Black Russian Terrier Dog Breed Profile

by Dr. Chris

AKC Group: Working Group

The Black Russian Terrier (Stalin's Dog) was bred for its working ability rather than for a stunning appearance, but it has both. The dog has changed much over time. Earlier Black Russian Terrier dogs look little like today's dog, as the coat and build type have changed.


Black Russian Terrier was originally bred by Red Russian army. In total about 17 of the finest, different breeds of dogs were used in developing the Black Russian. These breeds included the Giant Schnauzer, the Rottweiler, the Airedale breed and the Russian Water Dog. By the year 1956, they had developed the breed enough that they could now stop crossbreeding and just do purebreeding to maintain the line.

Physical Features

The Black Russian Terrier is a mid to large sized dog, strong and muscular. It stands about 25-29 inches in height and weighs about 80-145 pounds. The head of Black Russian Terrier is in proportion to the most of body. Shoulders are large and broad and slope from the shoulder blades. The head should be long, strong and with a block sized skull. Ears are triangular form and small and are set quite high. The ears lie very near to the cheek reaching the outer angle of the eyes. The nose is black and large. Lips should be full, rounded and black at the ridges. The gums are of a dark coloration while the teeth produce a scissor like bite. The coat is long, hard wiry and wavy and is black; it may have a little bit of gray hairs. The undercoat is soft, thick and well developed. The fur around the neck is suggestive of a mane. It should form a beard- like appearance in the front. The legs are hairy and there is hair at the bottom of the paws. The tail is set high and is usually cropped.


The dog is naturally dominant and makes an excellent guard dog. It requires a confident owner/trainer and may not be the best dog for first time dog owners. It is very affectionate; sweet and gentle with people it has bonded with; and the pet loves human companionship. They are suspicious of unfamiliar persons and it may take some time to bond with them.

Common Health Problems

Hip and elbow dysplasia; Otitis externa (ear inflammation); Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA).

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