Is a RBT Right For You?

The Russian Black Terrier (RBT) is a clever, confident and extremely intelligent breed, able to make decisions without the input of their handler if pushed by circumstance to do so.  Because they were created to be guard dogs and be involved in military work, they have an innate protective instinct which begins to develop by the time they are a year old. They bond very closely with their ‘people’ and are devoted to their family members. Their strong personalities and large size do, however, require owners with a thorough understanding of dog psychology and leadership, and who can ensure that they are socialised and trained extensively, especially within the first 2 years of life. All family members should participate in the training so each can be seen as a leader to the dog.

Blackies just want to be with you as much as possible. They are not suited to a life of isolation, living only in a kennel or alone in a yard. They want to be near their people, sharing living quarters and daily activities as much as possible. Although large animals, they can thrive in both large and small living spaces, providing they receive daily exercise, socialisation and mental stimulation through training, play, sport or walking.

These dogs are extremely loyal and develop a strong relationship with their owners and family members, more so than many other breeds. They are generally good with older children and other pets although, because of their size, care must be taken when around small children, especially when they are young puppies still learning their manners!

The RBT is a working dog who responds best to firm and consistent training. You must respect them or they will not tolerate your command. They also need a job. They were bred for it and will be unhappy without one. Their intelligence means they train quickly but they can have a real stubborn streak, so you need to be the one in charge from the beginning. Without a job to do and lacking adequate early training, a Blackie could easily become bored and destructive and, at that size, they could do some real damage. If you're interested in performance competitions, such as agility, obedience, or Schutzhund, they make keen competitors.

RBTs have a very strong guarding/protecting instinct that kicks in between one and two years of age, when they often become aloof with non-family members. Calm and quiet, they are also naturally suspicious of strangers (although not aggressive or shy toward them), and may not take well to intruders. However, they rarely bark excessively unless they feel that it is absolutely required. These qualities make the RBT an excellent modern-day guard dog, but they also make good service dogs, therapy dogs, police dogs and, increasingly, search and rescue dogs.    

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