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Russian Black Terrier

Developed for Russia’s challenging terrains and climate

A relatively new breed, the Russian Black Terrier (called Black Russian Terrier in most countries, but not the UK!) was developed by the Russian army after World War II as a specialised guard dog and as a general service dog. One of their duties was to round up fugitives. The Russian dog population had suffered during the World Wars and there was no breed left to fulfil the needs of the forces: a dog able to work independently and cope with the differing terrains and extremes of climate in Russia. A mixture of breeds formed the foundation but it is acknowledged that a Giant Schnauzer was the centre of the breeding programme. They were mated with Airedale and Rottweiler bitches and the progeny were bred together with an input of the Moscow Retriever, a dog bred from Newfoundland and Sheepdog stock. In 1955 the first working examples of the breed were put on show at an exhibition in Moscow and the first breed standard was published in 1958, which was then adopted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 1984.

The Russian Black Terrier are a breed that loves to exercise and work, they love to please, and have energy to burn. With an outstanding ability to withstand climatic changes, they love nothing better than a good snowfall or the chance to get out in the rain or play in the lake. These dogs like close human contact and are devoted to their owners, following them around. Because of this characteristic, they don’t like being outside in a kennel away from their family but adapt well to inside living, being clean and obedient when trained correctly. A Russian Black Terrier who doesn’t get enough exercise will become unhappy and destructive, and one who doesn’t spend enough time with their human family can develop aggressive tendencies. They are eager to take part in brisk walks, long runs, bike rides, swims, and hikes with their owner. This breed are dominating and will become pushy with anyone they can intimidate. Training must be firm and consistent, but always reward based, never punishment based. The Russian Black Terrier is intelligent and learns quickly, but only if they are treated with kindness and respect. They adapt well to living with smaller dogs, cats and rabbits but finds it difficult to live with other large dominant males. Gentle and playful with children, they make ideal family dogs providing their owners are willing to do a lot of training with the dog while they are young.

Read more about the history of this breed – HERE


Most of these stats are from the The Kennel Club UK. You can view stats from kennel clubs around the world at the links below, which may have different standards and classifications.

Group – UKWorking
Bred ForGuarding, Service
Rare BreedNo
Country of OriginRussia
TemperamentAlert, Lively, Confident
Exercise NeededMore than 2 hours a day
Size of Home NeededLarge
Height at Withers – Females66 – 72 cm / 26 – 28½ in
Height at Withers – Males68 – 77 cm / 27 – 30½ in
CoatMedium, Double Coat
ColourBlack, Black with grey hairs
Life Expectancy10 – 14 years
  • The four main breeds that the Soviets used to create the Black Russian Terrier were the Giant Schnauzer, the Rottweiler, the Airedale Terrier, and the Newfoundland. But there were a total of 17 breeds used to create the new dog.
  • They are also known as the Tchiorny Terrier (tchiorny is Russian for black), and the Black Russian Terrier.
  • Russian Black Terriers can be wary and timid of people they don’t already know.
  • Be warned sometimes Black Russian Terriers sometimes snore and drool!
  • Unfortunately this breed can suffer from many health conditions which would require treatment from a veterinarian, so it may be an expensive dog to care for.


Breed standards vary throughout the world, these links will inform you of those standards and give further information about Russian Black Terrier.


Click on any picture below to view it larger and in a slideshow, it’s worth it! 😃


Enjoy this video about Russian Black Terriers, you can view the entire playlist of videos about this breed on our YouTube Channel by clicking the button below:


Here’s some websites specifically dedicated to the Russian Black Terrier breed, click to view them. I am not affiliated with any of these sites, they’re just here for further information. Please note I will not advertise breeders on this site and as many websites dedicated to a specific breed are run by breeders, sometimes there’s fewer sites listed here.

Thanks for reading!

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