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History of the Black Russian Terriers

In 1924, the Russian Military Council issued an edict that dogs were to be used for military purposes, and that all departments of the military must employ dog trainers. As a result of this order, the School of Junior Dog Training Specialist was formed. This school had military, sports, and laboratory departments. The working dogs that were trained for military purposes were used as guard dogs, mine specialists, and aides.


Due to the Russians defending their homeland in World War II, many working dogs in Russia were killed, and the state-owned kennel, the Central Military School of Working Dogs (CMSWD), also known as the Red Star Kennel, was charged with the responsibility of providing working dogs to the military.


Available to the CMSWD were: 

Riesenschnauzers (Giant Schnauzers)NewfoundlandsRottweilersAiredale TerriersTerriersGreat DanesGerman ShepherdsEastern European ShepherdsMoscow Water Dogs, and Caucasian Ovcharka. In their laboratory, experimentation took place between the breeds, which resulted in failures of what they were trying to achieve. Eventually, a plan was developed by a kynologist (a person who is professionally trained in the behaviour of dogs), and a biologist where they would: 

1. Obtain hybrids of Riesenschnauzers and Airedale Terriers.

2. Obtain hybrids of Riesenschnauzers and Rottweiler.

3. Crossbreed the first and second trend hybrids followed by raising the breed itself.


By nature, the Giant Schnauzer is a large dominant, intelligent, easily trained, versatile, and good-natured dog.


The Airedale Terrier is an intelligent, confident, friendly, courageous, and fearless dog.

The Rottweiler is a large self-assured dog. Originally bred for cattle driving, the Rottweiler is now used for guarding.


To create the Black Terrier, as it was first called, the following dogs were used:

Giant Schnauzers – Sires – Zorab (Reg.7411D), Roy (Reg.U720P), Shaitan Airedale Terriers – Dams – Sotta (Reg.4U78C), Sima (Reg.47U3C), Sembi (4942C), Salma (Reg.48U6C) Rottweiler – Dams – Uda (Reg.59UOY), Una (Reg.58UOY), Femka (Reg.7OU5OP), Urma (Reg.73UOY).


Roy, the Giant Schnauzer was bred with different dams to produce dogs with black coats and is considered to be the foundation dog of the Black Terrier. As different breeding occurred there were many faults including faulty bites, incomplete detentions, undescended testicles, white spots, and other traits that were not in accordance with what they were looking for. As the experimentation continued, descendant dogs that were found not desirable were eliminated from the programme.

Una – Rottweiler Dam
Roy – Giant Schnauzer

In 1955, The Red Star Kennel showed their Black Terrier offspring at the National Agricultural Exhibition. They were well received, obtained an important Gold Medal, and the Diploma of Excellence for the breed.

Experimentation continued, and it was not until 1957 the Red Star Kennel began to offer second, and third-generation Black Terrier puppies for sale to private buyers, and breeders.

Military Black Russian Terrier

It was not until 1958 that a standard was published for the Black Terrier Breed. The standard was published in a book entitled “Manual for Training and Usage of Military Dogs”. There were conflicts amongst the private breeders, and the Red Star Kennel as to the standard. The private breeders wanted a breed where disposition, temperament, strength, and working abilities were fundamental. The Red Star Kennel wanted a breed where the dog’s disposition remained as a guard dog intended to serve in the military, and that grooming should not play an important part of the standard as military dogs were kept in kennels and were easily manageable with short hair.


In 1970 puppies were shipped to Finland, and other parts of Europe. The Black Terrier was becoming a dog to be reckoned with.


From 1958 to 1979 breeding and experimentation continued. In 1979, the Red Star Kennel the Army Navy, and Fleet Volunteer Support Organization (DOSAAF) finally approved the standard for the Black Terrier breed. By then, there were over 800 litters produced amounting to well over 4,000 puppies all of which conformed to the standard.


Early in the 1980’s the Black Terrier was shown in International competitions, and a lot of interest was shown in these dogs. In 1981, the Black Terrier was accepted as a breed by the Russian authorities.


On September 29th, 1983 The Black Terrier was accepted by the The Fédération Cynologique Internationale, the World Canine Organization. An FCI Standard was established, and revised on February 19th, 1996.

In 1992, the Black Terrier was renamed to the Black Russian Terrier (BRT). As the Black Terrier was becoming a known dog, migrant Russians were taking the dogs to other countries. The dog was introduced to Canada by Rita Golsky of Kalinka’s Kennels. Rita Golsky began breeding her “Kalinka” Black Terriers, and started to sell her puppies to the United States of America (U.S.A.). As migrant Russians began to go to the U.S.A., some of them began to import the Black Terriers from Russia, and other parts of Europe. Today, the Black Russian Terrier is a rarity in North America.


In March 1996, the American Kennel Club listed the Black Russian Terrier with Foundation Stock Services (FSS). In August of 2001 the Black Russian Terrier was allowed to compete in the Miscellaneous Class. In July 2004, the Black Russian Terrier was fully recognized in the Working Group Classification.


Prior to 2002, the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), the governing body in Canada did not recognize the Black Russian Terrier, and breeders had to show their BRTs with other clubs who recognized the breed. Most breeders had to register their BRTs with the AKC which allowed them to participate in shows in the United States.


In 2002, the CKC allowed registration, and BRT owners were permitted to compete in the Miscellaneous Group. In 2016, the membership of the CKC finally voted to acknowledge the Black Russian Terrier as a recognized breed.

With the exportation of the Black Russian Terrier to other parts of the world, the BRT is called, is known by different names.

Handlers showing their Black Russian Terriers
Black Russian Terrier Conformation Show in Moscow, Russia 1965
Russian Soldier Showing his Black Russian Terrier
Russian Militia showing their three Black Russian Terriers

Other Information

Other information regarding the Black Russian Terrier can be found under the respective menu titles of Black Russian Terrier Overview, Black Russian Terrier Temperament, and Black Russian Terrier Health Issues.

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