**PLEASE NOTE ** NEW BREED STANDARD AS OF 21ST JANUARY 2011 **
The Russian Black Terrier was created in Russia during the late 1940s and the early 1950s by selective interbreeding of breeds like the Rottweiler, Giant Schnauzer, Airedale Terrier and Newfoundland Dog. The Giant Schnauzer is considered to be the main ancestor of the breed. The initial breeding was supervised by the military cynological school outside Moscow and the dogs were based in their kennels named “Red Star”. The aim of the creators of the breed was the development of a large, brave, strong and manageable working dog with pronounced guarding instinct; a dog which could be useful for many services and adapts well to various climate conditions.
The breed was recognized by the FCI in 1984, and recognised by the ANKC 2000 and the first imports arrived in Australia in 2001, many thanks to Ros and Dot Sweeney from QLD who were responsible for this wonderful breed first coming to our country.
Characteristics: RBTs have a wonderful, well-balanced, strong character. They may be aloof to strangers but are courageous, self-confident, lively and reliable. The RBT is not known to have an especially dominant nature, but they can be wilful or stubborn and are very intelligent. They are slow to mature both physically and behaviourally – the girls being slightly quicker than the boys in both areas.
They are extremely loyal and protective of their family.
They are generally dog tolerant but may defend themselves if feel threatened eyeballed or intimidated. They also have a long memory and will remember prior incidents with certain dogs (and certain people). As they were created as a guard and protection dog they are highly trainable and thrive with a variety of stimulation.
In Europe they are being used for both herding and sledding as well as protection work. RBTs thrive in a housing situation when they are part of the family but not as well when kennelled or removed from human contact for long periods of time. I will NOT sell a pup to a first time dog owner or inexperienced working dog person.
CAUTION: This is not a breed for everyone. Despite the fact that the RBT looks like a big cuddly teddy bear and is a wonderful family companion, the breed is first and foremost a serious guardian dog, not just a show dog, bred to protect his home and family. There have been instances in show rings overseas of novice owners and handlers not being able to control their dogs when the dog perceived a threat from the judge or another dog. A correctly trained and socialised BRT is no problem. If you are not prepared to take on 12 plus years of responsible ownership, socialization, training and weekly grooming this is not the breed for you.
General Appearance: The RBT is a large, robust and powerful dog with large bone and well-developed musculature. He/she should be proportionate with an overall balanced structure which is slightly longer than tall at the withers. He/she should have high, pronounced and well developed withers with a slightly sloping, wide and muscular topline.
" The proper specimens are neither fine nor coarse, their slightly rectangular bodies should radiate power but possess the grace of Nureyev and the endurance of a Decathlete "
The rump is large and muscular with a barely visible line slope towards the tail, which is high set on the croup. Bitches are not generally as substantial in size and musculature but this may depend on lineage and environment.The Russian Black Terrier is a large dog with a slightly long body and very athletic built of a robust type and hardy constitution. The breed has qualities like massive bone and powerful muscles. It is symmetrical with a large head and compact body and a voluminous and deep chest. Differences between the sexes to be clearly defined.
IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS: The length of the body is slightly longer than the height at the withers, could be more pronounced in females.
Depth of chest should not be less than half the height at the withers. Length of head should not be less than 40 % of the dog’s height at the withers. The muzzle is slightly shorter than the skull.
||General appearance: Forelegs when viewed from the front are straight and parallel. The distance from the elbow ulna to the ground is equal to 50-52% of the dogs’ height at the withers.
Shoulder: Long, broad and well-laid back. The angle between shoulder blade and upper arm is approximately 100 degrees.
Upper arm: Muscular and no shorter than the shoulder-blades.
Elbow: Close to body.
Forearm: Straight, thick, round bone. Vertical when viewed from the front and side.
Pastern (Metacarpus): Short, massive and slightly sloping when viewed from the side.
||Solid, deep and voluminous, well balanced.
Topline: Slightly sloping from the withers to the root of the tail.
Withers: High and well developed, more pronounced in males than in females.
Back: Strong, straight and muscular. The length of the actual back is equal to ½ the length measured from the withers to the base of the tail.
Loin: Wide, short, muscular and slightly arched. The length is equal to ½ the length of the actual back.
Croup: Broad, muscular, slightly sloping and of moderate length.
Chest: Deep, long and broad with slightly sprung ribs. The shape of the thorax (in cross section) is oval. The breast bone is long and the fore chest slightly extends the shoulder joint and is well muscled.
Underline and belly: On the same line as the elbow joint or slightly below. Belly moderately tucked up. Flanks only slightly developed.
||General appearance: When viewed from behind straight and parallel, set wider than the forelegs. When viewed from the side placed slightly behind the dog.
Upper Thigh: Moderately long, slightly inclined, wide with well developed, voluminous muscles.
Stifle: Well bent.
Lower thigh: No shorter than upper thighs.
Rear Pastern (Metatarsus): Strong, low and vertically positioned. No dewclaws.
** TAIL** Thick at root and set high. In movement the tail is carried jauntily but the root of the tail does not incline over the back (squirrel tail).
Tail traditionally docked in country of origin
*note* An undocked tails length or shape has no influence on the evaluation of the dog. Preferable shape of the undocked tail sickle or sabre
Bite: Scissor bite with a full, complete set (42 teeth) of strong white teeth, fitting closely one to the other. Incisors set on one line.
Gait: Ground-covering movement with good reach in the forequarters and good driving power in the hindquarters. When trotting, the legs must move in a straight line, with the front legs converging slightly towards a median line. The back and loin should have an elastic, springy movement with good driving power from behind. A shortened or ewe neck will result in a shortened, choppy movement in front. It is not in the standard but one should see full footpads in the hind feet as the dog moves away.
Free and well balanced with smoothly bent joints. The typical gait is an energetic trot with long strides which comes from the powerful rear drive and significant reach in the forequarters. *Topline to remain firm. *
Feet: front feet should be thick with well arched pads and rounded in shape. rear feet slightly smaller and more oval in shape,
Colour: Black with a few white or grey hairs. There should be dark pigmentation in the eyes, nose, and gums.
**PLEASE NOTE NEW HEIGHT CHANGES**
Height: Dogs - 72 - 76 cm at the withers not less than 70 and not more than 78 cms and bitches 68-72 cm at the withers.
not less than 66 and not more than 74cms
Weight: Males 50 to 60+ kgs Females 45 to 55kgs+
Eyes: Small, dark brown to black, oval shaped and slightly slanted. Coat: The outer hairs are rough and thick, with a softer undercoat. On the muzzle, the coat should form a rough, brushy moustache on the upper lip and a beard on the lower lip. Above the eyes, the eyebrows are rough and bristled. (Be aware in the warmer parts of Australia coats tend to stay softer and with a less dense undercoat.
Skin: Tight, well fitted without folds or loose skin, still elastic. Evenly pigmented.
Coat: Rough and thick double coat. Composed of a coarse, thick, slightly waved outer coat and a soft, short and dense undercoat. The outer coat covers the whole body. The natural and untrimmed coat length is between 5 , 15 cms. The head furnishing is very well developed and forms abundant eyebrows, moustaches and beard. Legs are covered in long, dens furnishing coat. Grooming in the correct form is required.
The clipped coat should emphasise the character of a strong and assured dog and by no means be excessively decorative. The coat is left longest on legs and around the muzzle. The clipping should accentuate the massive head with flat forehead, well lying ears, strong neck and well constructed, strong body.
Training: Because the BRT was created as a guard and protection dog, care should be taken to train it responsibly. The BRT was created to work in partnership with its owner.
The BRT is a thinking dog. It responds to logic more than force. Therefore, positive reward-based training is more productive than harsh corrections. At a minimum, the BRT needs a puppy kindergarten for socialization and basic obedience training which should continue for its lifetime. Socialization in all types of daily activity is necessary for the BRT. An owner should take the BRT puppy at least three new places every week for the first six months of its life and expose it to every type of person and situation, the adult BRT will ever experience in its lifetime.
This should include people in uniform and people of all ages and nationalities.
Activities: RBTs have competed in a wide range of activities from obedience and agility to protection work and tracking and are well suited to all. They enjoy working and being active and activities such as agility, rally obedience and tracking are highly recommended. NOTE: If intending to agility train your RBT you should wait until they are approximately 12 months old so as not to cause any damage to growth plates and joints from increased impact.
It may also be worth consulting a vet with your RBT before commencing this particular activity.
RBTs generally enjoy water – the more the better. They love to swim and a wading pool can be a great asset in the backyard. They also need a considerable source of fresh drinking water daily.
Diet: Because of their size and quick rate of growth a high quality diet is a necessity for this breed. Tinned or processed meat is NOT recommended. Instead fresh beef/lamb/chicken either in pieces or mince with a good quality dry biscuit should be on the menu. Until approximately 8 – 12 months the dry food should be for a giant puppy (some brands make specific dry foods aimed at this size and age group) before switching to an adult, large/giant breed dry food.
I personally recommend Advance Large breed or Eukanuba Large Breed.
Pups from approximately 3 – 6 months need to be fed approximately twice daily. It is very important not to overfeed or underfeed this breed. Being overweight can cause serious skeletal problems during puppyhood or adulthood. Likewise, underfeeding or feeding a poor quality diet can result in poor skeletal formation and possible organ damage. It is also highly recommended that your dog have a regular supply of raw meaty bones for its teeth. This will be far less expensive than having to get teeth cleaned by a vet later down the track!
Alternately, dried pigs ears, chicken feet or commercial products such as Dentabones will assist in this area.
I do NOT suggest the product Greenies as advice out of the US indicates these may be potentially damaging.
DO NOT SUPPLEMENT YOUR DOGS’ OR PUPS’ FOOD WITH CALCIUM. If you are feeding a healthy, balanced diet this type of supplementation can do more harm than good. Fish oil tablets once or twice a day are suggested, however.
Grooming: RBTs need to be deeply brushed at least weekly and professionally groomed every six weeks. They can shed more than an Airedale but much less than a Golden Retriever or Labrador. Any time from approximately 18 months of age onward their coats start to change from being a soft puppy coat to a harsher adult coat. During this period some matting will occur as the puppy coat sheds into the harsher coat coming through. Increased grooming and professional advice will assist during this period.
A good quality shampoo and conditioner is highly recommended along with a good quality pin brush, metal comb and matt breaker or matt rake (ask the breeder for their recommendations for each of these).
Especially in the northern areas of Australia RBTs may experience sunburn to their coat giving it a reddish tinge. A good quality sunscreen added to a leave-in conditioner may assist if you are unable to limit the dog’s access to sunlight.
The RBT “clip” continues to undergo metamorphosis and remains open to interpretation and personal preference. In some areas the coat is grown considerably longer than the following diagram. As a personal aside I do not shave as far down to the hock as is depicted in the photo in the link but taper off at the point equivalent to the stifle.
In my opinion the RBT coat should not be as shaped or teased as the Kerry Blue Terrier or Poodle – the coat should be able to visibly ‘move’. The eyebrows and beard should be thick and substantial. Attached is a link to the recommended grooming pattern…. http://odervyn.free.fr/brt_grooming.htm
Selecting a Breeder: Do not buy from a breeder who:
•lacks knowledge about Russian Black Terriers;
•shows ignorance of, or denies, genetic defects in the breed;
•does not allow you to observe the puppies or parents, or does not allow you to see their kennels and/or living quarters;
•does not sell pups with a health guarantee;
•cannot provide you with litter documentation or a pedigree; or
•wants to sell you an unregistered puppy.
Do not buy a puppy that is not socialized or acts shy or fearful. Likewise, think twice about buying a pup where the parents are likewise very fearful or aggressive.
Do not buy a puppy less than 8 weeks old and NEVER buy a RBT from an unregistered breeder, from a puppy miller or pet store.
Registered breeders have to abide by a Code of Ethics and should refrain from this type of sale. If you have any doubts ask a breeder for references from people to whom they have previously sold pups or dogs and make contact with these people about their experiences with the breeder and/or the breed.