Meet the Breed: The Black Russian Terrier



  • Height: 25"- 29”
  • Weight: 80-143 pounds
  • Historical function: Military, working and guard dog
  • Modern function: Companion, working, guard dog
  • AKC classification: Working

Physical Characteristics:

The Black Russian Terrier, also known as the BRT, Stalin's Dog, the Russian Bear Schnauzer, and the Black Terrier, is a large, sturdy dog that resembles a bear with its massive head and huge paws. The coat is black and wavy with a few gray hairs disbursed through the coat. The waterproof coat may be full or stripped.

History of the Breed:

The BRT was developed after WWII by scientists at the state-owned Red Star Kennel combining approximately 20 breeds to develop the ideal working military and police dog. Included in the mix were the Giant Schnauzer, the Rottweiler, the Airedale, the Newfoundland, the Caucasian Ovtcharka and the now extinct Moscow Water Dog. The desired characteristics were combined to develop a large, unpretentious, highly trainable dog that was to perform guard work in the varying climatic conditions of the country. The breed is rare and only reached the United States in the 1980s.


The Black Russian Terrier is a people-oriented breed that needs a steady, strong trainer who can be consistent with this slow-developing dog. A well-socialized dog is confident, calm, highly intelligent, brave and loyal.

  • Best suited for: Experienced dog owners. Does best with a job.
  • Preferred living conditions: The BRT is happiest being near people. Can be okay without a yard but as a large dog, needs room. Requires daily mental and physical exercise. Likes cooler weather and air conditioning. Most love snow and water.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: BRT's have a low-shedding coat that should be brushed several times weekly. May be professionally groomed every six weeks.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk,
  • Life expectancy: 10-14 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to hip and elbow dysplasia as well as retinal atrophy. 

Breed Club Links: Black Russian Terrier Club of America Perfect Pairings: Day Trippers Dog Backpack,

Prudence Nature's Wellness Supplements - Hip and Joint

Have any stories about a Black Russian Terrier? Please share!

Photo courtesy of golbenge.

This entry was posted by Mary.
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