The Soviet dog usually refers to one of the new dog breeds developed in Russia during the Soviet era (1917-1991). Sometimes they are called the Russian army dogs because they were mostly developed in the Russian army's "Red Star' kennel.
After the communist revolution the new Soviet government centered on working dog breeds, especially for military and guarding purposes. Most of the "bourgeois" Russian dogs like Borzoi and Bolonka were judged "useless" and almost vanished in the country. Even the Siberian Husky was considered to be too small for an effective use and didn't become an extinct dog only thanks to the Western breeders. (Collage Credit: Miquel A.Marcos/Flickr)
Russian army dogs
Instead of the "aristocratic playthings" the Soviet authorities began breeding new "Soviet dogs" by means of "improving" the old Russian (Caucasian dog, Central Asian dog, Laikas, etc.) and the best European working dog breeds. Their first successive experiment resulted in creation of the Russian German Shepherd(aka East European Shepherd) - a large, strong and frost-resistant blend of the famous German Shepherd, the Caucasian dog, the Central Asian dog and the Laikas.
The main role in the creation and breeding of the Soviet dogs was traditionally played by the Russian military. More than 60 thousands Russian dogs trained for military functions were later used by the Soviet army in the WWII battles.
"Red Star" kennel
The "Red Star" kennel, belonging to the Russian military, was established in Moscow as far back as in 1924. It became known outside Russia after the WWII when the creation of new Soviet dog breeds intensified. At the "Red Star" kennel the military dog breeders were crossing East European Shepherd with Newfoundland, Saint Bernard with Caucasian dog, Great Dane with East European Shepherd, Newfoundland with Caucasian dog, Giant Schnauzer with Airedale Terrier and Rottweiler.
As a result of their experiments a number of new Soviet dogs appeared, including the Moscow Water Dog, the Moscow Great Dane, the Moscow Watchdog, and the now famous Black Russian Terrier. The first two creations of the "Red Star" kennel are now extinct dogs, whereas the Moscow Watchdog and especially the Black Terrier are gaining international popularity.
While military dog breeders were focusing on working breeds, the Russian dog lovers were doing their best to restore the population of civil dogs. During the communist regime it was difficult for them to import purebred dogs from abroad. In this situation the Russian civilian breeders centered on the selection from already existing dog breeds.
Their efforts to revive the Bolonkas led to the appearance of a new civil dog breed, the Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka. The once popular in tsarist Russia English Toy Terrier has finally obtained new distinct features and became the Russian Toy. One more civil dog, the Russian Spaniel, was developed from several Spaniel breeds remaining in the country.
By today the following Soviet dogs are known:
Moscow Water dog (extinct)
Moscow Great Dane (extinct)