ABOUT RUSSIAN DOGS
There are about twenty known dog breeds of Russian origin. Russia is one of the countries which have produced a large variety of dogs. Some of them like Borzoi, Black Russian Terrier and Samoyed are popular worldwide. Other Russian dogs like Caucasian Ovcharka or Russian Toy are only gaining popularity outside their native country. There are also a few Russian dog breeds that are not yet recognized internationally.
Russian dog breeds have a lot in common. Most of them are highly intelligent, obedient, protective and loyal. They are generally strong built, healthy and hardy, and have a warm coat to withstand the Russian climate. They usually need a lot of space, early obedience training and early socialization. And still, almost each Russian dog breed has very distinct features that make it unique.
Russian dogs are generally good in herding, guarding and hunting, though many of them are eager to become just family pets.
The history of Russian dogs breeds is closely associated with the Russian communist revolution and other dramatic events that took place in Russia in the last century.
OLD RUSSIAN DOG BREEDS
Before the communists came to power in 1917 Russia was best known for its herding and hunting dogs, and the Russian wolfhound, Borzoi, became the oldest registered dog breed in the world. Apart from Borzois, Russian nobility was breeding a number of scent hounds for traditional Russian hunt which was very popular at that time.
Ordinary people living in northern regions of the Russian Empire were using Laikas for hunting and sledding, while flocks in the Southern regions were guarded by ancient Caucasian dog and Central Asian dog, as well as the Russian Sheepdog.
After the communist revolution the Borzois and small dogs like Bolonkas were denounced as aristocratic playthings and were ousted from the new Soviet life. Instead, the Soviet authorities concentrated on creation of new working breeds, best suited for their needs. As a result of crossing of some Western and local Russian dog breeds a number of so-called Soviet dogs appeared, including the Russian German Shepherd (East European Shepherd), the Moscow dog (Moscow Watchdog), and the Russian Newfoundland. Among them the Russian Black Terrier, often called the Russian Pearl, became a real breeding success.
In post-war period Russian civilian dog lovers have supplemented this list with several small dogs breeds like the Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka and the Russian Toy. Russian hunters, in their turn, have added the Russian Spaniel to it.
RARE DOG BREEDS
Most Soviet dog breeds, except for the Russian Black Terrier and the Russian Toy, are still considered rare dog breeds. They are not standardized by the majority of kennel clubs and can be rarely met outside their native country.
Some of Russian pre-revolutionary breeds have gone forever and are referred now as extinct dogs. Among Soviet dogs the Russian Newfoundland, also known as the Russian water dog, was considered to become an extinct dog in 1980s. Thanks to British and other Western breeders the Borzoi and the Samoyed didn't suffer the same fate.
TYPES OF DOGS
The Russian dog breeds represent different types of dogs.
RUSSIAN SHEPHERD DOGS
The best Russian shepherds are those very old Russian dog breeds that were designed for working and herding sheep many centuries ago, i.e. the Caucasian Mountain Dog, the Central Asian Dog and the Russian Sheepdog (South Russian Shepherd). Because of their strength, intelligence and loyalty they became very useful in other tasks too.
RUSSIAN GUARD DOGS
The Caucasian Ovcharka and the Central Asian Shepherd are the world's top guard dogs. They are not easy to deal with and may be too savage in their nature but if properly trained they become obedient and very effective. Among other Russian dogs the Black Russian Terrier, the East European Shepherd, the Moscow Watchdog, and the Russian Sheepdog are also reliable guards.
RUSSIAN FIGHTING DOGS
Both the Caucasian Ovcharka and the Central Asian Shepherd were traditionally employed in the Southern regions of Russia as fighting dogs. Until now they are occasionally taking part in illegal dog fighting.
Russian hunting dogs include the famous sighthound Borzoi, several Russian scenthounds like the Russian Hound and the Russian Harlequin Hound, the flushing and retrieving Russian Spaniel, and the versatile Laikas.
COMPANION LITTLE DOGS
Most of Russian dogs are large and heavy. Only two Soviet breeds, the Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka and the Russian Toy, are little dogs. The Russian Toy is so tiny that it became the main competitor of Chihuahua.
Please browse this Russian dog site to learn more about dogs of the Russian origin, including the types of dogs, dog kinds and dog behavior.
FULL LIST OF DOG BREEDS: