Black Russian Terrier
Breed Group: Terrier
Temperament and Behavior
Black Russian Terriers seek out close contact with their family, especially children, and play with them lovingly. As loving and desirous of being with family as Black Russian Terriers are, you might think he is a pushover. That would be a mistake. Their natural protective instincts emerge at 18 to 24 months of age creating a brave, observant dog who is suspicious of strangers making them exceptional watch and guard dogs. Quick to act, they can become quite vicious if his home or family is threatened or he is provoked. They enjoy the company of other non-dominant dogs and most at least tolerate just about any other family pet. They are low key enough inside to avoid being a pest and active enough outside to thoroughly enjoy. They do not bark needlessly. Whatever you share with him (bed, couch etc.) as a puppy, you must be willing to share with him as a large adult. If kenneled outside with little human contact, rather than protecting their family, they may someday protect their kennel from their family.
Physical CharacteristicsA large or even giant breed, males stand 27 to 30 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 90 and 110 pounds. Females are smaller standing 26 to 29 inches and weighing 80 to 100 pounds. Their weatherproof coat is made up of 1.5″ to 4″ long black wiry, wavy hair. They have a trademark “fall” of hair that drapes into their eyes, a beard, and long eyebrows. A trim every 3 months and professional grooming are absolutely required. Brush them at least once a week to avoid mats and trim long hair from their ears and under each paw. Follow this schedule and they shed very little. They do not shed seasonally. They do well in temperate climates, less well as temperatures increase.
Trainer's NotesBlack Russian Terriers are slow to mature, remaining puppies for 18 to 24 months. Early, ongoing socialization is required to prevent them from becoming overly protective. Treat puppies lovingly but firmly. Avoid playing aggressive games like tugging on rope toys. Obedience training is required to control the adult dog. Highly intelligent, they learn quickly and excel in any working dog sport. They generally need little leash training and housebreak easily. They enjoy training and love to please their owner but are too much dog for a novice owner.
Black Russian Terrier
HealthWith about 45% plagued by Hip Dysplasia and just over 1 in 4 affected by Elbow Dysplasia (both skeletal issues), the Black Russian Terrier is seriously affected by some significant genetic problems. Other issues seen in the breed are PRA which causes blindness. They typically live to between 10 and 12 years of age.
PopularityA rare breed in America, the American Kennel Club ranks them 141st in overall popularity with just over 100 puppies registered per year.
Breed HistoryIn the forties, the Russian army-controlled “Red Star” kennel began to breed a very large, robust, high-spirited, all-round dog that was always willing to work. These dogs were also able to withstand the enormous differences in climate that existed between the different regions of the Soviet Union. The breeding stock was largely imported from occupied countries, especially East Germany and included the Giant and Standard Schnauzers, Rottweilers, Airedale Terriers, Newfoundlands, and the now extinct Russian Water Dog. Bred solely by the state-owned Red Star Kennel until 1957, they soon had a dog that was stable in character and temperament, but not in appearance. At this time puppies were sold to civilian breeders who began standardizing the way the breed looked without neglecting their working abilities. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed for registration in the Working Group in 2004.
Additional InformationEven for puppies, Black Russian Terrier pups are inquisitive and get into everything. The National (US) Breed Club is the Black Russian Terrier Club of America.
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