WHY Black Russian Terriers (BRT)?
Authors: Neli & Iztok Šuler, for the dog magazine "Moj pes"/febr. 2015
Why Black Russian Terriers? Is that an exterior, a temperament…?
The Black Russian Terriers leave no one indifferent. With their rich black hair, beautiful beard and mustache and powerful and at the same time elegant body, they give a special extravagant look. It combines power and grace at the same time. They are cheerful and loving being who are willing to sacrifice their life for you. They are very loyal and devotedly love their master. They know how to adapt to their needs and mood. They need human closeness and at the same time a determined and stable guide. With their height of 68 to 80 cm, they can represent uncontrollable strength and aggression in the event of improper upbringing. By nature they are stable, calm, manageable and devoted family members and good human companions, with strong working abilities.
What is the advantage and the weakness of the breed?
Advantage of the breed is that they can live equally well in a city apartment or in the country, in the harsh Siberian winters or in a sunny climate. The structure of their long hair allows airiness, and with proper and regular care it does not fall out and has no odor. Of course, this breed is most distinguished by its intelligence and ability to school, as well as self-confidence and fearlessness
Weakness, if we can call it that at all, is the regular care of a long coat. If we fail here and neglect the dog through our own fault, we like to attribute this to the bad side of the breed. If we do not control the dog physically and mentally, then the downside of the breed is its weight, strength and size.
What about the popularity of the breed in Slovenia and abroad? Approximately how many Black Terriers are there in Slovenia?
This breed is becoming increasingly popular around the world precisely because of the combination of strength and elegance and the role of bodyguard and at the same time a family companion. A well-groomed and properly arranged BRT is often a real magnet for passers-by. A pleasant attitude towards children, trust and the quality of a family friend, however, ensures that the popularity of the breed is not only temporary, but will only increase.
In Slovenia, about 150 dogs of this breed have been entered in the Slovenian Pedigree Book so far. Many of them were also imported from different countries and are not registered there.
However, it is true that when you realize that the coat of BRT needs constant care and cutting, many people change their minds.
Character or their behavioral characteristics (pros and cons):
They are confident and dignified dogs, well controlled in all situations. However, if circumstances require, they immediately take an active role, but calms down quickly when the threat is withdrawn. With the right and consistent upbringing, they become calm, manageable and devoted family members. However, if they are in the hands of an indecisive or even subordinate owner, they take on the role of leader and can become unmanageable.
Attitude towards family members: They like to please their master and needs his closeness. They constantly show their affection, so staying away from people is inappropriate for them. They want to sleep in the same room with family members or at least near them. All family members must be involved in the upbringing of the puppy, as the dog quickly sets up a hierarchy in the house. However, it easily integrates into one or more member families
Attitude towards children: They are protective of children, kind, tolerant and very playful. The game needs to be controlled and calmed down to avoid unnecessary roughness as these are big and heavy dogs. But they like to withdraw when they want peace.
Attitude towards other people: Already in the first months, when we bring a puppy into the house, we introduce him/her to other people and dogs that we will meet on the way. It is up to us whether we let the dog caress or not. However, likes to avoid the sudden squeezing of other people's hands and is quite reserved and distrustful.
But if he wants to, he sets himself up to caress the man over time. Every BRT owner needs to respect other people and be aware that a dog with his size can scare a lot of people if he runs around out of control and wants to greet everyone. When the puppy is still small, people have fun with him, but when he grows up, this can become a big problem. In the house, however, he will want to have all the guests under constant surveillance.
Attitude towards other dogs and other animals: They are fearless and are not afraid of anyone. If they encounter certain dogs from an early age, they are tolerant of them. Despite proper upbringing and abundant socialization, however, we may encounter difficulties in accepting foreign dogs. They can coexist with other dogs and other pets, but we need to get them used to it from the beginning. They are tolerant of other animals, horses, sheep, game, .. and do not have a hunting instinct.
Leadership and learning - can it be considered a "light" or more demanding breed?
BRT is quick and very fond of school, very intelligent, manageable and teachable. With him/her, we quickly become proud and happy. However, we must be aware that the time when the BRT finally matures physically and mentally and is formed is only at the age of 2 to 2.5 years. Until then, he/she will try to prove his strength. If we allow a dog only a moment of dominance and dominance, it can become dangerous to the owner and surroundings. This, however, is difficult to correct later.
It is necessary to start raising the puppy. More active dogs call for action on their own, while calmer ones can seem a little sleepy and uninterested. It is precisely these that need to be given a lot of attention and encouraged to work through animation.
What kind of people is it suitable for?
BRT is suitable for a vital, stable and determined owner who will have time to raise and care for the dog. He must be self-confident and able to react quickly, but he must not be violent and rude in his upbringing. It is good if he has prior knowledge of dog training. Because BRT does not tolerate a chain and a lonely life, it is appropriate for him to stay with the owner in an apartment or house. There it will be unobtrusive and harmless. It adapts well to the needs of the owner and is quickly ready for a long walk, run, play, school or just lying in the apartment.
The breeder can already choose a puppy in the litter, suitable, according to the wishes of the future owner, as they already differ in activity and dominance.
Dog sports or any other activity?
Any activity is very welcome for the development of bones, joints and muscles of the BRT, but it is necessary to gradually load the puppy in the first year of age. Due to his/her rapid growth, we can quickly accumulate damage to ligaments and joints.
Since this is basically a working breed, we can do many things with them, but we choose activities according to their temperament and size. To develop strong muscles, they can run with us or along the bike, which is often used to prepare for shows. In doing so, they develop their characteristic “kas” run; swimming is also appropriate. Activities such as Freestyle (dancing with a guide), Relly Obedience, Agillity, Dog Frisbee, Kanikross are also often performed with this breed and of course the BH and IPO programs. For certain activities where speed is important, the breed can be a little too big and clumsy, otherwise it is possible to do just about anything with a BRT. Most often, we will be able to admire the most beautiful and most powerful representatives of this breed at dog beauty shows.
What about breed socialization, movement needs,...
It should be noted that we need to treat a puppy like an adult dog. There is no room here for a childlike tone of speech in upbringing. This is a serious working breed. Its beautiful and elegant look can be misleading. It is a watchdog and carries this nature in its genes. It is difficult to change once acquired habits, with improper upbringing and poor socialization it can also become striking. Education begins with the breeder and immediately continues with the new owner.
Due to weak ligaments and joints, it is necessary to avoid injuries to the puppy, so during walks, which are very important for them, they should not play and go crazy with other dogs. In the first year of age, we should not overload them or allow jerky jumps, as they have not yet fully grown and strengthened. However, we definitely need to take care of their physical development so that they will later become strong and well-developed dogs. They do not need large gardens, as they will not exercise on their own, but will wait for us to take them for a walk or to deal with them. Otherwise, they will just calmly wait for us at the door.
Grooming fur or hair loss?
The whole body is covered with thick, wavy but airy black hair that needs to be combed thoroughly at least once a week. The hair has no odor and does not fall out. We can groom the dog once a month and bath it every 3 months. However, if we participate in dog shows, before each show. We accustom the puppy to proper care from the very beginning, it must get used to regular care of nails, ears, brushing teeth, wiping the chin, which can become a source of dirt if it is not regularly washed, dried and combed. During the haircut, it must stand still for a few hours so that the dog can be arranged according to the show norms. A beautiful, tidy and standard-trimmed BRT is the result of regular and evening work. However, if combing is superfluous, we can shave the coat, but this takes away the characteristic image of the breed.
Specialties in diet?
They can be fed with dry briquetted food, mixed with cheese, yogurt or meat and not many cereals or fresh balanced natural food. They dont eat much, but food should be good quality and rich with animal proteins and with vitamins and minerals. In addition to a strong and large body, we also need to feed long bushy hair. The feeding container should be raised to shoulder height and not off the floor.
What should new owners be wary of? Possible hereditary defects and diseases?
We cannot talk about any typical breed disease here. Of course, with the right mating combinations and various medical tests, we can prevent many diseases and problems that could occur with the wrong combination of both fears (hip dysplasia - HD, elbow dysplasia - ED, periosteal inflammation, hyperuricosuria - HUU, ear inflammation, allergies , throat paralysis - JLPP,… (More: on the link Health)
Every responsible breeder and later the owner must be careful and cautious so that there are no unnecessary defects in the development of the puppy. For additional advice, owners can contact the Section of Russian breeds at the club SKVPM, where the breed is included and where breeding is supervised.
What age can they live? 8 - 12 years