The Black Russian Terrier, now known by a variety of names, among them the Russkiy Tchiorny Terrier and Russian Black Terrier, is one of the youngest breeds in the world, dating back only to the 1950s. So successful has its short history been that it’s popularity has earned it the moniker “The Black Pearl of Russia”, while many enthusiasts simply refer to the breed as the “Blackie”.

Like most European countries at the close of World War II, Russia needed to rebuild itself in order to achieve both social and economic regrowth. The great country suffered severe losses not only among its people but also among its animals, and the most severely decimated of these animals were dogs.

According to Moscow’s Dr, Eugene Tisgelnitsky, today’s BRT is made up of 30% Giant Schnauzer, 30% Airedale Terrier and 30% Rottweiler, and the remaining 10% is a combination of Newfoundland, Caucasian Ovcharka and East European Shepherd and Great Dane.

The BRT was officially recognised as a breed in its homeland in 1981, with the first breed standard being officially accepted on May 13 of that year by the USSR Ministry of Agriculture. It was included in Group 3 of the FCI, along with the terrier breeds proper. The breed was later moved to Group 2 (the working breeds). In South Africa, the BRT falls in the Working Group in KUSA shows.

Apart from the breed’s striking good looks, the BRT, fondly known as the “Blackie”, has remarkable working abilities coupled with strength and courage. Today’s BRT is temperamentally sound, although the breed does have a natural guarding instinct, a fact of which we should always be aware of. This is a brave and self-confident dog, with an alert, lively and even temperament, though he is usually rather wary of strangers. As a pet, the BRT is wonderfully devoted to owners is usually good with children, but it is always important to supervise young children with dogs, regardless of the animal’s size and strength. Because of the breed’s guarding instincts and wariness of strangers, careful training and socialisation are important for a young age.

The BRT seems to have the ability to analyse a situation and to adapt to it without any great problem, He has a well-developed sensitivity and a desire to understand and carry out his owner’s wishes. A description that many owners feel appropiate for this breed is that BRTs are “people in fur”.