The Black Russian Terrier is a medium to large breed of dog also referred to as BRT. The Black Russian Terrier is originally developed for its use as a police dog and guard dog. It's rare to see this dog outside of its native country of Russia. It is starting to be seen more now in the United States and other areas where it's finally being recognized. In 2004, they are recognized in the American Kennel Club, are seen a lot more since their registration in the AKC.
The BRT is a large and very powerful dog. They have large bones and very well developed muscles. Some of the dogs of this breed can weigh up to 130 pounds. Their paws are round and large. The skin of the Black Russian Terrier is very tight without any folds in the skin. They are a loving friendly dog that makes an excellent family pet. They are a hardy dog that's infamous for their good nervous system. They have a cuddly appearance with all their hair, in spite of their large size. Their gait is very graceful and light, making them very sure-footed. The Black Russian Terrier is also very quick in his actions and reactions.
The coat of the British Russian Terrier is wiry, hard and dense. It may look like its wooly and silky, but it is not. It's around 4 inches in length. They are very low shedding. They possess an undercoat and overcoat that is very weather resistant.
The origin of the Black Russian Terrier began in the 1930s in the USSR right outside of Moscow when the state attempted to develop a military working dog. The BRT got their start in a military state-owned kenned called The Red Star, when they were looking for a dog to be part of a national security force. They imported different breeds from different countries. Some of the breeds included Rottweiler, Airdale Terrier, Newfoundland, Schnauzers and a few others. Red Star was the only place these dogs were bred until the 1950s when they began selling their puppies to civilian breeders. Prior to this, the dogs were being used in prisons and military facilities. The criterion of the breeding was changed slightly by the civilian breeders, who wanted a working dog with good looks.
In 1958, the first breed standard was acknowledged by the Red Army, but was changed numerous times until 1984 when it was accepted by the Federation Cynologique Internationale. In the 1980s, the BRTs made their entrance into the United States were acknowledged in the AKC in 2001 in the miscellaneous group and again in 2004 as a working group.
The Black Russian Terrier or BRTs are very intelligent dogs that are known for their bravery and loyalty. They are also very calm and confident of themselves. They are protective of their family and will protect them if they feel the need. At first, they may seem aloof, but they bond very quickly with their family and love the constant companionship. It may be aloof with and a little afraid of strangers. They take a long time to be comfortable and friendly with strangers. Perhaps this is the main reason why the make such excellent guard dogs.
They are a dog with a lot of self-assurance and courage. They're very reliable dogs that are trustworthy, which is why this breed was chosen to be bred to protect and guard. This is not a dog to be left alone outside as they thrive on human contact, specifically with their family. In fact, if they had their way, they would be by your side 24/7. They should have some sort of training, preferably obedience, at a young age to avoid them becoming too protective.
The Black Russian Terrier is a dominant dog. They get along with other dogs in the family as long as the other dogs are not also dominant. They will try to dominate the household if allowed.
The Black Russian Terrier is a generally healthy dog. They normally live a long life, although they are prone to a few genetic diseases. The major concern with the Black Russian Terrier is hip Dysplasia. Hip Dysplasia is a hereditary problem affecting the joints of many large breed dogs. In severe cases, it can cause serious arthritis and crippling lameness. If you are contemplating buying a BRT, check the pedigree of the parents to see if they were OFA certified as good. An X-ray of the dog's hips can determine if the dog has signs of hip Dysplasia. The BRT is also prone to elbow Dysplasia but not as often as hip Dysplasia. Another health concern of this dog is Otitis, which is an infection of the outer ear canal. Progressive retinal atrophy, a problem of the eye, also affects some dogs of this breed. This disease causes the retina to degenerate and cause gradual loss of vision until the dog becomes totally blind.
Black Russian Terrier is a large dog with a lot fur on their body and will need grooming in order to avoid tangles. Their coat is made up of hard, wiry wavy hair that is closed wound together and may be from 1 ½" to 4" in length. They also have a beard and eyebrows. Their neck has the appearance of a mane. It's necessary for them to be trimmed every couple of months as well as groomed. If their coat becomes soft, they will need to be stripped. Stripping is a process where the dead hair is all stripped off to make room for growth of the new healthy hair. Stripping is usually done by a professional groomer.
Even though they only need trimming a few times a year, they need to be brushed a couple times a week. You may also want to use a coat conditioner to make it easier to comb through. Make sure you trim the hair under their paws and in the ear ducts. They don't moult and seldom shed if they are regularly brushed.
When you are trimming the hair in their ears, it's a good time to clean their ears with a moist cotton ball, making sure to dry them thoroughly. Dark wax in their ear may indicate an ear infection. The nails of the BRT should also be clipped to avoid getting them ripped unevenly.
The Black Russian Terrier needs to be bathed when they are trimmed. Some owners bathe their BRT once a month. Make sure they are not bathed too often as this dries out the skin.
The Black Russian Terrier needs exercise just like any other dog. They have a very good resistance to different weather conditions and are very adaptable. This is probably why they seem to enjoy the snow so much. They also enjoy the water, which makes them great swimming or fishing buddies. It's important that they get exercise on a regular basis, but because they are so "clingy" to their owners, you'll have a hard time getting them to get exercise on their own unless you go outside with them. Going for walks with them is something you can both enjoy. Many dogs that have large back yards or pens run around and play. This is not the case with the BRTs. If you put them outside, they'll do their duty and go back to the porch waiting for you to let them back in so they can be by your side.
Because of their susceptibility to hip Dysplasia, regular exercise is good for them. Try to avoid letting them jump, as this can be harmful to their joints. If they sleep on your bed, have a stool or something similar to help them up. Because this dog is so easy to train, training them can be a method of giving them exercise at the same time.
The Black Russian Terrier is an excellent dog for training because of its intelligence and working ability. Its breeding as a working dog may contribute to their having such an excellent work ethic. They love being busy and pleasing their owners. Training of this dog should begin at a very young age, specifically basic obedience, because of them being such a dominant dog. They respond well to firm, consistent training, but not to force.
There are very few dog sports that the BRT cannot be trained to excel at. They do very well in obedience competitions, agility as well as Schutzhund. They love the bonding time that training provides them with. They grasp new ideas very quickly and are not afraid to try new things. The BRT has an excellent sense of focus and with hard work, will make an owner very proud.