Russia is the home of many of the world’s best known dog breeds, but there are also Russian dog breeds that are not at all well-known, and some that are even not recognized by international bodies.
Most of the Russian dog breeds have a lot in common, mainly being cold-weather breeds, and are working dogs. Strongly built, and highly intelligent, and obedient, Russian breeds of dog are amazing workers which require a lot of space to burn off the energy, if they don’t find themselves in a working environment for which they were bred.
Most of the Russian dog breeds come from pre-Soviet Russia; however, there are also a few newer breeds which were developed during the Soviet era.
Samoyed: Bred by the Samoyedic people of Siberia, the Samoyed is a medium-sized dog bred for herding reindeer, as well as pulling sleds. This is a very friendly temperament, but are big barkers, so don’t expect much quiet in the home with a Samoyed around; however, they do make great watchdogs.
Borzoi: Also called the Russian Wolfhound, the Borzoi is a large sighthound, with a silky flat coat. They can weigh as much as 110 pounds. The Borzoi is a quiet dog breed that only barks on rare occasions. With a highly athletic built, the Borzoi is a fast runner. The high level of intelligence requires an experienced owner.
Caucasian Ovcharka: Also known as the Caucasian Shepherd Dog, the Ovcharka is a breed hailing for the northern Caucuses, with a muscular body. There are two types (mountain, and plain), with the mountain version having a heavier coat for dealing with the colder weather.
Russian Black Terrier: Also known as the Tchiorny Terrier, the Russian Black Terrier is a breed developed in Soviet Russia in the 1940s and ‘50s as a working/military dog. It is a very clam breed, with an air of confidence, and displays great courage when necessary. Highly intelligent, and great in size, it requires an experienced owner.
East European Shepherd: Based on the German Shepherd, the East European Shepherd was developed in Soviet Russia in the 1930’s and 50s. It was developed for military use, and was especially bred for the ability to resist and thrive in extremely cold weather. They are larger than the German Shepherd, and demonstrate high levels of intelligence. A calm and quiet breed, it makes a great guard dog, but requires a firm hand and experienced owner.
Siberian Husky: Possibly the best known of Russian breeds, the Siberian Husky is a very popular breed across the world. A working breed, the Siberian Husky is the original sledding dog. It is highly energetic and thrives in the cold weather.
Russian Toy Terrier: One of the smallest breeds in the world, the Russian Toy (as it’s often called) is a companion breed, and comes in two coat varieties: short (smooth) and long. Originally bred as a vermin hunter, and watch dog, the Russian Toy is highly active, and energetic, and can be very vocal.
Moscow Watchdog: Developed during the Soviet era, the Moscow Watchdog was created by crossing the Saint Bernard, the Caucasian Shepherd, and the Russian Spotted Hound. This is a very large breed of dog, but has a very calm and gentle temperament. It requires a lot of exercise and an experienced owner/handler.