Bouvier des Flandres vs Black Russian Terrier – Whats The Difference?

A casual glance at Bouvier des Flandres and Black Russian Terrier may lead you to believe that these two breeds are closely related.

The two breeds look a lot alike, sharing some notable characteristics, such as strong bodies, big heads, abundant coats, and heavy eyebrows and mustaches.

In addition, each of them is a hard-working and rather independent breed.

However, when comparing Bouvier des Flandres vs Black Russian Terrier, you can’t overlook thoroughly different origins of the two breeds which result in some significant differences.

While both were bred in Europe as working dogs, Bouviers have a lot longer history and were initially developed in Belgium as a herding breed.

BRTs hail from the opposite end of Europe, Russia, where they were bred for military and protection purposes.

I’ll take a closer look into the two breeds and explain what sets them apart.

So, let’s dive in!

AttributesBouvier des FlandresBlack Russian Terrier
Good For First Time OwnersNoNo
Good Guard DogYesYes
Apartment FriendlyWith Enough ExerciseYes
Good Family DogYesYes
Barking And HowlingLowModerate
Height 21-28 inches (55-70 cm) 26-30 inches (64-72 cm)
Average Life Expectancy10-12 Years10-11 Years


Bouvier des Flandres – Dog Breed Information

Originally a shepherd breed, Bouviers quickly became do-it-all farm dogs.

Besides taking care of livestock, they also protected the farm, pulled carts, and helped their owners in many other ways.

While they’re still occasionally used for herding, today their role is mostly as service and family dogs.


Bouvier des Flandres is a big, well-built dog with a strong and muscular body. Their long hair may add to their size making their stature commanding and imposing.

Still, they’re surprisingly nimble and agile.

Bouvier des Flandres has a shaggy, water-resistant double coat. The topcoat is harsh and long with a tousled appearance.

The undercoat is softer and very dense, providing protection in cold weather.

Bouviers come in many different colors. The most common varieties are black, fawn, gray, brindle, and pepper&salt.

This breed has a big head with a distinctively abundant beard, mustache, and eyebrows.

Eyes are dark-brown, ears are upright and triangular, and the tail is long and carried high.

Adult males can grow 23-28 inches (59-70 cm) in height and weigh 75-110 pounds (34-50 kg).

Female Bouviers can reach to 21-28inches (55-70 cm) in height and up to 60-80 pounds (27-36 kg) in weight.


You may not guess just by looking at them, but Bouviers are very calm dogs, especially when they’ve matured.

They enjoy spending time with family and are very loyal and devoted.

If you plan on owning a Bouvier des Flandres, prepare to set aside a fair share of your time as these dogs require instant engagement from their owners.

Bouviers are great around children, especially when socialized early.

Even though they have a very gentle nature, Bouviers are fearless when it comes to protecting their family, and can be overly distrustful towards strangers.

However, this makes them one of the best breeds for family and property protection.

They’re not too hard to train, but due to their abundance of energy, they do require an experienced trainer.

Black Russian Terrier – Dog Breed Information

Black Russian Terrier by (CC BY 2.0)

Despite their name, BRT’s are not actually terriers. They were developed after WWII in the Soviet Union as working military dogs.

Their origins are not totally clear, but they were likely created by crossbreeding Rottweilers, Newfoundland’s, Giant Schnauzers, Airedales, and several other breeds.


The Black Russian Terrier’s appearance reveals a hard and powerful worker, with a strong and large body.

They’re large-bonded and very muscular which combines for a somewhat intimidating presence. still, they have a springy and well-balanced gait.

Hailing from Russia and developed to withstand harsh weather, BRT features a thick double coat with a coarse topcoat and a softer undercoat.

They are always black, rarely with few gray hairs.

Russians have a massive block-shaped head with a square muzzle featuring a beard and mustache.

Ears are set on top of the head and triangular. The tail is set high.

The male height is in the 26-30 inches (66-72 cm) range, while the average weight is between 110 and 133 pounds (50-60 kg).

Females grow around 26-28 inches (64-70 cm) and weigh 88-111 pounds (40-50) kg.


Black Russian Terrier is a calm and confident dog, who enjoys spending time by its owner’s side and hanging around with kids.

When with children, they show a lot of patience and are very protective. They thrive on human attention and can get a bit restless when left alone.

BRT’s easily get bored and can even become destructive if not properly stimulated.

Like most guard dogs, they’re aloof with strangers, although not particularly shy. Still, they will accept a stranger you admitted into the household.

Due to their strong prey drive, they rarely get along with other animals they don’t know.

Bred for military service, BRTs are extremely intelligent and can be trained to perform a lot of different tasks.

However, they do have a stubborn streak to them and will require consistent and authoritative training.

Bouvier des Flandres vs Black Russian Terrier – What’s the Difference?

Bouvier des FlandresBlack Russian Terrier
Black Russian Terrier by (CC BY 2.0)

If your choice has come down to Bouvier des Flandres vs Black Russian Terrier, make sure to do your research, as those breeds aren’t as similar as they may look.

For starters, Russians are bigger but have shorter coat hair. If you care about color, then Bouviers provide more options, as BRTs are always black.

Both breeds require at least some experience with larger dogs.

Black Russian Terriers are more trainable and a bit smarter, but their natural stubbornness can cause some issues for first-time owners.

BRTs, although bigger, are more suited to living in apartments.

As long as you take them out regularly, they won’t mind spending time inside. As for grooming, both require a similar amount of care.

Bouviers and Russians are both very affectionate and get along with kids, but Belgians are more playful and could be a better choice for families with children.


Bouvier des Flandres and Black Russian Terrier are both excellent choices for those looking for a loving family dog who’s still capable of protecting owners and their loved ones.

In addition, both breeds can be trained to perform a variety of other tasks.

However, to get the most out of them and make sure that they will get along with everyone, early socialization and proper training are a must.

Furthermore, due to their size and activity level, they’re not perfect for everyone. They will require a lot of attention and engagement.

If you’re not prepared to offer them this, then you should probably look at some other breeds.

Authored By

Madeline Wright

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