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Russian Black Terrier

 Photo of Russian Black Terrier
Photo: Female Russian Black Terrier

Russian Black Terrier Books

Group: Working - Breed Standard


The Russian Black Terrier, better known as the Russkiy Tchiorny Terrier as defined by the Russian Kynological Federation (RKF), is a relatively new breed. In the forties, the army controlled kennel 'Red Star' began to breed a dog for their own needs, using a program developed by Soviet breeder specialists. In the major ancestry we find the male Giant Schnauzer-Roy (born 1947) mated Airedales, Rottweillers and Moscow Divers, being the main stem. It is noted the Russians in the beginning chose the Male Roy for his agility and sharp guarding instinct, the Airedale because of their happy disposition, perseverance and staying power, and the Rottweiller for their massive make, shape and courage. Records show a male 'Haitor' (Roy x Sotta-Airedale) was born 1952 and male 'Azart' (Roy x Una-Rottweiller) born 1954.

The different breeds which evolved and continued was by way of complete reproductive crossing, as needed to achieve the requirements. Character and temperament being top of the list. The Newfoundland was also introduced to give an all round weather coat combined with restraint and steadiness.

Several years later, Russian DOSAAF Breeders (a paramilitary organisation) took on the task of standardising the look of the breed without neglecting the breeds good qualities. The ideal being a universal working dog, massive, high-spirited and alert, being amenable and protective without aggression, reliable, able to withstand the extreme climatic circumstances in the country and always willing to work.

The first standard for the breed was published in 'The Instruction for training and using military dogs' in 1958. Descendants were given to the non-military clubs of Moscow, Leningrad-(St Petersburg), Rybinsk, Yaroslav, later to become the centres of developing the breed. Gradually the Black Terrier appeared in the Baltics, the Ukraine, Siberia and then in Czechoslovakia, Hungary and many more countries world wide.

In 1981 on the 13th May the Black Terrier was declared a breed. The first standard was confirmed by Ministry of Agriculture Russia. In 1983 the breed was accepted and confirmed by FCI at the International in Mexico (Standard N327). This breed was named the Russian Black Terrier. In 1996 The Russian Federation Working Dog-breeders & Russian Cynological Federation (RKF) adopted a second Standard for the breed more in line to the modern day Russian Black Terrier. And it was also in 1996 that the breed was first introduced into the UK. In 1998 The Kennel Club included the Russian Black Terrier to the Import Register.


Height at withers: dogs 68-77 cms (27-30½ ins), bitches 66-72 cms (26-28½ ins).

A large and imposing dog that is strongly built with massive bone. He is well proportioned and of almost square build. His head is well proportioned, with a flat and moderately broad skull. Eyebrows are slightly pronounced and the cheekbones are slightly rounded. He has a medium stop and the muzzle is solid, slightly tapering towards the tip, with length a little shorter than the skull. Lips are thick and black and nose is large and black. Eyes are of medium size and oval in appearance, being obliquely set and wide a part. Eye lids are dark and tightly fitting. Ears are set high, triangular pendant that are not too big, lying close against cheekbone. Mouth has a strong jaw and a regular & complete scissor bite that is set square to jaw. Full strong dentition desirable. The tail is thick and set high. It is customarily docked to the 3rd-4th vertebrae and carried approximately 5 past 5, not gay.

Movement should have good reach and drive, legs moving in a straight line with forelegs converging slightly and a fairly elastic, ground covering movement. Coat is of a medium texture, not wiry or soft, being weather proof and with a dense undercoat. Broken coated and slightly waved. Furnishings on eyebrows, beard and legs are well developed. The colour is Black, or black with grey hairs.


Today's RBT is more a companion dog than a guard dog. An even tempered dog that is lively and alert, brave and self confident, he is wary of strangers and has natural guarding instincts. He is good in the home, seeking the love and interaction of the family unit and good with children, being caring about them. He should never be kept in a kennel. He is not a dog for the novice owner, nor for the person who only wants a large dog at the end of a lead. He is not for the lazy person who thinks the breed will never need grooming or bathing. This breed also seeks lots of quality time with his owners. Always ask yourself, why do I want to own this particular breed. It is with affection people have named this breed the 'Black Pearl of Russia'.

Breed Health

Being the youngest breed today in the working group, they are relatively healthy animals but hip dysplasia may occur. Their average life-span is 13 -14 years, although some do live longer than this. Breeders are encouraged to hip score their dogs.

Breed Care

Many people may not realise, when purchasing a long coated breed, that weekly sessions of combing and brushing your animal is essential for his/her well being. As well as regular combing and brushing, the coat of the Russian Black Terrier needs to be scissored approximately every eight to ten weeks, depending upon the hair growth. Their coat does shed a few hairs, but not to such a degree as some breeds. Trim for showing: The ears (from fold to tip), skull, cheeks, throat to sternum, underside of tail, buttocks & rear of stifle are all closely trimmed.


Whilst a puppy and still growing they do not want too much exercise and playing in the garden would be enough until the bones have fully developed. They should not be allowed to become overweight as this puts a strain on the joints.


He should never be pushed to the limit with hard training, this would only break his nature. This breed will need to be channelled correctly as their protective instincts begin to show around 18-24 months of age, but if the basics have been undertaken from puppy there is nothing he will not achieve for his owner. in the correct hands, they are easy to train and always willing to please. They are not a dog for a first time owner. See our books on training

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Last link added: 04 Dec, 2006