Russian Dog Breeds The Amazing Pups That Came From Russia
Are You Looking For The Most Amazing Russian Dog Breeds? Then Youve Come To The Right Place!
As a country, Russia is so big, broad, and vast.
Some say that when people in West Russia are having breakfast, the people in East Russia are having dinner!
It seems only right that Russia is home to a particularly diverse and intriguing number of dog breeds.
The traditional “Russian breed” is a dog that has been born and bred to work, such as shepherd dogs, laika (barking/guarding) dogs, hunting (gun) dogs, and police dogs.
But as you will notice in this article, there are a few wonderful “pet” lap dogs that have been added into the mix as well.
Read on to learn more about the amazing and wonderful variety of canine companions that can trace their lineage back to Russia!
Russian dog breeds: Siberian Samoyed
The Siberian Samoyed, alternately known as the Siberian Bjelkier, the “Samoyed” or simply “Smiling Sammy,” proudly represents the Russian hunting dog breeds group with its wonderful, positive, vibrant, and enthusiastic temperament.
This big Russian dog breed has been bred to hunt, pull sleds, herd reindeer, and assist their human carers in nearly every phase of life together.
These snow dogs have since adapted to handle warmer and even tropical climates.
But it is still best to bring them indoors when it gets really hot.
Currently, the Siberian Samoyed is one of the most popular of all the medium Russian dog breeds.
It ranks 65 out of purebred American Kennel Club (AKC) dog breeds.
This dog stands 19 to inches tall and weighs between 35 and 65 pounds.
The Samoyed can live 12 to 14 years.
Worth noting: These dogs are bred to run and run and run! It goes without saying, a strong escape-proof fence and a long leash during walks are musts. This may not be the right dog for families with other vulnerable family pets or very young children. This is due to the Samoyed’s strong herding behaviors.
According to the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC), breeders should ensure their Samoyed parent dogs are tested and cleared of eye issues, cardiac issues, hip and elbow dysplasia, retinal dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
Samoyeds are also prone to bloat, a potentially life-threatening condition that can’t be tested for in advance.
However, there is a preventative surgery you may want to discuss with your dog’s veterinarian.
Russian dog breeds: Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky is perhaps the best known of the medium-sized Russian dog breeds!
The lineage dates back a whopping 4, years to the Chukchi people and their sled dogs.
Today, the Siberian Husky still competes in sled races and still adores human company.
This dog has been so socialized to people and is so trustworthy to its owners that in past decades, it was not uncommon for tribal adults to leave their children at home in the care of adult Siberian Husky dogs while they were out hunting, gathering and tending to other family business!
Currently, the Siberian Husky ranks 12 out of purebred AKC dog breeds.
This dog stands 20 to inches tall and weighs between 35 and 60 pounds.
The Siberian Husky can live 12 to 14 years.
According to the CHIC, breeders should ensure their Siberian Husky parent dogs are tested and cleared of eye issues and hip dysplasia.
Russian dog breeds: Russian Borzoi
In Russian, the word “borzoi” translates to mean “fast.”
And these dogs are really fast!
In fact, everything about the Russian Borzoi seems to be made to run, from its long, thin legs to its body and its face!
The Russian Borzoi, or Russian Wolfhound, is a member of the Russian hound breeds group.
This dog currently ranks 98 out of purebred AKC dog breeds.
The Russian Borzoi stands 26 to 28 inches tall and weighs 60 to pounds.
This dog can live 9 to 14 years.
Worth noting: This dog needs LOTS of space to run, and you should never let your borzoi off leash! Indoors, the Borzoi is a calm, stoic dog. He will be a perfect companion for a calm, stoic owner (but not for a houseful of young children!)
According to the CHIC, breeders should ensure their Borzoi parent dogs are tested and cleared of eye issues, hip and elbow dysplasia, cardiac issues, autoimmune thyroiditis, and degenerative myelopathy.
Russian dog breeds: Russian Black Terrier
The Black Russian Terrier (or Russian Black Terrier) was deliberately bred from crossing the Newfoundland, Airedale, Rottweiler, and Giant Schnauzer breeds.
The project began in the s inside of a military-run kennel called Red Star that focused on raising and training Russian guard dog breeds.
The project was successful.
Today the Black Russian Terrier is a popular family guard dog, as well as a working guard dog for the military and police organizations.
The Tchiorny Terrier, or the Russian Black Terrier, is considered one of the large Russian terrier breeds.
This dog stands 25 to 28 inches tall and can weigh anywhere from 80 to pounds!
This dog can live 10 to 11 years.
According to the CHIC, breeders should ensure their Russian Black Terrier parent dogs are tested and cleared of hip and elbow dysplasia, eye issues, cardiac issues, juvenile laryngeal paralysis, and polyneuropathy. Hyperuricosuria is another issue that their breeders should have their dogs health tested for.
Russian dog breeds: Caucasian Shepherd Dog
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog’s lineage may reach back at least 2, years.
The Caucasian Shepherd and the Central Asian Shepherd actually share a lineage.
Although as time went on, they were increasingly bred to work and live in different environmental conditions.
This breed actually gets its name from the mountain range near its modern homeland, the Caucasus Mountains.
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog, also called the Russian Bear Dog or the Russian Ovcharka, stands up to 30 inches tall and weighs at least pounds.
This dog can live up to 12 years.
Worth noting: Due to their heritage as single-owner shepherd (herding) dogs, these dogs tend to bond quite closely with just one family member. This can mean that is the only person who can control the dog. These dogs also won’t tolerate being separated from “their” person easily – not even for a short time period!
According to the CHIC, breeders should ensure their Caucasian Shepherd parent dogs are tested and cleared of hip and elbow dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, cardiac issues, eye issues, and patellar luxation.
Russian dog breeds: Central Asian Shepherd
The Central Asian Shepherd, also called the Alabai and the Central Asian Ovcharka, shares part of its early lineage with the Caucasian Shepherd Dog.
Both breeds can probably trace their lineage back to the original Tibetan dogs.
The two lineages were thought to part ways in the early 20th century since breeders focused on selecting for specific traits ideal for these dogs’ work and living environment in Russia and Central Asia, respectively.
The Central Asian Shepherd stands to inches tall and weighs 88 to pounds.
This dog can live 12 to 15 years.
The Central Asian Shepherd has a naturally fearless, proud, and independent temperament.
This is a result of their long working lineage, herding livestock and confronting large predators.
Worth noting: The Central Asian Shepherd Dog is naturally territorial and can make a very good guard dog. But this dog can be difficult to handle. For this reason, this breed is not considered suitable for an inexperienced dog owner or a family with young children.
As with many large Russian dog breeds, the Central Asian Shepherd can suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia.
Responsible breeders should ensure parent dogs are tested and cleared of any genetic issues.
Russian dog breeds: Karelian Bear Dog
The Karelian Bear Dog hails from a 2,+ year old lineage.
Their descendants include Russian spitz dogs (dogs with short fur, short muzzles, pointy ears, and curly tails) as well as the Siberian Husky.
As its name suggests, the Karelian Bear Dog is a wonderful representative of the Russian bear hunting dog breeds.
Unfortunately, in a post-war purge, these dogs were decimated after World War II.
Dedicated breeders gathered together an initial group of 60 dogs and used them to rebuild the lineage!
The Karelian Bear Dog stands 19 to inches tall and weighs 44 to 49 pounds.
This dog can live 11 to 13 years.
Worth noting: These dogs are not generally suitable for families with children or other pets, especially other family dogs. They are hunting dogs with a fearless spirit and the kind of naturally aggressive nature that can bring down big, fierce prey like bears.
The main known health issues for these dogs are hip and elbow dysplasia and eye issues.
Responsible breeders should ensure parent dogs are tested and cleared of any genetic issues.
Russian dog breeds: Eastern European Shepherd
The Eastern European Shepherd, or Russian German Shepherd, is a hybrid dog breed.
They were designed to function well in the very harsh and freezing climate of rural Russia.
This dog resulted from a cross between the German Shepherd Dog with the Caucasian Shepherd and maybe also laikas (barker/guard dogs).
These dogs are quite popular in Russia but are not well known outside the country.
They are larger and taller than the traditional, and much more well known, German Shepherd Dog.
Although the two breeds still look quite a bit alike.
This shared lineage has also made the Eastern European Shepherd one of the best picks for working Russian police dog breeds.
Today’s Eastern European Shepherd stands 24 to 28 inches tall and weighs about 75 to pounds.
This dog can live 10 to 14 years.
These dogs are very intense, loyal, and devoted.
However, they need early and constant socialization to tolerate strangers and other dogs without lapsing into “guarding” mode.
Worth noting: This is another breed that often bonds closely with just one person, meaning that will be the only person who can control the dog. They are not generally suitable for life with a family with small children or life in small dwellings without yard space.
Health issues can include hip and elbow dysplasia, eye issues, degenerative disc disease, and bloat.
Responsible breeders should ensure parent dogs are tested and cleared of any genetic issues.
Russian dog breeds: Russian Toy Terrier
The Russian Toy Terrier is a Russian toy dog breed that literally has all the best qualities any dog of any size could have.
These dogs are loyal, loving, smart, cuddly, snuggly, and also eager to please.
They are also really cute, with tiny bodies and huge floppy ears!
The Russian Toy Terrier stands 8 to 11 inches tall and weighs up to pounds.
This dog can live 12 to 14 years.
Their coats are short and therefore don’t require much maintenance.
Unlike most Russian dog breeds, the Russian Toy Terrier was bred to live with Russian nobles.
Their official duties were pretty much to snuggle in their owners’ laps!
Even today, these dogs often seem both unaware and unconcerned about their small size.
They will not hesitate to ask for more attention if they think they aren’t getting enough.
Worth noting: You won’t want to use a standard neck leash on these tiny dogs – they really need a harness to protect their delicate necks and trachea.
Additional health issues can include patellar luxation, eye issues, and periodontal disease.
(With most of these dogs, the baby teeth do not all fall out.)
Responsible breeders should ensure parent dogs are tested and cleared of any genetic issues.
Russian dog breeds: Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka
The name “Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka” is quite a tongue-twister.
If you prefer, you can just call this fluffy cutie by her common name of “Russian colored lapdog.”
The Bolonka dog breed has always been intended to live in small houses and apartments with human carers.
As a particularly cute member of the small Russian dog breeds group, the Bolonka is sweet-tempered, loving, affectionate, snuggly, loyal, and really good with kids.
As a bonus, they are also considered a near-hypoallergenic dog breed.
The Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka stands 9 to 10 inches tall and weighs to 11 pounds.
This dog can live 12 to 16 years.
These dogs hail from the Bichon dog line, with their similar playful demeanor and curly, thick fur.
Health issues can include patellar luxation, eye issues, cardiac issues, liver shunt, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
Responsible breeders should ensure parent dogs are tested and cleared of any genetic issues.
Russian dog breeds: Sulimov Dog
This jackal/dog hybrid breed is truly one-of-a-kind.
There are only 50 or so Sulimov dogs in the world, and every single one of them belongs to Russia’s Aeroflot Airlines!
They were bred specifically to work as sniffing dogs, detecting bombs and drugs.
The Sulimov dog breed takes its name from its creator, Dr. Klim Sulimov.
He bred seven generations of jackal (25%) and Siberian Laika (75%) to create what today is called the Sulimov jackal-dog hybrid breed.
Very little is known about the Sulimov dog other than this:
All of the dogs are housed on Aeroflot’s private grounds.
They must go through a training process before they can be certified to work as sniffing dogs.
To date, about 24 of the 50 dogs have passed the certification exam so far.
Russian dog breeds: Russian Spaniel
The Russian Spaniel is the newest representative of the Russian hunting dog (gun dog) group.
This loyal, energetic, smart, and active dog is equally adept at hunting birds and other small game prey.
The first Spaniel, named Dash, came to Russia as a gift.
The black Spaniel was given to a knyaz (nobleman) named Nikolai Nikolaevich.
However, spaniels since then have been deliberately bred for certain hunting traits.
Therefore, this hunting dog is a natural at flushing and retrieving game in marshlands, grasslands, forests, and everywhere else.
The Russian Spaniel today stands to inches tall and weighs 20 to 35 pounds.
This dog can live up to 14 years.
Because this breed is relatively new, the official breed club reports that obesity and otitis (ear issues) are the only recognized health issues owners and breeders must watch for.
Russian dog breeds: Yakutian Laika
The Yakutian Laika is one of a number of laika (barking/guarding dog) breeds.
This dog has an ancient history as a canine member of the Yakute tribal people.
These dogs may be the first sled-pulling dogs in the world!
Human progress nearly wiped out the Yakutian Laika, due to the decrease in need for sled-pulling dogs.
But breeders rallied, and today these happy, energetic, people-pleasing canine companions are becoming more popular outside of Russia as well.
The Yakutian Laika stands 21 to 23 inches tall and weighs 40 to 55 pounds.
This dog can live 10 to 12 years.
These dogs do shed seasonally.
They also might need quite a bit of brushing and grooming to keep their thick coats healthy.
Worth noting: These dogs are very bonded to people and will NOT do well if left alone!
Health issues can include hip and elbow dysplasia and eye issues.
Responsible breeders should ensure parent dogs are tested and cleared of any genetic issues.
Russian dog breeds
We hope you have enjoyed this virtual journey through the fascinating history of Russian dog breeds!
Have you ever cared for or worked alongside one of these Russian dog breeds?
We would love to hear your story!
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Ikonen, P., et al, “History of the Sled Dog,” Hetta Huskies Homeland Kennel and Mushing Safari,
Gureev, A., Ph.D., et al, “Russian Borzoi,” To Discover Russia Project,
Darrow, C., et al, “History of the Black Russian Terrier,” The Black Russian Terrier Club of America,
Bereza, E., et al, “History of the Breed Caucasian Shepherd Dog,” Iz SAMSHEETOVOY USADBY Kennel,
Mitchell, A., et al, “Central Asian Shepherd Dog,” Australian National Kennel Council,
Griffin, M., “History,” American Karelian Bear Dog Alliance,
Cawley, D., et al, “Russian Toy Dog Breed History,” Russian Toy Club of America,
Romanenkova, E., et al, “History of the Tsvetnaya Bolonka Dog Breed,” Tsvetnaya Bolonka Club of America,
Mravik, J., “Eastern European Shepherd – VEO,” Josef Mravik K9 Trainer & Kennel,
Shroeder, A., et al, “Russian Spaniel: History of the Breed,” Russian Spaniel Club,
Baum, P., “Aeroflot’s Canine Corps: Jackal-Dogs Sniffing Out Explosives,” Aviation Security International Magazine,
Russian Dog Breeds: 25 Different Canines That Come From Russia
Russia is mostly known for its harsh winters and frozen tundra, especially the portion of Russia that runs across Asia. Living in a place with a bitterly cold climate can be difficult, which means its taken some special types of canines to withstand these colder climates over the centuries. You may already be familiar with some of the most popular Russian Dog Breeds.
But, there are a good number of breeds that originatedor did most of their development in Russia. Many of these have histories spanning back thousands of years, making them some of the most ancient dogs on the planet!
If you live in an area that is colder, you may benefit from adding a dog with Russian heritage into your life. While not all of these dogs are easy to obtain (or care for), it’s always good to get a clearer picture of what makes a dog the way they are. Read on to find out more about these incredible dogs from the frigid north!
Perhaps the most well-known Russian dog is the Siberian Husky. These dogs are beyond iconic, and are one of the most popular breeds in the world. They were originally bred to help their nomadic families pull their sleds across the vast frozen wilderness.
These days, they still enjoy work, though they are most often seen as family companions. Huskies are playful and will enjoy time with their families, though they must be carefully trained so as not to injure anyone with their roughhousing.
These dogs are happiest when they have a job to do, as they are very energetic. They will need a whopping minutes of exercise each day, so you should ensure you’re able to keep up with their pace! Huskies benefit greatly from living with active families who have time to attend to their energy needs. Strenuous activity is good for them, so consider giving them more intense exercise such as hiking or sprinting after a frisbee.
The Samoyed is another popular dog from Russia. With their large bodies, happy faces, and dense, white fur, it’s hard to miss them. They’re considered to have originated from primitive dogs, as they have no wolf or fox within their gene pool. They served as companions to hunters, shepherds, and fishermen in Siberia.
While they are happy to continue doing work along those lines, they are also great family pets. They are wonderfully loyal and friendly dogs with a lot of affection to give. This suits them to many different kinds of household. Samoyeds aren’t great at being guard dogs since they are very friendly. Instead, they make good watchdogs because of their keen senses and natural alertness.
Try to keep your Samoyed entertained; they can develop destructive behaviors when they are bored. You can prevent destructive behaviors by training them also, though they will require a firm command Samoyeds can be stubborn! In any case, they love to run around and will need a yard that can accommodate this.
The Franzuskaya Bolonka is one of two breeds in the Russian Bolonka family. Looking into their etymology may be confusing; “Franzuskaya” means “French”, though these dogs definitely came from Russia! Instead, this breed came about because of the popularity of curly French breeds, such as the Poodle.
Franzuskaya Bolonkas are natural lap dogs and will always want to be at the center of everyone’s attention. They’re always happy to return the affection! Bear in mind that these dogs can be quite noisy. They make good watchdogs for this reason.
Despite being a good watchdog, they’re not very good at guarding, given how small they are. They also love making friends and will not need much time to be comfortable around strangers. As these dogs are sociable, it’s a good idea to bring them out to the dog park to meet other dogs while they get their exercise in. They don’t need a lot of activity to stay healthy, so leisurely walks of around minutes a day should suffice.
Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka
Another member of the Bolonka family is the Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka. The biggest difference between these two dog breeds is that the Tsvetnaya comes in an array of colors, while the Franzuskaya is only white. Expect these breeds to have similar temperaments.
Tsvetnaya Bolonkas are excellent as lap dogs and are happy even in small homes such as apartments. They thrive when they are given a lot of love and affection from their family. Bear in mind that they have a tendency to be a bit reserved. Socializing them early can help them warm up to new people in no time.
Training is especially important in their puppyhood so they don’t grow up to be too independent and stubborn. Positive reinforcement is the best way to keep them on track with learning good behavior. They will need small amounts of exercise each day; try not to tire them out too much as their small bodies may have a hard time catching up!
The Russian Spaniel has not been around for a very long time; they were bred in Russia at the end of World War II. Even so, the short history they’ve had on Earth has endeared them to many people. They work excellently as retriever companions for hunters.
Once they arrive home, they’re quick to charm everyone in the family with their bright and playful personality. They are patient enough to enjoy being around even small children, though you should still socialize them to make them comfortable around new people.
While Russian Spaniels are energetic, they don’t need a lot of exercise to be happy. Typically, around 45 minutes of exercise each day is enough to satisfy this breed. An example itinerary for exercise would be around 20 minutes of a brisk walk and 25 minutes of more intense games such as playing fetch. Like many pups, they are happiest when they have a large space outdoors to play in, but many are content living mostly an indoor life, even in smaller dwellings.
The Russian Toy is becoming more and more popular, especially in the United States. This dog is teeny-tiny, standing only at an average of inches at the withers, and weighing 6 pounds at the heaviest! They were originally bred to be companions for the Russian aristocracy.
Expect that they still carry a regal attitude despite being a companion to a commoner family! They are lively dogs who can be quite vain, and will require that you dote on them constantly. Despite their size, Russian Toys are very brave and will often charge headfirst into dangerous situations. They are incredibly fragile due to how small they are and do not do well with roughhousing.
As such, you should take extra care to keep them safe. Any time spent outdoors must be with your supervision, as they are small enough to be considered prey. An indoor life is best suited for this dog, though they should still be getting daily walks of around 20 minutes.
Russian Hounds are scent hounds that were developed in Russia roughly around the 18th century. They were bred for the hunt, usually working alongside dogs such as the Russian Borzoi, where the Hound would flush out the prey and the other dog would give chase.
To this day, they are still excellent companions for hunters, though they’ve found their place in the home, too, with their deep sense of loyalty. Take care not to have smaller animals in the home if you plan to bring in a Russian Hound. Their prey drive can cause a lot of chaos in the home and will be dangerous for smaller animals living there.
Thankfully, Russian Hounds are easy to train and socialize with their intelligence and obedient nature. They have nearly boundless energy and will be happiest when out exercising with their owners. Around 60 minutes of strenuous activity can help tire this dog out, so ensure that you can keep up with their pace.
Russian Harlequin Hound
The Russian Harlequin Hound hasn’t had a lot of popularity outside their native Russia, but makes for an excellent companion just the same. Another scent hound, the Harlequin enjoys hunting and has a strong prey drive.
This can make coexisting with smaller animals, such as cats, difficult. Despite this, they enjoy spending time with their human family and bigger animals. They can be wonderfully gentle around children. Encourage good behavior with socialization early in their puppyhood.
They aren’t good for smaller homes like apartments due to their need for movement; they can also be incredibly vocal, which your neighbors will not appreciate! They are very active dogs and will need open spaces where they can run around and expend their extra energy. Beyond this, they will need to 2 hours of exercise each day!
Black Russian Terrier
The Black Russian Terrier was bred to handle many different situations. They are very happy to play even in colder weather, often clamoring for activity when it snows or rains. These dogs were developed to answer the need for an alert working dog who was both gentle and obedient.
These qualities lend themselves well in home life; a Black Russian Terrier makes for such a good companion! These large dogs are often wary of strangers but will show their family no shortage of love and affection.
While they play nicely with smaller animals, Black Russian Terriers enjoy being large and in charge. As such, any other large dogs in the family may be difficult for them to get along with. Despite their size, they are happy to live in smaller homes provided they get enough exercise. Around 60 minutes of walking per day will be enough to tire this big dog out and keep them well-behaved.
The Yakutian Laika comes from the Yakutia region in Siberia. This dog has had many roles, having served as a herder for reindeer, a sled dog, a hunting companion, as well as a family dog. They enjoy doing their jobs well, and as such will always be eager to please their humans.
However, unfamiliar animals may trigger a defensive instinct in them; they can get aggressive around anyone they perceive to be a threat to their family’s safety. It’s important to socialize them early on and give them the right obedience training to help them behave better.
The Yakutian Laika has a dense coat that keeps them warm in the winter. However, this same coat can make them prone to overheating. It’s important to keep them indoors during the hotter months of the year. Daily exercise is necessary to this active breed. Expect to give them around 45 to 60 minutes of vigorous exercise every day in order to keep them happy.
West Siberian Laika
West Siberian Laikas are descended from wolves, which is why the modern breed looks a bit wolflike. They were originally bred in for the purpose of hunting large and small game. They retain these hunting instincts and possess a high prey drive.
It’s generally not a good idea to keep a West Siberian Laika if you’re a first-time dog owner. Training them is difficult, as they are stubborn; you need to know how to establish yourself as the pack leader. Once you are able to do that, then it’s possible for them to be a good companion.
This dog will not be happy in a small space. They are very alert and will start barking loudly if anything seems suspicious, and this could really annoy the neighbors. Beyond this, they need a lot of space to roam. West Siberian Laikas are high-energy dogs who will need around minutes of exercise every day. Taking them out for walks on a leash is a good way to curb their wanderlust.
East Siberian Laika
The East Siberian Laika is larger than their Western cousin. They were also used as a hunting dog, but they had extra utility in being a sled dog and drover. These dogs are also difficult to keep, though they tend to be warmer to their owners than their Western counterparts.
Training them well is important to instilling good behavior in them. Do this from early on to avoid as much stubbornness as possible. East Siberian Laikas also have a high prey drive and will happily chase small animals that share your home. For this reason, they’re often best off as the only pet in the household.
These dogs are very high energy and will require upwards of 60 minutes of exercise every day. Long walks, hikes, and sports are a good way to tire them out and keep them well-behaved.
Russo European Laika
Another member of the Laika family is the Russo-European Laika. They originated in the European parts of Russia sometime in the mid 20th Century. These dogs have an intense loyalty to their human family, though they can be wary of pretty much everyone else.
You can curb any aggressive behavior they may be prone to with early socialization. They enjoy spending time with their loved ones, but will need a lot of care and respect to be comfortable. This dog has high energy needs and will require around 60 minutes of exercise each day. You can give them daily walks, though they will also be happy to explore forests and mountains with you on hikes.
They will almost always retain a need for barking and loudly! This is exacerbated by them being in enclosed spaces for too long. If you are considering adopting a Russo-European Laika, then you should have a large home.
The Karelo-Finnish Laika gets their start in the Karelo area of Russia. They are the smallest of the Laikas, bred for their transportability during hunts. Their size may prevent them from hunting larger game, but they can handle smaller game and birds just fine.
They are suited to be watchdogs as well as family companions. In fact, they’re likely the sweetest of the Laikas, eager to display affection to their human family. They are at home with other dogs in the household, but their high prey drive will be dangerous to smaller pets.
These dogs are intelligent, though their training will require a lot of kindness and positive reinforcement. They are very sensitive and can easily hold a grudge when they feel they aren’t treated properly. Expect this dog to love playing; you will need to help tire them out so they can be better behaved. Around 90 minutes of exercise each day is enough for them. It’s a big responsibility, so be sure you’re up to the challenge!
South Russian Ovcharka
The South Russian Ovcharka is one of the best guard dogs on this list. Their intended purpose was to be an all-around guard dog, protecting their family and property with a deep loyalty. This can mean that they are more independent, thus making it difficult to assimilate them into family life.
If you teach them how to behave from early in their puppyhood, you can still expect them to be affectionate. However, in that training, you must be firm in teaching them that you are the leader of the pack.
These dogs do not like living in cramped spaces, and as such will hate apartment life. A home with large rooms and a yard to match will be instrumental in keeping the South Russian Ovcharka satisfied. They are high energy dogs who require at least 70 minutes of exercise every day. Take them out for walks as much as you can, and allow them to safely explore the outside world while they’re on their leash.
Central Asian Shepherd
The Central Asian Sheepdog is said to be the oldest surviving breed today, having been around for roughly 5, years. While they originated in Central Asia, it wasn’t until the s that they were standardized and recognized as their own breed this was done by the Russians.
The CAS is both calm and courageous, and would make an excellent family protector. They are suspicious of new humans and animals, and will often feel threatened by people encroaching on their personal space. Socialization is very important to make the most of this loyal breed’s underlying good nature. This will help them get along with every member of the family, including other animals.
Be sure to give your CAS the space it needs to be happy; they will definitely need more than just an apartment! Larger homes suit this breed best, but they are far happier patrolling the grounds outside. They have high energy needs and will need upwards of 90 minutes of exercise each day.
East European Shepherd
Another Shepherd breed developed in Russia is the East European Shepherd. They were bred for harsh, cold climates and to have fewer health problems than the German Shepherd. They are very talented dogs, having histories in the military, the police, and search and rescue.
As such, they will be happiest with a job to occupy their time. In the home, the East European Shepherd shows high loyalty towards their family, but will be wary of others. They get along with other canines who share the home, but their high prey drive may have them chasing cats and other pets.
Training this dog well is key to keeping them behaved into their adulthood. Luckily, their intelligence and obedience make this easy. These dogs are hugely active and will need minutes of exercise every day. They make a good companion for bike rides, as they are adept at running. Try to give this dog variety in their exercise, as their high intelligence calls for a lot of mental stimulation.
With their origins in the Caucasus Mountains at the southernmost point of Russia, the Caucasian Shepherd is a Russian dog through and through. These dogs are ones of great size, and as such were used to protect flocks of sheep from danger.
Therefore, you might find your Caucasian Shepherd as varied in temperament. They can be aggressive and protective, or they may be warm and affectionate. To bring out correct behavior and prepare them well for family life, owners must take care to train and socialize these dogs from as early on in their lives as possible. These dogs respond well to positive reinforcement, so be gentle, yet firm, in their instruction.
These dogs aren’t very high energy once they reach their adult years, and as such will be happy with apartment life. Taking them out for 30 minute walks each day will be enough to satisfy their energy needs. When indoors, it’s a good idea to keep this dog busy with games and toys; playing with their family is a good way to keep them well-behaved and feeling loved.
The Hortaya Borzaya is a rare kind of sighthound, happiest when they are in the Russian countryside as opposed to the city. As such, they will dislike small homes, and will prefer vast stretches of land they can freely run around in; this is due to their history as a hunting dog.
These dogs are adept athletes, but many prefer to spend time with their families at home. They are devoted, with a very friendly disposition that makes them poor guard dogs, but excellent companions.
They get along with most members of their family, but will need a lot of early socialization if they are to get along with smaller pets. Their high prey drive makes them chase after small creatures, so this will wreak havoc in the home if not in check. They are extremely active, so give them minutes of exercise each day, divided into shorter sessions for better manageability.
As a member of the Russian Sighthound family, the Borzoi has had a history of being an adept hunter’s companion. It’s no wonder whytheir names come from the Russian word for “swift”! These dogs can run very fast, which makes them indispensable during long hours of hunting. In the home, when trained properly, the Borzoi is a loyal and sensitive pet.
They are quite shy around others, and will need ample socialization from early on to be better-adjusted in their adulthood. Supplement this with lots of positive reinforcement so as not to hurt their feelings.
It’s generally not a good idea to keep a Borzoi if you have small pets or children in the home. They were made for chasing after small creatures, and this is hard to take out of them. Despite being skilled runners, the Borzoi does not particularly like strenuous exercise, and is content with 30 minutes of leisurely play each day. They are happy to spend most of their time indoors.
Another Russian sighthound, the Taigan was developed in Kyrgyzstan while the nation was still part of the USSR. These dogs were bred for the hunt, and are excellent runners adept at chasing after fast-moving animals like deer, foxes, and wolves.
These dogs are regal and dignified in the home; they are loyal to their family but are more reserved, and won’t be keen to slobber on their loved ones! They are fairly independent and often see their owners as their equals. This can lead to a lot of bad behavior, so owners must take care to train them to behave in their puppyhood.
These dogs have seemingly boundless energy. Taigans require upwards of minutes of exercise per day! You can tire them out faster with more strenuous activity, like having them run alongside you on a bike ride. They require quite a bit of mental stimulation, so take care that they are always entertained. Taigans do not like living in small areas; they are happiest when there is plenty of land to explore.
The Moscow Watchdog was bred in Moscow to be a watchdog though we’re sure you guessed that! They were developed to handle the harsh winters in Moscow, so as to better protect their families and the property their family owns all throughout the year.
As such, these dogs can be aggressive if not socialized properly and given thorough obedience training. They enjoy being a family companion, but will be very protective of that family, often aggressive to perceived threats. Lots of positive reinforcement is key to getting them to behave.
These dogs are quite active and will need upwards of an hour of vigorous exercise each day. They dislike being kept in cramped homes and will be far more content patrolling the grounds, so ensure you have a lot of space to give them. You can better tire them out by taking them on brisk walks, with plenty of games of fetch in their downtime.
Moscow Water Dog
Another dog from Moscow, the Moscow Water Dog was bred in the s to serve as a water rescue dog in the Russian armed forces. Unfortunately, these dogs were more inclined to bite the people they were rescuing than to… actually rescue them.
Their aggressive nature meant they could not continue to be bred. Because of this, all purebred Moscow Water Dogs have since gone extinct. Its worth noting that the breed was used in the development of another Russian dog breed, the Black Russian Terrier.
These dogs were adept at swimming, though as you can imagine would prefer to do their exercise by themselves. They had all the bravery and confidence the armed forces needed from them, only without the softer temperaments necessary when they weren’t working. We can only wonder what would have happened to this breed if they had continued to be developed, but it’s good to remember them and their place in breeding the Black Russian Terrier.
The Sulimov Dog is an interesting breed, though they’re not strictly a dog. These are jackal-dog hybrids, having been bred from Lapponian Herders and golden jackals. They were developed in Russia sometime in the mid s, by Klim Sulimov, for the purpose of working in airport security as sniffer dogs.
The original dog-jackal combination made for a dog that was hard to train, so other dogs were included in the mix to help improve obedience. These were a reindeer herding hound, a Spitz, and a Fox Terrier. After seven generations had passed, the Sulimov Dog had been properly established, and they continue their work in bomb detection to this day.
At present, there are only around 40 Sulimov Dogs who exist, all of which are the property of the Aeroflot company they were developed by. Twenty-five of those dogs currently work as sniffer dogs. Whether the lineage will continue remains to be seen, but who knows? We may one day find Sulimov Dogs in the home as family companions.
Think this dog looks like a wolf? Well, thats because the Volkosob is, partly. The Volkosob is a hybrid wolfdog that was developed to help Russian soldiers protect the borders of the largest country in the world. They have both the temperament and size of wolves, with an intimidating appearance and the courageousness to match. However, when not on the workfield,
Volkosobs are friendly to their comrades and serve as a faithful companion. These dogs took a long time to breed, with over wolf-hybrids being bred at the University of Cologne before the Volkosob emerged. It was in the year that the first unusually friendly wolf-dog was born; she was named Nadia and went on to have 40 puppies, all dubbed “Volkosobs” which is Russian for “wolf-dog”.
These dogs enjoy working and have taken on a variety of tasks they have grown to be good at. These include tracking, sniffing out explosives, and detecting contraband. Volkosobs are exceptionally talented and often take a fraction of the time to complete a task that would have lasted minutes for a regular dog. They are always to-the-point when completing their work.
They also boast a sense of smell that is around six times more powerful than a dog’s. For reference, scientists think dogs’ sense of smell is around 10, to , times better than humans’! Volkosobs have thick coats that help them last through bitterly cold temperatures. They have an unusually strong grip and near-endless stamina. As the Volkosob possesses all these incredible qualities, they have been dubbed “”the secret weapon of Russian border patrols”.
Russia may be known for its inhospitable weather, but so many of the dogs that hail from that huge expanse of land are wonderfully warm. Each breed will always have defining characteristics, but it’s good to know that every dog you meet will be their own individual.
Most Russian dog breeds will almost always need a job to do, so if you are blessed to have one in your family, you should ensure they have the tasks and care needed to be happy and healthy. You’ll quickly find that whether your furry friend is busy with their duties, or happily snuggled up with you at home, that they bring joy wherever they go!
There are very few internationally known dog breeds that first come to mind when you think about Russian dog breeds. In fact, only a handful of Russian dogs have managed to gain international traction outside its native country.
Even so, many popular dog breeds like the Siberian Husky and Samoyed all originate from the somewhat isolated transcontinental country. And despite popular belief, Russia is home to some of the coolest dog breeds in the canine kingdom.
That said, let’s examine all 21 Russian dog breeds, their wonderful temperaments and why you should consider bringing home one next. After all, they can be just as affectionate as any other dog breed while bringing a special uniqueness.
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Table of Contents
Russian Dog Breeds List
The most popular Russian dog breeds are the Siberian Husky, Samoyed, Borzoi and Black Russian Terrier. However, other lesser known breeds include the Russian Spaniel, Moscow Water Dog, Laika breeds and so many more.
Most of these dog breeds are not well known outside Russia, and even less popular among western countries. Let’s examine each Russian breed.
1. Siberian Husky
Highlights: Mischievous, Energetic, Lively
The Siberian Husky is without a doubt the most popular dog breed to originate in Russia. They’ve come a long way from their sleigh-pulling days, although many still work this job.
These dogs don’t mess around when it comes to work. They need it! As energetic as they are, Huskies also have a playful and sometimes mischievous side.
They’re the perfect dog for owners that enjoy an active lifestyle. If given the opportunity, they’ll run with you all day. So make sure you’re not forcing a Husky to be your big lap dog.
- In , a pack of Huskies saved a small Alaskan town’s kids from Diphtheria by delivering the anti-toxin from miles away.
- DNA studies show that Huskies share a large amount of DNA with the grey wolf (along with Shiba Inus and Chow Chows).
- Huskies are one of the only breeds to have blue eyes without the merle gene, such as with the Australian Shepherd.
As mentioned, Huskies are energetic dogs. Though they are affectionate dogs and wouldn’t intentionally hurt a child, they often do by accident.
In terms of working and obedience intelligence, Huskies don’t rank very high. However, they’re more intelligent than you think. They’re just a little stubborn and don’t always like to follow the rules.
They’re naturally pack dogs, so giving them a canine friend is the most ideal. However, their instincts and liveliness may cause them to chase down your cat.
These dogs are not great watchdogs because simply put, they’re too friendly.
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Highlights: Affectionate, Calm, Adaptable
Samoyeds, affectionately nicknamed Sammies, are some of the brightest and most graceful dogs we have, thanks to Russia. They always look like they’re happy with a “perpetual smile.”
Like the Husky, Sammies are fierce and loyal workers. Keeping them locked in the house for the day is like prison for these energetic dogs. Give them some work and they’ll thrive!
They originated from the Siberian town of Oymyakon, where temperatures can reach negative 60 degrees!
For this reason, the Sammy’s thick white coat (that sheds a lot!) was bred into the dogs to protect them from the harsh climate conditions of rural Russia.
- Their smiles are famous. We call it the “Sammy Smile” because of their upturned mouths that make them look like they’re always smiling.
- There are only 14 dog breeds with a genetic footprint that closely resembles the grey wolf. The Samoyed is one of the
- These dogs can sing…well, kind of. They’ll howl and yodel to a melodic tune, often harmonizing with it.
The Sammie is a very smart dog that loves to work. Because of this, plenty of mental and physical stimulation is needed.
They can be stubborn and mischievous, making obedience training a little difficult for new owners. But as long as you establish dominance in the house early, you’ll be fine.
The Samoyed is all about love and affection. They need a lot of attention and in return, will reciprocate with love. If you’re a busy person, I don’t suggest bringing home a Samoyed.
Though they’re very adaptable dogs, they certainly wouldn’t appreciate it if you brought them to an area with hot climate.
Highlights: Proud, Affectionate, Friendly
The Borzoi is a large sighthound known for its majestic gait, stunning beauty and calm temperament. Though they’re considered Russian dogs, many believe they actually originated from central Asian countries.
They’re fast dogs and when in full stride, can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. In fact, I Heart Dogs say they’re one of the 5 fastest dog breeds in the world.
Borzois are not small dogs. A male Borzoi can stand nearly 28 inches tall and weight just over pounds.They have a similar build to Greyhounds and are often compared to those dogs.
Most Borzois will have a white flat coat with patches of brown/tan. However, they can come in all variations of colors. The coat is silky and can be either wavy or curly.
- Borzois excel in a dog sport called Lure Coursing. This sport mimics exactly what these dogs were bred for – to chase down a target.
- Before , Americans called Borzois the Russian Wolfhound.
- It takes three years for a Borzoi’s head to fully reach maturity. They don’t develop their hound-like head shape until then.
Borzois are quiet and calm dogs with a very agreeable demeanor. Owners have often described them as feline-like.
Though they don’t rank high on the smartest dogs list, they’re very adaptable dogs – just a little stubborn at times. But they are affectionate and love the family members like any other dog.
Training these dogs require patience and consistency. With their independent nature and stubbornness, they won’t do your bidding for the sake of working.
Like with most sighthounds, Borzois need a lot of physical activity. But when you’re walking these dogs, make sure to keep them on a leash. The sight of a squirrel will send them running.
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4. Black Russian Terrier
Highlights: Smart, Docile, Powerful
The Black Russian Terrier is one of the fiercest working dogs to originate from Russia. They were bred to work and their powerful body shows it.
Black Russians can grow up to 30 inches tall and weigh between 80 to pounds. These big dogs are not just about the brawn, but they have the smarts too!
Thanks to their waterproof double coat, these dogs are able to work in the harshest conditions of Russia. Rain, snow or shine – the Black Russian is up for the challenge.
But despite their massive size, they’re quite nimble dogs. For their size, they’re relatively agile, which is probably why they’re such reliable work and guard dogs.
- Although they’re called the Black Russian Terrier, they’re not actually terriers. Rather, they’re part of the working group.
- It took the Soviet Union nearly 20 years to develop and finalize the Black Russian Terrier standard.
- Black Russian Terriers were developed by the Red Star Kennel for the sole purpose of military use. They don’t develop their hound-like head shape until then.
Black Russian Terrier Temperament
The Black Russian is a hard-working dog breed. They know they’re highly capable of many jobs, so they’re willing to do whatever it takes to help out.
These dogs are make fantastic guard dogs because of their innate instinct to protect and guard. Plus, I don’t know many people that would mess with this pound dog!
When they’re not on the field working, Black Russians are calm and affectionate dogs in the home. They love the family and do especially well with children.
On the other hand, you’ll need to provide these dogs with plenty of exercise. And if you actually have a job for them to do, they’ll thrive at it.
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5. Caucasian Shepherd
Highlights: Courageous, Spirited, Friendly
The Caucasian Shepherd is a mastiff-type Russian dog that originates from the most southern point of Russia – the Caucasus Mountains. Hence, the name.
These dogs are huge, weighing up to pounds and standing 30 inches tall. As one may expect, they were bred to be brave guardians.
For centuries, Caucasian Shepherds were premier companions for local farmers. They really did everything, from guarding livestock to other various farm jobs.
However, they are very different dogs in the home compared to when they’re out on the field. They know when to turn their intensity up and down.
Caucasian Shepherd Temperament
Caucasian Shepherds have all the qualities of a great guard dog. They’re bold, brave, fierce and extremely confident in themselves – as they should.
But when they’re at home, they’re very different dogs. They’re loyal, sweet, calm and affectionate towards the family members. This includes children and other pets too!
Like with most guard dogs, they’ll be wary of strangers and may take a while to warm up to them. As for training, these giant dogs need a dominant leader for the pack.
Establish dominance early on and be consistent with positive reinforcement. Socialization would be a huge plus for these dogs, as with all guard dogs.
6. Central Asian Shepherd
Highlights: Independent, Confident, Brave
One of the most ancient breeds, the Central Asian Shepherd can be traced back to over 5, years ago. For thousands of years, these dogs have been guarding livestock and property for local farmers.
Though they were believed to have originated from Central Asia, Russia (Soviet Union) was credited for standardizing this breed in the ’s.
After the fall of the USSR, a new variation of these dogs were bred, called the Central Asian Ovcharka. They differ in size, coat color and personality, though are fairly similar.
In the early ’s, the Central Asian Shepherds were immensely popular. At one point, they were the most popular dog in Russia.
Central Asian Temperament
Because they are guard dogs by nature, the Central Asian Shepherd is inherently protective. They take their guarding tasks very seriously and requires a lot of socialization and obedience training.
They are not for novice dog owners. These dogs are still relatively primitive, having been bred through thousands of years of natural selection.
With enough socialization, they can make great family dogs. Just make sure you establish dominance early on with these dogs.
7. East European Shepherd
Highlights: Courageous, Athletic, Smart
The East European Shepherd was developed by the Soviet Union in the s to help with police work and guarding. They are the Russian version of the German Shepherd.
In fact, these dogs were modeled after the German Shepherd. Because of the harsh climates of Russia, they needed to breed a fierce police dog that could withstand the freezing temperatures.
These dogs have many of the same qualities as the German Shepherd. However, they are slightly larger, weighing up to pounds and sitting 30 inches tall.
In Russia, along with other ex-Soviet Union states, these dogs are widely infamous. But in western countries, not so much. Regardless, they are beasts that rival the GSD. Enough said.
East European Shepherd Temperament
The East Europeans are hard working dogs, just like with the German Shepherd. They have a balanced temperament and have shown high marks with all aspects of dog intelligence.
Confident by nature, these dogs are fearless. Because they were bred specifically for police work and guard duties, they needed to be brave.
As with all working dogs, the East European Shepherd needs a lot of exercise. Plus, mental stimulation is essential because of their high dog IQ.
Their obedience and working intelligence is off the charts. In other words, they’re very obedient and will follow commands for the sake of work.
8. East Siberian Laika
Highlights: Loyal, Protective, Energetic
The East Siberian Laika is a spitz-type Russian dog. They originated from the region that’s east of the Yenisei River in Siberia.
Though they were bred for hunting, they’re very versatile dogs that can do it all. Even after domestication for so many years, they still retain the wolf-like qualities they inherited from their ancestors.
Historians and researchers speculate that this Russian breed was actually developed many years ago with the influence of Chinese and Japanese dog breeds. Though, we cannot confirm.
The standard for this dog, along with other Laikas, were established in . However, they have yet to be recognized by any major kennel clubs.
East Siberian Laika Temperament
The East Siberian Laika can be a fierce hunter on the field. But off the field, they’re actually affectionate and loving dogs. They’ll rarely show excessive aggression towards humans.
They can be a little protective and vigilant in the home. It’s why they also make excellent guard or watch dogs for the family.
East Siberians have a passion for hunting and it shows. Sitting at home and hanging out with the family cannot be their only thing. They’ll thrive best with a stimulating job or role.
9. Franzuskaya Bolonka
Highlights: Lively, Cheerful, Sociable
There are two variations of the Russian Bolonka breeds. One of which, is the Franszuskaya Bolonka – a white-coated lap dog.
Though the word Franszuskayameans “french,” these dogs are actually of Russian origin. However, the development of these dogs were inspired by popular French dogs, such as the Bichon Frise and Toy Poodle.
But in reality, they’re a variation of an Italian lapdog called the Bolognese. As a matter of fact, the word bolonka means “bolognese” in Russian.
They’re sweet lapdogs that are very much similar to any of the lap dogs we mentioned.
Franzuskaya Bolonka Temperament
These dogs are quite intelligent with an attractive balanced temper. With the people they love, these Bolonkas are affectionate and kind.
Though small in size, they’re not very shy. Generally very cheerful and curious, these Bolonkas love to play and will entertain. There’s never a dull moment with one.
Because of their territorial instincts, they can become great watchdogs. They’ll alert you of any intruders, but they’d make terrible guard dogs.
Franzuskaya Bolonkas perceive almost all people as potential playmates. It doesn’t take them long for them to warm up to a stranger.
Highlights: Gentle, Protective, Confident
The Moscow Watchdog is the Russian cousin of the Saint Bernard. These dogs are actually a crossbreed of the Saint Bernard and Caucasian Shepherd.
These massive dogs were developed in the Soviet Union and can weigh up to pounds. But unlike the Saint Bernard, Moscow Watchdogs are active dogs that require a lot of physical activity.
They were bred during World War II, when Russia needed a helping hand in managing the rising crime in the country. So, they were assigned as guard dogs around government properties, such as warehouses, railroads and labor camps.
Though they were once considered rare outside of Russia, they have been gaining popularity within Europe. Also, they’ve managed to make it to the United States too.
Moscow Watchdog Temperament
The Moscow Watchdog has a similar temperament to that of the Saint Bernard. In other words, they’re loving gentle giants as well!
However, for these dogs to develop an attractive temperament, they need regular socialization early on. They’ll get along great with people and dogs if properly trained.
As with most guard dogs, the Moscow Watchdog has strong protective instincts. They’re quite confident dogs when the situation calls for it, such as their family being threatened.
To raise an excellent family dog, you’ll need to establish dominance early with this huge canine. With that said, they’re not recommended for most owners.
Moscow Water Dog
Highlights: Brave, Confident, Independent
Also called the Russian Newfoundland, the Moscow Water Dog was another breed developed by the Soviet Union in the s.
Though they were originally intended as Navy companions, Moscow Water Dogs were not suitable because of their aggressive temperaments. Instead of saving, they would attack sailors.
Today, purebred Moscow Water Dogs are extinct. Because there was no use for these dogs anymore, breeding had stopped.
However, they did serve a purpose in the development of the Black Russian Terrier. Along with 13 other breeds, the Moscow Water Dog was used to breed Russia’s most successful “army dog.”
Moscow Water Dog Temperament
Although they’re called the Russian Newfoundland, the Water Dog’s temperament is much different. They were aggressive and vicious, which eventually led to their downfall and extinction.
On the other hand, they were highly capable swimmers. Even in the rough seas with freezing temperatures, these dogs excelled at their jobs (sometimes).
They were confident and courageous, which is what the Russian army had intended. It’s just unfortunate they weren’t bred with a more docile temperament when off the field.
Russian Harlequin Hound
Highlights: Active, Good-natured, Sociable
The Russian Harlequin Hound, also known as the Anglo-Russian, is one of the two most popular scent hounds to originate from Russia.
Even then, they’re still an extremely rare dog breed and are difficult to find outside of the country. However, they’re still used as hunting companions in Russia today.
They were developed by crossbreeding the Russian Hound with the English Foxhound. As a result, they’re superbly skilled in tracking “red game,” namely, foxes and wolves.
They’re known for their square build with a signature tri-colored coat (patches over white coat). Some people often confuse them with the tri-color Beagle.
Russian Harlequin Temperament
Though these dogs are friendly and social with most people, they can have a high prey drive. With that said, they need a lot of socialization early on if they’re going to live with cats or other small pets.
Russian Harlequins are extremely loyal dogs and will stick by your side while at home. They just love to spend time with family and would be prefer to participate in family activities too!
They’re very energetic and active dogs, requiring a generous amount of exercise daily. Depending on your dog, they may not be suitable for apartment life. Not only do they need to run but most Harlequins are very vocal dogs.
Highlights: Obedient, Loyal, Energetic
The Russian Hound is another popular scent hound that was developed in Russia. However, they were developed much earlier than Harlequin Hound (in the 18th century).
These dogs has a specialized hunting job, and would often work in conjunction with Russian Borzois. Russian Hounds would flush game out to where hunters and Borzois would be waiting to chase.
Russian Hounds are medium/large dogs, weighing up to 70 pounds and standing as tall as 27 inches. With a short and dense coat, these dogs are well-equipped for the rough hunting grounds of Russia.
Russian Hound Temperament
Russian Hounds are very energetic and lively dogs. They could spend all day hunting with their owner if allowed to.
They’re fairly easy to train because they’re eager to please and highly obedient dogs. In the home, they’re as loyal as they are on the field. Whatever you want, they’ll have your back.
A Russian Hound will do great around other dogs and people. However, with small pets, the high prey-instincts may show. Make sure socialization is introduced early on.
South Russian Ovcharka
Highlights: Strong, Lively, Confident
The South Russian Ovcharka, or Russian Sheepdog for short, was developed in Ukraine (when it was still part of the Soviet Union).
They’re primarily found along the massive grasslands between the Black Sea and Sea of Azov. In the region, they serve primarily as herding dogs for rural farms.
These dogs are highly adaptable shepherds, capable of withstanding a wide range of temperatures. With a strong body and thick coat, they’re some of the best multi-purpose dogs to originate from Russia.
Unfortunately, these dogs are hard to come by. It’s difficult to find one even in their home countries of Russia and Ukraine.
Russian Sheepdog Temperament
These dogs need a lot of leadership. If you plan to bring one home, you’ll need to establish authority with firm and consistent training.
They thrive serving as herding dogs. However, you’ll need to exhibit strong dominance over the livestock. Otherwise, the Russian Sheepdog may become possessive of the animals around other people.
These sheepdogs have strong protective instincts, which needs to be kept in check. Although they would serve as formidable family guardians, they can be aggressive with strangers.
Needless to say, the importance of early socialization is critical with this dog. In fact, maybe more important than any other Russian dog breed on this list.
Highlights: Carefree, Cheerful, Energetic
The Russian Spaniel was developed in through the crossbreeding of various spaniel breeds, such as the English Cocker and Springer Spaniels.
They may look very similar to a Cocker Spaniel, but they have an elongated body and a denser coat. Though coat color can vary (with spots and freckles), they have the signaturespaniel feathering on the ears and legs.
Russian Spaniels may be relatively small dogs, but they’re excellent hunting and gun dogs. Don’t let their size or friendly personality fool you, they’re some of the best.
They come with the full gun dog package – keen sense of smell, excellent stamina, perseverance and a strong desire to retrieve.
Russian Spaniel Temperament
A Russian Spaniel is bold, lively and spirited. They’re great companions with a workers’ mentality on the field but an easy-going attitude at home.
Loyal as any breed, Russian Spaniels are completely devoted to the task given at hand. It’s why they’re such excellent gun dogs and watchdogs.
In addition, these spaniels are highly obedient and trainable. Descending from intelligent spaniels, they’re just as smart with an eagerness to learn.
With a pleasant temperament, Russian Spaniels thrive around children. They make great playmates and can be a second pair of eyes on the kids.
Highlights: Intelligent, Devoted, Delightful
Small yet elegant, the Russian Toy is the ultimate Russian lapdog. They were originally developed in Russia from the English Toy Terrier.
There are two coat variations for these dogs: smooth and long coated. Though they were called different dogs at one point, they were combined into one breed in
They were originally bred for companionship among the Russian elite. However, they’re great companion dogs enjoyed by numerous families across the world today.
As for appearance, Russian Toys are some of the smallest dog breeds. Standing just below 28cm, they’re almost as small as the Chihuahua.
Russian Toy Temperament
There’s nothing the Russian Toy enjoys more than to lounge on your lap. In fact, that’s exactly what they were bred to do.
These sweet-natured dogs are playful and love to have fun. Whether it’s playing with their favorite toys or hide-n-seek, they’re happy as long as the owner is somehow involved.
Human companionship is the most important thing with these toy dogs. They can be sensitive and will let you know when they want your attention. Likewise, they’ll come by your side when they sense you’re feeling down.
The bond developed with these dogs is inseparable. However, they can be aloof or cautious around strangers. With that, they make decent watchdogs despite their size.
Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka
Highlights: Charming, Curious, Lively
The Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka is very similar to the Franzuskaya Bolonka. In fact, the only difference is that the latter comes in a white coat.
Bred to be the ultimate Russian apartment dog, the Bolonka is a relatively rare breed developed from other toy dogs. They were derived from the Bichon Frise, Pekingese, Shih Tzu and Bolognese.
However, they’re most similar to the Bolognese. So similar that their name, Bolonka, actually means “Bolognese” in many Slavic languages.
The best part is that they’re hypoallergenic dogs. In other words, perfect for owners sensitive to dog allergens.
Tsvetnaya Bolonka Temperament
Easy-going and outgoing, the Tsvetnaya Bolonka is a companion lap dog that gets along with nearly anyone. They’re quick to make friends and easy to fall in love with.
They are alert and vigilant, making them great watchdogs. However, they don’t bark as much as a Chihuahua, making them great for households with small children.
Despite being a toy dog, they can be independent-minded. For them to get along with all people, they require plenty of socialization.
The Bolonkas are as intelligent as any breed. With that said, they’re fairly easy to train and do well with obedience training if positive reinforcement is used.
Russo European Laika
Highlights: Lively, Alert, Territorial
Russo European Laikas are one of the few dog breeds developed from Russian landrace dogs. These spitz-type dogs were bred in the ’s for a program aiming to produce top hunting dogs.
And surely enough, Russo Europeans are some of the best dogs when it comes to duck hunting. Unlike other hunting dogs, they’re very vocal, which helps with communication during hunts.
Currently, these dogs are recognized by the FCI. However, they haven’t been picked up by any major kennel clubs other than the United Kennel Club.
Russo European Temperament
This energetic hunting dog loves nothing more than being outdoors in the wilderness. It’s partly why they thrive as duck hunters.
They’re very loyal dogs and once you’ve developed a bond with them, they won’t ever stray. Plus, they’re fantastic with children due to their patience.
Russo Europeans can be a little territorial, which makes them excellent guard dogs too. With other people and dogs, they may react aggressively. Make sure you introduce socialization training!
These dogs love to work and do best when they have a sense of purpose. Whether it’s hunting, guarding or companionship, they need some meaningful role in the family.
West Siberian Laika
Highlights: Loyal, Affectionate, Vigilant
The West Siberian Laika is another spitz breed developed from Russia’s very own Laika dogs. Although their history isn’t clear, we know they originated as hunting companions for the Ural people in West Siberia.
Like the other Laika variations, the West Siberian is also an adept hunting dog. In fact, they may be the most versatile of the bunch (others being more specialized).
All Laikas are vocal dogs that use their barks to help hunters locate the game. The West Siberian Laika is no exception.
Still, these dogs are relatively primitive. They can maintain both appearance and behaviors from their ancestors, Siberian wolves.
West Siberian Temperament
Loyal and loving, the West Siberian Laika is entirely devoted to the owner and family. In addition to versatile hunters, these dogs make fantastic guard dogs as they’re alert and protective.
Though they’re cautious but non-aggressive around strangers, they will likely show aggressive tendencies when around unfamiliar dogs, especially of the same sex.
Their high prey instincts make them unsuitable for households with small pets. However, with enough socialization, family cats can be tolerated. With enough time, they’ll learn and accept other animals.
On the other hand, the West Siberian is a very obedient dog. Thanks to their great loyalty, they’re willing to please the owner, even if that means obedience training.
Highlights: Loving, Lively, Smart
The Yakutian Laika is a Russian dog breed originating from the northernmost part of Russia. Specifically, they’re from the region bordering the Arctic, called the Sakha Republic.
In this ice-cold region of Russia, the Yakutians served many jobs. Not only do they pull sleigh, but also herd reindeers and hunt wild game. They do it all!
Yakutian Laikas are known for their sharp sense of smell, superb hearing, outstanding stamina and great vision. All of which, are qualities that make up an excellent hunting dog.
Thanks to their thick double coat, they’re able to tirelessly work in the harshest winter conditions. As a matter of fact, they’ve been known to work all day with relative ease.
Yakutian Laika Temperament
Yakutian Laikas are some of the most faithful companion dogs. They demand respect, but also show it towards their family.
They’re quite energetic dogs, as needed to work long hours all day. So a good amount of mental and physical stimulation is needed for a Yakutian on a daily basis.
In the home, these dogs are gentle and docile. They’ll get along with children and other dogs if given the proper socialization training. The earlier you start, the better.
Plus, they’re quite obedient and easy to train – partly because of their eager-to-please mentality.
Highlights: Patient, Affectionate, Docile
The Taigan dog, formerly known as the Kyrgyzdyn Taighany, is a sighthound developed in Kyrgyzstan when it was still part of the Soviet Union.
Some refer to these dogs as the Russian Greyhound due to their uncanny resemblance. They’re both medium height and sport a medium-length coat with slight curls. Plus, the shape is also quite similar.
They were bred to hunt in the extreme regions of the Tian Shan mountain range. Taigans were capable of tracking down deer, foxes, wolves and even marmots.
We’re uncertain about the true origins of these dogs, but researchers speculatethey’re related to theSaluki, Afghan Hound, Sloughi, among other sighthound breeds.
These Russian dogs are patient and gentle, for the most part. With that said, they don’t deal well with rough play. So, make sure children are old enough to learn to respect these dogs.
Like other sighthounds, the Taigan is perfectly fine living with other, familiar dogs. However, their strong prey instincts may kick in if you have a cat around.
In order for you to have an even-tempered Taigan, socialization is a must. But when given proper training, they’re some of the best Russian breeds to have in the home.
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5. Caucasian Shepherd
The Caucasian Shepherd is a Mastiff-type, hailing from the Caucasus Mountains. Huge in size, these Russian dogs date back at least 2, years and were created to work on farms, where they carried out numerous jobs, but their main role saw them protecting livestock from fearsome predators such as wolves.
This Russian dog breed does tend to pick a person who they’ll form a strong bond with and they won’t tolerate being separated from them for too long, so it’s important you consider this if you want a Caucasian Shepherd in your life. If you have the time and space for one, you’ll be met with a soft and kind companion that will be completely devoted to you throughout their life.
6. Karelian Bear Dog
Originally the companions and aids of Russian and Finnish peasants, the Karelian Bear Dog is a Russian dog breed which has roots in both hunting and guarding. This Spitz type was used to hunt large game and historically were seen with red, red and grey and black and white colourings, but today only black and white is favoured for breeding. It’s been said that all Karelian Bear Dogs alive today descended from only the toughest dogs which could survive fighting and incredibly harsh conditions.
The breed is still very common in Finland and Russia today, but not as popular elsewhere in the world. They have very sharp senses which sees them doing extremely well in obedience trials due to their high intelligence and their strength makes them great at sled dog trials too.
7. East European Shepherd
The East European Shepherd is often considered the Russian version of the German Shepherd and it’s plain to see the similarities between the two. Developed in for the Army, this Russian dog breed was created due to the need for a versatile dog that could cope with the often-freezing Russian climate.
Due to their roots, the East European Shepherd is extremely brave, making them great guard dogs even today. They will need a lot of exercise both physical and mental though, as they have high intelligence and bags of energy which will see them turn to destructive behaviours if not given a suitable outlet.
8. Russian Toy Terrier
This adorable little Russian dog dates back to the 18th century, where they were favoured as an ‘accessory’ among the upper classes. In fact, it’s been said that during this time it was considered very stylish to attend events such as the opera with a Russian Toy Terrier tucked under your arm.
The breed is now quite rare due to the Russian Revolution of , which saw the breeding of companion dogs stopped. However, they do make perfect lap dogs and are always happiest when cuddled up to their people. They form very strong bonds with their family and they’ll usually be quite aloof with strangers, unless they come onto their property that is, as despite their small size, they make very good watch dogs!
That’s our top 8 Russian dog breeds! Why not continue your trip around the world of dogs and learn about our favourite 11 Chinese dog breeds?
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