Black Russian Terrier Vs. Giant Schnauzer – Which Dog Should You Get

There are many similarities and many differences between Black Russian Terriers and Giant Schnauzers.

Placed side by side, you may have trouble telling them apart. Both of these breeds were initially bred to be guard dogs, so they are naturally suspicious of any strangers and need to be socialized at an early age.



The Black Russian Terrier was created by crossing Airedale Terriers with Giant Schnauzers and Giant Schnauzers with Rottweilers.

Then the puppies from these two breeds were bred with each other, and Black Russian Terriers were created. The breed was first called the Black Terrier and was shown to the public in 1955.

The breed began to be shipped to different parts of Europe. In 1981, Russia declared it an official breed and renamed it to the Black Russian Terrier or BRT in 1982.

The first BRT came to America in the early 1990’s and became a member of the American Kennel Working Group in 2004.

These dogs are used on border patrols, search and rescue, and mine and explosion detection. The dogs have served in Soviet missions in both Bosnia and Afghanistan.

The Giant Schnauzer was bred from an Old German shaggy shepherd dog crossed with a black Great Dane and can be traced back to the 1800s.

They guarded properties and drove cattle in the Bavarian Alps as a working dog. The breed was considered a companion and working dog throughout Europe.

In the 1930s, the Giants’ best was imported from Germany to breed with foundation stock by American breeders.

The breed was quietly bred for twenty-five years to keep down careless breeding practices.

Interest in the breed rose around 1962 has been increased since the importing of grown dogs and puppies from the most successful of Europe’s breeders. It’s difficult to estimate the number of Giant Schnauzers in the United States today.



Because of the similarities between the two dog breeds, people can become confused. Below is a comparison between the two breeds:


  • The Black Russian Terrier is a good deal larger than the Giant Schnauzer. It’s heavier and taller than the Giant Schnauzer.
  • While both breeds are large dogs, the Giant Schnauzer is smaller than the Black Russian Terrier. The Giant Schnauzer isn’t as heavy or as tall as the Black Russian Terrier.


  • The Black Russian Terrier male weighs between 110 to 132 pounds and is 27 to 29 inches.
  • The Giant Schnauzer male weighs between 65 to 90 pounds and is 25 to 27 inches tall.


  • Both breeds have a double black coat that is stunning and unique. Both breeds have thick hair around their mouths. Food particles will get stuck there, so you would need to clean the area around their mouth after eating.



  • Both breeds are devoted and loyal pets. They are more suited to dog owners that have the experience for high grooming needs and the time for exercise, care, and train a large dog. Both of these breeds need an active owner who can control a dominant and stubborn dog. In return, your dog will give you lots of love and protection.



  • Both of these dog breeds are working-class dogs that are transitioned into pets. Both breeds make a good guard dog, and they are alert and suspicious of strangers. Both of these dogs will need a proper introduction to people who are unfamiliar that enter your property.
  • Either breed can become bored if not given a job to do during the day. They can become bored and get into trouble is not mentally stimulated.
  • The Black Russian Terrier is aloof with strangers, calm, brave, highly intelligent, and loyal. Giant Schnauzers are calm in temperament, protective of their family, and family-oriented.



  • The Giant Schnauzers do bark more than the Russian Black Terrier. All dogs will bark for different reasons, and some breeds are quieter than others. A Giant Schnauzer will bark loudly to tell you that something usual is going on. Sometimes a dog will bark because it’s bored or lonely. If you leave a companion dog along often, it may start a barking issue.



  • Neither one of these breeds do excessive shedding. But you need to fully groom your dog once a week and have him professionally clipped about every two months.



  • These breeds require a home with a large fenced in yard where your dog can go outside. He will need to explore and exercise. The Black Russian Terrier and the Giant Schnauzer need lots of mental stimulation during the day.
  • When these dogs are young, they are full of energy. You need to be an active owner who can channel your dog’s energy in a positive way. Walking your dog, playing fetch, and other games will keep him content. Both of these breeds need at least two hours of exercise per day to avoid your dog from getting bored and destructive.
  • Using toys that hide treats or peanut butter inside are perfect for engaging their intelligent minds.



  • Neither of these dogs is recommended for living in an apartment. They are too big and too active; they need a home with fenced in yard.



  • Giant Schnauzer can develop different eye diseases. Also, liver shunt, as well as bleeding disorders, can be a health issue. This breed has a higher risk of hypothyroidism as well.
  • The Black Russian Terrier can develop hip and elbow dysplasia, heart problems, and eye diseases. Ear infections and allegories can also be a concern. Progressive retinal atrophy is another concern and can leave your dog with cloudy vision or become blind.
  • The thick hair around both their eyes can make them susceptible to eye infections.



  • The Black Russian Terrier can live to 10-12 years with proper care.
  • The Giant Schnauzer can live between 12-15 years with proper care.



Both of these breeds need intense grooming to keep their coats from becoming a tangled mess. You will need to spend every day from 15 minutes to a half-hour brushing your dog’s coat.

If your dog’s coat is neglected, it can turn into a tangled mess. When the dog’s coat gets into a tangled mess, it can cause skin issues, plus it’s uncomfortable for your dog.

Because the dogs have beards, it needs to be cleaned after each meal because of food particles becoming stuck. You need to take time brush your dog’s teeth daily to prevent your dog from having dental issues.



Both the Black Russian Terrier and the Giant Schnauzer are trainable. But they can be a challenge to an inexperienced owner because of being strong-minded and dominant.

You will need to start obedience early while these dogs are still puppies. It will take longer to train these breeds if you get the dog when he’s older.

Both of these dogs are extremely intelligent and need obedience, training, and structure. You should never use harsh punishments to train these dogs. You need to use the reward method, which works well with these highly intelligent dogs.

For both breeds, socialization is essential. Both breeds need to meet different people and be in social situations throughout their life. They need to learn to be comfortable in different situations. When appropriately socialized, both breeds will be a pleasure to own.



These breeds demand a lot of exercises to burn off all the energy. This is especially true when they are puppies and before turning into an adult dog.

You need to be an active person who can channel your dog’s energy in a positive way. If not, then be prepared for a dog who may become destructive, trying to find a way to escape boredom.

You do need to avoid any high impact exercise while your dog is still growing. Otherwise, he may develop joint issues. Your dog’s ligaments need to form correctly and jumping, or other activities like this can put pressure on his joints. Both breeds need to be walked about one to two hours daily, especially when they’re young.



The Black Russian Terrier price range starts at about $1000, while the Giant Schnauzer price range starts at about $700.

Plus, prices can vary due to how old the dog is, the pedigree, and the training level completed.



1.The Black Russian Terrier is courageous, energetic, gentle, independent, affectionate, intelligent, lively, playful, social, and protective.

The Giant Schnauzer is multi-talented and participates in activities such as competitive obedience, agility, military work, police work, guarding, and tracking.

2.The Black Russian Terrier will bark and alert you when he finds an intruder.

The Giant Schnauzer barks at all strangers and will alert you when he sees one.

3.The Black Russian Terrier will respond to you during the training session and observes everything.

The Giant Schnauzer takes time to train and is a slow learner.

4.The Black Russian Terrier is preferred because of his protective capacity.

The Giant Schnauzer is highly protective and will protect family members and the home.

5.The Black Russian Terrier can be aggressive if not properly trained.

The Giant Schnauzer will become angry if attacked and will retaliate.


There are many similarities between these two breeds:

  • Both breeds need maintenance to keep their coats in shape.
  • Both dogs are highly intelligent and need an owner who can be dominant.
  • Both breeds are protective of their family and home.
  • Both breeds can become aggressive if not properly trained.
  • Neither dog is suited for apartment living but needs big yards with fences.
  • Both breeds need plenty of exercises to keep them from becoming bored.
  • They are similar in appearance.
  • Both breeds can be aggressive with unfamiliar male dogs. They can get along with other dogs as long as the dogs are raised together.



For as much as these two dog breeds are alike, there are also differences:

  • The Black Russian Terrier has a dense, harsh, and long rough water repellent coat.
  • The Giant Schnauzer has a dense, harsh, and rough short, wiry coat.
  • The life span of the Black Russian Terrier is 10-11 years.
  • The life span of a Giant Schnauzer is 10-12 years.
  • The Black Russian Terrier is larger and can weigh up to 132 pounds and stands at about 29 inches.
  • The Giant Schnauzer is smaller and can weigh up to 90 pounds and stands about 27 inches.
  • The Black Russian Terrier was developed in Russia.
  • Giant Schnauzer was developed in Germany.
  • Black Russian Terriers bark less than Giant Schnauzers.
  • Giant Schnauzers will bark at anything unexpected or strangers approaching the home. Plus, this breed has a louder bark.
  • Black Russian Terriers are more child friendly.
  • Giant Schnauzers shouldn’t be left with children under the age of 10 unattended.



Both of these breeds are large dogs that need a lot of room to romp and play.

These dogs need to be exercised daily to keep them from being bored and developing destructive behavior.

Both breeds make excellent guard dogs, with the Giant Schnauzer having the louder bark.

These breeds will need to be groomed from 15 to 30 minutes daily to keep their coats free from tangles and mats.

Since both dogs have beards, cleaning the beards after meals is a must. If not, crumbs will get stuck in the beards.

It’s essential to do obedience training with both breeds since the dogs like to be dominant. Training as early as possible is critical to be able to control these large dogs.

When you own either a Black Russian or a Giant Schnauzer, it will require a lot of your time, effort, and dedication on your part.

These dogs require a lot of mental stimulation and interaction with their family. If you can’t provide that, then these dogs aren’t for you.


For more information, watch these two videos below: