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Archie O’Neill

When you hear the words “Black Russian”, are you thinking of the drink or the large BRT terrier? Archie O’Neill came into the Rosanna Veterinary Clinic for his yearly vaccination with his proud owner Josh.

Being named a terrier you would expect a small framed, athletic dog but Archie is a Black Russian Terrier. We had never seen a Black Russian in the clinic before so we were amazed by his size and lovable nature.

Black Russian Terriers originally served as military/working dogs in the former Soviet Union. Since 2004 they have been recognised by the American Kennel Club and the public are now becoming aware of the breed. Despite its name it is not a true terrier, it is believed that about twenty breeds were used in its development including the Airedale, Giant Schnauzer, Rottweiler and Newfoundland. This gives it the traits of strength, athleticism and courage along with size, coat and intelligence.

The BRT’s size is the first trait that strikes you. Males stand at up to 76cm at the withers and between 50-60kg. At 16 months Archie has the height and is weighing in at 45kg. As they were initially bred to guard and protect they are alert and responsive but also calm and deeply loyal to the family. As they originated as working dogs they have a strong work ethic and need lots of exercise. This is why they excel at obedience competitions; they love the discipline and work.

When the O’Neill family were deciding on a breed to suit their lifestyle they studied the Belgian Shepherd, Lagotto and Bouvier des Flandres that had similar traits. Prior to Archie they owned a Rottweiler so this grouped the characteristics they were looking for into one breed. Josh said that the “Animal Planet” website gave him reliable, descriptive information when doing homework on breeds.

Archie is a family dog spending time with the O’Neill’s 6 & 9 year old children. It is common to see Archie beside the trampoline watching the kids play and his placid nature allows him to be involved in family activities. The only trouble with an outing in the car on a wet day is that Archie leaves tail marks on the ceiling. He is that excited to go out, that the tail never stops. The most positive thing in owning Archie is that when they are out walking many people stop Josh and ask about the breed. He is a talking point and feedback is always positive. Belonging to an animal friendly family will make the breed name better known and the public more aware of their good nature.