The Russian Newfoundland, known as the Moscow Water dog, is an extinct dog, developed in Russia in the 1950s and the 1960s. This Soviet dog breed performs an unsuccessful attempt of the Russian army’s dog breeders to create a working dog for water rescue. Today the Russian Newfoundland is worth remembering mostly because of its involvement in the development of another Russian dog, the world popular Black Russian Terrier.
The history of the Russian Water Dog began after the WWII when a number of purebred Newfoundland dogs were brought from Germany to the Russian army’s “Red Star” kennel. In Russia the Newfoundland was historically called the Vodolaz, which means “diver” in Russian. The army breeders immediately started to cross the imported Newfoundland dogs with Caucasian dogs, and later with Russian German Shepherds. As a result several successful litters appeared, and the Russian Newfoundland was given its present name, the Moskovsky Vodolaz, or the Moscow Vodolaz.
The Moscow Vodolaz was rather large (about 26 inches in height). This now extinct dog proved to be an excellent swimmer, and it was able to withstand cold climate and freezing water. On the other hand, the new breed had a much more aggressive and vicious temperament than that of the Newfoundland, inherited from the brutal Caucasian Ovcharka, known as excellent guardians of property or livestock but quite hard to control. When tested for navy needs, the Moscow Water Dog was tending to attack and bite sailors instead of saving them. It was the Russian military’s one and only attempt to create the ultimate water rescue dog, and it failed.
Being not suitable for military service, this Russian dog breed was mainly used for the creation of the Russian Terrier, alongside with some imported European dogs. The Black Russian Terrier, derived from a combination of 14 different breeds, was definitely the most successful dog to come out of the Russian Army’s breeding efforts.
In late 1960s the future of the Moskovsky Vodolaz was passed to civilians, and the commercialization of this Russian Newfoundland started. The new civil owners were not keen on experiments, and were crossing their pets mostly with purebred Newfoundland dogs. By the middle of 1980s the “Russian Water Dog” couldn’t be any more distinguished from the Newfoundland and was considered to become an extinct dog.
Russian Newfoundland, Moscow Water Dog, Moscow Diver, Moscow Retriever, Moskovsky Vodolaz, Moscow Vodolaz, Moscow River Dog, Vodolaz
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