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Breed Standards : Guardian Dog Group : Black Russian Terrier


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Official UKC Breed Standard
Revised March 1, 2008
@Copyright 1995, United Kennel Club.

The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.

Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.

Any departure from the following should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


The history of the Black Russian Terrier began in 1930. The breed was created by the selective interbreeding of Rottweilers, Giant Schnauzers and Airedales, by the Russian Military. The intent was to develop a native breed that would fulfill the need for a large, working terrier, suitable for a number of tasks, while being able to endure the harshness of the Russian winter.

In 1956, this culminated in the establishment of foundation stock that bred true. The Black Russian Terrier was recognized by the Russian Ministry of Agriculture in May of 1981, and internationally by the FCI in May of 1984.

The Black Russian Terrier was recognized by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1995.


The Black Russian Terrier is a strong, agile, larger than average sized dog. It is heavily boned, and has well-developed muscles. Its skin is thick and elastic, and without wrinkles or dewlap. The breed is capable of great endurance and is adaptable to a wide range of climates, including harsh conditions. Males are masculine and larger, stronger, bulkier and more powerful than bitches.


The breed is energetic, stable and lively. They are assertive, wary of strangers and have strong protective instincts. Black Russian Terriers are capable of being trained to a wide variety of tasks.


SKULL - The long head has a moderately narrow, flat skull and well rounded cheekbones. The toplines of the skull and muzzle are parallel. The stop is marked, but not too pronounced.

MUZZLE - Massive and slightly tapering in width from stop to tip, the muzzle is slightly shorter in length than the skull. The moustache and beard give the muzzle a square appearance. The lips are thick and full, meeting without forming flews.

Faults: Coarse head. Light, weak head. Fine head. Stop too steep. Snipey muzzle. Slack or loose lips.

TEETH - A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in a scissors bite.

Faults: Misaligned incisors. Two or more missing teeth.

Disqualification: Any bite deviation from scissors.

EYES - The small, dark eyes are oval shaped and set obliquely. They are dark brown in color.

Faults: Eyes too large. Too light. Round eyes. Visible haw or third eyelid.

EARS - The short, triangular ears are high set. They are pendant; the front of the ears must fit closely to the cheeks.

Faults: Long or low-set ears. Flying ears set away from the cheekbones. Erect or semi-erect ears.

NOSE - The nose must be black.


The long neck is massive and dry. It is carried in an approximate 45-degree angle from the shoulders.


The shoulders are well laid back, with an angle of approximately 110 degrees between the shoulder blade and upper arm. The upper arm is strong.

FORELEGS - The thick forelegs are straight and parallel when viewed from the front. The elbows lie close to the chest. Pasterns are straight and short.

Faults: Little or no angulation between the shoulder blade and upper arm. Weak pasterns.


The length of the body, measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttocks, is equal to, or slightly less than, the height at the withers. The broad, deep chest is well ribbed up. The depth of chest reaches to, or slightly below, the elbow. The withers are strongly pronounced, and form the highest point of the body. The back is level, broad, and strong. The short loins are well developed and muscular. The croup is broad, muscular and slopes almost imperceptibly to the tail, which is high set. There is moderate tuck up.


The well-muscled hindquarters are in balance with the forequarters.

HIND LEGS - Hind legs are straight and parallel when viewed from behind, standing slightly wider than the front legs. The lower thighs are long and the hock joint is dry. The rear pasterns are heavily boned, long and vertical.


Round and thick with well arched pads.


The thick, high-set tail is carried vertically. It is generally docked to three or four vertebrae.

Faults: Low-set tail. Tail carried low while in action.


The outer coat is rough, hard, broken and extremely dense, approximately 1˝ to 4 inches (4 to 10 cm) in length, and covers the whole dog. The undercoat is well developed. The head features a wiry, brush-like mustache, beard, and eyebrows. On the neck and withers, the coat is longer and forms a mane. The legs are covered with rough and long coat.

Faults: Insufficient brows, mustache or beard. Straight, soft unbroken hair. Hair too long. Wavy coat.


Black or black, with intermingled grey hairs.

Faults: Brown or grey tinge to black ground hairs. White markings.

Disqualification: Albinism. Parti-colored.


The height range for males is from 26 to 28 inches. The height range for females is from 25 to 27 inches.

Faults: Over or under the stated height ranges for each sex.


Easy and fluid. When trotting, the legs tend to converge toward a center line. The back and loin show elasticity when the dog is in motion.


(A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a conformation event, and must be reported to UKC.)
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.
Extreme viciousness or shyness.
Any bite deviation from scissors.

The docking of tails and cropping of ears in America is legal and remains a personal choice. However, as an international registry, the United Kennel Club, Inc. is aware that the practices of cropping and docking have been forbidden in some countries. In light of these developments, the United Kennel Club feels that no dog in any UKC event, including conformation, shall be penalized for a full tail or natural ears. .