Black Russian Terrier

Breed History

Black Russian Terrier side shot

Black Russian Terrier is a large size with large bones and a tall frame. People who put this breed together was looking for an all-around dog who could work, protect, and endure the harsh Russian winters.

Made in the 20th century they are a young breed and their history is well documented. Straight from a military kennel they would start the breeding program in the 1930’s but troubles were ahead.

World Wars and the Russian Revolution made it difficult because of the killing of dogs during the time. In addition, wars with countries made exports of certain dogs impossible at the time.

Crossbreeding was one of the essential reasons to establish the physical features and personality traits. Giant Schnauzer, Rottweilers, Airedale and Newfoundland are the foundational dogs.

It is known that almost 20 different breeds would ultimately make it into the shaping of the breed standard, but the four dogs are the most influential.

Working in different capacities such as military, jailhouses, and entry points into the country they have made a great contribution to the native land they were made at.

Took half a century before they would make it to the United States and start to gain recognition in the country. Late entry into the kennel club is due to the late arrival into the country.


In 2004, they would receive recognition from the American Kennel Club. They have recognition from every major kennel club all over the world.

Top 110 in popularity they still have room for improvement but are moving up for the short period of time they have been in the States. Their fur and temperament along with working dog skills can make them popular very fast.

Working Group is the category most major kennel clubs put them in and some have other categories. Here are the major kennel clubs and their breed standards.


Male Height: 28-30 inches

Female Height: 26-28 inches

Male Weight: 110-130 pounds

Female Weight: 80-110 pounds

Litter Size

8 puppies is the average litter size for the Black Russian Terrier. Breeders should be aware of how many puppies to expect. Large dogs will have mothers who can carry a large litter and vice versa as well. Mothers have no known issues and can deliver the puppies without human assistance, unless it is an emergency.


  • Salt and Pepper
  • Black and Tan
  • Black


$2,000-$3,000 is the average price for a Black Russian Terrier. Prices vary depending on location, currency, supply, demand and other factors that can affect cost.

Registration will show the dog’s ancestors in Russia and coming to the current country you live in. Strict adherence to the breed standard and proper breeding frequency will give you the highest quality pup.

Without papers dogs will cost less around a few hundred. When one, or both, parents can’t receive papers the puppies is unable as well. Crossbreeding is the biggest factor in this qualification.


Take the dog on a long walk or run before you start the grooming session. Setting the dog up for success is one of best practices for grooming whether you are doing it or a professional. You need to groom around 12 times per year in order to service the double coat they host.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

Brushing the coat multiple times per week will yield the best results. Proper tools that will brush from the skin are going to brush the entire coat and getting a different brush during shedding season will remove as much excess hair as possible.

Comb the coat multiple times per week for the best results as well. Getting a tool that can go past the outercoat and to the skin will be the proper comb. Shedding season combing will be effective with removing excess hair.

Bathe the dog after a long run or walk and get the dog to calm down beforehand. Simple principles will make all the difference in the experience and memory the dog gives the session. Water hose for hydration and cooling off on the stomach area with water will enhance the friendship.

Cleaning the ears needs to happen at least once per week to stop any infections from developing.

Trimming the nails should happen during exercise, which we recommend. If you don’t exercise the dog, which we don’t recommend, cut them with clippers or take them to a professional.

Professional help is a recommendation for this breed.

Life Span

10-12 years is the average lifespan for a Black Russian Terrier. That’s an average lifespan for a large size dog and a long time for a dog to live. Decent dog to adopt due to their long lifespan.

Health Issues

Hip Dysplasia – taking the dog to get an examination on their hips need to happen at the age of 24 months. If you notice the dog is limping, favoring, or not showing interest in exercising for long periods of time you should take the dog to the vet right away.

Elbow Dysplasia – growth outside of the elbow will visibly show that there is some elbow dysplasia developing. Trips to the vet around 24 months of age when you can’t see anything is a recommendation from their kennel club.

Cardiac Exam – larger dogs consume a large amount of dog food and that will start to clog the arties and cause the dog to develop heart disease when they are adults and reach senior ages.

Breed Group

Proud member of the Working Group and this is the perfect place to put them. They have been in use in different jobs and are a jack of all trades. Working dogs have given great contributions to humanity.

Herding, pulling sleds, rescues, military, police, and many other areas are all places where they made a significant difference. A lot of activities humans couldn’t do because of weather or scalability.

Here are some of the dogs in the working group

Exercise Needs

Black Russian Terrier need a lot of exercise to find fulfillment. Owners are often not aware of how much exercise the dog needs or the signs that the dog is begging for additional runs and walks.

Some arguments are made about walking the dog to the mailbox, taking them to the bathroom, or the size of the backyard. All this is confusion, but we will clear up if this is exercise or not.

Rule one is to look at your dog and they will tell you if that is enough exercise. Let’s remove opinions and see if the dog is showing over excitement, anxiety, jumping and other behaviors that show lack of exercise.

What about digging, barking excessively, not listening, nipping, biting and other behaviors are all a lack of exercise. These will arise if you are going to the mailbox, bathroom, or have a sizeable backyard.

Here is a basic recommendation we will give a client

Morning: Hour (run, walk or treadmill)

Evening: 30 mins (run, walk or treadmill)

Younger dogs need a lot of exercise mostly runs to get them under control. A great tactic is to use two sessions morning and night to remove the energy from the dog at a pace that gets them under control.

Adult dogs, around three years or older, will start to show a decline in energy levels. One session a day will be better on the owner and the dog will still show a high level of satisfaction.

Senior dogs need the least amount of exercise and a walk around the block will be enough.

After you start to give the dog enough exercise, they will always be calm and relaxed in the house, backyard, and on walks.


  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Socialization
  4. Corrections

Every dog training program should be built on a solid foundation and no foundation is more solid than daily exercise. Two sessions a day sounds like over kill but the dog will adjust to their new calmer self-quicker if the dog has high energy levels. One session a day will be just fine for dogs with lower energy levels and will have the same effect as two sessions for high energy dogs. Understanding how to read bad behavior and overexcitement as a cry for exercise will serve you well the rest of your life.

Commands training should be done to get more control over the dog. Repetition and patience will be yours and the dog’s best friend. Most commands are taught within a few days and most advanced tricks take longer. Each dog is different, but persistence will make practice perfect.

Socialize the dog before you take them into a social setting. Before vet visits, dog parks, car rides, and other social events take the dog on an hour walk or run beforehand. Trusting this process will ensure that the dog is calm before socializing which is the key to proper introduction.

Correcting the dog should happen verbally, on or off leash. Timing is the best way to stay hands off and effective communicating no to the dog. Prevention of the entire situation is the best timing and not while the dog is misbehaving and especially not after. After the correct make the dog sit or lay afterwards to complete the corrections. This will help you when the dog is off leash especially.

Are Black Russian Terriers Aggressive?

No, there is no dog that is aggressive but when dogs are 100+ pounds it is easy to label them. A small house dog can become aggressive and are only 4 pounds. Taking the dog on long exercise sessions and giving them multiple sessions a day will help prevent the build up that becomes aggression.

Additional Resources