Discussing dog breeds, dog-adoption, and the human-canine connection.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Black Russian Terrier (Chornyi), Bouvier, and Giant Schnauzer

Black Russian Terrier

Bouvier des Flandres

Giant Schnauzer

Today I am featuring three breeds which can look similar, particularly to those who are not familiar with each of these breeds. They are all working dogs but developed in three different regions: Russia, Belgium, and Germany.

If one wants an impressive looking protector of the family who is loyal with  his/her own people and suspicious of strangers, then the BRT - also known as the Chornyi, is worth considering.

This is not a breed that is suited to first time dog owners but those with experience handling and training dogs might like this big working breed. The breed is supposed to be "calm, confident, and courageous."

The BRT is a recent breed, developed after WWII by Russia's Red Star Kennels charged with supplying dogs for the military. This breed is designed to be trainable, observant, and protective of it's territory. This has also been a working breed who has done well with cart pulling.

 At 27-30" (68 - 76cm) the BRT is supposed to come in one color - black. The tail if docked is docked to 3-5 digits; otherwise the breed has a tail that tends to curl up slightly

The Bouvier des Flandres is an older breed than the BRT and comes in a wider range of colors. And unlike the BRT was developed as a farm dog, not a military assistant.

The Bouvier is generally known as a herding and cart dog although they would have been a general working farm dog, protecting their people and livestock. This is anther breed that is known for being protective, intelligent, and devoted to their family.

Bouvier colors under the American Kennel Club include a wider range of colors than are typically present in Europe or commonly seen in large numbers anywhere:





Gray Brindle

Pepper & Salt

Black & Brindle

Black & Brown

Black & Fawn

Black & Gray

Black & White


Blue & Gray


Silver & Gray


The dark colors are more common and also seem to do better in the show ring.

The grooming is an important part of giving this breed its signature look - the heavy beard and eyebrows are important.

The breed's size is typically 23 - 27" (59 - 68 cm) at the shoulder.

The Giant Schnauzer is another dog who originated as a farmers dog - particularly useful for helping bring livestock to market and safely bring home the money and goods that farmers got from town.

The Schnauzer is another working dog; also a natural watch dog, however, this high energy breed probably isn't as quiet as the Bouvier or BRT.  Another breed that does best with a job and an experienced owner.

Schnauzers are typically very affectionate however, if they are not socialized and well trained from a young age they can become overly protective of their people and property. 

The colors for this breed are Salt and Pepper, and Black.This breed is basically the same height as the Bouvier, 23 - 27" (59 - 68 cm) at the shoulder.

Black Russian Terrier
Bouvier des Flanders

Giant Schnauzer

Three strong, intelligent, powerful breeds.
Each devoted to family. The Schnauzer is the lightest built and most boisterous; the Bouvier has the most practice being a family companion and living with other animals; the BRT is the  most reserved but still very affectionate with his people. Each has something to offer and despite the similarities in looks these are three unique breeds.

As always, I welcome stories from people who have lived with any of these breeds to share their own observations.


  1. There are 2 Black Russian Terriers in my neighbourhood. When I met them, I tried to guess the breed but I was wrong. The owner says everyone does that! Both dogs are gorgeous, friendly and have been shown in the ring. He says that they are quite rare in our area. They don't bark a lot but when they do it's a big, low, bass bark. I love them!

    1. Excellent - very glad to have someone discuss their personal experience of the BRT! I am curious Wendy - what did you first think they were when you saw them?

      I think this is a very handsome breed and certainly the least common of the three. I would never expect to encounter one in a walk around the neighborhood - so I don't think I would recognize one if I walked into it either :-)

  • I always learn so much from your posts - about my favorite subject - dogs. :-) Not at all (personally) familiar with these three breeds. Somehow most drawn to the Black Russians and those natural tails! Wow!

    1. It seems like a fair trade Sue - I go to your site to see beautiful dog related things and see who is looking for a home each week. You're also my only source for dog related songs!

      I like all these breeds but confess, the one I would most like to live with is the Black Russian Terrier...wouldn't turn my nose up at a Bouvier or Schnauzer though!

    2. Thank you.... (and our lives wouldn't be the same without dog songs).

  • I just lost my 8 year old Bouvier, Rocky. He was an incredible dog. I'll get another one day...

    1. I'm very sorry for your loss. I hope your memories of Rocky will comfort you and I'm sure that some future dog will benefit from the paw prints Rocky left on your heart.

  • My mom bred miniature schnauzers for years and then got her first Giant for the show ring. I was picked to show her and we bonded until she passed 12 years later. Two decades later, my ex-wife and I ended up in possession of 2 giants, a sire and daughter and I held great pride knowing we had two of three of the only giants in