black russian terrier breed information

Black Russian Terrier

The Black Russian Terrier (BRT) is actually not a terrier at all, having descended from a mix of breeds including Standard and Giant Schnauzers, Newfoundlands and the now-extinct Russian Water Dog. He was bred in the former USSR by the state-owned Red Star Kennels, which wanted to create a large, strong dog that didn’t require extensive coat care, and who could be easily trained to serve as a military and working dog. The breed began to expand outside the USSR around 1957, and has been gaining popularity ever since.

According to the Black Russian Terrier Club of America Inc., a well-bred and socialized BRT is loving toward his family yet reserved around strangers. Today’s Black Russian Terrier is an instinctive guardian and protector, and — as he was bred as a working dog — needs a job in order to be content (and kept out of trouble!). He is highly intelligent, responsive to training and makes an excellent competitor in dog sports, from agility to obedience trials.

The rustic-looking, stocky BRT generally weighs between 100 and 135 lbs., with a low-shedding, all-black coat that requires regular brushing. Plenty of exercise and room to move around is a must, as he needs to burn off energy to avoid becoming destructive or hyperactive.

Mixed heritage aside, the Black Russian Terrier is prone to hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect his health — not to mention your family’s vacation fund. Some of the conditions and illnesses BRTs are prone to include joint problems such as elbow and hip dysplasia; eye conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy; skin problems such as atopy; and urinary problems such as hyperuricosuria.

Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Black Russian Terrier inherits his mom’s bad eyes or his dad’s bad skin, you’re covered.

Common health issues

Use the condition checker tool to learn what common conditions your pet may have.

Pet Type