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Russian Black Terrier

A relatively young breed, the Russian Black Terrier was developed by Russian army after World War II as a specialised guard dog and as a general service dog. One of his duties was to round up fugitives.

A mixture of breeds formed the foundation but it is acknowledged that a Giant Schnauzer was the centre of the breeding programme. He was mated with Airedale and Rottweiler bitches and the progeny were bred together with an input of the Moscow Retriever, a dog bred from Newfoundland and Sheepdog stock.

In 1955 the first working examples of the breed were put on show at an exhibition in Moscow and the first breed standard was published in 1958, which was then adopted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 1984.

General Medved was the brains behind the creation of the breed. The Russian dog population had suffered during the World Wars and there was no breed left to fulfil the needs of the forces: a dog able to work independently and cope with the differing terrains and extremes of climate in Russia.

General Medved

Despite the name, the Russian Black Terrier is not true terrier: it is believed that about twenty breeds were used in its development, including the Airedale, the Giant Schnauzer, the Rottweiler, the Newfoundland, the Caucasian Ovtcharka and the now extinct Moscow Water Dog. In the UK the breed is placed into the Kennel Clubs Working group.

This is Universe Tara's Sarja "Leeloo", she is Eddie's Mother, courtesy of Christine Skrinjar.

Universe Tara's Sarja

The UK breed standard describes the Russian Black Terrier as a "Large, imposing dog, above average size, strongly built with heavy bone. Well proportioned general appearance, sturdy and robust frame. Well-developed muscles. Body almost square. A medium texture, weatherproof coat, well furnished on head and limbs. Trimmed."

Eddie and Frieda enjoying an evening walk.


As a groomed breed, the coat requires regular attention including trimming. The UK breed standard describes the coat as "Medium texture weatherproof coat, with dense undercoat. Not wiry or soft. When brushed the hair is broken coated and slightly waved. Furnishings well developed on eyebrows, beard and legs. The ears (from fold to tip), skull, cheeks, throat to sternum, underside of tail, buttocks and rear of stifle are closely trimmed."

Eddie and his best buddy.


The Russian Black Terrier is a robust breed but as with all dogs they have some health concerns that need to be considered. These include:

Hip Dysplacia - Requires xrays

Elbow Dysplacia - Requires xrays

HUU - Hyperuricosuria - Requires DNA test

JLPP - Juvenile Laryngeal Paralysis and Polyneuropathy - Requires DNA test

prcdPRA - Progressive Rod Cone Degeneration Progressive Retinal Atrophy - Requires DNA test

All of the genetic issues mentioned are autosomal recessive conditions, meaning it is possible to have clear, carrier, and affected dogs. As long as there is always at least one clear parent, no dog will suffer from the condition.

Reputable breeders will be happy to discuss health testing and results.

Frieda enjoying the sunshine.

Breed info: Available Pets
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