Dog Breed Group: Working DOg
Life Span: 10-14 years
Origin of Name: The Black Russian Terrier, also known as the Chornyi Terrier.
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The Red Star Kennel was established in the 1930s by the Soviet government, in a secret location near Moscow. There, a team of scientists and breeders created superdogs for the Russian Army. The project was full of steep challenges. The indiscriminate slaughter of purebred dogs during the Russian Revolution was followed by a world war, economic disaster, and another world war. These upheavals destroyed Russia's best stock, keeping it laborious for centuries. It was impossible to import quality dogs into Russia - war and economic depression devastated kennels everywhere in Europe. Essentially, the Red Star team was starting from scratch.
Some 17 breeds — Giant Schnazers, Airdale Terriers, and Rottweiler among them — were included in the genetic puzzle along with the dash nature of Newfoundland. The program was canceled after World War II, when there was a quality breeding stock amid the worsening of the war brought from Russia.
The result was a Black Russian terrier: a relentless barbed dog, who could patrol the endless borders of Russia, with enough coats to hold a prisoner in Stalin's infamous prison camps, the Siberian Night Shift Could work in (The name of the English breed, by the way, is a misnomer. The Black Russian Terrier is not 15 to 30 percent terrier in its makeup.)
Across the border, dogs were successfully deployed in remote prisons and military installations. By the mid-1950s, when the number of dogs needed to close Stalin-era gulagals had diminished, the military began selling additional lighters to hobby breeders and exhibitors. Retired officers who brought their K-9 partners home for civilian life in the late '50s acquainted the Russian people with this permanently stable patron, whom they call the Black Pearl of Russia, or Blackie's nickname for Shorty Will give.
Today, BRTs tend to guard suburban lawns more than political prisoners. In 1981 the BRT was officially declared a breed by the Soviet Ministry of Agriculture, and was admitted to the AKC Stud Book in 2004.