Black Russian Terrier - Breed and Grooming Tips

Large, robust and powerful, the Black Russian Terrier (BRT) was developed in Russia as a guard dog. Despite its name, the Black Russian is a member of the Working Group and not the Terrier Group. Their tousled double coat must be coal black and coarse in texture.

A Look Back

The Black Russian Terrier’s history is one of mystery and intrigue. Following WWII, the Soviets sought to reintroduce purebred dogs into the mainstream. Red Star Kennel, the state operated organization chartered to provide working dogs for the armed services, actively developed a new breed, the Black Russian Terrier. Though the early Black Russian Terrier did not look the same as today’s, Red Star was successful early on in producing a big, strong, unpretentious dog that didn’t require extensive coat care, and that demonstrated trainability and aggression to serve the Soviet Union’s needs.

Right Breed for You?

According to the Black Russian Terrier Club of America, Inc., a well-bred and socialized Black Russian Terrier is loving toward his family yet reserved around strangers. Just as their Soviet owners had envisioned them to be years ago, today’s Black Russian Terrier has the instinct to guard and protect. Highly intelligent, he learns easily and remembers information (good or bad) for a long time. They require regular brushing and daily exercise.

Source:  American Kennel Club -


General: The Black Russian Terrier has a double coat; The outer coat is coarse with a thick and soft undercoat that is weather resistant to withstand extreme conditions. Grooming is suggested for 4 – 6 week intervals to clean ears, clip nails, check anal glands and insure the coat and skin are in healthy condition. Spring and fall will require more grooming to help remove undercoat.

Eyes: Eyes should be alert and bright. Use Optisoothe Eye Wash during the bath to flush any foreign objects. Check eyes after working out in the field each time.

Ears: Monthly ear cleaning with Ear Care  or Ear Care Wipes is advised to be sure no ear problems that might need vet attention arise. Only clean as far as you can see, never further.

Bathing:  The Black Russian Terrier requires 2 baths. The first bath should be a general bath. If your dog is a working dog and spend a lot of time out in the field then we recommend Energee Plus shampoo for that extra dirty dog. The second bath is targeted for the need of your dog , if your dog has allergies or sensitive skin we would suggest a Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo and follow it with a Tea Tree and Aloe Shampoo  or Tar and Sulfa Shampoo. During the spring and fall shedding seasons we recommend Simple Shed Shampoo and Simple Shed Treatment, the oat proteins help strengthen the hair shaft and help remove dead undercoat

Common Problems: Hot spots are a common problem for this breed, especially during the summer months. To prevent hot spots you must remove the dead undercoat so the air can get down to the skin, if not moisture will cause irritation and form hot spots; keep Hot Spot Foam on hand just in case. 3 in 1 Healing Cream should also be kept on hand since Russian Terriers are prone to scrapes and irritations for running outside, they are very active and need a lot of exercise.

Coat Care: Aloe Hydrating Spray should be used during the dry winter months as well if you live in a dry climate. Simple Shed and Static Spray between grooming is a great help to keep the shedding under control.

Tools: During shedding season an Undercoat rake is the tool of choice to help remove unwanted dead hair and help prevent hot spots. A brush and a comb should be used between shedding cycles to keep the coat in good shape..

Show Dog Tips:  High Sheen Spray before entering the ring to add a shine without leaving a residue.  Bright White Shampoo to make the black darker.

Paws: Paw Balm should be used weekly to keep paw pads soft and pliable. This makes the pads less likely to dry and crack.

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