Black Russian Terrier – Stalin’s dog

Black Russian Terrier

The Black Russian Terrier (or Tchiorny Terrier) is not a dog for everyone – if you are looking for a dog that will be lying in the sun for hours or calmly lying in its bed, the Black Russian Terrier is not for you. Tchiorny Terriers are described as special task dogs, which means that they will be great guardians of your family.

These dogs are considered one of the best breeds for training – they easily cooperate with humans and thanks to their highly developed intelligence learn all commands fast. Black Russian Terriers require regular training because they are not independent by nature. If you train one properly, you will have an incredibly obedient guardian in your house.

Because of the type of coat, these dogs require specific care – they need to be trimmed, bathed, combed regularly, and also properly nourished, so that they will stay healthy and lively for many years.

Black Russian Terrier.
Black Russian Terrier.

FCI Classification

  • Group 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer – Molossoid and Swiss Mountain and Cattle dogs
  • Section 1.4: Black Russian Terrier
  • Working trial: not subject
  • Origins: Russia
  • Use: Working dog, guarding dog, hunting dog, companion dog
  • Other names:  Russkiy Tchiorny Terrier, Русский Чёрный Терьер, Schwarzer Russischer Terrier
Black Russian Terrier.
Black Russian Terrier.

History of the breed

The origins of the breed reach the turn of the 1940s and 1950s. In the 50s, in the Soviet Union, the development of a working dog breed that would be adapted to working in the most severe climate conditions started. Because the development took place in the Stalinist period, Black Russian Terriers are unofficially called Stalin’s dogs.

At that time, several interesting breeds were created, such as the Newfoundland dog or Moscow Watchdog, however, the crossbred of the Rottweiler, Schnauzer and Airedale Terrier was the most popular – the Black Russian Terrier originates mostly from these breeds, although this breed has almost 17 different ancestors.

The Giant Schnauzer became the progenitor of the breed (which is proved by the similarity in appearance of both breeds), although the Caucasian Shepherd Dog and Newfoundland also passed on their important features.

Initially, these dogs differed significantly from those that you can find nowadays, because, over time, the need for having a typically working and guarding dog because of the end of war and conditions of living decreased. This breed was recognized by the FCI only in 1984.

Black Russian Terrier.
Black Russian Terrier.



Black Russian Terriers are robust dogs that resemble the Schnauzer. Their elongated thorax and athletic build are characteristic – these dogs are incredibly muscular. The head is quite massive, and the muzzle is long and slightly narrowed towards the nose, so it is quite angular. Black Russian Terriers have dark, widely set eyes, and droopy, triangular ears.

The tail is thick at the base and highly seated, also called a “squirrel tail”. In Russia, the tail is traditionally cut, but its shape and length are not very significant. Both the hind legs and the front legs are of medium length and well-built, so the dogs walk with confidence and freely.

Their coat is the most characteristic: it’s black, dense, coarse, consists of rigid and slightly wavy outer hair, and soft undercoat. In its natural state it reaches 15 cm (6 in) of length. However, it’s worth taking care of its aestehtic appearance, emphasizing the strength and grandeur of Black Russian Terriers. These dogs stand up to 70 cm (27.6 in) at the withers, and weigh 50 kg (110 lb) on average.

Black Russian Terrier.
Black Russian Terrier.


Black Russian Terriers are great as friends for human, they can be calm, react fast, they are fast learners, and ready to protect their owners at any time. They are quiet and steady dogs, if you train them well. Every owner of a Black Russian Terrier confirms that these dogs love their human families and attach to people very much.

Their resistance to diseases is their considerable asset – Black Russian Terriers get sick very rarely, because they have been adapted to functioning in incredibly severe climate conditions. However, you should know that this breed is made to be constantly active – so if you are looking for a dog that will be your pet and mascot, it is not a good choice. Of course, they can show many feelings, but they have to trust someone completely.

Black Russian Terriers love to be up and doing, so you have to expect that you will need to include long and intensive walks in your daily basis. These dogs are typical working dogs that need to be occupied all the time, thus you can train them various commands and tricks, and train them for guarding.

Black Russian Terrier.
Black Russian Terrier.


In the case of Black Russian Terriers, health issues typical for giant dog breeds may occur, therefore, the most common diseases include: hip and elbow dysplasia, so it’s important to care about their physical condition and health from the very beginning.

Moreover, these dogs have sensitive digestive and urinary systems – they may often vomit, have difficulties in digestion, or kidney stones. Therefore, it is essential to nourish them properly, i.e. provide them with balanced, high-quality food.

Because of their droopy ears, these dogs may sometimes suffer from infections, and long hair on their chins may cause fungal infections around the muzzle. Regular care of these areas, however, enables your dog to enjoy its health and irrepressible energy for many years.

Black Russian Terrier.
Black Russian Terrier.

Detailed information / dimensions (size)

Black Russian Terrier

  • Height at withers:
    • males: 72-76 cm (28-30 in), sometimes to 78 cm (31 in)
    • females: 68-72 cm (27-28 in)
  • Weight:
    • males: 50-60 kg (110-132 lb)
    • females: 45-50 kg (99-110 lb)
  • Lifespan: 9-14 years
Black Russian Terrier.
Black Russian Terrier.

Black Russian Terrier – interesting facts

  • Black Russian Terriers in Russia are used in military, medical services, border guard, and also therapy centers.
  • Tchiorny Terriers are very cautious in contact with strangers, and they keep them at distance, but despite that, they let others pet and approach them without showing aggression or anxiety.
  • These dogs do not prefer sharing their territory with individuals of a similar size.
Black Russian Terrier.
Black Russian Terrier.


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