Black Russian Terrier

Type: Terrier

Height: Males: 27 - 30 inches; Females: 25 - 28 inches

Weight: 80 - 145 lbs.

Life Span: 10 - 14 years

Litter Size: 6 - 12

Country of Origin: Russia

Activity: Low in house, high outside or in play areas. In general, they have a high activity level that should be exercised.

Watch-dog: Yes. Suspicious of strangers.

Guard-dog: Yes. Will guard its family, and will not hesitate to protect them if the scene looks dangerous.


Description: The Black Russian Terrier is a large to massive dog who's black hair has a distinctive "fall" and a "beard" on their head. Known for appearing as if they can't see, Black Russians originally served in the Russian military. There are very few Terrier Noir Tusse in the U.S. today, as Russia has banned exportation of these giants. There is a more abundant amount of them in Russia where they serve as family pets and protectors. They need to be part of the family as this is a breed that will seek intense contact with humans. They want to please their owner, so they will try anything you ask of them! Blackies, as they have been called, were bred to be agile, tough, weatherproof and energetic. They are calm, courageous, and confident. They tend be wary of strangers, but are determined to protect the family at all costs. They may also be wary of stranger or dominant dogs, but are usually fine with pets and smaller dogs. The Black Russian Terriers are large, powerful dogs that are full of muscle. They have a thick double coat of medium - long hairs. Males are said to be noticeably more masculine than the females in appearance. They are stable and adaptable dogs. Black Russian Terriers are considered the jack-of-all-trades of dog-dom. These scruffy, affectionate soldiers are able to do almost anything: protection, herding, skijorring, obedience, tracking, sled dog, agility and show dog.

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Other Names: Blackies, Chornyi Terrier, Terrier Noir Tusse, Russkji Tchornji Terrier.

Colors: Black, or black salt and pepper. Their color is a rich dark black uncommon to most breeds.

Coat: One and a half to four inches thick, they have a double coat that covers the entire body. It is coarse, dense, weatherproof, wiry and bristly. Shorthaired Black Russian Terrier's fur is straight, while medium haired Black Russian Terriers' fur is wavy.

Temperament: Black Russian Terriers are brave, observant, intelligent, stubborn, alert, energetic, and affectionate and gentle with family. It is wary and reserved around strangers, however, and will protect its family. The Chornyi Terriers are calm, confident, courageous and stable. Although reliable with their family, they can be quite vicious when provoked.

With Children: Usually. Most find children fascinating and get along well with them and protect them like one of their own.

With Pets: In the family. Some do not like non-family dogs such as dominant or stranger dogs, but they do get along well with most other family pets and smaller, less-domineering canine friends, as they are dominant dogs.

Special Skills: Companion, security, guard dog.

Care and Training: Coat care should consist of brushing a minimum of 30 minutes/week. Black Russian Terriers are a low shedding breed. It is recommended to see a groomer every 6 weeks. Exercise is important to the Black Russian Terrier and should consist of long walks, as well as room to romp and play. Black Russian Terriers greatly enjoy water and snow, as they originated in the cold regions of Russia. Training and socialization are very important. Easy to housebreak, they also need to be trained to accept the leash. They enjoy training and have a desire to please their master. They often need a firm, confident, dog-experienced trainer. They are very responsive to firm, consistent training, and should begin training as puppies since they grow up to be very large adults. Black Russian Terriers need a job to do in order to be satisfied, and have a very strong work ethic which therefore makes them a good dog to train.

Learning Rate: High. The Russkji Tchornji Terrier is a quick learner, but slow to mature. They do retain a good memory, and perform excellently in obedience competitions as well as agility competitions.

Living Environment: Does NOT do well in a kennel. Black Russian Terriers must live in a household. For a large dog, they make good pets in an apartment, if you spend time with them. They have a need to be attached to their owners, and therefore must not be left alone for long periods of time.

Health Issues: Although generally healthy dogs, health concerns may include hip and elbow dysplasia and eye problems such as PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy).

History: Developed by the government kennels as a military working dogs, Russia decided to import breeds from their occupied countries in the 1930 - 1940s. Mainly using German breeds, Black Russian Terriers' ancestors include the Giant Schnauzer who was crossed with the Airedale, Rottweiler and a local dog called the Moscow Retriever. This dog serves as the icon for their state owned Red Star Kennel. The breed guarded the border with human soldiers and also detected mines and other explosives. Known as the dog that does everything, the Chornyi Terrier also worked by transporting supplies, pulling sleighs, and finding wounded soldiers. Black Russian Terriers were meant for the most extreme weather, and continued to serve in all these areas even during the coldest winters, as well as independently. Serving in the Russian military, they also served in Afghanistan and Bosnia. In 1968 a breed standard was registered, and in 2004 the breed finally attained recognition by the AKC. Although rare, they have been embraced by the public and can be found in small numbers in European and Scandinavian dog shows. These Blackies remain largely in Russia to this day as family pets and protectors.

First Registered by the AKC: 2004

AKC Group: Miscellaneous

Class: Terrier

Registries: FCI (Group 2), AKC