The Russian Black Terrier is often referred to as BRT for short. Tchiorny Terrier is another name its typical black coat has earned for this breed. Developed by the Red Star Kennel in the mid 20th century for practical purposes, this working dog has now become popular in many countries around the world.
They are ideal for families looking for an affectionate dog that can be a protector of the family at the same time, but without any of the ferocity and intimidating nature of many other guard dogs. They are excellent for families with children as these dogs love playing with kids and even enjoy pulling them around in carts.
The Black Russian Terrier dog breed was specially developed in the 20th century with the purpose of making a working dog capable of doing military duty in the Soviet Union. Several foreign breeds with desirable characteristics were imported for the purpose. Some of the breeds involved were Caucasian Ovcharka, Giant Schnauzer, Rottweiler, Airedale Terrier and Newfoundland.
One Giant Schnauzer named Roy was the basis of the breed, and it was bred with different dog breeds. The results with the Moscow Water Dog and Rottweiler as well as Airedale Terrier were found to be favorable. The black coat was one of the common features of these successful offspring. They were further bred among themselves until the Black Russian Terrier was developed.
Initially they were bred solely by a state owned facility for the exclusive use of Soviet military, and the main focus was on the working capabilities of the dog. They served in search and rescue operations and pulled sledges to transport wounded soldiers and goods. They were even used for detecting explosives.
When the stock was finally released to the civilians, effort was made to improve the looks of this breed as well. The dog remained within the Soviet Union for some time, but then it reached Finland and then spread to different European countries from there. When it was introduced in the United States, this breed became very popular and got the recognition of the American Kennel Club in 2001. It was first included in the miscellaneous class, but was later accepted into the Working Group.
The Black Russian Terrier dog breed is a large-sized breed with male dogs measuring up to 29 inches at the withers and measuring over 130 pounds. The females are noticeably smaller in size. The body is slightly longer than the height of the dog.
This Russian breed has the typical appearance and coat structure characteristic of terrier type of dogs even though it is not a true terrier. It has a double coat of dense fur ranging in length from 2 to 6 inches. The color is pitch black with occasional wisps of grey. Some dogs may have a steel-silver or tan coat due to a lightening gene, but these variations are considered as aberrations.
The Russian Black Terrier is known for its calm yet confident look. These dogs are highly intelligent and very courageous. They are excellent as guard dogs because of their constant alertness and fearless nature. Excitability is considered undesirable in this dog and it rarely barks. While being extremely loyal and protective towards their families, they remain aloof and reserved with strangers and resent their presence. They are very gentle and affectionate with children, and well-behaved in the house.
Grooming and exercise
The shaggy coat of Black Russian Terriers requires regular grooming. A thorough brushing 2 to 3 times a week is a must to keep it in good condition. The coat needs an occasional trim also.
Black Russian Terriers have been developed as working dogs, hence they require some work to do or task to fulfill as part of its daily exercise. Without challenging activities to expend their energy, these dogs are known to become hyperactive and destructive. They do well with obedience training, and it can be continued as an activity to occupy the dog.
Even though Black Russian Terriers can live outside, it is ideal if they are brought in at night to be with the family.
Common health issues of Black Russian Terrier dog breed
The Black Russian Terrier dog breed is rarely affected by major health problems. Dwarfism may occur in these dogs, but it is rare. Canine Hip Dysplasia, and to a lesser extent, elbow dysplasia, are the two musculoskeletal disorders occasionally seen in this breed. Progressive retinal atrophy may affect the eyes. Regular health checkups can keep the dog in excellent health. They have a life expectancy of 10 to 11 years.