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Life span: 10-11 Years

Height: 66-72cm (Male); 64-70cm (Female)

Weight: 80-140 pounds

This large dog has a natural protective instinct. It will guard your family doing whatever it takes. It is also loving and affectionate with its family and enjoys playing with kids. Seen before working with military and police officers, this dog is extremely intelligent and courageous.

Physical Characteristics

Seeming to be squared, this breed has a large and strong body that is really muscular, with small ears set high atop its head and bending, although not quite falling, down. Their tail is medium length and has a slight curve, resting down most of the time. Its eyes are brown with a black nose. The undercoat is soft and dense, with a waterproof and relatively long overcoat, which is a little rough to the touch. It is always completely black and covers all of its body, including the paws, snout and top of the head, giving it its squared appearance.


In the 1940s, the Russian army designed this breed with the purpose of creating a dog that could withstand the rough weather and to be obedient and alert. It was done through a special breeding program that included a Soviet breeder and other specialists, producing a large dog with plenty of muscles and intelligence that was willing to do the tasks given to it and withstand their climate. However, due to the murder of many purebreds in the Russian revolution, war and economic decline, there was a lot of difficulty acquiring these to breed the dog. It was not until World War II ended that they were able to get purebred Rottweilers and Giant Schnauzers in Russia. After much experimentation with multiple breeds, they accomplished the dog with the exact characteristics they wanted, which began working with national security and the military. In 1984, after the Russian Breeder’s Association had bought many dogs from the Red Star Kennels and established the breed’s standards, the breed was recognized as the Black Russian Terrier. In 2004, they were included in the American Kennel Club’s Working Group.


This large dog is affectionate with its family and loves spending time doing activities with them. They should not be left to stay outside, as they need close human attention. They adore children and have a playful personality with them. When young, they will need firm guidance but without missing any love. They tend to be wary towards strangers and although they can get along with other small pets, another large dog in the household might cause problems unless the owner is a strong and dominant leader. Despite this, they are not confrontational dogs and will not fight with another dog. Because of their size, it is recommended to keep the yard fenced and when going out that they remain on a leash. Although they are quite large, they can be in an apartment, as long as they get all the exercise they need. Training is easy due to their instinct to please and obey its owner, which they highly enjoy.


This breed tends to be healthy, but can suffer from:

Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), in which the dogs may become night blind at first and progressively lose their day eyesight as well.

Allergies that produce the same symptoms you see in humans, and depending on the cause, different treatments can be used.


Its dense and long coat needs brushing once or twice a week, and regular hair trimming on its face done every few months which can be done by the owner or a professional groomer. Their nails should be trimmed regularly as well as its teeth brushed and its ears checked for any dirt to prevent infections. They need at least half an hour of daily exercise and plenty of time with its family or it might develop destructive and aggressive behavior. Socialization and obedience training must begin early and remain constant throughout its life. In order for training to be easy, the dog must respect you as a dominant leader. Once that is achieved, the Black Russian Terrier will do anything it can to please its owner. Firm orders along with positive reinforcement works best with this breed.


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