Critter Culture
The Brilliant Black Russian Terrier

The Brilliant Black Russian Terrier

Critter Culture Staff



The black Russian terrier is a relatively new breed of dog, receiving breed status in Russia in 1981 and arriving in the U.S. in the 1990s. They are known for their capabilities as watchdogs and their warm affection toward their owners. They're a good family pet and also thrive as working dogs, often trained as military or police dogs.


Black Russian terriers are great family pets

Black russian terrier in autumn

Known for their confidence, courage, and tranquility, these dogs make perfect guard dogs. They are protective of their families and want nothing more than to keep them safe. They also have a warmth about them, making them ideal for households with children. They do, however, require near-constant attention and prefer to have a job to do. Keep these dogs occupied and they will be the perfect pet.


The black Russian terrier's appearance

Black russian terrier iclose up

True to their name, black Russian terriers are typically all black, though some may have a sprinkling of grey in their coat. Their waterproof outer coat is made of coarse, long, and wiry fur, and their undercoat is thick enough to protect the dog from colder temperatures. Their tall, strong stature gives them a powerful appearance.


The black Russian terrier's size

Two large black dogs of the Russian Black Terrier breed, a large and formidable dog

These dogs are pure muscle and are typically larger dogs. This brawny breed can weigh in at an impressive 80 to 140 pounds and stand approximately 26 to 28 inches tall to their shoulders. While it is rare for these dogs to reach 140 pounds, this is more likely in males. For a slightly smaller build, a female may be preferable.


Grooming your terrier

Dog breed Russian Black Terrier lying on green grass

Because of their longer coats, these dogs require weekly brushing to avoid matting. Proper equipment, such as a slicker brush, an undercoat rake, and a stripper comb, can be found at local pet stores.

Hair around their eyes and face can be left long, as is the terrier style, while their coats can be trimmed twice a year. Their teeth should be brushed two to three times a week, while nails should be clipped monthly.


Black Russian terriers are a low-shedding breed

Close up of Black Russian terrier's face

Black Russian terriers are not known to be heavy shedders, but you may find tufts of black hair left by your terrier. This is particularly common with the longer-haired Russians. Regular brushing and stripping can help to limit hair loss and give your vacuum a break. These dogs are not considered hypoallergenic so may not be ideal for owners with allergies.


They need plenty of exercise

Black Russian terrier running

The black Russian terrier is an active breed, requiring 30 minutes of exercise daily. They are working dogs bred for hard work, so physical activity and mental stimulation are key to this dog's health and happiness. They enjoy outdoor time but don't like to spend it along, so fetch in the backyard or long walks are ideal. They also perform well in agility training, sports, and obedience competitions.


Health conditions you should know about

Black russian terrier dog sitting in a grassy meadow

Black Russian terriers are generally healthy animals, bred to have limited hereditary conditions. They are prone to some health concerns. These can include hip and elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and food or environmental allergies. To ensure your puppy stays healthy, have them checked regularly by a vet.


The right diet for your terrier

Two large curly Terrier Zordan black stuck out tongue wearing hair bands sitting outdoors on a bright Sunny day. Close-up portrait of dogs muzzle. Walking pet in autumn. Horizontal shot of animal

Because of their large size and muscular build, these dogs can have quite an appetite. The recommended daily amount is three to 4.5 cups of food per day. These should be divided into two meals, rather than keeping the bowl full all day, to ensure your dog is not overeating. High-quality dry food will help to keep your dog fuller longer.


Black Russian terriers are highly adaptable

Black russian terrier dog

Surprisingly, these dogs are suitable for house or apartment living as long as they get enough outdoor exercise. Because they prefer to be in the company of people, they will be happy anywhere you are. Black Russian terriers are not good outdoor dogs and will let you know as soon as they are done their business outside. They do bark occasionally, but not enough to disturb your neighbors. Overall, they are a highly adaptable breed.


Training your black Russian terrier

Black russian terrier dog playing in a lake

Because these dogs are extremely intelligent, they can also be easily trained. They respond best to firm and consistent training that operates on mutual respect. Without beginning lessons at an early age, however, these dogs can become destructive and stubborn. Early intervention is required.

As an added benefit, these dogs are easily housetrained and are naturals on a leash.


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