With its diverse bloodline, featuring several sporting and working breeds, the Black Russian Terrier has been bred to feature a wiry, waterproof coat. This beautiful black coat was developed to withstand the climatic extremes of its Russian homeland. In professional circles, even the color of the coat is given high priority. The American Kennel Association will disqualify a dog if it shows anything but black or black with only a few gray hairs.
This weatherproof coat of the Black Russian Terrier features wiry, hard, wavy, close-lying hairs, which are about 1.5 inches to 4 inches, depending on the location on the dog. The coat may develop to be a bit wavy, but never develop into curls. The Black Russian Terrier handsomely sports a beard and eyebrows. Appropriately for its strong stature, the withers and neck hair resemble a lion's mane. The undercoat should be well developed and tight.
It is highly recommended that the Black Russian Terrier receive a regular trimming - two to three times a year - by a professional groomer. Some experts believe the Black Russian Terrier should be groomed as frequently as every six weeks. Other than for showing, the stripping of the coat is only necessary if the coat is soft to the touch. When this breed is hand-stripped, the coat will achieve a coarse texture.
It is acceptable to show a Black Russian Terrier in full coat or hand-stripped, which is preferred by the American Kennel Club. When stripping the Black Russian Terrier, the head and front should be in full beard, much like its cousin, the Kerry Blue Terrier.
As with all dogs with this type of impressive but functional coat, the Black Russian Terrier must be brushed weekly on top of whatever professional grooming schedule is decided upon by the owner. This breed can shed more than its descendent, the Airedale, but it also is known to shed less than the Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever. However, the Black Russian Terrier sheds very little if the owner maintains a regular brushing schedule. This breed should also have hair removed from the pads of its paws and from ear ducts on a regular basis. The Black Russian Terrier does not molt.
It's recommended to use a top-notch dog shampoo when bathing the Black Russian Terrier. It should be diluted and agitated until a foam appears. The foam should be thoroughly worked into the coat, then completely rinsed. It's also helpful to use a conditioning rinse to help restore normal skin function. The coat can then be wrung out and dried with a towel.
The Black Russian Terrier Club of America and the American Kennel Club have more in-depth materials on how to groom the Black Russian Terrier for professional showing, which includes detailed graphics.