Updated 05-08-2023

Black Russian Terrier Characteristics, Facts & Traits

These beautiful black beauties aren't truly terriers, but they are very clever and self-assured guard dogs. The Black Russian Terrier is a working dog that can protect a home or company, play with the family's kids, and thrive in agility and obedience competitions.

Blackies are known as the "Black Pearls of Russia" for their people-oriented nature and desire to be right in the middle of the action. Even though they're reserved toward outsiders, particularly dogs that have never met them before, they are faithful to their families and shed very little. They exude vitality and fluidity due to their robust bones and well-developed muscles. Blackies, like Henry Ford's original automobiles, are available in black, black, or black colour schemes.

Here is a complete list of Black Russian Terrier traits.


  • Blacks need a job. They've been raised to expect one and will be disappointed if they don't get one. They could be competing in agility, obedience, Schutzhund, or other canine sports while you are their owner.
  • There should be at least 30 minutes of exercise every day for Black Russian Terriers. Exercising is a way for them to release their mental and physical energy. With enough outside activity, a Black Russian may live comfortably in an apartment. For a Blackie living in a house, a fenced yard is the ideal option.
  • They do bark and shed, but not as much as you'd expect.
  • Blackies prefer to remain in the presence of their human pack and enjoy the company of their family members. They don't like being left alone in the backyard.
  • In order to prevent Blackie from becoming the pack's leader, you should begin teaching them as soon as possible once you bring them home.
  • As a general rule, Blackies are distant toward strangers, and unless they are exposed to a wide variety of individuals from an early age, they can become unduly protective of their owners around strangers. Fear and hostility may lead to biting as a form of self-defense. Make sure your Blackie has a lot of interaction with people from all walks of life, even strangers, in order to improve their social abilities.


Social Appearance 


It's a common misconception that a little dog is better suited to living in a limited space. Many tiny dogs have too much energy and are too yappy to live in an apartment building. An apartment dog's best attributes include being quiet, low energy, somewhat peaceful indoors, and respectful to the other inhabitants. Your dog's personal space in your apartment can be improved by purchasing one of these fantastic dog cages.

Sensitivity Level

Depending on the dog, a strong rebuke can be taken in stride by some, while others regard even the tiniest hint of disapproval as a personal attack. If you have a loud or pushy owner, a chaotic home, or a routine that is unpredictable or variable, your low-sensitivity dog, often known as "easy-going," "tolerant," "resilient," or even "thick-skinned," will be able to handle it better. Do you have young children, host a lot of parties, or have a hectic lifestyle? Choose a dog that isn't overly sensitive.


You can't tell from looking at them whether or not they're hyperactive, but when they do anything, they do it vigorously. They tug at their leashes (unless you teach them not to), they push their way through barriers, and they down their meals in huge, gobbling gulps. A home with young children or an elderly or feeble person may not be the best place for these dynamos to learn proper etiquette. On the other side, a dog with poor vitality adopts a more reserved demeanor.

Potential for Playfulness

The playful nature of certain dogs never fades away, and they're always ready for a game, whereas the reserved and serious tendencies of other dogs develop through time. Think about how many times a day you want to play fetch or tag with your dog, and whether or not you have children or other dogs who can act as substitutes.

Personality Appearance


In the same way as working dogs, such as those that herd sheep, are bred for intelligence and decision-making, working dogs like those who run all day need to exercise their bodies. The two most common activities that a bored pet engages in are digging and chewing, both of which require mental stimulation. There are several ways to keep a dog's brain active, including obedience training, interactive dog toys like tug of war, and dog sports like agility and search and rescue.

Energy Level

Energy-draining dogs are always on the lookout for a new activity. There are several jobs that require a lot of stamina from dogs, such as herding livestock or recovering prey for hunters. Children are more likely to engage in activities such as jumping, playing and exploring new sights and smells as a result of this change in their environment

A low-energy dog is more like a couch potato than a dog that needs a lot of exercise. Think about your level of physical activity and whether or not you find a hyperactive dog irritating before making your final choice.

Easy To Train

Easy to train dogs can more easily form associations between a cue (like "sit"), an action (like sitting), and a reward than dogs that are more difficult to train. Dogs that require more time, patience, and repetition are more difficult to train.

Getting your dog interested in training will require incentives and games because many breeds are intelligent but have a "What's in it for me?" mentality when it comes to learning new things.

Family Affection Level

Affectionate With Family

Since puppyhood, some breeds remain aloof and independent; others form deep bonds with one individual but are uninterested in the rest of the family; still other types shower their entire family with affection. Canines raised in homes with people tend to be more open to human interaction and develop stronger ties, regardless of their breed or upbringing.


Kids-friendly dogs are calm, strong enough to bear the hefty hugs and pets kids can dish out, and have an unfazed attitude about rushing, scream-inducing children. There are several names you may not expect to see on the list: Fierce-looking Both Boxers and American Staffordshire Terriers are regarded as family dogs (which are considered Pit Bulls). Chihuahuas, which are small, sensitive, and potentially sharp, are not always family-friendly.

Dog Friendly

Dog friendship and human friendship are two entirely different things. The fact that a dog is friendly with humans doesn't mean it's immune to aggression or aggression from other dogs; some canines choose to play rather than fight; others will just run away. The type of animal isn't the only consideration. Dogs who have spent a lot of time playing with their littermates and their mother at the age of six to eight weeks are more likely to be socially competent.

Physical Appearance

Amount of Shedding

Having a dog in the house means that you'll have to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothing and in the home. It's worth noting, however, that shedding varies widely among breeds. Some dogs shed all year long, while others ``blow" just during specific times of the year, and still others don't shed at all. If you're a stickler for cleanliness, you'll need to choose a breed that sheds less or lower your expectations. You can use a deshedding tool to keep your house a little cleaner.

Drooling Potential

While greeting you, some dogs may cover their arms with ropes of drool and create large, wet patches on your clothing. If you don't mind a little drool, go for it; but if you're a stickler for cleanliness, you may want to look for a dog with a low drool rating.

Easy To Groom

Some breeds of dogs can simply be brushed and left alone, while others require frequent washing, trimming, and other grooming in order to maintain their health and appearance. If you don't have the time or money to take care of a dog that requires a lot of grooming, you may want to look into hiring a professional.

Exercise Needs

Evening walks around the neighbourhood are perfectly acceptable for some breeds. Others, particularly those trained for physically demanding vocations like herding or hunting, require regular, rigorous exercise.

They can gain weight and release their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, including barking, chewing, and digging, if not given enough exercise. Those looking to train their dog for an energetic canine activity, such as agility, should consider getting a dog that needs a lot of exercise.

Average sizes and life expectancy of the breed


80 to 140 pounds


10 to 11 years


26 to 28 inches at the shoulder


This breed can be traced back to the 1930s, when it was bred in Russia. Scientific and breeding efforts at the Red Star Kennel in Moscow were aimed at producing a dog that could be used by Soviet soldiers. A variety of breeds, including the giant schnauzer, Airedale terrier, Rottweiler and Newfoundland were incorporated into the final product. Breeds brought back from Germany after World War II were also included in the mix.

The Black Russian terrier was eventually formed. The military could use it to guard borders and prisons because of its thick coat, which protected it from the harsh weather.

As a family pet and personal property guardian, the breed gained popularity in Russia in the 1950s. In 1981, the Soviet Ministry of Agriculture became the first to formally recognise this breed. In 2004, the American Kennel Club also included it in their standards.

Personality and Temperament

The Black Russian Terrier is a dog with a lot of self-assurance and a sharp mind. It is because of these characteristics that they are good guard dogs. However, they are also an excellent option for households with children because of their personality. They may be a fantastic friend to a kid and a great playmate.

Having fun with family members is a favourite pastime for this breed. If they don't get enough care and are left alone at home, this breed can develop separation anxiety. If left alone for an extended period, blackies may engage in harmful activities.

These canines necessitate proper socialising in order to thrive. As a result, they'll be more accepting of different animals and people as they grow in maturity.


As long as they get plenty of stimulation, Black Russian terriers don't require much exercise. However, proper socialising and training must begin at a young age. Also, their personal hygiene is an issue.


Like any other breed, blackies are susceptible to a variety of health issues. If you're thinking of getting a Blackie, it's crucial to know about the diseases they are susceptible to.

You and your veterinarian should be on the lookout for the following signs and symptoms:


The Black Russian Terrier is no exception when it comes to allergies. Allergies in dogs can be divided into three categories: food allergies, contact allergies, and inhalant allergies. Food allergies are treated by removing specific foods from the dog's diet. Contact allergies are caused by a reaction to a topical substance, such as bedding, flea powders, dog shampoos, and other chemicals. Food restrictions, medication and environmental adjustments may be necessary to treat a certain condition.

Hip Dysplasia

The thigh bone does not fit tightly into the hip joint due to a hereditary problem. Some dogs have obvious indicators of pain and disability in their hind legs, whereas others don't. An X-ray screening is the most reliable method of diagnosing the condition.) Arthritis might occur in either case as the dog ages. Hip dysplasia should never be bred into a dog population.

Elbow Dysplasia

This is also a degenerative illness, like hip dysplasia. It's thought to be the outcome of a weak or misformed joint due to aberrant growth and development. Slight arthritis or lameness are also possible outcomes for dogs with this condition. Anti-inflammatory medicine and surgery are among the options for treatment.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Eye illnesses that cause the retina to degenerate over time are part of this family. Affected dogs initially go night-blind, but as the condition develops, they begin to lose their daytime vision as well. When a dog's surroundings remain the same, many of those impacted by eyesight loss adjust well.

Recommended Health Tests 

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


Fresh water should always be available for your dog. It's also important to provide your dog with a nutritious canine diet. It's common practice to feed two meals a day. However, you should always consult your veterinarian before making any changes to the food your pet is eating.

Make sure to keep an eye on your dog's treats and other additional food in order to avoid overfeeding your pet. Consider the breed's size when making decisions. Take precautions to prevent it from stealing food from a table or counter, as it may be able to do so.


Brush your black Russian terrier at least twice a week to prevent tangles and mats from growing in the coat's dense structure. The time it takes to brush this large dog's coat and skin can easily reach an hour or more. To maintain your beard and brows neat, you'll need to trim them on a regular basis. Many pet owners choose to have their pets professionally groomed on a regular basis, usually every two to three months.

The frequency of your dog's baths will depend on how much filth he accumulates. Also, observe if it needs its nails trimmed on a monthly basis. Also, check for wax accumulation and irritation in your pet's ears at least once every week. Then there's the daily teeth-brushing.


For a dog of this size, 30 to 60 minutes of daily activity is all that is required. They enjoy going for a walk, running, swimming, and hiking with their families. In addition to fetch and puzzle toys, they have a lot of energy to burn. Agility and rally are two examples of canine sports that can benefit both the dog's physical and mental well-being.


As soon as possible, begin training and socialising your black Russian terrier. This is essential to keep the animal's instinct to protect itself from becoming aggressive. The dominance of these dogs necessitates clear and regular orders. Negative corrections should be avoided at all costs. The intelligence of the Black Russian terrier is well-known, and it will rapidly pick up new tricks if you are patient and consistent in your training objectives.

To help your dog become more comfortable among new people and places, begin socialising it as soon as possible. As long as they are properly socialised at an early age, this breed is generally fine with other dogs. Unfamiliar dogs, on the other hand, may become aggressive.

Children and Other Pets

For their size, Blackies are excellent with youngsters and will keep them safe. Women are more likely to play with children, although both sexes treat youngsters with whom they have been nurtured with compassion and respect. However, keep in mind that Blackies are huge and active dogs, and a playful and energetic dog of this size may accidentally knock over or damage very young children. When working with small children, be cautious.

Some older or rescue dogs may not be as accommodating if they have not been exposed to children from the time they were puppies.

Dogs and children must be taught how to approach and touch each other in order to prevent biting or ear or tail pulling on either side. No child should ever approach a dog that is eating or resting and try to steal its food. A dog should never be left alone with a child, no matter how friendly the dog is.

Keep your Blackie socialised as a puppy and as an adult so that they don't become overly defensive of their family or property. They don't get along with other powerful male canines. For this reason, many of them aren't appropriate for use in dog parks. In the house, they do best with other dogs who have already established themselves as family members. As long as the dog isn't aggressive, they'll be good with other small animals like cats and rabbits.


A Black Russian Terrier puppy should only be brought home if your house is ready for the new member of the family. To ensure the safety of your dog, remove any potential risks or toxic materials from your home. Also, remove everything that you don't want a puppy to destroy from the area.

There are a variety of other items you'll want to get for your dog such as food, collars/leash/kennel/crate/toys etc. When you bring them home, you'll be prepared to take care of them right away.

Watching your dog's activity level is critical. Starting at three months old, you can begin taking your puppy on five-minute walks and gradually increase the length of these walks. While puppies are still growing, they should not engage in any high-intensity activity such as jumping, climbing stairs, or running on hard surfaces. These activities could injure a puppy's bones and joints, which are still developing.

Dog breeds similar to Black Russian Terrier

The Black Russian Terrier shares characteristics with Giant Schnauzers, Rottweilers, and Airedale Terriers.

Giant Schnauzer

Breeds like Giant Schnauzers were used to produce the Black Russian Terrier. Both breeds are great watch dogs because of their territorial natures. Giant Schnauzers aren't the best choice for a family pet; instead, consider a Blackie. Their tolerance for other dogs is also greater.


Russian Terriers and Rottweilers are almost the same size. The average weight of both breeds is approximately 110 pounds. In comparison to the Black Russian Terrier, which must be brushed many times per week, Rottweilers require less maintenance in the grooming department. Both Rottweilers and Black Russian Terriers are excellent watchdogs, but the Rottweiler is more prone to bite.

Airedale Terrier

These two types of dog are both extremely sociable and affectionate. Both of these breeds are safe for children to be around. Even though Airedale Terriers are smaller than Black Russian Terriers, they are still a huge dog breed. While Airedale Terriers weigh in at 57.5 pounds, Black Russian Terriers clock in at 111.5 pounds.