Black Russian Terrier
The Black Russian Terrier, also known as the Black Terrier, the Chornyi, the Tchiorny Terrier, the Russian Bear Schnauzer, the Russian Black Terrier or simply the BRT, is one of the newest breeds in the world, created entirely after World War II as a guard dog for the Red Army. It was first recognized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in 1984 as a member of its Terrier Group, and later was appropriately moved into the Working Group because it is not a true terrier. This is a massive and powerful dog with strong protective and guarding instincts. The BRT was given full recognition by the American Kennel Club in 2004. In France, it is known as the Terrier Noir Russe, and in Germany it is known as the Schwarze Russische Terrier.
The Black Russian Terrier is temperamentally confident and cool. Despite their size, or maybe because of it, these dogs exude an air of self-assurance and deceptive calm. They are aloof towards strangers but form very strong bonds with their human companions. They crave attention from their people and should not be left alone for long periods of time. Black Russian Terriers need a job to do or they can become destructive and difficult to control. These dogs must be physically and mentally active for their health and happiness, and for that of their owners who must maintain an alpha role to keep the Black Russian Terrier from trying to exert dominance. Fortunately, these dogs are highly intelligent and respond to training and socialization lessons very well.
The average Black Russian Terrier stands between 26 and 30 inches at the withers and weighs between 80 and 145 pounds (as in most canine breeds, females are slightly smaller than males). Any dog or bitch less than 26 inches in height is disqualified under the AKC breed standard. Black Russian Terriers have a thick, hard and rough double coat and do not shed excessively. While they do not require extensive grooming, they should be brushed regularly to keep their coat clean and free of mats. The distinctive mop of hair over their eyes and under their chin should be brushed but never cut.
The Black Russian Terrier originated in Russia, created by the Krasnaya Zvezda, or "Red Star", military kennel outside of Moscow. This facility was devoted to developing working dogs for the Russian national security forces. World War II dramatically decreased the number of working dogs in Russia, but powerful and intelligent guard dogs remained in high demand at military installations, prisons and other government sites. After the War, the Red Star Kennel set out to address these needs by cross-breeding existing large working breeds including the Rottweiler, Giant Schnauzer, Moscow Retriever and Airedale Terrier specifically to create an entirely new breed of dog with a stable temperament and consistently imposing appearance. Other breeds reported to have contributed to this elaborate project are the Newfoundland, Caucasian Sheepdog, Eastern European sheepdog, Great Dane, Borzoi and Laika. The result was a large, tough, well-muscled black dog with heavy bone and quick instinctive reactions. Offspring of these dogs were shown at the 1955 USSR dog shows and attracted many admirers. In 1956, the Red Star Kennel began selling puppies to private breeders, which accelerated the development of the Black Russian Terrier throughout Germany and other European countries. The BRT has since gained attention in the United States. It frequently is mistaken for a Giant Schnauzer or a Bouvier des Flandres, as these breeds share its massive body-type and course black coat. This is a willful breed with a strong personality. It is highly protective and must be guided early in life to become a good citizen. The Black Russian Terrier Club of America was founded in 1994. The Black Russian Terrier entered the American Kennel Club's Working Group in July of 2004.
The average life expectancy for the Black Russian Terrier is between 10 and 12 years. They generally are healthy and hardy but may be prone to bloat and hip dysplasia, as are many other large, deep-chested breeds.
Black Russian Terriers are truly man's best friend. They thrive on human interaction and have such a strong desire to be with their family that they will follow their people from room to room, and when left alone, will wait longingly by doors or windows until they are happily reunited with the ones they love. This breed adores children – especially female Black Russians. They are patient with small children who want to climb on them and are big enough to keep up with bigger kids' outdoor games. They have bee known to sleep in kids' rooms or outside their bedroom doors as a guardian and protector.
Black Russian Terriers, despite their larger size, can do well living in an apartment. They don't need an excessive amount of vigorous running time per day, but do need several walks. If left alone in a yard, Black Russian will quickly get bored and want to come inside. Outside activities should always involve interaction with kids or people in order to keep this breed interested.
Black Russian Terriers are hands down the easiest breed of terrier to train. As puppies, Black Russians should be treated firmly, but never harshly, to understand boundaries or they will take over the house when they get older. Though they can project dominance, under a consistent, confident leader they can master basic obedience very quickly. They should be graduated on to advanced training, as Black Russians like to be entertained by new and exciting tasks.
Socialization is important with this breed. They can become very protective of their family and territory so they must be taught early on to accept visitors and new situations.
Because they attach themselves to deeply to their family, separation anxiety can develop quickly in Black Russians. It is important to keep them well exercised and to keep their minds entertained with plenty of activity so that anxiety does not develop. They are not ideal for people who are out of the house a lot. Families with stay at home moms suit this people-loving dog best.
Black Russian Terriers were developed by the Soviet Red Army to act as sentries. The modern Black Russian still takes this job very seriously and is quick to protect the family and house he loves. He will sound the alarm that strangers are approaching – even if they are half a block away. Training to obey a stop barking command and proper socialization can save the family's sanity later on.
The Black Russian Terrier is a robust, large, balanced, agile and powerful dog. The Black Russian Terrier has large bone and well-developed muscles. He has great strength and endurance. The Black Russian Terrier must have a stable and reliable temperament, possessing self-assurance and courage.
Size, Proportion, Substance
Size: The height for males at maturity (over 18 months of age) is between 27" and 30" with the desired height being between 27" and 29". The height for females at maturity (over 18 months of age) is between 26" and 29" with the desired height being between 26" and 28". Any height deviation is a serious fault. Height consideration should not outweigh that of type, proportion, movement and other functional attributes. General balance is more important than absolute size. Proportion: The desired height to length ratio of the Black Russian Terrier is approximately 9.5 to 10. Thus the dog is slightly longer than tall. Females may be slightly longer than males. The length is measured from point of shoulder to rear edge of the pelvis. Substance: The Black Russian Terrier must have large bones and well-developed musculature. Females are definitely to appear feminine but never lacking in substance. Light bone, lack of substance, and poor musculature are serious faults.
The head must be in proportion to the body and give the appearance of power and strength. It is approximately equal to the length of neck and not less than 40% of the height of the dog at the withers. The eyes are oval, of medium size, dark, and set relatively wide apart. Eye rims are black without sagging or prominent haw. Light eyes are a serious fault. The ears are medium in size, triangularly shaped, set high, but not above, the level of the skull. The ear leather is dense, rounded at the bottom, hanging with the front edge lying against the head and terminating at approximately mid-cheek. Cropped ears are not acceptable. The skull is moderately wide with round, but not too pronounced cheek bones. The supraorbital arches and occiput bones are moderately expressed. The back skull is flat. The stop is moderate. The back skull is slightly longer than the muzzle measured from the stop to the occiput and stop to end of nose, an approximate ratio of 5:4. The muzzle is broad with a slight tapering towards the nose. A moustache and beard emphasize volume and give the muzzle a square shape. Viewed in profile, the topline of the muzzle is parallel to the topline of the backskull. The nose is large and black. Nose color other than black is a disqualification. Lips are thick, fleshy, black, tight and without flews. The gums have dark pigmentation. The teeth are large and white with full dentition. Any missing tooth is a severe fault. The incisors form a straight line at the base. A correct bite is a scissors bite. Two or more missing teeth or bite other than a scissors bite is a disqualification.
Neck, Topline and Body
Neck: The neck should be thick, muscular and powerful. The nape is strong and well expressed. There should be no pendulous or excessive dewlap. The length of the neck and the length of the head should be approximately the same. The neck is set at an approximate 45 degree angle to the line of the back. Body: The whole structure of the body should give the impression of strength. The chest is oval shaped, deep and wide with well-sprung ribs. The bottom line of the chest extends to the elbows or below and is not less than 50% of the dog's height measured from the withers. The forechest is pronounced. The withers are high, well developed and more pronounced in the male than in the female. There is a slight slope from the top of the withers into a straight, firm back. The back is approximately ½ of the distance between the top of the withers to the base of the tail. The last half of the backline is comprised of two equal parts, the loin and the croup measured to the base of tail. (The ratio of back to loin to croup measured to base of tail is 2:1:1.) The loin is short, wide, muscular, slightly arched and elastic. The croup is wide, muscular, and slopes slightly (5 to 10 degrees). The tail is thick, set moderately high, and is carried at an approximate 45 degree angle from the horizontal. When the tail is docked, there are 3 to 5 vertebrae remaining. An undocked tail is not to be penalized. The preferred shape of an undocked tail resembles a sickle or saber. The abdomen is moderately tucked up and firm.
Shoulders are well laid-back with blades broad and sloping. There is good return of upper arm so that the angle between the shoulder blade and the upper arm is approximately 100 degrees. Upper arms are muscular. Elbows sit close to the body and turn neither in nor out while standing or moving. The forelegs are straight, thick, of medium length, and parallel when viewed from the front. Length of the foreleg to the elbow is approximately 50% of dog's height at the withers. Pasterns are short, thick, and almost vertical. Front dewclaws should be removed. Feet are large, compact, and round in shape. Nails are black.
Viewed from the rear the legs are straight and parallel, set slightly wider than the forelegs. The hindquarters are well boned and muscular with good angulation to be in balance with the front shoulder angulation. Thighs are muscular and broad when viewed from the side. The hocks are moderately short and vertical when standing. Rear dewclaws should be removed.
The coat is a double coat. The natural untrimmed coat length varies from 1 ½ " to 6". While the outer guard hair is coarser than the softer undercoat, it is not wiry or curly. The body coat has a slight to moderate wave. The furnishings on the head form a fall over the eyes and a moustache and beard on the muzzle. The legs are covered and protected by long, dense coat. Trimming of the natural coat is needed for suitable shape and upkeep.
For presentation in the show ring, the Black Russian Terrier should be trimmed so that the dog's outline is clearly defined. The trimmed length of coat and leg furnishings may vary from 0.2" to 6" depending upon the location on the body. The fall and muzzle furnishings may be longer than 6". In no case should grooming be given more weight than structure, movement and balance when evaluating the Black Russian Terrier.
The only acceptable color for the Black Russian Terrier is solid black or black with scattered gray hairs. Any other color is considered a disqualification.
A well-balanced Black Russian Terrier should move freely in a smooth, fluid motion. In movement the normal head carriage is extended forward and the backline remains level. As movement accelerates, the feet will converge toward a centerline. The Black Russian Terrier covers a lot of ground through strong reach of the forelegs and drive of the hindquarters.
The character and temperament of the Black Russian Terrier is of utmost importance. The Black Russian Terrier is a calm, confident, courageous and self-assured dog. He is highly intelligent and adapts well to training. The Black Russian Terrier was initially bred to guard and protect. He is alert and responsive, instinctively protective, determined, fearless, deeply loyal to family, is aloof and therefore does not relish intrusion by strangers into his personal space. Shyness or excessive excitability is a serious fault.
Any departure from the foregoing ideal should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded is in proportion to its degree.
Lack of substance
Mature male under 27"or over 30"
Mature female under 26" or over 29"
Light colored eyes
One missing tooth
Shyness or excessive excitability
Nose color other than black
Two or more missing teeth
Any bite other than a scissors bite
Any coat color other than solid black or black with scattered gray hairs.
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Sources: American Kennel Club