Created during the Cold War, the Black Russian Terrier was first developed in Moscow's Red Star Kennels, an organization operated by the State to produce versatile, working dogs to fulfill the needs of the Soviet armed services. The Black Russian Terrier was one such breed to be developed, combining Giant Schnauzer, Airedale Terrier, Russian Water Dog, Newfoundland and possibly Rottweiler blood. This selective crossing resulted in a dog of powerful, athletic build, unpretentious in structure or appearance, with a bold and game temperament. The dog was designed to work under varying climatic conditions, whilst being highly trainable and adapting well to new situations. It wasn't long before the breed made its way across Europe and the Baltic countries, before arriving in the United States. The Black Russian Terrier was officially recognised by the American Kennel Club in 2004.
At first glance, the Black Russian Terrier is as angular as it is square, boasting a narrow and deep chest, with medium-length legs, a straight topline, a broad head, and small, triangular ears set rather high. The deep chest would have enhanced lung capacity for greater stamina and endurance, a highly desirable trait in a military dog. Despite being an illegal practice across Europe, tail docking is commonly observed in the breed, although this is not a breed standard. The coat is weatherproof and requires regular trimming, and should always be black without markings. Any facial hair or bearding is usually left long.
Not inherently aggressive, the Black Russian Terrier will respond fearlessly to safeguard its home and family if danger is perceived, whilst otherwise remaining calm, balanced and mannered. Highly trainable as one would expect of a military service dog, the Black Russian Terrier is well suited to domestic life, adapting quickly to new situations and people. Gentle, vigilant, courageous and eager to please, the Black Russian Terrier is a dog of many strengths and talents. On average, a healthy Black Russian Terrier weighs 36-65 kg, with a life expectancy of 10-12 years, providing its needs for exercise, mental enrichment and human companionship are met.
Few health afflictions are identified in the Black Russian Terrier other than hip dysplasia and associated orthopedic complaints. Documented cases of urinary tract stones are seen, although not with any great prevalence.