Black Russian Terriers are large, muscular and heavy-boned dogs with a thick, tousled, black double coat. The AKC describes this breed as, “robust, large, balanced, agile and powerful.” They have a block-like head with a muzzle that is slightly shorter than the skull. Blackies have small ears that sit high atop the head, and they are triangular in shape and folded. They have dark colored gums and some sport a black mark on the tongue. Their tails are usually docked, leaving behind anywhere from 3 to 5 vertebrae.
Size and Weight
Black Russians are one of the larger terrier breeds, standing at a tall 25to 30 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 75 to 130 pounds. The preferred height for males is between 25 and 29 inches, while the proffered female height is between 25 and 28 inches. They typically weigh between 80 and 140 pounds. A Blackie's gait should be springy, but smooth and easy going.
Coat and Color
Blackies have (obviously) black coats, but many have a slight salt-and-pepper appearance to them, even as puppies. Their double coat is made up of a coarse outer coat and a thick, soft undercoat. The length can vary from 1.5 all the way to 4 inches long. Some describe the coat as wiry or curly, but breeders call the coat “tousled.”
Show grooming a Black Russian is an involving task, but household Russians have it a lot easier. Regular, weekly brushing will keep the coat healthy, manageable and free from tangles or mats. This breed does not shed heavily, but if you find clumps of hair around the house, it's an indication that the dog is not being brushed enough. They need to be clipped twice a year, but it is simple to clip this breed at home, and a professional groomer is not required. Blackies only need to be bathed as needed, as over bathing can dry out the skin and coat. The beard can require a bit more attention, as it gets wet, dirty and tangled from food and water dishes.
Regular brushing of the teeth can keep gums healthy, prevent tartar buildup and stave off “dog breath.” The ears should be cleaned regularly, as well, to prevent harmful bacteria from building up and causing ear infections.