Russian guard dog breeds became the subjects of four new Russian stamps issued by the Russian Post at the end of May. These newcomers to the series of stamps Fauna of Russia are dedicated to the Russian Mountain Dog (Caucasian Shepherd), the Black Russian Terrier, the South Russian Ovcharka, and the Central Asian Shepherd.
The stamps are denominated 16, 18, 20, and 26,5 rubles. The size of the each stamp is 2,6 x 1,3 in (65 x 32,5 mm), and the size of the sheet is 6,2 x 6,2 in (157 x 157 mm). Each sheet has decorated margins and consists of eight (2 x 4) stamps.
The opportunity to be first to buy the new Russian guard dogs stamps was granted to the clients of the Moscow post office number 101000. At this post office the Russian stamp collectors could also acquire first day covers, as well as full stamp sheets. The overall number of issued stamps is 108 thousand of each kind (54 thousand sheets).
The Russian Post’s press-release says that Russian guard dog breeds are working breeds of large, strong and hardy dogs that have congenital guarding qualities and require long walks and exercise. The working dogs that are usually used in Russia belong to ten working dog breeds: five types of shepherds – German, Scottish, Caucasian, Central Asian, and South Russian – alongside with Black Russian Terrier, Moscow Watchdog, Airedale Terrier, Giant Schnauzer, and Rottweiler.
The dogs on the new stamps represent guard dog breeds that are most important for Russia.
Caucasian Shepherd (Caucasian Ovcharka)
One of the oldest world dog breeds, known for over two thousand years. This Russian mountain dog has a pronounced sense of territory; they defend and protect their owner’s property remaining incorrupt and uncompromising. The Caucasian Ovcharka is a proud and rebellious dog but at the same time they are absolutely devoted to their master. The main features of a Caucasian Shepherd are independence, love for freedom, and the desire for leadership.
Black Russian Terrier
The national Russian dog breed that has come into being in the second half of 20th century in the former USSR. The breed was created at the Russian Army’s kennel "Red Star" by crossing 14 various dog breeds, among them Giant Schnauzer, Airedale Terrier, Rottweiler, Newfoundland, and Moscow Water Dog. They are very brave and observant dogs that do not need to be aggressive. They show fast response and are used as a very effective Russian guard dog.
Central Asian Shepherd Dog (Alabai)
This is an ancient dog, initially bred by cattlemen of Central Asia. They are large herding dogs that are capable to guard and protect the flock regardless of rain, cold and heat. They are always ready to rush into a fight with wolves, and to always win in such a fight. The Central Asian Shepherd is a hardy and unpretentious guard dog that requires little maintenance and adapts to any climate. Being indifferent to strangers outside its guarded territory, Alabai becomes a formidable and vigilant guard inside the property he protects.
South Russian Ovcharka (Russian Sheepdog)
Another representative of ancient herding dog breeds. This Russian Sheepdog is above average height, very strong and active. Their body, head, limbs, and tail are covered with coarse, long, thick, and shaggy coat. The South Russian Ovcharka dogs are unpretentious, easy to adapt to different climate, and are mainly used to guard and provide the security of the premises.
The design of new Russian guard dog stamps is a result of a creative contest that was arranged by the Russian Post a year before.