Black Russian Terrier Standards

Black Russian Terrier, BRT, Russian Black Terrier, RBT, Black Terrier, Blackie, Russkiy Tchiorny Terrier, Tchiorny Terrier, Chornyi, Terrier Noir Russe, or Russian Bear Schnauzer – many names, but the dog should remain the same.

The AKC, FCI, RFK and UKC have similar breed descriptions with subtle differences.



Black Russian Terrier     ***     Working Group     ***     Breed Standard


During the 1930’s a military kennel named the Red Star started work on a native breed that  would be part of the national security force.  The Red Star Kennel worked on selective interbreeding using Rotweiler, Giant Schnauzer, Airedale and Newfoundland mixes. It was important to have a large breed not only reliable but trainable in many different situations. The dog would also have to be able to endure the harsh Russian winters.

By 1956 it finally reached the point where the Black Russian Terrier bred true. In 1981 The Russian Ministry of Agriculture recognized the breed and it was internationally accepted by the FCI in 1984.

General Appearance

The Black Russian Terrier (BRT) is a robust, large and powerful dog. The dog has large bone and well developed muscles. The breed was developed in Russia and used as guard dogs for protection. They must be balanced, have a good temperament and be reliable. The dogs have great  courage and strength. They are capable of endurance. Dogs must have a large frame and heavy bone. Bitches are definitely to appear feminine but never lacking in substance.

Size, Proportion, Substance

Size: Dogs at maturity are between 27 inches and 30 inches. Bitches at maturity are to be between 26 and 29 inches. A deviation from the ideal height is to be faulted. Any dog or bitch under 26 inches is a disqualification. Proportion: The Black Russian Terrier is slightly longer than tall. The most desired proportions are 9½ to 10.  The length is measured from breastbone to rear edge of the pelvis.

Head:  The head must be in proportion to the body. It should give the appearance of power and strength.

Eyes: The eyes should be of medium size and dark. Eye rims are to be black without sagging or prominent haw. The eye is to be oval shaped. Light eyes are a serious fault.

Ears:  The ears are set high and are rather small and triangular in shape. The front edge of the ear should lay close to the cheek. The length of the ear should reach the outside corner of the eye.  Ears set low on the skull are to be faulted. Cropped ears are not acceptable. The head should be powerfully built with a moderately broad and blocky skull. Viewed from the side it should appear balanced. The head is made of two parallel planes. The back skull to muzzle is measured from the corner of the eye. Occiput should be well developed. The muzzle should be slightly shorter than the back skull. The length of the muzzle to the back skull is approximately a ratio of 4 to 5. The forehead must be flat with a marked but not pronounced stop. The head of the male is distinctly masculine, and that of the bitch, distinctly feminine.

Nose: The nose must be large and black. Disqualification: Nose other than black.

Lips: are full, tight and black. There are to be no flews. The gums have dark pigmentation. Black mark on the tongue is allowed.

Teeth: The teeth are large and white.  There should be full dentition. The incisors form a straight line at the base. The bite should be scissors. Any missing teeth are a serious fault. Undershot or Overshot bites are a disqualification.

Neck, Topline, and Body

Neck: The neck should be thick, muscular and powerful. Length is not to be excessive. There should be no pendulous or excessive dewlap. The length of the neck and the length of the head should be approximately the same. An excessively thick neck is considered a fault.

Body: The whole structure of the body should give the impression of strength. The chest is deep and wide. The shape should be oval and reach to the elbows or a little below. The withers are high, pronounced and well developed. The topline is level and straight. The loin is short. The abdomen is well tucked up and firm. Withers are higher than and sloping into the level back.  Croup is wide, muscular, moderately long slightly sloping toward the high tail set. Tail is set high, thick and docked with 3 to 5 vertebrae left. An undocked tail is not to be penalized.


Shoulders should be large and muscular, well developed with blades broad and sloping. The shoulders should be well laid back. The angle between the shoulder blades and the upper arm is at a 100 to 110 degree. Shoulders are well muscled. The forelegs are straight and well boned. The elbows must turn neither in nor out while standing or moving. The forelegs are straight and muscular. Pasterns are short and almost vertical. Length of the front leg to the elbow should be about 53 to 54 percent of the dog’s height. Feet are large, compact, and rounded in shape. The pads of the feet are thick and firm. Nails are short and dark. Rear dewclaws could be removed.


Viewed from the rear the legs are straight and parallel, set slightly wider than the forelegs. The hindquarters are well boned and muscular with good angulation. The stifle is long and sloping. The thighs are muscular. The hocks are well let down, long and vertical when standing.


Tousled, double coat. The texture of the outer coat is coarse. The undercoat is thick and soft.  Length of coat should vary from 1½ to 4 inches and cover the entire body. It is a pronounced tousled coat rather than wiry or curly.


Presentation of the breed in the show ring, the dogs outline is clearly defined. The dogs will be trimmed but should not appear to be sculpted.

Ears: hair should be trimmed inside and outside the ear. The ears will lay flat to the side of the head.

Forehead: Just behind the eyebrows the hair is to be shaved or cut very short so as to make what appears to be a platform. The rest of the forehead is trimmed so that the shorter hairs will blend with the longer hairs of the muzzle. This forms a “cap” which should help define length of backskull. Looking from the top of the head it should give the appearance of a “brick”. The fringe from the eyebrows is brushed forward and blends with the beard and muzzle.  This blending of hair should look from the side like a “triangle”.

Neck: The front of the neck from the throat to the point of shoulder should be shaved or scissored short. The hair on the back of the neck should appear to have a mane down to the withers.

Topline: is trimmed from the withers to the tail so that when viewed from the side it appears level. The hair from the back should then blend down the sides of the dog. It is stressed that there should be no distinct lines or scissors marks.

Color:  The only acceptable colors for the Black Russian Terrier is black or black with a few gray hairs.  Any other color is to be considered a disqualification.


A Black Russian Terrier should move freely with a smooth easy springy motion. The motion should be well-balanced and fluid. As the Black Russian Terrier moves faster the feet will converge toward a centerline. The topline should remain level.


The character and temperament of the Black Russian Terrier is of utmost importance. The Black Russian Terrier is a calm, confident, and courageous dog with a self-assurance which sometimes is rather aloof toward strangers. They are highly intelligent, extremely reliable. They were bred to guard and protect. The behavior in the show ring should be controlled, willing, adaptable, and trained to submit to examination.


Any dog or bitch under 26 inches

Nose other than black

Undershot or overshot bite

Any color other than black.


Approved: June 11, 2001

Effective: September 1, 2001

American Rare Breed Association
Black Russian Terrier FCI Breed Standard

Country of Origin: Russia

General Appearance

The Black Russian Terrier is medium-large, strong, with large bones, and well developed muscles. The coat is thick and slightly wavy, but not curb or hanging. Typical for the breed is that he is reserved with strangers, but not aggressive. He has strong endurance and acclimates very well to any, climate and environment, plus he is very easy to train. The males are stronger, more powerful and compact than the bitches.


The forehead should be long and fairly broad.  The cheeks should be rounded. Skull should be flat with a slight stop. The muzzle should be wellfilled, narrowing slightly toward and nose and be slightly shorter than the forehead. The ears and beard give the head a square shape. The lips should be thick and meaty. The lips should be tight on upper jaw.

Faults: Course, too heavy, or too fine a head. Wrong shaped head too short, too long, or snipey muzzle.

Eyes:  The eyes should be small, almond shaped and as dark brown as possible.

Ears:  The ears should be small, VShaped, and set high.  They are pendant and the inner side touch the cheeks.

Faults: Very lowest ears or ears standing up.

Bite:  Scissor bite. Bite should be even with big white, close set and even teeth.

Faults: Small teeth, teeth sitting far apart, or uneven teeth.  Any bite other than scissor bite. Two or more missing teeth.


Neck:  Neck should be long, powerful, dry and carried high.

Chest:  The chest should be wide and deep with well sprung ribs reach to the elbow or slightly below.

Faults: Too wide chest or too narrow or flat chest.

Underline:  Slight tuck-up

Withers:  Withers should be set high and distinct from topline.

Topline:  Back should be strong, wide, and muscular.

Faults: Saggy topline or topline that is not straight.

Croup:  Croup should be short, wide muscular, and slightly round.

Fore And Hindquarters

Legs:  Front legs, seen from front , or dog should be straight and parallel. Elbows lying close to chest. Pasterns straight and short. Back leg, seen from behind.  Should be straight parallel, and slightly wider set than the front legs.

Loins:  should be well developed and muscular, thigh should be long and hock, well marked.  Rear angulation no more than a Giant Schnauzer.

Feet:  Feet should be big, close, and round. Duck feet are a big fault.

Tail:  Should be set high and be thick and cropped short (3-4 joints left).  It should stand straight up, slightly bowed forward is OK.


He should move freely, with an elegant and easy gait. A short trot and gallop is characteristic for the breed. When trotting, front and rear legs are parallel.


Topcoat should be wiry, strong, thick and close.  Undercoat should be thick and thick. Coat should have a slight wave and cover the entire dog with an approximate length of 28 inches.  He should have a beard, eyebrows. and heavy coat around the neck. A softer coat is permissible on show dogs when coat gets groomed regularly.


Black and ashen gray. Never brown. Fault: White anywhere except a small white spot on the chest.


Males 26 to 28.5″, Females 25 to 27.5″

Faults:  Males over 29.5″. or under 25.5″.  Females over 28.5″ or under 25″.   Females may be slightly longer than males.



The Black Russian Terrier should have a sound character with strong nerves, but with a rather high sharpness. He is lively with strong reactions to outside irritations. He should never be insecure or lack confidence, or be nasty. He is reserved and suspicious around strangers.


Disqualifying Faults

Any bite other than scissor bite. Two or more missing teeth. Uneven color. White feet or white spots on head. Gray color.

Re-Printed with permission from the FCI



Approved by “Russian Federation Working dogs Breeders” Russian Kynological Federation – RKF in 1997.

Black Russian terrier’s size is big, above average, strong, distrustful of strangers, resilient, brave and self-confident. Body fits in a square or very closely to it.  They adapt well to different climatic zones and are easily trained. A long years’ experience of this breed in guard duty, confirms his good disposition to training and his reliability. An even-minded character and a good trainability allows him to be employed not only in guard duty, but in several others.


Black Russian terrier has massive bones, proportionate general appearance, sturdy and robust frame, well-developed musculature. Alert, lively and even-minded, with active defense reactions. Preferable height at the withers of the male is 68-74cm., for the female is 66-72cm.  Lower limit of height is 66cm. for males and 64cm for females. Higher limit is allowed to be 3cm. more. Over this height limit, dog will become less valuable. Black Russian terrier’s body is covered by harsh and thick coat.  Furnishings are well developed (on head and limbs). Needs trimming for suitable shape.


Proportionate to general appearance of the body ( 40% of dog’s height at the withers or just a bit longer), with moderately broad skull and rounded cheekbones but not too accentuated, eyebrow-arches marked enough. Forehead is flat.  Stop marked, but not too accentuated. The top line of the muzzle is parallel to the top line of the skull. Muzzle-bridge is solid with slight tapering towards tip; its length is a little shorter than head’s half length. Whiskers and beard give To the muzzle a squared shape. Lips are thick and pulpy, black in colour and tightly fitting, upper lips fit tightly to lower jaws without laxity. Nose is big and black. Gums are dark.


High set on the skull, pendant, not big, triangular in shape with the inner edge lying tightly against the cheekbone. The folded part of the ear should present a smooth unwrinkled appearance.


Not big, dark, oval in appearance, should be level and wide-set apart. Lids are thin, dark, fitting tightly.



A full complete ( 42 teeth) of strong white teeth, fitting closely one to the other.  Incisors set on one line. Correct bite is a scissors bite.


Middle long, powerful, muscular and clean-cut (almost as long as head). Forms with the top line a 40/45° angle.


Chest oval in cross section; long, deep and broad. Well-sprung ribs and pronounced fore chest.  Brisket descends to elbows or even lower; chest’s depth is 45-46% of height at the withers. Belly rising up the lower line of the thorax. Withers high, long, well developed and marked, rising 1-2cm. over top line. Back straight, wide and muscular; its length is half of the distance between the highest point of withers and the tail’s insertion. Loin short (half of back’s length), wide, muscular and slightly arched. Croup wide, muscular and somewhat sloping to an high set tail.


High set on, thick and short docked tail (leaving 3-4 vertebra)


Seen from the front, limbs are straight and parallel to each other.  Long shoulder blade slopes well forward forming a 45° angle.  Foreleg  joins shoulder blade at a 100° angle. Strong upper arm. Lower arm straight, strong, middle-long, straight and vertical. Elbow points directly backwards. Pasterns short, strong and almost perpendicular to the ground. Distance from elbow to ground is the 53-54% of height at  the withers.


Seen from the back, limbs are straight and parallel to each other, set slightly wider apart then front limbs. Thigh is wide and muscular.  Thigh bones are enough long and well-sloping forward. Stifle joint forms a 120° angle. The lower thigh is long and sloping down. Hock  joints lean and well developed. Hock joint forms  a 120° angle. Rear pastern strong, long and nearly perpendicular to the ground.


Big, well arched and rounded. Black nails. Dew claws must be removed.


Rough, harsh, abundant and thick. Ruffled hair is long 4-10 cm. and covers the body.  Furnishings are well developed shaping on head whiskers, beard and eyebrows. On neck and withers coat is longer and forms a mane.  Forelegs and hind legs are covered by a rough, long coat.  Undercoat is harsh and well developed.  Needs trimming for suitable shape.


Black or black with Grey hairs.


Gentle trot and gallop are typical gaits. In a  trot legs move in a straight line, with forelegs moving slightly close to the medium line. Back and loin have an elastic movement. Fore and hind limbs’ joints unhinderedly straighten.  Ground-covering movement with good reach in the forequarters and good driving power in the hindquarters.


Light or coarse general appearance, high or low on the legs, lengthened format. Fear or extreme excitability. Short, coarse, heavy or light head, not proportionate to general appearance of the body. Forehead line arched. Wide cheekbones.  Short, narrow, pinched, upwards or downwards muzzle.  Not well fitting lips.  Little nose.  Very creased, half-standing, held away from the head ears. Rounded, light, wide or obliquely set eyes. Not well fitting lids, third lid visible, white spot on the cornea. Lips and gums without pigmentation. Little, scattered or very consumed teeth. Short or high set neck, dewlap. Flat, barrel, little, narrow, open chest. Weak, narrow or roach back. Long, bowed, narrow or too arched loin. Narrow, horizontal or sloping croup.  Hooked tail. Shoulder’s angulation too open or too closed. Lower arm crooked. Narrow limbs set.  Short upper and lower thighs, coarse joints.  Hock joint angulation decidedly straight or close. Flat or splayed feet, light nails, dew claws. Too many grey hairs ( more than 1/3).  Straight, lying flat coat blurred with furnishings on head and limbs. Hindered or heavy gait, marked swing of the croup, hind-quarters’ gait deviated ( dog moves on one side), pacing.


Unbalanced general appearance. Unilateral or cryptorchid male, undeveloped testicle.  A not black nose. Missing teeth, incisors not set on one line. Undocked tail.  Soft, short or silky coat, curly hair. Lack of furnishings on head and legs. Dappled coat, white patches. Excessive grey hairs in delimited parts.  Other colours not matching the standard.



 UK Breed Standard

RUSSIAN BLACK TERRIER – Interim Breed Standard 1st September 2000

With Compliments from the Russian Black Terrier Club (U.K.) Hon Secretary Mrs Janet Huxley tel/fax 01226 – 285822

General Appearance

Large, imposing dog, above average size, strongly built with massive bone. Well proportioned general appearance, sturdy and robust frame. Well developed muscles. Body almost square. A harsh and thick coat, well furnished on head and limbs. Trimmed.


Natural guarding instincts. Easily trained. Very adaptable.


Alert, lively and even-tempered, wary of strangers. Resilient, brave and self-confident. 

Head and Skull

Well proportioned with moderately broad skull and rounded cheekbones. Eyebrows slightly pronounced. Skull flat. Medium stop, not too accentuated. Top line of muzzle parallel to the top line of the skull. Muzzle solid with slight tapering towards the tip and length a little shorter than skull. Whiskers and beard give muzzle a squared-off shape. Lips thick and black in colour, tightly fitting. Large black nose.


Medium, oval in appearance and dark. Set obliquely and wide apart. Eyelids dark and fitting tightly.


High set, pendant, not too big, triangular in shape with the inner edge lying tightly against the cheekbone.


Jaws strong, with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Full, strong dentition desirable.


Reasonably long, powerful, muscular and clean cut. Flows into the top line at an approximate 45° angle.


Shoulders well laid back. Seen from the front, legs straight and parallel, pasterns short and straight. Elbows carried close to the body.


High withers clearly marked above top line, back level and muscular. Depth of chest level with elbows or slightly below, Chest deep with well-sprung ribs. Moderate tuck-up. Loin short, wide, muscular and slightly arched. Rump large and muscular with a barely visible slope towards the tail which is set high on the croup.


Seen from behind, legs straight and parallel, set wider than the front legs. Thighs muscular and well developed. Stifles well bent and hocks set low.


Large, well arched and rounded with thick pads.  Black nails.


Set high and thick. Customarily docked, leaving three to four vertebrae. Undocked, the tail set is more important than carriage. The tail may also curl over the back, but not gay. The length and thickness is determined by the proportions of the dog.


At the trot, legs move in a straight line, with forelegs converging slightly. Fairly elastic movement. Ground-covering movement with good reach in the forequarters and good driving power in the hindquarters.


Medium texture weatherproof coat, with dense undercoat. Not wiry or soft. When brushed the hair is broken coated and slightly waved.  Furnishings well developed on eyebrows, beard and legs. The ears (from fold to tip), skull, cheeks, throat to sternum, underside of the tail, buttocks and rear of stifle are closely trimmed.


Black or black with grey hairs.


Height at the withers: Dogs 68 -77cm (27 – 30 1/2 ins), Bitches 66 -72cm (26 – 28 1/2 ins).


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

11th July 2000 the General Committee approved an interim Breed Standard for the Russian Black Terrier. Effective 1st September 2000

1 – Sound-rough, desirable type, correct structure of shoulder
2 – Rough type, excessively sharp shoulder
3 – Sound-dry type, straight shoulder

1 – Correct head
2 – Short, coarse, excessively short head

1 – Narrow, weak head
2 – Excessively pronounced, forehead short muzzle
3 – Short weak muzzle

1 – Ear of correct size and setting
2 – Too small, light high set ear
3 – Low set, wrinkled ear too large ear

1 – Correct bite
2 – Level bite
3 – Overshot
4 – Undershot


1 – Correct front, straight, parallel forelegs,deep chest, well prominent ribs
2 – Excessively wide front, barrel-shaped chest 

1 – Narrow front, yet deep chest
2 – Narrow chest, turned out legs
3 – Turned out elbows

1 – Correct pastern, strong, straight compact  foot
2 – Weak, splay pastern, flattened foo

1 – Ideal hindquarters, with correctly set tail
2 – Hooked, excessively high set tail, straight croup 

1 – Short upper thigh, long second thigh
2 – Short upper thigh, short second thigh, straight – stifled
3 – Hocks turn in feet set – under hock

1 – Correct movements
2 – Movements elbows turned out
3 – Movements legs turned out

Hip Dysplasia Registries—A Comparison (by OFA)


FCI (European)

BVA (UK/Australia)

SV (Germany)



0-4 (no>3/hip)




5-10 (no>6/hip)









fast normal




noch zugelassen









According to a report by the Merial Corporation (2001), dogs age more quickly in their early life than humans.
Table 2, provides the age equivalents for dogs.


Born Adolescence Maturity Middle Age Old Age
1800 6 months 1 6 12
1900 6 months 1 6 12
2000 6 months 1 6 12
Chronological Age 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Old Formula 15 7 7 7 7


7 7
New Formula 16 8 4 4 4 4 4 4

About the Black Russian Terrier Breed

The Black Russian Terrier is a large, immensely powerful worker of heavy bone and coarse all-black coat. BRTs are known for their courage, confidence, and intelligence. Bred to guard and protect, they are naturally aloof with strangers. The tousled, all-black coat is warm enough to allow BRTs to patrol some of the coldest habitable places on earth. The old expression ‘He moves well for a big guy’ applies to this nimble-footed giant.

How it Works

Puppy Application

Prospective Black Russian Terrier Puppy Owners must submit an application. If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact us.

Meet the Breeder

We will contact you to schedule a time to meet once the application reviewing process is complete.

Placement Match

Once your application is approved and we have met, I match the puppy’s temperament with best fit for the family or individuals.

Dog Owner Reviews

“BRTs are empowering for human kid-o’s. She was so shy before Roma and now she has broken through that hard candy shell. Mama Marianna made great life choice for her daughter. Her personal experience growing up in Russia.”

“John Cadman it is so true! Roma was the best choice we could make to help our shy daughter to break through her fears! This gentle, playful, loving giant won her heart… as well as mine, Jonathan’s, Igor’s … Naya’s and every single person he meets on his way (especially kids!). He receives countless amount of hugs from people where ever he goes:-) He is Roman, a local star:-)​”

– Marianna V Taylor

owner of Pinnacle Black Russian Terriers - Breeder

Get in touch by phone or email

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(360) 671-7803


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Mailing address

Pinnacle Black Russian Terriers
3220 Bennett Drive
Bellingham, WA 98225