The large, powerful-looking Black Russian Terrier breed was developed by Russian scientists during the Cold War who wanted to create a dog that could accompany soldiers during their patrols in the unforgivable cold during Russia's winters. Not only did these hard-working dogs assist with patrolling, but they were also used to catch intruders and work alongside soldiers in prisons. The Black Russian Terrier, also referred to as the Russian Bear Schnauzer and Chornyi, was the result of crosses between the Giant Schnauzer, Newfoundland, Airedale Terrier, Rottweiler, and over 13 more different breeds. These unique dogs are a bit of a rarity to find outside of their native Russia, but they arrived in the United States during the late 1980s and are becoming more recognized as a healthy, sturdy companion and working dog.
The Black Russian Terrier is large, well-muscled, and powerfully built with great strength and endurance. This beautiful breed is most recognized for not only their size but their tousled black double coat that consists of a coarse and wiry topcoat and a soft undercoat, which protects them from the extremely cold conditions of their homeland. Black Russian Terriers have a large, broad head with a powerful set of jaws, oval-shaped eyes, triangular-shaped ears, and a strong muzzle with a black nose. Undocked tails resemble a "sickle-like" shape and are furry like the rest of the body, while docked tails are also commonly seen within the breed.
Black Russian Terriers are both alert and calm but they have very strong guardian instincts. Naturally suspicious of strangers, these massive dogs are protective of their families and living spaces. A properly trained and socialized Black Russian Terrier is able to distinguish between a threat and what is considered to be safe. Early socialization and obedience training from puppyhood is essential for this breed to avoid unwanted aggressive or overly protective behavior as an adult. Both independent and extremely intelligent, they have a mind of their own but learn quickly and can excel at any job given to them by an owner who has a kind but firm hand. Regardless of their large size, Black Russian Terriers can be both gentle and patient with small children but they should be supervised to avoid toddlers being overrun by this energetic breed. They can also get along fairly well with other dogs and can learn to live with indoor cats if they have been raised with them. Although considered somewhat active, these hard-working dogs have a strong work ethic and enjoy having a meaningful job to do to remain happy and out of trouble. They are commonly seen participating in dog sports such as agility and obedience, while also making a great walking, running, or hiking partner for an active family. Known for their strong protective instincts and devotion to their owners, the Black Russian Terrier has a strong personality that requires an equally strong-willed owner.