Black Russian Terrier Dog

Black Russian Terrier At-a-Glance

The Black Russian Terrier is not a terrier at all. It’s included by the AKC in the group of Schnauzers and Pinchers.

It originated in Russia, where it was bred from several different breeds to produce a dog that excelled at hunting, herding, and protection while being able to withstand the brutal Russian winters.

While it’s believed that many different breeds were used, three main ones are Rottweilers, Giant Schnauzers, and Airdale Terriers. They resemble the Giant Schnauzer the most, except they are much bigger.

Weight (pounds)
Male: 80-130
Female: 70-95
Height (inches)
Male: 27-30
Female: 26-29
Lifespan (years)

Dog Breed Group

Characteristics Ratings

We rate 19 characteristics for each breed, divided into three categories:
Highest Rated – Characteristics for which this breed is rated 4 or 5 stars (on a 5 star scale).
Neutral Rated – Characteristics that rated 3 stars.
Lowest Rated – Characteristics that rated only 1 or 2 stars.

Highest Rated

  • Good Family Dog
  • Kid Friendly
  • Friendly to Strangers
  • Protective Nature
  • Handles Change Easily
  • Easy to Train
  • High Energy Level
  • Tolerates Cold Climate
  • High Intelligence

Neutral Rated

  • Good With Other Dogs
  • Low Shedding
  • Low Drooling
  • Likes to Play
  • Low Amount of Barking
  • Suitable for Small Yards/Apartments
  • Tolerates Hot Climate
  • Good General Health

Lowest Rated

  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Tolerates Being Left Alone

General Overview

This is an impressively large breed, but don’t let that fool you. Black Russian Terriers are exceptionally good family dogs and are wonderful with children.

They are also outstanding watchdogs and are very protective over their families. They can, however, be cautious around strangers and other dogs. This means that it’s important to give these powerful dogs early training and socialization.

They also can suffer from separation anxiety and do not do well if left alone.

Fortunately, they are easy dogs to train. Their devotion to their owners means they will willingly follow commands, and their high intelligence means they will learn those commands quickly.

However, this is sort of a two-edged sword. Because they are so intelligent, Black Russian Terriers can easily pick up the competence of their owner. If the owner is hesitant and unsure of how to train, they will quickly realize this and can become disobedient.

This means that they are not a good choice for a first-time owner.

Two pluses for Black Russian Terriers are that they shed very little, if any, and are not aggressive barkers. That said, they do have a very thick coat that needs to be brushed regularly. This thick coat enables them to tolerate very cold temperatures.

These are very energetic and active dogs that need at least two hours a day of exercise. This should include mental stimulation, as they are highly intelligent and can easily get bored.

And since these are large, energetic dogs, they are not suitable for a small yard or apartment.

From a health standpoint, Black Russian Terriers only get an average score. Their immense size makes them more vulnerable to common large dog ailments.

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