The Black Russian terrier is a very modern dog and most definitely a dog with a purpose. It's conception was far from accidental, rather it was conceived out of necessity in order to produce a dog that combined and improved upon the positive aspects of several other breeds whilst excluding their negative or less desirable traits.
A good way to understand the Black Russian terrier is to know it's history. A history as fascinating as the breed is impressive.
The Black Russian Terrier, or Tchiorny Terrier as it's known in her native Russia, was conceived of a breeding programme headed by Colonel Medvedev of the Soviet Red Star Kennels in the early 1950s. In keeping with official ideology the idea was to produce a distinctly Soviet (i.e. Russian) breed of working dogs that were fearless, courageous and devoted to their handlers but also highly trainable with stable temperaments; A dog that could work in all sorts of climatic conditions and that wasn't mindlessly vicious. The result, the Black Russian Terrier, proved an unsurpassed all-round armyand police dog, guardian of prisons, but also versatile enough to be used as cattle-drivers, flock herders, and in some instances as sled dogs.
The start of Medvedev's breeding programme was based on Giant Schnauzer to Rottweiler matings and Giant Schnauzer to Airedale matings. The resulting litters were crossed and the progeny bred with so-called Moscow Drivers (a combination of Newfoundland, Caucasian Ovcharka and East European Shepherds). Litters from a "Moscow Great Dane" (Great Dane x East European Shepherd) and a Rottweiler were also added to the breeding programme. These all line-bred back to the Giant Schnauzer, Airedale and Rottweiler combination until the Black Russian Terrier bred true. All in all it is thought that 17 breeds went in to the production of the Black Russian terrier, often suggesting the breed is based on a foundation of 30% Giant Schnauzer, 30% Airedale Terrier and 30% Rottweiler; the remaining 10% comprising Great Danes, Caucasian Ovcharkas, East European Shepherds, Newfoundlands and other working breeds.
1958 the first Black Russian Terrier standard was published in "Regulations & Requirements for Training and Usage of Military Dogs" after the first "Black Russian Terriers" were made available to civilian dog breeders from the Red Star Kennels. Gradually the breed spread across Russia, Central & Eastern Europe and the Baltic States; Eventually entering Finland and Scandinavia before finding its way to canine enthusiast across the globe.