A highly selective breeding program by the Soviet army-controlled kennel “Red Star” produced this working dog breed of excellent caliber. The Black Russian Terrier was created from crossing about 20 breeds including the Giant Schnauzer, Rottweiler, Airedale and the Russian Water Dog. The Black Russian Terrier is to the Red Army what the Malinois is to the French Army. It weighs about 80 to 143 pounds and has an average height of 25 to 28 inches for the female dogs and 25 to 29 inches for the male. It has a square-shaped head that is both broad and long. A square muzzle with moustache and beard rounds off its robust appearance. It has a large nose, full lips that are black at the ridges and eyes that are dark and medium-sized with black rims. The ears are triangular-shaped, set high and pendulous. It has a cropped tail that is set high. The coat is waterproof and made of coarse fur. Only acceptable colour is black, with some graying expected.
The Black Russian Terrier was bred as a high-spirited, all-around working dog that can withstand the extreme temperature changes in the Soviet Union. They have strong protective instincts and are very observant and inquisitive about their surroundings. They are quick to learn and crave for the company of humans as well as other animals. As a companion, they have an even and brave character about them and they don’t bark unless absolutely necessary. They are easy to housebreak and can do well even in an apartment provided they get regular exercise. They have a life expectancy of about 10 to 14 years.