You can say that breed Black Russian Terrier was doomed to success. Quite a number of factors contributed to this, but first of all you should have a look at history, into now distant post-war years. It's known that purebred animals became almost extinct in the Soviet Union during the war years, but people needed them. This niche in the media of companion dogs lovers were to be filled by Moscow longhaired toy terrier, among hunters - by Russian spaniel, but to working dogs' fancy "Red Star" kennel offered several breeds at that time: Moscow Great Dane, Moscow Diver (M. Newfoundland), Moscow Watch Dog at, at last, hero of our story - Black Terrier. Certainly, no private kennel was able to conduct the experiment at such scale (more than 100 dogs of different breeds were used simultaneously during the development of Black Terrier), but on the other side, "Red Star" did not have any choice. Kennel specialists would hardly create something worthwhile in already known breeds, since initial breeding material was far from perfect. Fast recognition in the Western countries also added to Black Terrier's popularity. It's incredible, but already in 1968 FCI approved the description of the very young breeding group. May be, it was because European dog people always believed that there are big bear-like dogs in Russia and Black Terrier one more time successfully confirmed this legend. So, if you wish, emerging of the Black Terrier is not more or less than the command of time.
Black Terrier was produced in the "Red Star" kennel by reproductive crossing of such breeds as Giant Schnauzer (the key breed), Airedale Terrier, Rottweiler, Newfoundland, Caucasian Ovcharka, with addition of some Great Dane, Eastern-European Shepherd blood. Totally, about 17 breeds were used in the experiment.
Crosses of first generation did not have very long hair but it did not confused the selectioners. For the war purposes they needed a big strong unpretentious dog, who did not demand hair care, had pronounced aggression and was very trainable. Working ability was always of a paramount importance in "Red Star".
Since 1957 kennel started selling puppies of the second and third generation to the hobby dog breeders and a new stage in the development of the Black Terrier (still breeding group at that time) set in. At that time the question arose about how to improve the appearance of rather plain animals offered by the army kennel while preserving the working qualities.
Handed in 1960s to the hobby breeders the breeding group started to change gradually, though the mixture from which it was composed, reminded about itself. In litters of puppies there were Airedales, Rottweiler, Newfoundland revealed, or animals were born with blue , wheat, even brindle color, which by the way was very popular among foreign lovers of exotics.
Big problems were with the teeth. Faults of the dental system were put in the very beginning because dogs with the different built of the head stood at the roots of the breed. Besides that, the breeding material itself left much to be desired.
This is how experts described the ancestor of the breed, Giant Schnauzer ROY: "typical for the breed dog of sturdy-dry type of constitution, proportionally built, with well developed bones and musculature. In the front limbs there was slight toes-out, in the rear - slightly cow-hocks". ROY's bite was level.
From the combination of GS ROY and Rottweiler UNA sons VAKH and AZART were used in breeding. VAKH's son FOKA was passing undershot to his offspring. In spite of that, inbreeding on FOKA gave promising animals. TIZA - Moscow Diver - was also used in breeding. She had white spot on her chest and white toes, that was steadily passed to the offspring. Besides that, in the beginning of 1960s littermates Giant Schnauzers DASSO & DITTER v.DRANHENSHLUCHT were used. The latter turned out to be a monocryptorhid (had only one descended testicle).
Even this short list of defects in dogs used in the experiments on the breeding group would terrify any breeder. None the less, the breed today draws the admiration from dog people all over the world.
Unfortunately, up until now no documents about the development of the breed were published in full and the small part that is known is so inaccurate and disunited that it causes the launching of extraordinary legends. In particular, many fanciers contend that Black Terrier is the breed which originated from Germany. Scarcely conjectures of that kind should be taken seriously. Officially breed status was given to Black Terrier in 1981.
What is the secret of Black Russian Terrier's success, why did quite a young breed get in line with universally recognized well-known breeds, counting back not one hundred years? Popularity of the working dog depends first of all on utility qualities, ability to protect the owner and his family. Large size in combination with excellent working qualities, courageous and at the same time elegant appearance, socialibility and skill to get along with kids -- all these allow to hope that popularity of Black Terrier is not temporal occurrence and will grow further.
Speaking about the Black Russian Terrier breed, it is necessary to mention the existence of two type within the breed. Division has conditional character but helps to understand the breed correctly.
First is the terrier type. These dogs usually have square format, long, not wide head, dry high-set neck. Straight shoulder, flattened ribcage, flat musculature are also inherent in this type. Long levers and well-pronounced limb angulation allow dogs to move freely. With total balanced behavior dogs of this type are sufficiently excitable, mobile and reckless. Some experts both in Russia and abroad prefer this type, explaining that image of Black Terrier must follow the name of the breed. Majority of specialists never the less stick to the other point of view and that's why Black Terrier was transferred from Group III of FCI to the Group II.
Second inbreed type is mighty dogs with massive bones, bulky musculature, wide and deep chest, quite a rough built. Nervous system of such dogs is exceptionally stable. Even their appearance radiates tranquility and confidence. At first dogs may look slow and even lazy, but this sluggishness hides the desire to dash into battle at the slightest aggression from opponent.
As for the working qualities, many trainers' opinion is that with a quite fast learning Black Terrier remembers material solidly and for a long time but retraining him is a vain effort. That's why the opinion exists that the breed is difficult to train. We can add also that Black Terrier is quite vindictive.
During last several years breed underwent changes of show nature, rather than functional ones. Changes in conformation of Black Terrier fortunately did not change valuable qualities laid into breed, though it should be pointed that chasing the wins at the shows in some cases leads to emerging of animals with undesirable temperament.
We would like to make things clear about existence of two groups of animals within the breed according to the hair type: long - and shorthaired. Indeed, "Red Star" kennel noted that fact in the first version of the standard. But now we cannot talk about shorthaired Black Terrier as of inbreed type because this type does not simply exist any more. If such a puppy is born in a litter he is not allowed to be used in the breeding. Black Terrier was a shorthaired dog at the dawn of the breed formation. He could not be different because he was developed on the base of breeds which were not notable for abundance of decorative hair.
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