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Black Russian Terrier

A recent appearance in the dog world that is suffering from an excessive amount of marketing and press.  Several trainers contacted have yet to meet a Black Russian Terrier that they feel has a stable temperament.  This is not to say that the breed does not offer dogs of good disposition but rather that they may be few and far between or that they breed as a whole is not forgiving to being raised by the naive, novice, insecure or inexperienced owner.  This is a dramatic breed of recent creation where much is made of its "working ability".  Unfortunately DigitalDog would consider this effort rather pointless as several if not many breeds are already established with good if not great working ability.  The point in creating another one may have been for a purpose of filling a marketing niche (as written in one article about the breed, Russia was short of "purebreds" and it seemed that Russia should have a "large black dog".).  These goals are not particularly noble and when one considers the excessive breeding (and culling and thousands of puppies that won't continue the breeding program but still need homes) required in developing a breed, it seems particularly heinous in this day and age.  As a final blow, some of the US importers of the BRT are not in possession of reputations that indicate their goals include the best interest of the dog.  In general,it is a breed that DigitalDog would encourage its visitors to avoid.

By Breed Name
By Breed Name
General Information
Group(s): WorkingGuardian Height: 26-30 inches
Weight: usually around 80-100 pounds Longevity: 12-14
Colors: black with or without a few gray hairs. Coat type: 1.5-4 inches long tousled coat, outercoat is coarse and undercoat is dense and soft
Recognized Registries: FCI, NCA, UKC, AKC and others
Overall Appearance: Of distinct Giant Schnauzer type but of moderate substance and ruggedness. A unique "unkempt" appearance provided by the tousled double coat. Impressive, athletic and of considerable presence.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: moderate to high
General Nature: ideally powerful, confident and agreeable
  with Children: good when properly introduced and socialized around well mannered children
  with other pets: generally good but does require proper socialization and introduction
  with dogs: highly variable
Socialization requirements: extremely high - a dog as powerful, intelligent and confident as the BRT must ben given a solid training foundation in order to be manageable
Ideal home characteristics: Plenty of time for training, socializing and interacting, fenced yard (or access to large exercise areas), dedication to training as this is a working dog and will seek a career.
Temperament Notes: Intense, powerful, loyal and focused. Intelligent, confident and athletic. This dog demands a knowledgable owner who can suitably guide without making a battle of wills.
Training requirement: high: socialization, basic manners and further training whether in Pet Therapy, Flyball, Agility, Obedience, Search and Rescue, etc. as this dog should and will have a STRONG work ethic that cannot be ignored or neglected.
Trainer notes: Any dog lover/trainer would be benefitted by remembering that dogs are developed with a desire to have strong and close relationships with the people in their lives.  They certainly can be trained (intentionally or inadvertantly) not to trust people or to misunderstand what is desired.  Nevertheless, in training the BRT it is required that their trainer appreciate and recognize the individual they are working with.  Consider this a goal of mutual respect.  As you spend time with your dog or puppy and treat them with a regard to their sensibilities they will grow to trust your guidance.  From there, positive training is simple and appropriate since you have a partner that has no desire except to be part of your team.  Unfortunately too many dog owners/trainers are quick to call a dog stupid, stubborn or defiant when the dog just genuinely is not clear on what is required.  This level of miscommunication and misunderstanding will not result in a successfully trained and could be disastrous with the BRT as their innate sense of confidence, assurance and intelligence could result in a battle of wills.  A battle that no one would ultimately win since the dog would be left without any trust in their partner as a result of it.
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: 1968 by FCI
Country of Origin: Russia
Original Function: multi function working dog, including protection
History: Developed by government funded Red Star Kennel of Russia after WWII. Eventually in the hands of hobby breeders who sought to maintain the working abilities while defining a more impressive appearance. Developed from Giant Schnzuers and 16 other breeds.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard: excessive size or substance, too small or too refined, coat curls, smooth coat, soft coat
Health Notes: hip and elbow dysplasia, eye issues, heart issues
Health Testing: OFA and CERF
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!

  • How long have you had Black Russian Terriers (BRT)?
  • What would you consider the ideal BRT temperament?
  • What criteria do you use in selecting breeding stock?
  • What titles do you seek for your breeding stock?
  • What health issues have you seen in the breed?
  • What health clearances do you get on your breeding stock?
  • Do you plan to keep a puppy from this litter?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • How do you define your show versus companion only puppies?
  • How often do you have puppies?
  • At what age do you send your puppies to their homes?
  • What advice can you offer in regards to raising and training a BRT?
Web Sites: Black Russian Terrier Club of America Rescue

Other Resources
Breed standard: Black Russian Terrier Standard

Breeder Ethics: Black Russian Terrier Club of America Code of Ethics

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