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9 Russian Dogs: Breed Information & Descriptions (With Pictures)

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 13, 2024 by Dogster Team

9 Russian Dogs: Breed Information & Descriptions (With Pictures)

Russia is home to a diverse array of dog breeds. However, Russian dog breeds are similar in many ways: they are intelligent, loyal, protective, and obedient. Additionally, they feature a strong build to allow them to withstand Russia’s harsh conditions.

As such, most Russian dog breeds make excellent pets and working dogs. Nonetheless, each breed has unique traits that allow it to excel at the function it was designed for. Therefore, it is crucial to understand what to expect from a breed before adopting it to avoid regretting your decision.

In this article, we shall discuss nine of the most popular dog breeds native to Russia.

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The Top 9 Russian Dog Breeds

1. Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky
Image By: BARBARA808, Pixabay

The Siberian Husky is arguably the most popular Russian dog breed today. This medium-sized doggo’s lineage dates back nearly 4,000 years, making it one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. The Chukchi people bred this dog for pulling sleds. To date, Siberian Huskies still compete in sled races.

The Siberian Husky was made to be as people-friendly as possible, explaining why it makes such an excellent family dog. In fact, it was not uncommon for tribal people to leave the children under the care of a mature Siberian Husky as they went about their business.

Siberian Huskies can live up to 14 years.

2. Caucasian Shepherd

Caucasian Shepherd
Image By: DragoNika, Shutterstock

The Caucasian Shepherd, also known as the bear dog, is the largest Russian dog breed. This canine can weigh up to 225 pounds. As you can imagine, it is immensely powerful and is not one to be taken lightly.

The Caucasian Shepherd’s lineage dates back to over 2,500 years ago, making it one of the oldest mastiff-type breeds. It originates from the Caucasus Mountains, where it was employed to guard flocks, hunt bears, kill wolves, and protect properties.

The Caucasian Shepherd’s unbridled strength and ferocity made it popular police and guard dog all over Europe. During the communist era, this breed was used to protect prisoners in Gulag camps and serve as border patrol along the Berlin wall.

While Caucasian Shepherds are excellent guard dogs, they are not ideal for first-time owners because they can be fierce and difficult to control. However, with proper socialization and training, this breed can be suitable for couples or singles.

3. Russian Black Terrie

Black Russian Terrier_Shutterstock_Brezhneva.od
Image By: Brezhneva.od, Shutterstock

The Russian Black Terrier is a relatively large dog that can weigh up to 130 pounds. Also known as the Chornyi Terrier, this dog was developed during the height of the Cold War to serve as a military and working dog. It has a double coat to allow it to withstand cold and harsh conditions.

This breed is strong, energetic, and lively. However, it is defensive when it has to protect its handler.

4. Borzoi

Image By: Bob63, Pixabay

The name Borzoi” means “fast” in Russian. Needless to say, the Borzoi is one of the fastest canines on the planet, capable of running at speeds of up to 36 miles per hour. This regal-looking sighthound was bred to hunt wolves during the 9th century.

Nevertheless, Borzois have a lovely temperament making them wonderful companions. These doggos are so laid back that some owners describe them as being “cat-like.” However, they require lots of exercise to be happy and healthy.

5. Russian Toy Terrier

russian toy terrier
Image By: Evgeniia Shikhaleeva, Shutterstock

The Russian Toy Terrier, also known as Russkiy Toy, is a miniature lap dog that was bred to be a fun-sized companion for Russian aristocrats. This breed features feathering on its ears, increasing its adorableness.

The Russkiy Toy is charming, loyal, and affectionate. Like most toy dogs, this pooch is incredibly sassy; if you do not give it attention, it will throw a tantrum until you do. Additionally, Russkiy Toys do not seem to realize how tiny they are, as they will not hesitate to challenge large dogs. Therefore, be vigilant when you take your Russian Toy Terrier out for walks.

6. Samoyed

Image Credit: A-r-e-s, Pixabay

Even though the gorgeous Samoyed looks like a show dog, it was developed to be an all-purpose dog around 3,000 years by the Samoyedic people of Siberia. This pooch excelled at various tasks, including hunting, herding reindeer, and pulling sleds.

Samoyeds are not only adorable but also remarkably sweet; they even have broad, endearing smiles, which is why they are also known as “Smiling Sammies”. You will also love to know that they do not lose their childish charm when they become adults.

Nonetheless, before you adopt a Samoyed, you should know that this longhaired cutie requires lots of grooming. It also needs lots of exercise to be happy and healthy. Also, the Samoyed does not do well in hot climates.

7. Karelian Bear Dog

Karelian Bear Dog
Image By: A-P L, Pixabay

The Karelian Bear Dog has been around for more than 2,000 years. It has been used to develop various popular breeds such as the Siberian Husky and Russian Spitz dogs.

As you can tell from its name, this breed was used for hunting bears, meaning it is as fearless as they come. Unfortunately, the Karelian Bear’s tenacious nature makes it unsuitable for families with children and pets.

8. Central Asian Shepherd Dog

Central Asian Shepherd Dog
Image By: shelma25, Pixabay

The Central Asian Shepherd Dog, also known as Alabai, shares the same lineage as the Caucasian Shepherd. As a result, the Alabai is very similar to the Caucasian Shepherd when it comes to temperament.

Therefore, while the 180-pound Alabai might arguably be the best guard dog on the planet, it is not for amateurs; it requires an experienced handler. Like the Caucasian Shepherd, the Alabai is not suitable for families with children and other pets.

9. South Russian Ovcharka

south russian ovcharka in slovenie
Image By: Monica Martinez Do-Allo, Shutterstock

The South Russian Ovcharka, also known as the South Russian Sheepdog or Ukrainian Shepherd Dog, is a breed native to the Ukrainian Steppes between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.

This dog is incredibly popular in Russia due to its undemanding nature and adaptability. Additionally, its strong protective instincts make it an excellent guard dog.



Russian dog breeds make some of the best furry human companions. They are great at their jobs and are loyal, hardy, and loving. However, many of these breeds do not do well in warm climates.

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Featured Image Credit: chek89645040878, Pixabay

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