaching your dog basic commands such as sit, stay, come, heel, and down. These commands are not only beneficial for day-to-day life but can also be life-saving in emergency situations.

When teaching obedience commands, it is crucial to use positive reinforcement techniques. For instance, when teaching your Black Russian Terrier to sit, use a treat to lure them into a sitting position. Once they sit, give them the treat and praise them. With consistent training, your Black Russian Terrier will eventually learn to sit on command.

Overall, consistent and positive training and obedience techniques can help your Black Russian Terrier reach their full potential and become a well-behaved and obedient companion.

Black Russian Terrier Exercise and Activity Needs

The Black Russian Terrier is a large and versatile working dog that requires a moderate amount of daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. This breed is highly active and enjoys a variety of activities, including walking, running, swimming, and playing fetch, making them an ideal companion for outdoor enthusiasts.

One essential aspect of owning a Black Russian Terrier is ensuring they get enough mental and physical stimulation. This breed is highly intelligent and requires a job to do, or they may become bored and develop destructive habits.

It is recommended that Black Russian Terrier owners provide their pets with at least 60 minutes of exercise daily. This could include walking, jogging, hiking, or playing in a fenced yard.

Owners of Black Russian Terriers should also provide their pets with enough mental stimulation, including obedience training, puzzles, or interactive toys. These activities will help keep their minds active and prevent boredom.

It is important to note that Black Russian Terriers are not suitable for apartment living. They require a large, spacious area to move around and exercise. If you do not have access to a large yard, you might consider taking your Black Russian Terrier to a nearby dog park or enrolling them in a doggy daycare.

Grooming and Coat Care

The Black Russian Terrier’s dense, thick coat requires regular grooming to keep it healthy and free of matting. This breed is considered hypoallergenic because it sheds minimally, but it does require a significant amount of maintenance.

One of the critical steps in caring for the Black Russian Terrier’s coat is brushing. Daily brushing is necessary when the dog is shedding, but weekly brushing is sufficient at other times. Use a slicker brush or a metal comb to get rid of tangles and mats, and finish with a pin brush to ensure an even coat.

In terms of bathing, it’s vital to use a shampoo specifically formulated for dogs to protect their skin and coat. Frequent bathing is not recommended, as it can strip the coat of its natural oils. A bath every three or four months should suffice, or as needed if the dog has gotten particularly dirty.

Trimming the coat is another essential aspect of grooming. While it’s best to leave this to a professional groomer, owners who prefer to do it themselves should have the necessary tools and knowledge to keep the coat neat and even.

Grooming NeedsFrequency
BrushingDaily during shedding season, weekly otherwise
BathingEvery three to four months or as needed
Coat TrimmingAs needed or by a professional groomer

Note: Regular grooming not only keeps the Black Russian Terrier looking great but also helps maintain their general health and wellbeing. It can also be an excellent bonding experience between the owner and their dog.

Health Issues and Care

Like all dog breeds, the Black Russian Terrier can be prone to certain health issues. It's important to be aware of these potential health concerns and take proper care of your BRT to ensure a healthy and happy life.

Common Health Issues

Some of the most common health issues seen in Black Russian Terriers include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and bloat. It's important to have your BRT regularly examined by a veterinarian to catch any potential health issues early on.

Hip and elbow dysplasia are both genetic conditions that can cause pain and discomfort for your BRT. Hypothyroidism is a condition that affects the thyroid gland and can cause weight gain, lethargy, and other symptoms. Bloat, also known as gastric torsion, is a serious condition that can be life-threatening. It's important to keep an eye out for symptoms and seek immediate veterinary care if you suspect bloat.

Care and Prevention

To help prevent these health issues, it's important to take proper care of your Black Russian Terrier. This includes regular exercise, a healthy diet, and regular veterinary check-ups. You should also be aware of your BRT's genetic history and select a reputable breeder who screens their breeding dogs for potential health issues.

If your BRT does develop a health issue, it's important to work closely with your veterinarian to manage the condition and ensure your dog's comfort and well-being. With proper care and attention, your Black Russian Terrier can live a happy and healthy life.

Feeding and Nutrition

As a large and active breed, a Black Russian Terrier requires a diet that is high in protein and nutrients. Feeding your BRT high-quality dog food is essential for maintaining their health and well-being.

When selecting dog food for your Black Russian Terrier, look for brands that contain high-quality animal protein sources such as chicken, beef, or lamb. Avoid foods that contain low-quality protein fillers such as corn or soy.

It is essential to monitor the amount of food your Black Russian Terrier is consuming to ensure they are getting the right amount of nutrition. Overfeeding your BRT can lead to obesity and other health issues.

In addition to their main meals, Black Russian Terriers also benefit from healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables. Carrots, apples, and green beans are all great options for providing your BRT with additional vitamins and nutrients.

It is also crucial to ensure your Black Russian Terrier has access to plenty of fresh water at all times. Dehydration can lead to serious health problems, so make sure to check their water bowl regularly and refill it as necessary.

Black Russian Terrier as a Family Pet

The Black Russian Terrier makes a wonderful family pet due to its affectionate and loyal nature. They love spending time with their human family and are known to be great with children.

However, it's important to remember that BRTs were originally bred for guarding and protecting purposes, and as such, they can be wary of strangers and other dogs if not socialized properly.

If you have small children, it's important to supervise their interactions with your BRT to ensure that they don't accidentally hurt or provoke the dog. Additionally, BRTs are large dogs, so they may accidentally knock over small children while playing.

Overall, the Black Russian Terrier can be a fantastic addition to any family, as long as they receive plenty of love, attention, and proper socialization.

Black Russian Terrier and Other Pets

The Black Russian Terrier is a loyal and protective dog that can get along well with other pets if properly socialized. However, due to their large size and powerful build, it is essential to introduce them to other pets early on to minimize any potential conflicts.

When introducing a Black Russian Terrier to other pets, it is important to supervise their interactions. This is especially true when introducing them to smaller animals, such as cats or rabbits, as their strong prey drive may cause them to chase or harm the smaller animals.

If you have other dogs in your household, it is a good idea to introduce them to your Black Russian Terrier gradually and in a controlled environment. Keep them on a leash and allow them to sniff and get accustomed to each other's presence before letting them interact off-leash.

It is also essential to provide each pet with their own space and resources, such as food dishes, beds, and toys, to prevent any territorial disputes. With proper socialization and training, the Black Russian Terrier can coexist peacefully with other pets and become a beloved member of your household.

Finding a Black Russian Terrier Puppy

Looking for a Black Russian Terrier puppy can be both exciting and daunting. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect puppy for your family:

Find a Reputable Breeder

It is important to find a reputable breeder who has experience with the Black Russian Terrier breed. Look for breeders who are involved in breed-specific clubs and organizations, and who can provide health clearances for the puppy's parents.

Reputable breeders will also want to know about you and your lifestyle to ensure that a Black Russian Terrier is a good fit for your family. Don't be afraid to ask questions and request references from previous puppy buyers.

Consider Adoption

If you are willing to adopt a slightly older Black Russian Terrier, consider checking with local breed-specific rescue organizations. These organizations work hard to find loving homes for dogs who were surrendered or abandoned, and may be able to match you with a wonderful companion.

Adopting a Black Russian Terrier can be a great way to provide a forever home for a dog in need, and can also be a more affordable option than purchasing a puppy from a breeder.

Be Prepared to Wait

As a rare breed, finding a Black Russian Terrier puppy may take time. It is important to be patient and not rush into purchasing a puppy from a breeder who may not be reputable. A good breeder may have a waiting list, and it may take several months before a litter is available.

Be Prepared for the Cost

Black Russian Terrier puppies can be expensive, with prices ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 depending on the breeder and location. In addition to the cost of the puppy itself, you should also budget for initial veterinary expenses, including vaccinations and spaying/neutering.

Remember, however, that the cost of purchasing a puppy is a small investment compared to the love and companionship that a Black Russian Terrier will bring to your family for years to come.

Black Russian Terrier laying on a red carpet

Training Resources for Black Russian Terrier Owners

Training a Black Russian Terrier can be a challenging but rewarding experience. These intelligent dogs are quick learners, but require consistent and positive training methods.

If you're a new owner, or if you're struggling with training your Black Russian Terrier, there are many resources available to help you.

Professional Trainers

Hiring a professional dog trainer is a great way to get started with your Black Russian Terrier's training. A good trainer can help you develop effective training techniques, and can work with your dog to address specific issues.

When choosing a trainer, look for someone who has experience with large, working breeds like the Black Russian Terrier. Many trainers offer puppy classes, obedience training, and specialized training like agility or protection work.

Online Training Courses

If you prefer the flexibility and convenience of online training, there are many courses available that cater specifically to Black Russian Terriers. These courses offer video tutorials, step-by-step instructions, and personalized support to help you train your dog at home.

Before signing up for an online course, research the course provider to ensure they have a good reputation and track record of success. Some popular online training platforms include Udemy, Doggy Dan, and The Online Dog Trainer.

Training Videos and Books

If you prefer to learn at your own pace, there are many training videos and books available that can help you train your Black Russian Terrier. These resources offer step-by-step instructions, helpful tips, and demonstrations of effective training techniques.

Some popular training videos and books for Black Russian Terriers include "The Complete Guide to Black Russian Terriers" by Joanna Dean, "Black Russian Terrier Training Secrets" by Mark Mendoza, and "Black Russian Terrier Puppy Training" on YouTube.

Training Tools and Supplies

Having the right tools and supplies can make a big difference in your Black Russian Terrier's training success. Some essential training tools and supplies include a sturdy leash and collar, high-quality treats for positive reinforcement, and toys for mental stimulation.

You may also want to consider using training aids like clickers, treat pouches, or training vests to help you work more effectively with your dog.

By using these resources and tools, you can help your Black Russian Terrier become a well-behaved, obedient, and happy companion.

Black Russian Terrier Rescue and Adoption

Adopting a Black Russian Terrier can be a rewarding experience and provide a loving home to a dog in need. If you are considering adopting, there are several options available.

The first step is to research local animal shelters or rescue organizations that may have Black Russian Terriers available for adoption. The breed may also be available through breed-specific rescues.

It is important to thoroughly research the organization and ensure they are reputable. Speak with the staff to learn about the dog's history, temperament, and any medical issues. They can also provide helpful information and advice on caring for your new pet.

Before adopting, be sure to consider the responsibilities and financial commitments that come with pet ownership. Black Russian Terriers are a large breed and require a significant amount of exercise and grooming. They also have potential health issues that may require ongoing medical care.

Adopting a Black Russian Terrier can be a wonderful way to provide a loving home to a deserving dog. With proper care and attention, they can become a loyal and beloved member of your family.


Overall, the Black Russian Terrier is a fantastic breed for those looking for a large, hypoallergenic, versatile working dog that also makes a great family pet. With their intelligence, obedience, and loyalty, they are a pleasure to train and have around the house.

It's important to remember that the Black Russian Terrier requires regular exercise and grooming, and may be prone to certain health issues. However, with the right care and attention, they can live long, healthy lives.

If you're considering adding a Black Russian Terrier to your family, be sure to do your research and find a reputable breeder or adoption agency. And don't forget about socialization and training - these are essential for raising a happy and well-behaved BRT.

We hope this guide has provided you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about whether the Black Russian Terrier is the right breed for you. Whether you're looking for a loyal working dog or a cuddly family companion, the BRT can be a great addition to your household.


Q: What is the history of the Black Russian Terrier?

A: The Black Russian Terrier has a fascinating history that dates back to the 1940s in the Soviet Union. They were originally bred as working dogs for the military and tasked with guarding and patrolling. Today, they are beloved companions and versatile working dogs.

Q: What are the characteristics and traits of the Black Russian Terrier?

A: The Black Russian Terrier is a large, intelligent, and obedient dog breed. They are known for their versatility and can excel in various tasks such as guarding, agility, and search and rescue. They are also hypoallergenic, making them a great choice for those with allergies.

Q: What is the temperament of the Black Russian Terrier?

A: The Black Russian Terrier is known for its loyal and protective nature. They are calm and confident dogs who are great with their families. However, they can be wary of strangers and require proper socialization from an early age.

Q: How trainable is the Black Russian Terrier?

A: The Black Russian Terrier is an intelligent breed that is highly trainable. They respond well to positive reinforcement methods and thrive on mental stimulation. Consistent training and socialization are essential for their development.

Q: What are the exercise needs of the Black Russian Terrier?

A: The Black Russian Terrier is a large and active breed that requires regular exercise to stay happy and healthy. They enjoy activities like long walks, runs, and interactive play sessions. Mental stimulation through training and puzzle toys is also important for them.

Q: How should I groom a Black Russian Terrier?

A: The Black Russian Terrier has a dense and weather-resistant coat that requires regular grooming. Brushing their coat a few times a week and occasional professional grooming is necessary to keep their coat healthy and free from mats. They are a hypoallergenic breed, which means their coat sheds minimally.

Q: What are the common health issues of the Black Russian Terrier?

A: Like all dog breeds, the Black Russian Terrier is prone to certain health issues. Some common concerns include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and hypothyroidism. Regular vet check-ups and a proper diet can help maintain their overall health.

Q: What should I feed my Black Russian Terrier?

A: The Black Russian Terrier should be fed a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. High-quality dog food formulated for large breeds is recommended. It's essential to provide them with proper portion control to prevent obesity.

Q: How important is socialization for a Black Russian Terrier?

A: Socialization is crucial for the Black Russian Terrier to ensure they grow up to be well-rounded and friendly dogs. Early and positive exposure to various people, animals, and environments will help them become confident and adaptable.

Q: Is the Black Russian Terrier suitable as a family pet?

A: Yes, the Black Russian Terrier can make an excellent family pet. They are loyal, protective, and form strong bonds with their families. They are also patient and gentle with children when properly trained and socialized.

Q: Can a Black Russian Terrier live with other pets?

A: With proper training and socialization, a Black Russian Terrier can coexist with other pets in the household. Early introductions and supervised interactions are crucial to ensure a harmonious relationship between them.

Q: How can I find a Black Russian Terrier puppy?

A: Finding a Black Russian Terrier puppy can be done by researching reputable breeders who specialize in the breed. It's important to visit the breeder, ask questions, and see the puppy's living conditions before making a decision. Adoption from rescue organizations is also an option.

Q: What training resources are available for Black Russian Terrier owners?

A: There are many training resources available for Black Russian Terrier owners. Online courses, books, and professional trainers can provide guidance and support in training your dog. It's important to choose methods that align with positive reinforcement techniques.

Q: Can I rescue or adopt a Black Russian Terrier?

A: Yes, there are Black Russian Terrier rescue organizations that specialize in finding homes for dogs in need. Adoption is a wonderful option for giving a loving home to a dog that may have been abandoned or surrendered. Contact local rescue organizations or check online adoption platforms for availability.

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