Russian Black Terrier

Other names: RBT, Blackies

Russian Black Terrier
Russian Black Terrier adult

The Russian Black Terrier is not a true terrier. In fact it is a mix of several breeds of terrier (including the Schnauzer and Airedale). It was developed in the Soviet Union in the 1940s and 50s and was put to work as a guard dog and sentry. Today the Russian Black is still a faithful utility dog, but its popularity as a companion is on the up.

Key facts about the Russian Black Terrier

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Temperament :


Size :

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Origins and history

The Russian Black is thought to have come about following mixes of Giant Schnauzer, Airedale Terrier, Rottweiler and Moscow Water Dog. It was developed in the 1940s by the Soviet Army and put to use as a sentry dog. Its traits (large, brave, strong and manageable) perfectly suited its use.

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FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 2 - Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid and Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs


Section 1 : Pinscher and Schnauzer type

Physical characteristics of the Russian Black Terrier

  • Russian Black Terrier
    Russian Black Terrier

    Adult size

    Female : Between 26 and 29 in

    Male : Between 28 and 31 in


    Female : Between 77 and 99 lb

    Male : Between 77 and 99 lb

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    A large, athletic dog; muscular and stocky. The chest of the dog is low; the tail is thick and set high, carried outwards and up but not touching the back.

    Good to know

    Russian Black Terriers always used to have their tails docked. The practice of tail docking is illegal in the UK but not in some other countries. Be vigilant of such signs of maltreatment if you are buying a Russian Black from overseas.


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      The Russian Black is an extremely affectionate and loyal dog; it quickly develops a close bond with its owner.

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      The Russian Black considers hard work its true calling but occasionally will spend time with the family and is patient with small children.

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      This is a calm and self-assured dog.

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      The Russian Black is incredibly intelligent but tends to get bored easily.

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      Although bred to protect and guard, the Russian Black is also a good hunter.

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      Fearful / wary of strangers

      The Russian Black may appear aloof and reserved with strangers. Time is needed to allow the dog to assimilate new faces.

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      A thoroughly independent dog, the Russian Black was bred to work by itself.

      Behaviour of the Russian Black Terrier

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        Tolerates solitude

        It is an independent dog which allows him to stay alone and be absolutely fine with it.

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        Easy to train / obedience

        This is not an easy dog to train, and its training must be varied, consistent and carried out in a confident manner. The Russian Black loves to work and to please its owner.

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        This is not a dog that barks excessively.

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        Tendency to run away

        The Russian Black is a dog that does not require to be reminded about outdoor etiquette. An owner may discover that the dog naturally wants to stay by their side while on a walk.

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        Like any dog left alone for long periods of time or not given the attention and love it deserves, the Russian Black will develop antisocial behaviours.

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        Greedy / Gluttony

        Russian Blacks vary from dog to dog in their eating habits. Some are very particular eaters and can become sick easily by new foods or foods that are marginally out of date. However, others of the breed are capable of eating themselves into obesity.

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        Guard dog

        The Russian Black was bred to be a sentry dog. It is exceptionally alert and will let its owner know when someone is approaching the house.

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        First dog

        Not the easiest first dog to have and certainly one to avoid if you have small children. The adult Black weighs about the same as a 15-year-old boy. If you are an inexperienced dog owner you should opt for a dog that is more manageable.

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          Russian Black Terrier in a flat

          This is not a good dog for a flat due to its size. The Russian Black requires a large, fenced garden in which it can explore and run around. This dog will thrive in a rural setting.

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          Need for exercise / Sporty

          The Russian Black should ideally be walked for at least 90 minutes every day.

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          Travelling / easy to transport

          It is difficult to travel with a Russian Black Terrier. However, once trained, a Russian Black is exceptionally obedient.


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            Russian Black Terrier and cats

            Although the Russian Black is not known for its intense prey drive, it will consider cats fair game to be chased.

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            Russian Black Terrier and dogs

            Early socialisation is necessary for this dog to develop good dog codes. Otherwise, it may tend to be aggressive.

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            Russian Black Terrier and children

            This is not the best companion for children. He is trustworthy but does not particularly appreciate their presence.

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            Russian Black Terrier and the elderly

            Because it is a large dog that requires exercise and interaction, the Russian Black may not be the perfect choice of dog for some people of senior years.



            A KC Registered Russian Black Terrier will cost between £1330 to £1560. You’re also looking at between £100 and £160 per month to care for this dog.


            Brush the coat of the Russian Black at least once a week to prevent the coat from becoming tangled and messy. A long-pinned slicker brush appears to work well on this type of coat.


            Shedding is moderate.

            Nutrition of the Russian Black Terrier

            The Russian Black is an active breed so will require plenty of protein and calories from a high-quality dog food.

            Health of the Russian Black Terrier

            Life expectancy

            10 to 12 years

            Strong / robust

            This dog is not troubled by hard work, harsh weather or boisterous play.

            Withstand heat

            The Russian Black will not tolerate hot weather. Its thick coat causes the dog to be particularly unhappy during the summer months.

            Withstand cold

            The coat of the Russian Black keeps the dog warm even in the snow.

            Tendency to put on weight

            The Russian Black is as prone to weight gain as any other dog. Avoid giving this dog any food designed for human consumption.

            Common illnesses

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