The Black Russian Terrier is a new page in the National cynology, written in gold letters. Many cynologists (dog breeding
scientist) refuse to even recognize it as a breed, considering it a mere breed group. However, this so-called "breed group" has its own standard, genealogical tree, and one common recognized
ancestor - Giant Schnauzer Roy. The dog's exhibition rating is exceedingly high, which makes the talk of not recognizing it a breed at least absurd. The history of breeding the Russian terrier is
complex, interesting, and somewhat mysterious in places, since many more breeds had been involved in the composition of the Russian terrier's makeup than previously thought. So what kind of breed
is the Russian Terrier, the breed nicknamed "Russian pearl", "KGBist", "Beria dog", or, to put it more gently, "Blackie"?
Back in the 1930s, the Central School of Cynologists ("Red Star" Kennel) carried out hybrid experiments in order to create new progressive breed for the USSR and the Army. After the World War II the number of service dogs was greatly reduced, while the demand for them increased: they were needed to guard the prisons and POW camps, as well as industrial and strategic objects. To increase the dog population, they started bringing them from the occupied countries. This was when Roy the Giant Schnautzer found his way into the kennel. First they crossed him with Airedale terrier bitches. The first litter was received in 1951. On the second stage the Giant Schnauzer was crossed with the Rotweiler. On the third stage the Giant Schnauzer was crossed with the Moscow water dog (Newfoundland X German shepherd X Eastern European shepherd). Then those hybrides were crossed among themselves. Additional breeds were added later on, but their contribution was not significant. In 1954 the standard for the Black terrier went into work, and later the same year the dogs were shown at the All-Union Exhibition of Economy Achievements (Moscow) where they received high marks from experts. In 1957 43 Black terriers took part in the All-Union Exhibition of Service and Hunting Dogs. They attracted many of professional breeders, and the breed group was recognized as having future potential. Later that year the 2nd and 3rd generation Black terriers were first time released to private dog owners who praised the dog's qualities and continued their breeding. In 1979 the Red Star Kennel and Army Navy and Fleet Volunteer Support Organization (DOSAAF) approved the standard for the Black terrier breed. More than 800 litters have been received by that time, and the majority of more than 4000 puppies were recognized to be in compliance with standard. As the dogs of the breed group reached a relatively high exterior level, became more noble and uniform in type, a new standard which would recognize the Black terrier breed was proposed. The Black terrier became a breed in 1985. In the early 1970s the first batch of Black terriers were exported to Finland, later spreading all over Europe and becoming popular as a Russian rarity. In the early 1980s Black terriers debuted in international dog shows, and the breed standard was approved by the FCI under number 327. The latest breed standard was approved by the Red Star Kennel and the Central Club of Service Dogs in 1992. The dog was then renamed Black Russian Terrier, which is the name it is known by in the West. The new standard differs from that of FCI in the height parameters. The male standard height is 68-72cm+2cm, while the female standard height is 66-70cm+2cm. Deviations from the standard are considered damaging to the breeding quality of the dog. The BRT is of upper medium and tall height, strong and aggressive, suspicious of strangers, enduring, courageous, self-assured, with square or approximately square frame. It adapts well to different climatic conditions, is easily trained, and has a balanced character. The many years experience of using the BRT as a guard dog and in other functions proved its reliability and endurance. This dog has aristocratic exterior and looks extraordinarily decorative while having a massive bone structure, proportional dimensions, tough and somewhat rough constitution, and impressive muscles. The dog's nervous system type is balanced while the dog is easily excitable and possesses an active defensive reaction. The sex type is also obviously different - males are larger and more steadfast than female ones. "Blackie" has taken in the best qualities of its ancestors: he has joyful disposition and energy of the Airedale terrier, the strength, courage and endurance of the Rotweiler and Giant Schnauzer, the "Olympic" calm and reserve of Newfoundland. An important advantage of the BRT is the absence of specific "doggy" smell and seasonal shedding. If the dog is brushed and cut regularly it's hair wouldn't be much of a problem in the house. The owner should also have in mind that the BRT is one-person dog and recognizes just one owner: he may refuse being walked by another person even he really needs out. The dog would prefer the company of his owner to other dogs. He would defend the owner in danger as well, not even sparing his own life. The dog wouldn't be scared by most vicious enemy, because he himself is a terrifying weapon when in able hands. The BRT's behavior is guided by the principle "Don't touch me (my family), and I'll leave you in peace as well", and his adequate behavior makes him easy to handle in any situation - he will be calm and obedient in the streets of large city, and when inside, despite his large frame the dog would take relatively little space, will never bother and bug the owner. The dog is also very caring and tender with his human family, especially children and would tolerate nearly everything except maybe disorder. The BRT is amazingly trainable and he would understand the orders right away. However, he may pout like a child and have fun like one, too, spreading joy all around him. The BRT may be kept inside as well as outside the house. The dog wouldn't stand being chained, though: he is too smart for that, and would much rather guard a huge territory roaming free. Aristocratic in his exterior the BRT would be an advantage to any interior decor. He is also a genuine antidepressant and affects the human psyche quite positively. Distrustful of strangers, he'd meet owner like he hadn't seen him or her for ages, even after 5 minutes of being alone. I'll tell you from my own experience - I bought the BRT to protect my house and my child. I wanted to have a protective and beautiful dog. Being a first-time dog owner my expectations for its cleanliness and intelligence had been quite high. But Blackie exceeded all those. I love walking my dog - he attract other's attention, and makes some obvious dog ignoramuses stop and stare. Someday any of those would buy a puppy from me. My level of communication with my dog is so high it sometimes makes me wonder whether he really is just a dog.
Russian dog fanciers magazine "Drug" ("The Friend") No.3-1994
I have been dealing with dogs for almost 20 years and know some of them very well, know their characteristics, training abilities and much more. And among other breeds - my favorite is BRT, working dogs, by all means. They can be not only companions but the defenders of their masters. I think that nowadays the main feature of the BRT is defending his master and the master's property. Here should become apparent his breed qualities as guardian dog. And first of all, it is mistrustfulness for unknown people, endurance and fearlessness. The fact that the dog realizes his actions, which is very true for BRT, is also very important. But the trick is in the following: almost everything depends on what the owner of the dog wants him to be and what the trainers who work with their dogs make them. And it is the trainers who don't take into account the peculiarities of the breed and who don't have special methods of training BRTs. There are many training schools in our country now, but most of them were imported from abroad and originally designed for German Shepherds. But are they suitable for our BRTs? Should the BRT hang on the helper's hand like foxterrier and run away from his master at 50 meters, leaving him without defense? I do doubt about that. I think that the BRT is a large dog, and therefore it is very vulnerable in case it hangs on somebody's hand. The bite should be renewed when the foe attempts to resist. It's something like hunting dogs assaulting a bear. The BRT originally has strong bite and its enough for him to press his teeth together to have the needed effect, moreover, the short bite is peculiar to guarding dogs, and the BRT has been designed for this very particular service. Or, if the training is based on a game (without spite), then the dog must "spin" the foe, though it is difficult for the trainer. My opinion is based on the intercourse with my own dog - Vit-Erena-Ar, who is 6 now. I trained her a lot and these courses were a real pleasure for both of us. I started my studies with Rena when she was about a year with a new-invented playing method. The method includes development of the bite and the defensive reaction without spite. But from the very first time she started treating the trainer as an "unreliable companion" and traced him every minute. Having completed the Obedience course we went into Protection course. She was one of the best pupils there, much more intelligent and potentially talented than most Rottweilers, Giant Schnauzers and Dobermans. We revised the course from time to time with different assistants. But on top of all, we took Pavel Shmelkov's course of the Bodyguarding dog. There are many arguments about his job now, from complete neglecting to adoring. And, in my opinion, everyone who wants to have a reliable, true and trained dog, which can adequately appraise the situation, should pass this course. Yes, I must admit that after those courses the dog became mistrustful and watchful, but if it is well-trained and obeys the master - it is not dangerous for people around. By the way, as time passed, Rena got rid of excessive spite. Only the word "alien" means alarm to her. And I'm sure that the capabilities of our BRT are not less than that ones of Fila Braziliero or Cane Korso are, when we consider their defensive and fighting qualities. We are just to develop natural abilities. As a matter of fact, the BRT is a universal dog which is capable of taking many services. Our BRTs have steady temper and always obey if they are trained and like their master. And now, when our BRT has become so shockingly beautiful and attractive, it is time to judge his working qualities quite strictly in order this wonderful dog wouldn't turn into a "sofa animal". And those, who is connected with breeding of BRTs must realize that BRT is our national pride and it must keep all the positive qualities of this breed.
Helena Lyashko, Moscow countryside