Some people are born to work. The Black Russian Terrier fits into this category, as well. Although part of the reason it was bred was to create a national dog for Russia, the primary goal in creating the Black Russian Terrier's was bred to fulfill a need for in the country's national security force - one that could withstand the country's frigid winters.
Though the spark for the breeding program came in the 1930s in the military's Red Star Kennels, it wasn't until after World War II that the country and he kennels had the time and resources to devote to creating the Black Russian Terrier. A true Cold War kid, the Black Russian Terrier found its first jobs being preformed for the Soviet Red Army as a prison guard, a border guard, and a guard at military instillations in the mid-1950s, when the breed was finally being reproduced successfully on its own.
Ironically, although the breed was created to be a stoic Cold War guard with the potential to be a vicious protector, the Black Russian Terrier was eventually changed to a loving and caring breed by private breeders before they were widely distributed out of Russia, succeeding and excelling as service dogs and therapy dogs.
With their innate ability for loyalty and protectiveness, and the belief that the breed may be the most intelligent dog known to man, Black Russian Terriers excel as service dogs. Service dogs are trained to provide a variety of assistance to humans who are unable to perform basic tasks because of disease, illness, or other physical or mental limitations. The most common, famed, and most commonly recognized of service dogs are guide dogs, or those dogs trained to be the "sight" for the blind. Known for its ability to focus on tasks, the Black Russian Terrier excels at keeping itself focused while helping its owner maneuver through city sidewalks, buildings, and parks. The Black Russian Terrier also finds employment as assistance dogs: Those dogs that help people with physical disabilities perform everyday tasks, including picking up items off the floor, turning on and off light switches, and even to provide a sturdy "shoulder to lead on" to help a person rise from a sitting position. There are organizations, such as Canine Companions for Independence and Guide Dogs for the Blind, that specialize in training dogs to become service animals, as well as both finding families to help foster and train the dogs and people who are in need of assistance from the dogs. Information about these organizations and who to contact them are readily available on the Internet.
Therapy dogs are used to improve the mental well being of people in nursing homes, hospital, and even by individuals who suffer mental illness. Black Russian Terriers, with their loving disposition, helps brighten the day of many people by being therapy dogs. Unlike registered service dogs, therapy dogs are not given the same protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and are not automatically allowed to accompany people into any building or situation. However, therapy dogs do fulfill an important role, and the Black Russian Terrier is well suited to this job.