The Black Russian Terrier, abbreviated as BRT, is a breed of dog, developed to serve as guard dog and police dog. It is rare outside the countries of the former Soviet Union but beginning to be formally recognized elsewhere: in July 2004, for instance, it became one of the AKC’s recognized breeds. The Black Russian Terrier gives the impression of great strength, athleticism, and courage. It should be rustic (but not coarse) in appearance, and should not look as though its coat is sculpted or trimmed. It should never appear to lack substance or be weak in any way.
The coat is a double coat with a coarse outer guard hair over a softer undercoat. The coat is hard and dense, never soft, woolly, silky or frizzy. It should be between 5 to 15 cm (2-6 inches) in length. It should form a beard and eyebrows on the face, and a slight mane around the withers and neck that is more pronounced in males. The coat is low-shedding and the colour is black with some scattered gray hairs.
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.
The Black Russian Terrier, because of its breeding as a working dog, has a very strong “work ethic”, and needs a job to do in order to be happy. Early training is a must and they are very responsive to firm, consistent training, excelling at Obedience competitions. They also perform well in other dog sports, such as Agility, and Schutzhund training. They have a low-shedding coat, and need grooming several times a week. Dogs who compete in conformation need to be groomed a minimum of every three weeks to keep the coat in show condition. The Black Russian Terrier needs lots of exercise, and may become hyperactive and destructive if it does not have a chance to burn off its energy.
The Black Russian Terrier is a generally healthy and somewhat long-lived dog (lifespan of 10–14 years), however it is prone to certain hereditary diseases, such as Hip dysplasia, Elbow dysplasia, Hyperruricosuria. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) occurs very rarely. Responsible and well intended breeder will have all health checks on all breeding stock before making the decision to breed their dogs.