Black Russian Terrier

80-143 lbs
Chornyi, Terrier Noir Russem, Schwarzer Russicher Terrier, Tchiorny Terrier, Mastaterrieri

The Black Russian Terrier is larger than most mid-sized dogs and is a robust high-spirit pet. They 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. The Black Russian Terrier likes close human contact and is devoted to his 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. Once you assert your dominance as the pack leader, they will listen and respect your wishes. Puppies are sensitive, playful and are very quick to learn. It is vital at this stage in their lives for them to see the owner as pack leader, and they will be easier to train. This breed needs firm leadership and needs daily exercising – being a big working dog they need to burn off any excess energy; if they don’t then you could have behavioral problems. The Black Russian Terrier adapts 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. They are easy to train, adjust well to the leash, but need to be taught to walk slightly behind or in step with the owner, never ahead as in a dog’s mind, the dominant leader walks in front. These gentle robust, vibrant dogs are easy to groom with their soft, thick hair and for overall care, but do need exercise to keep them happy.

purpose Purpose
Military Work
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Schnauzer, Rottweiler, Airedale, Russian Water Dog

Black Russian Terrier Health

Sketch of Black Russian Terrier
Average Size
Male Black Russian Terrier size stats
Height: 27-29 inches Weight: 80-145 lbs
Female Black Russian Terrier size stats
Height: 26-28 inches Weight: 80-143 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Hip And Elbow Dysplasia
  • Urinary Crystals and Stones
Minor Concerns
  • Environmental Allergies
  • Food Allergies
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Otitis Interna and Media
Occasional Tests
  • Complete Physical Examination
  • Eye and Ear Examination
  • Allergy Testing
  • Abdominal Ultrasound
  • Hip and Elbow X-rays

Black Russian Terrier Breed History

It was in the early 1940s that the Russian army decided to use its Red Star Kennels to breed a dog designed for their tough climatic conditions as well as one that was both alert and obedient. Working within a breeding program that was developed by a Soviet breeder and specialists, they produced a dog that was massive, robust and intelligent, as well as a willing worker and a dog who could withstand harsh wintry conditions. It was a challenge to acquire purebred stock due to the slaughter of much of the purebred stock during the Russian revolution, the war, and economic decline. After the end of the second world war, their breeding program finally took off as the quality stock of the Giant Schnauzer and Rottweiler breeds were returned to Russia. They experimented with many breeds to produce the exact characteristics they required and bred from only the best dogs they managed to acquire, soon developing a dog that fit their needs. The army bred a dog that had all the ability of the German Shepherd without the unnecessary aggression. These dogs were used by the national security force and were ideal because of their size and the fact that they were highly trainable. Military police used them at border crossings, prisons and military installations. Years later after the Russian breeder’s association (DOSAAF) bought dogs from the Red Star Kennels, they started to standardize the characteristics and appearance of the breed while still maintaining its excellent qualities. It was in May 1984 that the breed was finally recognized as the Black Russian Terrier. On July 1st, 2004, the breed was admitted to full membership in the American Kennel Club Working Group.

Black Russian Terrier Breed Appearance

The Black Russian Terrier is larger than a medium dog and is robust and strong. The length of the body is proportionate with their height at the withers, giving them a square appearance, with a high set tail. The back is level but not appearing flat. Forelegs should be set straight and well formed with large muscular sloping shoulders. Their legs and feet are well covered with 2 to 4 inches of coarse hair, and the legs should be parallel to each other. The Black Russian Terrier has awesome bear like feet with tough black thick pads and long dark nails. They have a long wedge-shaped head with a broad skull. The mustache and beard add to the square appearance of their muzzle. Their nose is large and black, and they possess full rounded lips and large jaws which are powerful. Their dark eyes are medium sized and set apart with almond shaped rims. Their ears are triangular and pendulous in shape. Their head sits on a thick muscular neck. The hind quarters are well boned and muscular, and the hocks are large and developed allowing for the Terrier’s spring and drive. With a waterproof coat that is slightly coarse, they are an attractive dog. They have a strong well-coordinated gait and appear to be light on their feet.

Appearance of Black Russian Terrier
Eye Color Possibilities
brown Black Russian Terrier eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Black Russian Terrier nose
Coat Color Possibilities
black Black Russian Terrier coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Black Russian Terrier wavy coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Black Russian Terrier Breed Maintenance

The Black Russian Terrier has a weatherproof coat that is hard, coarse, wavy and close lying and is about 1.5 to 4 inches long. This breed sports eyebrows and a beard which make them an aristocratic looking dog. Brushing is required twice a week to prevent matting, and regular trimming may be needed twice a year. Their undercoat is tight and well developed. Stripping is sometimes needed if the coat is soft. These dogs love the snow and will roll around in it almost as though they were self-cleaning! They also love the water and are very adaptable to the colder weather. They respond well to training and have a calm and self-assured demeanor.  They are bred to guard though, and will guard their family with their life. They can be reserved around strangers, but they are highly intelligent and respond to firm consistent training. The Black Russian Terrier is best suited to an experienced dog owner who will return companionship. They adapt well to city or country living as long as they get plenty of exercise.

Brushes for Black Russian Terrier
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Black Russian Terrier requires daily brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Black Russian Terrier Temperament

Your Black Russian Terrier can be suspicious of new people and visitors and protective towards their pack and leader. As young puppies, they should be treated lovingly and yet firmly, in order to guide them to their best behavior. They are an energetic dog and love to join in family games, and they are good with children. They have a balanced but strong temperament and avoid fighting with other dogs. The male Black Russian Terrier cannot live with another big dominant dog though, unless the owner is a very strong pack leader and can control both. They mix well with other small animals such as small dogs and cats. The Black Russian Terrier will love their training sessions as they are eager to please their master. These dogs have an intense desire to be with their humans and are well behaved indoor pets. They are not the type of dog to kennel outside, because they don’t get enough attention and may fret. They must have close human contact to be happy. They do adapt well to an apartment if they are given plenty of exercise. Because of their size, they need plenty of activity to burn off their energy, and a large fenced yard is ideal. They are loyal and loving pets, who dote upon their owner and family. 

Black Russian Terrier Activity Requirements

The Black Russian Terrier, being an intelligent and easily trained breed, will do well with activities that exercise both their keen mind and their body. Obedience trials and agility competitions are the perfect way for you to bond with your pet while keeping them happy and healthy. They have great stamina and a desire to please so can excel when in the ring. They are athletic and love to exercise. A walk twice per day will be welcomed as will play time in a safely enclosed area. Keep them company though while outside, as they will become bored and lonely if left to their own devices for too long.
Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes
activity minutes

Black Russian Terrier Popularity

Popularity ranking
Popular Hybrids

Black Russian Terrier Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$2.00 - $2.25
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$60.00 - $67.50
food bag monthly cost

Black Russian Terrier Height & Weight

6 Months
Sketch of Black Russian Terrier at six months
Male Black Russian Terrier size stats at six months
Height: 24.0 inches Weight: 57.5 lbs
Female Black Russian Terrier size stats at six months
Height: 23.0 inches Weight: 57.5 lbs
12 Months
Sketch of Black Russian Terrier at 12 months
Male Black Russian Terrier size stats at 12 months
Height: 26.0 inches Weight: 75.0 lbs
Female Black Russian Terrier size stats at 12 months
Height: 25.0 inches Weight: 75.0 lbs
18 Months
Sketch of Black Russian Terrier at 18 months
Male Black Russian Terrier size stats at 18 months
Height: 28.0 inches Weight: 111.5 lbs
Female Black Russian Terrier size stats at 18 months
Height: 27.0 inches Weight: 111.5 lbs

Top Black Russian Terrier Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Black Russian Terrier breeders of 2024.
Top Black Russian Terrier breeder Russian Guard
Russian Guard
Lumberton, Mississippi
Top Black Russian Terrier breeder Castlebar
Hohenwald, Tennessee
Top Black Russian Terrier breeder Czar's Warriors
Czar's Warriors
Chandler, Arizona
Top Black Russian Terrier breeder Black Beard Black Russian Terriers
Black Beard Black Russian Terriers
San Jacinto, California
Top Black Russian Terrier breeder Midnight Rider Black Russian Terriers
Midnight Rider Black Russian Terriers
Wiggins, Mississippi
Top Black Russian Terrier breeder DeSagres Black Russian Terriers
DeSagres Black Russian Terriers
Denver, Colorado
Top Black Russian Terrier breeder Over the Moon Black Russian Terriers
Over the Moon Black Russian Terriers
Atlanta, Georgia
Top Black Russian Terrier breeder Blackberry Black Russian Terrier
Blackberry Black Russian Terrier
Buffalo, New York

Black Russian Terrier Owner Experiences

1 Year
3 People
House & Yard
Absolutely wonderful breed
6 years, 6 months ago
12 Months
1 People
This is a most unique breed. She is my constant companion. She is gentle yet robust, loving and aloof , rambucious and calm... she knows the right time to use her behaviors.. she loves me with no end and she loves being brushed and scratched.
6 years, 2 months ago
2 Years
2 People
Playing catch with a ball
Absolutely wonderful dog, but he's a large dog and cannot be let off leash when outside because he has attacked another dog before.
4 years, 9 months ago
3 Years
2 People
House & Yard
Gorgeous gentle companion
4 years, 9 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd