Black Russian Terriers
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Black Russian Terriers
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Black Russian Terriers
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Group Working Dogs (KC)
History The Russian Black Terrier, also called the Black Russian Terrier, is a medium-large breed developed in Russia in the 1940s. Red Star, the country’s military kennel, created the breed with specific characteristics in mind: a large, robust dog able to work tirelessly and withstand the harsh Russian climate. Close to twenty different breeds came into the mix, including the Russian Water Dog, Rottweiler, Giant Schnauzer, and the Airedale terrier.
The first Russian Blacks appeared in the late forties, but it took almost another decade to perfect its characteristics. For years after its creation, it was bred exclusively by the military, until the Red Star began selling dogs to selected breeders. The buyers then began breeding for looks as well as working ability, creating the modern-day Russian Black with its distinctive coat and remarkable working ability.
Appearance The Russian Black is distinguished by the hard, dense coat which entirely covers its body. The hair should be thick but not coarse; it should not appear trimmed, clipped, or altered in any way. It should also be longer on the chin and face, forming a beard and eyebrows. Its high stance gives it the impression of great strength and courage.
Colours As its name implies, the Russian Black should be black all over. Slight gray markings are acceptable, as long as the black still dominates.
Temperament Russian Blacks have a strong guardian instinct and can be overly protective of their families. They start out as shy, sensitive pups, but will quickly grow up to be strong and intelligent adults. They tend to be very curious; a young Russian Black can and will get its hands on anything remotely interesting. They are also very good with children, females more so than males. Some dogs are clingy and should be given lots of attention; otherwise they’ll become restless and overactive.
Weight Males should stand 25 to 29 inches at the withers; females can be from 25 to 28 inches tall. Ideal weights are 80 to 143 pounds for both sexes.
Problems Hip dysplasia is a common problem, as this is a fairly large and heavy breed. Some importers don’t test for bone problems, so it’s up to the owners to have the pups X-rayed. The ears should also be given extra care, as Russian Blacks are prone to otitis (ear infections).
Living Conditions Russian Blacks aren’t very active indoors, so they can live in an apartment of sufficient size. They need just enough room for stretching and occasional game play. However, like most dogs, they have a primal instinct to walk and should be allowed to do so regularly. They usually thrive in any weather, but they prefer cool climates. They don’t like staying out for very long and would rather stay by their owner’s side than play outdoors.
Requirements Although bred to be working dogs, modern Russian Blacks are more idle and relaxed. However, they need their share of physical activity like any other dog. Daily walks or jogs are encouraged, but owners should keep them on a leash as they can wander off easily. Their favorite form of exercise is playing in the snow or water, whether it’s retrieving toys or enjoying a good romp in the snow.
Training Requirements Owners should establish dominance early on to keep the dog from becoming obstinate. Puppies like to share beds and couches with their owners, but remember they’ll keep this habit until they grow into large adults. Firm training usually works best.
Life Expectancy Russian Blacks live an average of 10 to 11 years.
Grooming The Russian Black’s coat is long and fast-growing, so regular trimming is a must. Hair should be kept 1 ½ to 4 inches long; shorter coats are easier to manage. These dogs shed very little; weekly brushing will prevent matting throughout the year. The ear ducts should be regularly checked for loose hairs.
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