History of the Black Russian Terrier Breed
The Black Russian terrier was the result of a need for military working dogs that existed in the 1940s. The Soviets imported several breeds from their occupied countries, particularly from Germany. The Red Star Kennels were a state-owned facility that was responsible for developing a new breed of military dog. One import that was very impressive was Roy, a giant schnauzer who was born in 1947. He was bred with other breeds on an extensive scale, and the most successful crosses were those obtained with an Airedale terrier, a Moscow water dog, and a Rottweiler. These resulting crosses were entirely black in color, and they were differentiated from the other cross-breeds and called the "black terrier" group. The best of these specimens were bred among themselves. History shows that by 1957, the second and third generations of the black terrier group were shown, and puppies were adopted by family breeders to continue the breeding venture. Some claim that the breed was also a result of crossing with the Newfoundland, the Caucasian Ovcharka, the Great Dane and the Eastern European shepherd. The Black Russian terrier was assigned to several military tasks, often taking place in harsh climates. These duties included: detecting explosives and mines, accompanying soldiers during border guard duty, transporting supplies and pulling sledges, and locating wounded soldiers. This breed has also served in a military capacity in such places as Bosnia and Afghanistan. It was in 2001 that the AKC first admitted the Black Russian terrier into the Miscellaneous class. In 2004, this breed then became classified as a member of the Working Group.
Size and Appearance of the Black Russian Terrier Breed
The straight front legs of the Black Russian terrier consist of strong bone, and the hindquarters feature muscular thighs. The compact feet are large and rounded, with thick, firm pads and short dark nails. The strong powerful head of this breed is in proportion to its body. The oval-shaped eyes are dark and medium in size. The triangular ears are small, and the nose is usually large and black. The large, white teeth meet in a scissors bite. Muscular and powerful, the thick neck slopes into the broad shoulders of this dog. The thick tail is normally docked. The tousled double coat consists of a coarse outer coat and a soft, thick undercoat. As assumed by its name, the Black Russian terrier is all black and occasionally is found with a few gray hairs. The gait of this breed is often described as free and easy with a spring in its step.
Black Russian Terrier Temperament
Many described the Black Russian terrier as a confident and courageous breed. This dog becomes very attached to its family, and it is generally very protective. It is often reserved or suspicious with strangers, and it may not do well with strange or dominant dogs. However, this breed is very gentle with children, and it enjoys playing. It is usually very good with other pets, including smaller dogs. While intelligent and quick to learn, the Black Russian terrier can also be very independent and stubborn. In general this dog will usually readily accept a leash, and it is easy to housetrain. This breed is considered to be a late bloomer, as it takes a couple of years to fully mature. It loves to be with family, and spending a lot of time with this dog helps to bring out its best qualities. The Black Russian terrier generally only barks when it feels it is necessary.
Black Russian Terrier Recommended Maintenance
The tousled coat of the Black Russian terrier requires weekly brushing, and professional grooming is suggested every six weeks or so to maintain a healthy, good-looking coat. It is said that a well-groomed coat sheds very little. Pay special attention to the ears, and be sure to remove any hair from the ear ducts. It is also suggested to cut the hairs on the bottom of the paws. Social interaction is very important to the Black Russian terrier, as is mental and physical stimulation. Daily exercise is important, and this breed is always ready to go for a long walk. Most will enjoy playing in the snow or water. Obedience training is suggested, and socialization at an early age is recommended. Because of its intense need for human contact, this dog does not do well in a kennel. It will do fine in an apartment dwelling as long as enough exercise and interaction is provided. The Black Russian terrier is usually quiet and inactive when indoors.
Black Russian Terrier Health
Life span: 10 - 11 years
Major concerns: CHD
Minor concerns: elbow dysplasia
Occasionally seen: PRA, dwarfism
Suggested tests: hip, elbow, eye