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Russian Black Terrier

The Russian Black Terrier is a large, imposing dog with a strong build and heavy bone. Well-proportioned with a square outline, and robust frame, the RBT has a weather proof coat that is neither wiry nor soft. The body is typically kept trimmed close with the legs, beard and eyebrows kept long and full.

10 – 11 years
Between 45-68kg for males, and between 36-59kg for females
Between 68-77cm for males, and between 66-72cm for females
Black, or black with scattered grey hairs
UK Kennel Club Groups
The need-to-know
  • Dogs suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys more than two hours of walking a day
  • Large dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks, alerts and may be physically protective/suspicious of visitors
  • Might not like other dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a large garden
  • Best suited to countryside
  • Can be left occasionally with training
Generally healthy breed

The Russian Black Terrier breed can suffer from:
- Hip dysplasia 
- Elbow dysplasia 
- Hyperuricosuria which is a condition where a substance called uric acid can build up in the urinary system, sometimes forming stones, and this can result in infections.
- Juvenile laryngeal paralysis and polyneuropathy which is a condition where the nervous system deteriorates. The disease affects the nerves in the throat first which can obstruct breathing.

Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing: 
- Hip dysplasia screening scheme
- Elbow dysplasia screening scheme 


Impressive, confident, courageous and self-assured, the Russian Black Terrier, is not actually a terrier at all – they are a working dog and apart from some influence from the Airedale Terrier, the only strong terrier characteristic is the traditional trim leaving the ears, back, buttocks and thighs bare, and the coat on the legs, chest and face shaped and long. The RBT has a strong work ethic, a suspicion of strangers and a calmness that belies their ferocious nature if aroused by a real threat. They need lots of exercise and plenty of training, particularly early socialisation with other people and animals, to reach maturity as a sensible, pleasant adult dog.

Vet Rating

History and Origins

Ideal Owner

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition Needs

Grooming Russian Black Terriers

Training Russian Black Terriers

Best Family Dog

Did You Know?

  • The Russian Black Terrier may be bred for military work; however, they are easily capable of a variety of tasks such as pulling a small dog cart, and competing in agility, obedience and more.
  • Some of their military tasks included guard dog, service dog accompanying soldiers and even rounding up fugitives.
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