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Black Russian Terrier

Black Russian Terrier

A custom bred working dog, the Russian Terrier is known for being a calm and intelligent companion.

The Black Russian Terrier (BRT) is a big dog with an interesting backstory. Originating in Moscow, the capitol of Russia after World War II, they were specially designed by the Russian military as a special-duty dog breed. A total of seventeen breeds were interbred to create the Black Russian Terrier, bred as a working dog in border patrol and guarding prison camps. It was not until 2004 that the Black Russian Terrier was officially recognised as a breed by the American Kennel Club. 

Ranging from 66 to 76cm in height, and 35 to 60kg in weight, the Black Russian Terrier is a giant dog breed. Their life expectancy is around 10 to 12 years. 


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Dog Breed Facts & Characteristics



Also known as 

Black Russian Terrier (BRT) / Chornyi Terrier

Bred for

Patrol dog


Giant breed dog ranging from 66 to 76cm in height, and 35 to 60kgs in weight

Weight Range

35 to 60kgs



Life expectancy

10 to 12 years 


Long coat, moderate shedding


Intelligent, trainable, calm, protective

Exercise requirements


Best suited for 

Active households with space for a giant dog

Apartment Friendly

Better suited to larger properties 


Bred to protect, the breed instinctively defends their families and home territory. This is juxtaposed with a level-headed disposition and high levels of intelligence. That said, their giant size and power means that they may not be well suited to families with small children, who could be easily pulled or knocked over. Black Russian Terriers are a highly active dog and require daily exercise. This means they are not suitable for apartment living, as they need space to run and play. Socialising and training the Black Russian Terrier is particularly important due to their great size and strength. 


As their name suggests, they are black in colour with a double layered long coat that requires weekly brushing. Black Russian Terriers require grooming, particularly around the face and eyes, at least every 2 to 3 months if not earlier. Ear cleaning should also be a part of the regular grooming schedule to help keep the ears clean and free from debris to help prevent ear infections. Teeth cleaning should also be a part of the maintenance routine. Prevent parasites by ensuring your Bichon Frise is on flea control all year round and tick prevention if you are in a paralysis tick area. 


When choosing a food for your Russian Black Terrier, select a premium food appropriate to your dog’s age and life stage. Make sure your pup always has a supply of fresh, clean water available.

Common health concerns 

Between 2016-2020, Black Russian Terriers visited the vet for ear infections, gastrointestinal problems, skin conditions, cruciate ligament disease and lameness.

Table: The five most common reasons for a Black Russian Terrier to visit the vet (excluding routine care visits) according to PetSure data from 2016-2020.



Average cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)

Highest cost for single treatment (highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)


Ear infections




Gastrointestinal conditions, including diarrhoea and inflammation




Skin conditions, including inflammation and allergies




Cruciate ligament disease







Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider.

Most popular Black Russian Terrier names (PetSure data, 2010-2020)

Most popular names

  1. Boris
  2. George
  3. Sasha
  4. Archie
  5. Bear
  6. Bella
  7. Chester
  8. Jaz
  9. Leon
  10. Penelope 

Most popular female names  

  1. Jaz
  2. Penelope
  3. Sasha
  4. Violet
  5. Asha
  6. Bella
  7. Blossom
  8. Brandy
  9. Charlie
  10. Chilli 

Most popular male names

  1. Boris
  2. George
  3. Archie
  4. Bear
  5. Chester
  6. Leon
  7. Rufus
  8. Samson
  9. Ziggy
  10. Zeus  

Did you know?

The Black Russian Terrier is a genetic combination of seventeen dog breeds including Newfoundland, Rottweiler, Schnauzer and is only 15 to 30% terrier. 

Where can I get a Black Russian Terrier?

Although they are a pure breed of dog, it may be possible to find a Black Russian Terrier via a breed specific rescue organisation. You may also find a perfect giant dog for you and your family at your local rescue organisation or shelter who needs a loving home. 


  1. American Kennel Club, Black Russian Terrier, Accessed 12 April 2021
  2. Australian National Kennel Club, “Russian Black Terrier”, Accessed 12 April 2021

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Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie's pets

Bei Bei
Bei Bei