The Black Russian Terrier (BRT) is one of the newest additions to the AKC working group (2004). They’ve been in the CKC miscellaneous class for 3 years. The magnificent “Blackies” do create quite a sensation in show ring.
The BRT was originally created as a multi-purpose working dog for military, police and protection. They are active, intelligent, strong, courageous, enduring and adaptable to various climates. It is a large breed with stable temperament and strong protective instinct. The balanced temperament and good trainability allow its successful use in many working situations and canine sports worldwide. The BRT is a wonderful companion and a loyal family member.
Success of Black Russian terriers in AKC, UKC and Rare breed club shows has been wonderful for promoting the Black Russian Terrier and indicates that we do indeed have a marvelous population of great looking BRTs in North America. However, my concern is that breeders are falling prey to the tendency to breed strictly for show qualities, considering mostly beauty and submissiveness, while giving little or no consideration to maintaining and improving the breed’s working qualities.
Sadly, a similar trend is seen in other working breeds. “As German Shepherds gained media popularity, breeders produced beautiful pets and show animals that anyone may handle… Protective instincts of many breeds being phased out in order to obtain a dog whom even the most uninformed handler may control… Thus, many genetic lines of today’s German Shepherds and Dobermans lack the key attributes of their ancestors.” (Fred Mandilk & MarvGangloff, Training Dogs for Protection Work, p36)
Peter Crawford wrote that there was a more-than- 50% drop in the obedience entry at the Canadian German Shepherd Dog Specialty this year. (Dogs in Canada, Jan issue, German Shepherd Breedline, p.50.)
Only a few BRTs in North America have Earned UCDX title. CFC Ch. Rusah from Midnight Solo kennel is the first BRT to earn a CKC CDX. Only a handful have an agility title in Canada, none as yet has a drafting or tracking title.
My plea is that we unleash the potential of this strong and skilled worker and enter our BRTs not only in Conformation, but obedience, tracking, agility, drafting, and Schutzhund.
Let’s strive to conserve and improve the breed in structure, temperament, conformation and working ability, according to the Black Russian Terrier breed standard, never sacrificing one for the other.
Jean Brown, Midnight Solo Kennel