Russian Black Terrier Breed Information and Buying advice

Russian Black Terrier

Are You Looking to Buy or Adopt a Russian Black Terrier?

Quick Russian Black Terrier Facts

Average Size of Adult
Large (4/5)
Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy
Grooming Requirement
High (3/3)
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Sociability
Medium (2/3)
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Exercise Requirements
High (3/3)
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Russian Black Terrier (RBT, Blackies)

Overview

The Russian Black Terrier is an impressive dog that was bred by the Russian Army after the Second World War to guard properties and track down fugitives. These large dogs are intelligent, energetic and despite the name, are not actually Terriers. The Russian Black Terrier is a working dog but also makes a loveable and loyal companion. The Russian Black Terrier is a large, imposing dog with a black coat and a distinct beard.

Physical Appearance 

The Russian Black Terrier has an appearance similar to a Giant Schnauzer, although RBT’s are bigger. This breed has a strong and athletic look with a block-shaped head and a square body. The Russian Black Terrier has a well-proportioned head and a compact body. They have long necks, pronounced eyebrows and a long beard that add to their overall charm. 


Russian Black Terriers have large, dark eyes that are oval-shaped and are set wide apart. Their triangular ears are set high but fold down reaching the Russian Black Terrier’s cheekbone. RBTs have large feet, thick pads and strong nails. They have medium-length tails that are set high and are carried curled over the dog’s back. 


The Russian Black Terrier’s coat is medium-length and weather resistant. They have a double coat with a dense undercoat, the Russian Black Terrier’s coat looks tousled but can also look curly or wiry. The coat is either completely black or black with grey hairs throughout. 


How big do Russian Black Terrier dogs get? 

  • Height - Males: 64 - 70cm. Females: 66 - 72cm. 

  • Weight - Males: 45 - 68kg. Females: 36 - 59kg.


Character Traits

Russian Black Terriers are intelligent dogs that like to learn and can be quite independent thinkers. These dogs require firm but gentle training to keep them on the right track. The Russian Black Terrier is a breed that wants to be out and about doing things, they get bored easily so it is important to keep them busy and interested. Russian Black Terriers are loyal and affectionate, they are good with children and are excellent watchdogs.


Are Russian Black Terrier dogs intelligent? Yes.

Are Russian Black Terrier dogs affectionate? Yes.

Do Russian Black Terrier dogs have high or low energy levels? High energy levels (5/5).

Are Russian Black Terrier dogs loyal? Yes.

Are Russian Black Terrier dogs playful? Yes.

Are Russian Black Terrier dogs aggressive? No.

Are Russian Black Terrier dogs easy to train? Yes, in experienced hands they are easy to train.

Are Russian Black Terrier dogs good guard dogs? Yes, they are always alert and are natural guard dogs. 


Ability to Socialise 

Russian Black Terriers are great with children, they are gentle and patient but as they are so big care should be taken around younger children as an RBT could easily knock a young child over by accident. When it comes to other dogs, Russian Black Terriers are usually fine but can be aloof with other male dogs so early socialisation is important.

It’s best to keep Russian Black Terriers away from small animals and livestock as they have a high prey drive. When around strangers, a Russian Black Terrier will stand away from the person and bark to get your attention. 


Do Russian Black Terrier dogs get along with other pets? They will tolerate a cat if they have grown up together but contact with smaller animals should be avoided.

Do Russian Black Terrier dogs get along with other dogs? Yes. 

Are Russian Black Terrier dogs good with kids? Yes. 

Are Russian Black Terrier dogs good with strangers? They tend to be distrustful of strangers. 


Lifestyle Suitability

Russian Black Terriers do best in homes with access to a large, secure garden where they can roam and burn off energy. The Russian Black Terrier needs owners who are familiar with their needs and they need to be in a household where someone is always going to be home with them.

The RBT is a well-tempered dog that has been known to like the sound of their own voice a little bit too much. This barking can be stopped with training as well as sufficient mental and physical stimulation to prevent frustration and boredom. 


Are Russian Black Terrier dogs good for first-time owners? No, they are large, high-energy dogs that have specific needs.

Are Russian Black Terrier dogs hypoallergenic? No.

Are Russian Black Terrier dogs prone to drooling? No.

Are Russian Black Terrier dogs a good breed for apartment living? No.

Do  Russian Black Terrier dogs shed a lot? No, they shed a small amount throughout the year.

Do  Russian Black Terrier dogs bark a lot? Sometimes.

Can Russian Black Terrier dogs be left alone at home? No. 

Can Russian Black Terrier dogs handle the heat? Yes.

Can Russian Black Terrier dogs handle cold temperatures? Yes.

Are Russian Black Terrier dogs sensitive to loud noises? Not particularly. 


General Health & Health Issues

A Russian Black Terrier has a life expectancy of 10 - 12 years. Several hereditary health issues are known to affect Russian Black Terriers, these include:

  • Hyperuricosuria - This means elevated levels of uric acid are present in the urine. This makes Russian Black Terriers more likely to have bladder and kidney stones. These stones often require surgical removal.

  • Urate urolithiasis - This is a condition where crystals in the urine combine to make stones, these are typically found in the urethra or bladder. Symptoms include frequent or painful urination, abdominal pain, vomiting and weakness. There is treatment available for this and prescription diets can help prevent urate stones. 

  • Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia - the size of the Russian Black Terrier increases their risk of joint issues such as hip and elbow dysplasia. These conditions both cause swelling and pain and can lead to arthritis. Less severe cases can be treated with careful management and pain relief while severe cases may require surgery.  

  • Ear infections - Symptoms of ear infections include head shaking, itchy ears, head rubbing, swelling and heat, discharge and scabs. These infections can be treated with ear drops, ear cleaning, anti-inflammatory pain relief and antibiotic tablets. 

  • Juvenile Laryngeal Paralysis & Polyneuropathy - This is a serious condition that cannot be cured. It is a neurological disorder that causes paralysis or muscle weakness of the larynx and progressively spreads downwards causing weakness in the hind limbs. As this cannot be cured, euthanasia is the kindest option. DNA testing is recommended before breeding to ensure one of the parents is not a carrier of this condition. 

  • Bloat - Bloat is the swelling of a dog’s belly and it requires immediate medical attention. Bloat can be life-threatening. 


How long do Russian Black Terrier dogs live? - 10 - 12 years


Exercise & Play Time

The Russian Black Terrier is a high energy breed that needs at least 2 hours of exercise each day. Ideally, the Russian Black Terrier should spend most of this time off the lead but this is only recommended in a safe, secure environment where there are no other animals or livestock around. If walking on lead, a long and interesting walk is necessary.

Russian Black Terriers also need access to a secure back garden where they can play and roam during the day. When not out walking, mental stimulation should be provided through training sessions, dog sports and puzzle games. Russian Black Terriers have a low boredom threshold so you’ll have to mix things up to keep them interested and happy. 


How much exercise does a Russian Black Terrier dog need? 2 hours per day.

Do Russian Black Terrier dogs like water play? Yes, they usually love swimming and playing in water. 


Nutrition & Feeding

A Russian Black Terrier is a large dog that needs a good quality diet to keep them healthy. They are not prone to weight gain unless they have been recently spayed or neutered. A Russian Black Terrier puppy needs between 280 - 650g of high-quality dry food per day split into 3 - 4 smaller portions, the actual amount depends on their age and build. This is only a rough estimate, every dog is unique so it is important to have a personal dietary plan made. If your Russian Black Terrier is suffering from Urate Urolithiasis then the vet may prescribe a diet to help prevent urate stones.


Are Russian Black Terrier dogs prone to weight gain? No.

How much should I feed a Russian Black Terrier puppy? Between 280 - 650g high-quality dry food per day depending on age and build. 

How much should I feed an adult Russian Black Terrier dog? Between 350 - 640g high-quality dry food per day depending on weight and activity level. 


Care & Maintenance

Grooming: Russian Black Terriers have a beautiful double coat that is dense and waterproof. Their coat requires a lot of maintenance to prevent it from becoming knotted and tangled. A Russian Black Terrier requires daily brushing, with special attention paid to their whiskers and beard as food can get stuck when they eat. The Russian Black Terrier sheds a small amount throughout the year but this increases in Spring and Autumn. In addition to brushing their coats, it is important to check Russian Black Terrier’s ears regularly and clean them when needed. Their nails and dental health should also be checked regularly. 


Emotional Care: Russian Black Terriers get bored easily so they need interesting training sessions that are not too repetitive. It’s a good idea to involve your Russian Black Terrier in dog sports as this is something they love and find both interesting and exciting. The Russian Black Terrier is an active breed that may become destructive as a way of relieving stress. This breed does not tolerate being left alone so needs to be with a family where someone is going to be with them all the time. 



History of the Russian Black Terrier

The Russian Black Terrier has a unique history as they were developed by the Russian Army. The Army wanted a general service dog and specialised guard dog after World War II and used a Giant Schnauzer along with a mix of other breeds including Airedale Terriers, Rottweilers, Moscow Retrievers and Great Danes all contributed to the gene pool of what would eventually become the Russian Black Terrier.


The Russian Black Terrier is a highly prized dog breed in Russia and they are used as working dogs and are loyal family pets too. In the late 80s, Russian Black Terriers found a fan base in Italy where they remain popular today. Russian Black Terriers remain fairly rare outside of Russia and Italy. 

Interesting Facts About Russian Black Terrier Dogs

  • The Russian Black Terrier was developed by the Russian Army. 

  • Russian Black Terriers are not considered Terriers, they are Working Dogs. 

  • This breed has been around for less than 100 years. 

  • 17 different breeds were used to create the RBT.

Getting a Russian Black Terrier Puppy

If you’re ready to buy a puppy, check out our buying guide for information and advice to help you find a responsible breeder. There are lots of scams and bad practices around so choose your new puppy carefully. All breeders on Puppies have been vetted to ensure they are responsible. If you think this is the right dog breed for you, take a look at the Russian Black Terrier Puppy page to find a puppy in your area. 


How much does a Russian Black Terrier cost to buy? £1,200 - £3000

How much does a Russian Black Terrier cost to feed? £45 per month.

How much does insurance for a Russian Black Terrier cost? £70 per month.


Russian Black Terriers are rare, expensive dogs that you often have to join a waiting list to own. However, you could consider rescue as an alternative option. The following associations may be able to help you find a Russian Black Terrier in need of a home: 


Rehome a Russian Black Terrier with the Dogs Trust

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