Black Russian Terrier
Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails. – Max Eastman
Developed in the former USSR during the 1930s, the Black Russian Terrier (BRT) was a creation of the military and intended for use as part of the nation’s security force, guarding military installations. The Black Russian Terrier had to be able to work independently and survive the harsh climatic conditions of the vast country of Russia.
Giant Schnauzers, Airedales and Rottweilers were crossed to create a large, powerful dog that would be useful and reliable in a variety of situations. The Giant Schnauzer contributed his intelligence and quick reactions as well as most of the resulting dog’s appearance. The Airedale Terrier provided leadership, temperament and stamina. The Rottweiler brought firm stature and fearlessness. By 1956 the Black Russian Terrier was born.
Initially the BRT was bred only by the Red Star Kennel in Moscow, a state-owned facility. In 1957 the first puppies were sold to civilian breeders who began to stabilize the appearance of the breed while keeping his working ability. These breeders began to breed for looks (as the original was rather plain) while retaining working ability.
The first European country to which the breed was introduced was Finland. From there it spread throughout Europe, reaching the United Kingdom in 1996 and relatively recently, North America.
Today, the Black Russian Terrier is a popular choice for professional guard work in his native country.
Photos displayed courtesy of Tatiana Adams, Barents Night Kennels, Ontario
The Black Russian Terrier is larger than average, very muscular, and has massive bone structure.
He stands no more than 28 1/2 inches (72 cm) at the shoulder and weighs in at between 110 and 132 lbs (50-60 kg).
He has a thick, wiry, weather-resistant top coat over a dense undercoat capable of protecting him from the harshest Russian winters. The coat is 1-4 inches (4-10 cm) long and covers his entire body, forming a mane around the neck and shoulders. This kind of coat should be groomed several times a week.
The BRT’s coat is black or black with grey hairs, non-shedding, and hypo-allergenic. A rough, brushy moustache, a beard, and overhanging eyebrows complete the picture. His tail may be docked or undocked.
You can expect the Black Russian Terrier to live between 9 and 14 years.
The Black Russian Terrier is a self-assured, calm, and confident dog who maintains a dignified reserve with strangers. Although not aggressive, he is an assertive animal who is highly intelligent and may not be the best choice for an inexperienced dog owner. He is a large, energetic, powerful, and courageous dog possessing almost legendary endurance.
As you might expect of a dog initially bred to guard and protect, he is alert and responsive with a strong protective instinct. This is a large, strong, agile, muscular dog. Fearless and deeply loyal to his family, he has a well developed sense of personal space, preferring to maintain a certain distance from strangers.
Early training and socialization are critical. The Black Russian Terrier accepts firm, consistent training well. He should be stable, extremely reliable, of good temperament and well-balanced.
The Black Russian Terrier has a strong work ethic and is happiest when he has a job to do. Lively and energetic, BRTs require lots of exercise to keep fit and ward off any tendency to hyperactivity and destructive behaviour brought about by boredom. They enjoy participating in a wide variety of sports and activities, such as carting, obedience competitions, Agility, and Schutzhund.