Russian Black Terrier


A tough, large and highly intelligent guard dog with a protective nature and complete adoration of its family of humans. They are courageous and fearless. Stable, calm temperaments coupled with inner confidence.

Minimum Exercise:

Exercise/Activity Level: Medium to high. At least one hour a day, preferably more. They will not exercise themselves in the garden if humans are not there to play with them. Urban and even apartment living can be ok if they are given enough exercise and stimulation.

Size: 26-30 inches

Weight: 80-140lbs

Colour: Black

Town or Country: Both, but great in Country

Low Allergy: Yes

Best Suited for: Country dwelling, outdoorsy households with a good amount of indoor space, who would like a family protector, and can give firm, patient training.

Group: Working – border patrols and guarding

Originally From: Russia, developed by the Soviet Army and set a breed standard in 1958

Original Purpose: Working. A large protective guard dog.

Living Space: Medium. Though they are large dogs they are not especially active indoors.

Coat: Double coat, long, thick, wavy. Hard outer coat and soft under layer. Coat grows 1.5 to 4 inches long.

Grooming: Medium to high. Coat requires stripping or trimming 2-3 times a year and a brush 2-3 times a week. Also make sure claws are kept short.

Children: They are gentle and affectionate with children. Great with older children (7/8 years upwards) who will keep it entertained and adored. They are fine with younger children but just remember they’re large and probably don’t realise it.

Sociability with strangers: Medium – tends to be reserved with strangers though early socialisation can overcome some of this tendency. If strangers are considered a threat they will defend heartily.

Sociability with animals or other dogs: Generally high, but since they are a guard, they don’t do well with dominant dogs. Socialise them early and they are best coming into the household as puppies, meeting with established pets.

Trainability: High. Very smart dogs with a love of people, but they do have a strong streak, so firm, patient and consistent training is needed. Can often be smarter than their owners!

Noise Level: Medium. Early socialisation and exposure can reduce inappropriate barking.

Known Health Issues: Generally healthy, but ask for OFA clearances for hip dysplasia, also check for any breed lines with elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism and von Willebrands disease. Also ask for CERF eye scoring.

Lifespan: 10-11 years

Special Needs: As pups, take care with exercise to avoid damaging the joints – ask a breeder for advice. Never to be housed outside away from humans    Send article as PDF