Black Russian Terriers are intelligent, good-tempered, and extremely reliable dogs. They make top-notch guard dogs because they're loyal to family, protective of their territory, and suspicious of strangers.
The Black Russian Terrier is a relatively new breed that the Soviet Red Army developed during the 1940s. Intended to be part of the Russian military forces, this breed needed to be large, strong, high-spirited, capable, and trainable. It also had to be able to endure harsh Russian winters.
The popularity of the Black Russian Terrier has since spread throughout the Soviet Union, Europe, and the United States. The American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 2004.
Big and brawny, Black Russian Terriers emanate strength, power, and agility.
The Black Russian Terrier has a tousled double coat that is coal-black, with or without a scattering of gray hair.
When you take a close look at the Black Russian Terrier, you'll notice a muscular body structure, large head, thick neck, and prominent chest.
Black Russian Terriers are calm and self-assured. They may seem aloof around strangers. And though they're generally good with other pets, Black Russian Terriers can sometimes be reactive toward other dogs.
In addition to being smart, curious, and playful, Black Russian Terriers are courageous and prepared to protect their home, territory, and family.
Black Russian Terriers require a high-quality dog food that is age-appropriate—whether it's commercially manufactured or homemade (under a veterinarian's supervision and approval).
As you should with any dog, keep an eye on the amount of food you give your Black Russian Terrier and reduce the portions if your pup gains weight. Also, remember that giving too many treats can contribute to obesity.
This breed's dense undercoat is covered by a thick, protective outer coat. As such, the Black Russian Terrier needs regular grooming with meticulous brushing once or twice a week to prevent matting.
Whether it's a fast-paced walk, a long run, or hiking adventure, Black Russian Terriers enjoys all types of physical exercise. And they need it, too, thriving with a minimum of 30–45 minutes of daily exercise. Without enough physical activity or sufficient family time, they may become unhappy, destructive dogs.
Black Russian Terriers typically excel in many canine sports. These include rally obedience, agility, lure coursing, dock diving, cart pulling, K-9 nose work, tracking, and more.
Black Russian Terriers respond well to reward-based training techniques (never punishment-based) using treats and favorite toys.
To thwart aggressive behaviors in an adult Black Russian Terrier, you must start socialization and obedience training during puppyhood and continue throughout the dog's life. An untrained Black Russian Terrier may become forceful with anyone they think they can bully.
Juvenile laryngeal paralysis and polyneuropathy (JLPP) causes difficulty breathing and swallowing due to voice box (larynx) paralysis.
PRCD is a particularly common form of progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and is found in many breeds and mixed breed dogs. PRA is caused by the degeneration of photoreceptor cells of the retina resulting in progressive vision loss and eventual blindness.
Hyperuricosuria (HUU) is a condition that predisposes affected dogs to the formation of urinary stones, such as kidney or bladder stones.
Knowing if your Black Russian Terrier is a carrier or at-risk for these conditions can help you and your veterinarian plan for your pup’s lifelong care. With Wisdom Panel™ Premium, you can get results for over 200 genetic health tests.
Reviewed July 26, 2020 by Cindy Elston, DVM, MPH