Information about the Black Russian Terrier

The Black Russian Terrier, abbreviated as BRT, or Stalin’s dog (Sobaka Stalina) is a breed of dog, developed to serve as guard dog and police dog. It is rare outside the countries of the former Soviet Union but beginning to be formally recognized elsewhere: in July 2004, for instance, it became one of the AKC’s recognized breeds due to the efforts of Trident Kennels now located in Oregon.

Despite its name, the Black Russian Terrier is not a true terrier: it is believed that about twenty breeds were used in its development, including the Airedale, the Giant Schnauzer, the Rottweiler, the Newfoundland, the Caucasian Ovtcharka and the now extinct Moscow Water Dog.

The Black Russian Terrier gives the impression of great strength, athleticism, and courage. It should be rustic (but not coarse) in appearance, and should not look as though its coat is sculpted or trimmed. It should never appear to lack substance or be weak in any way. Males should be noticeably more masculine than females.

The coat is a double coat with a coarse outer guard hair over a softer undercoat. The coat is hard and dense, never soft, woolly, silky or frizzy. It should be between 5 to 15 cm (2-6 inches) in length. It should form a beard and eyebrows on the face, and a slight mane around the withers and neck that is more pronounced in males. The coat is low-shedding and the colour is black with some gray hairs.

According to the FCI standard the male stands 72 to 76 cm and not more than 78 cm at the withers compared to the female’s 68-72 cm and not more than 74 cm. The male weighs between 50 and 60 kg (110-132 lbs), and the females weigh between 45 and 50 kg (99-110 lbs). Nowadays, even larger individuals are tolerated if the dog is well proportioned and retains correct movements. At maturity (over 18 months of age), the AKC standard recommends 27-30 inches for males with the desired height between 27 and 29 inches and 26 and 29 inches for females with the desired height between 26 and 28 inches. A mature male less than 27 inches or more than 30 inches at the withers is considered a serious fault. A mature female less than 26 inches or more than 29 inches at the withers is considered a serious fault. In proportions, a Black Russian Terrier should be slightly longer than tall, 9 ½ to 10 being ideal.

Black Russian Terriers are confident, calm, highly intelligent, brave and loyal. It should never be timid. The Black Russian Terrier may seem aloof, but needs human companionship and bonds deeply to its family.
BRTs have traditionally been used for a wide variety of tasks, such as carting

The Black Russian Terrier, because of its breeding as a working dog, has a very strong “work ethic”, and needs a job to do in order to be happy. Early training is a must, as it will exploit any owner who has failed to establish clear dominance. They are very responsive to firm, consistent training, and excel at Obedience competitions. They also perform well in other dog sports, such as Agility, and Schutzhund training. They have a low-shedding coat, and need grooming several times a week. Dogs who compete in conformation need to be groomed a minimum of every three weeks to keep the coat in show condition. The Black Russian Terrier needs lots of exercise, and may become hyperactive and destructive if it does not have a chance to burn off its energy.