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Russian Black Terrier


Huge, imposing and yet not aggressive, the Russian black terrier is a unique dog with striking looks. Excellent guard dogs and extremely protective of their owners, these intelligent pooches can be fabulous pets for those who can cope with such a large animal. However, they are high-maintenance and require a firm approach to training.

Which breed group is the Russian black terrier in?

Breed group: Working

Russian black terrier breed history

This impressive breed was developed by the Russian Army. Soldiers needed a large dog that could guard troops or prisoners, track down fugitives and endure harsh weather conditions. The Russian black terrier was evolved from crossing giant schnauzers, rottweilers, Newfoundlands and Airedale terriers. Originally bred only by the state-owned Red Star Kennels, the dogs are now available from private breeders. RBTs became popular across Europe and are recognised by many international breed clubs.

Russian black terrier characteristics

These incredible dogs are reminiscent of giant schnauzers but are much larger. They are powerful, brave and loyal dogs with imposing looks. Russian black terriers boast robust, square bodies, broad heads and full cheekbones. Their eyebrows are somewhat pronounced and these dogs possess both whiskers and beards. Eyes are oval, quite large and dark in colour. The RBT’s pendulous ears are set high and their large feet feature arched toes. Their thick tails are carried curled over their backs and their black double coats are neither soft nor coarse.

RBTs were bred to be guard dogs and to seek out fugitives and so it should come as no surprise that they are loyal, intelligent and determined. They are generally confident, lively and friendly but are wary of strangers and easily bored.

  • Lifespan: 10-11 years
  • Height: up to 70cm
  • Weight: up to 68kg
  • Black coat
  • Whiskers and beards
  • Pendulous ears
  • Powerfully built
  • Square body
  • Broad head
  • Loyal
  • Intelligent
  • Protective but not aggressive
  • Excellent guard dogs
  • Easily bored
  • Can suffer from separation anxiety

Health issues with the Russian black terrier

Russian black terriers are robust and usually healthy dogs but may suffer from the following conditions:

Urate urolithiasis

HUU (Hyperuricosuria)

Hip dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia -

Juvenile Laryngeal Paralysis & Polyneuropathy

Ear infections

Allergies

What is the Russian black terrier bred for?

RBTs were evolved by crossing several breeds to produce a large guard dog which could seek out fugitives and operate in severe weather conditions.

What sort of owners does the Russian black terrier suit?

There’s no getting away from it, Russian black terriers are huge dogs and so are not suited to apartment living. While they don’t require an enormous amount of exercise and can, in fact, be quite lazy, they are high maintenance on the grooming front. Those appealing coats require regular grooming and these dogs have generous beards which mop up food and require cleaning after each meal.

RBTs are good with children and build wonderful bonds with their owners but can be very wary of people they don’t know. They are best suited to experienced owners and those who are at home all day. All of which means that their perfect owner is someone with a relatively large home, a large garden and plenty of time on their hands which they can devote to caring for their dog. Due to their high prey drive, these dogs are not the best choices for those with cats and other small pets.


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