Black Russian Terrier

Temperament: Intelligent, Calm, Powerful

  • Height: 27-30 inches (male), 26-29 inches (female)
  • Weight: 80-130 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
  • Group: Working Group 

The Black Russian Terrier is a large, immensely powerful worker of heavy bone and coarse all-black coat. BRTs are known for their courage, confidence, and intelligence. Bred to guard and protect, they are naturally aloof with strangers.


The Black Russian Terrier is a robust, large, balanced, agile and powerful dog.
He has large bone and well-developed muscles, and a great strength and endurance. The Black Russian Terrier must have a stable and reliable temperament, possessing self-assurance and courage.

About the Black Russian Terrier

What’s the word we’re looking for? Imposing? Massive? Majestic? How about just plain “big.” This brawny guard dog of the Siberian steppes can tip the scales at 140 pounds and stand as high as 30 inches at the shoulder. They’re much taller when the huge, brick-shaped head is considered. The tousled, all-black coat is warm enough to allow BRTs to patrol some of the coldest habitable places on earth. The old expression “He moves well for a big guy” applies to this nimble-footed giant.

NUTRITION The Black Russian Terrier should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING The Black Russian Terrier’s tousled double coat—a thick, soft undercoat covered by a coarse, protective outer coat—needs regular maintenance to prevent mats from forming, with a thorough brushing once or twice a week. The owner will need to learn to scissor around the face, especially his beard and mustache, to keep him looking his best, or rely on a professional groomer to do the job. A trim with clippers every few months can be done by a groomer, but many owners learn how to do it themselves. As with all breeds, the BRT’s nails should be trimmed regularly.

EXERCISE The Black Russian Terrier needs at least 30 or 40 minutes of exercise every day. He is eager to take part in brisk walks, long runs, bike rides, swims, and hikes with his owner. In the backyard, he and his owner can play with a ball or a flying disc. A BRT who doesn’t get enough exercise will become unhappy and destructive, and one who doesn’t spend enough time with his human family can develop aggressive tendencies. Many BRTs excel at canine sports such as obedience, agility, rally, and Schutzhund (protection) competitions.

TRAINING An owner who is not willing or able to train a powerful, willful animal should not get a Black Russian Terrier. Socialisation needs to start in puppy-hood and continue throughout the dog’s lifetime in order to prevent aggressive behaviour. Obedience training also needs to start as early as possible and should continue well into adulthood. BRTs 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 BRT is intelligent and learns quickly, but only if he is treated with kindness and respect.

HEALTH The Black Russian Terrier is typically a healthy breed, and a responsible breeder will screen breeding stock for health conditions such as allergies, urinary tract stones, hip and elbow dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy, which can cause vision loss and blindness. As with all breeds, a Black Russian Terrier’s ears should be checked regularly, and the teeth should be brushed regularly.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  1. Hip Evaluation
  2. Elbow Evaluation
  3. Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  4. Cardiac Exam
  5. JLPP DNA Test

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