12 Russian Dog Breeds That Will Blow Your Mind 

Do you have a thing for big, fluffy dogs? Then you’re the perfect reader for today’s article. Russian dog breeds are some of the most famous in the world, with the energetic Siberian Husky and stunning Samoyed being at the top of the list.

But there are so many other amazing Russian dog breeds worth learning about, and it’s worth talking about the fascinating history of Russian dog breeds as well.

So, sit back, relax and get ready for fluffy-overload. Here are 12 Russian dog breeds that will blow your mind!


Russian Dog Breeds – What Makes These Pups So Special?

1 Alexander ll and his dog
Russia has long been proud of their dogs, as we can see here in this historical image of Alexander ll with his constant canine companion.

Dogs have been a part of human history since the beginning, which is lucky for us because there’s no best friend like the canine variety.

However, in the early days, most dogs were bred and perfected for working purposes. Siberian Huskies, for example, were bred by the Chukchi people in Siberia to help aid in transportation, protection, hunting and companionship.

These dogs played an important role in the Chukchi people’s survival in the frigid temperatures of Siberia, and the same can be said for many other Russian dog breeds throughout history.

Russia is known for having deeply fluctuating climates. Summers can be hot and dry while winters can be cold and unforgiving. The Russian landscape is rugged and the terrain is riddled with predators like bears, Siberian tigers, wolves, wild boar and more.

Dogs bred to work in Russia had to be intelligent, well-built, tough and resilient. And that’s what we get out of the 12 Russian dog breeds below.

Of course, not all Russian dogs were bred for hunting, herding or guarding purposes. Many dogs and terrier types made excellent vermin dogs, sled dogs, war dogs and, of course, lap dogs.

Today, Russian dogs mostly enjoy living alongside their human counterparts as devoted companions. Many are renowned for their dense, double coats, loyal nature and incredible tenacity.

12 Russian Dog Breeds That Will Blow Your Mind!

2 a russian village
Russia is known for its stunning landscape and incredible history. But did you know it is also known for its dogs?

As we mentioned above, there are several dog breeds that are famous for being Russian bred. The Siberian Husky has been mentioned several times now, and while we do love this incredible dog, our goal today is to introduce you to as many new Russian dog breeds as possible.

From massive to tiny, and from fluffy to sleek, here are 12 Russian dog breeds we’re pretty sure are going to rock your world:

  1. The Black Russian Terrier
  2. The Borzoi
  3. The Central Asian Shepherd Dog
  4. The Russian Toy
  5. The Samoyed
  6. The South Russian Ovcharka
  7. The East Siberian Laika
  8. The Sulimov Dog
  9. The Moscow Water Dog
  10. The Russian Spaniel
  11. The Caucasian Shepherd
  12. The Rusian Tsvetnaya Bolonka

Ready to learn more about each of these dogs in detail? Then keep reading!

1. The Black Russian Terrier

3 a black russian terrier
Black Russian Terriers are massive dogs with dense black coats and intelligent dispositions.

Height: 27 to 30 Inches Tall

Weight: 80 – 140 Pounds

Lifespan: 10 to 11 Years

Temperament: Athletic, Confident, Courageous, Calm, Protective

Best Suited For: Experienced Dog Owners

The Black Russian Terrier Breed Overview:

The Black Russian Terrier, or BRT as he is often known, is a large working dog that has built a reputation for being an incredibly devoted, protective military dog. Developed in the 1950’s by the Soviat Army’s Red Star Kennel, the Black Russian Terrier was specifically designed as a war dog, which means his origin contains both fact and legend.

Interestingly, some of the Black Russian Terrier’s beginnings are considered “classified” information by the Soviet Army, leading to speculation and debate about where this dog truly comes from.

However, we do know that the Black Russian Terrier is likely a mix between Newfoundlands, Rottweilers, Giant Schnauzers, Airedale Terriers, and at least 12 other breeds. As such, the Black Russian Terrier is, quite obviously, not a true Terrier.

Still considered new to the canine kingdom, the Black Russian Terrier is a rare breed you likely won’t come across often. That said, he has been recognized by the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club, as well as BRT specified kennel clubs throughout the world.

Though typically hardy dogs with a lifespan of between 10 and 11 years, the Black Russian Terrier does have some health issues owners should be aware of including orthopedic issues and eye problems.

This is a Russian dog that does best in homes with more experienced dog owners that have hands-on experience with working breeds. They can do well with older children, though they have been known to be wary of strangers.

2. The Borzoi

4 a borzoi outside
The Borzoi is sometimes known as the Russian Wolfhound.

Height: 26 to 18 Inches

Weight: 75 to 105 Pounds

Lifespan: 10 to 13 Years

Temperament: Gentle, Intelligent, Independant, Athletic, Quiet

Best Suited For: Active Dog Owners

The Borzoi Breed Overview:

Also known as the Russian Wolfhound, the Borzoi is a large sighthound bred for tracking and chasing fox, hare, boar and even wolves in the formidable Russian terrain.

These dogs are sleek upon first glance, resembling a somewhat long-haired Greyhound. Highly intelligent though somewhat standoffish, Borzoi dogs can do well with children they are raised with and become very attached to their family.

As experts describe them, they are meant to be “one family dogs”. The Borzoi is a Russian dog that is easy to train and relatively mild-mannered in spite of his love for adventure. However, like his whippet and Greyhound cousins, the Borzoi is whip fast and requires a good run at least once or twice a day.

These dogs do best in homes with large, securely fenced yards and with owners who are active and able to get out and get them the exercise they need.

For the most part, the Borzoi is a healthy Russian dog with an average lifespan of between 10 and 13 years. Like all dogs, the Borzoi can suffer from some serious genetic health issues, especially if he is not obtained through a reputable source.

Some of the main health issues you should look out for in this breed include Wobbler Syndrome, heart disease, and eye issues.

3. The Central Asian Shepherd Dog

5 a central asian shepherd looking at a butterfly
The Central Asian Shepherd Dog, also known as the Central Asian Ovcharka, is one of the world’s oldest living canines.

Height: 25 to 30 Inches

Weight: 110 to 170 Pounds

Lifespan: 10 to 12 Years

Temperament: Courageous, Bold, Strong, Independent, Work-Oriented, Quiet

Best Suited For: Experienced Dog Owners

The Central Asian Ovcharka Breed Overview:

Though classified as a Russian dog, the Central Asian Ovcharka is actually a dog that is much older than Russia, and perhaps older than any dog in history. With an origin that takes him back at least 5,000 years, the Central Asian Ovcharka is a breed that was not originally created or perfected by man and instead was developed naturally over time.

This is a Russian breed known for his devotion and affinity for people. In fact, the American Kennel Club states he actively “seeks out human attention” and is often determined to protect and defend anything he perceives as his.

Originally used as a guard dog, the Central Asian Ovcharka has had many roles throughout his long history. In the 1920’s, this Russian dog breed was officially standardized by the USSR, though a newer version of the breed has surfaced since then and does maintain different characteristics from the original.

Due to his deeply ingrained sense of protection and devotion, the Central Asian Ovcharka is a breed that is still commonly used today by indeginious people for guardianship and companionship.

He is also a beloved and devoted companion to diligent owners, though he is certainly not the ideal Russian dog for everyone.

4. The Russkiy Toy

6 a Russkiy Toy
The Russkiy Toy, also known as the Russian Toy, is a small, dainty dog with a big personality.

Height: 8 to 11 Inches

Weight: 6.5 Pounds and Under

Lifespan: 12 t0 14 Years

Temperament: Spirited, Affectionate, Devoted, Protective, Playful, Eager To Please

Best Suited For: Attentive Dog Owners, Families With Older Children

The Russkiy Toy Terrier Breed Overview:

With roots that take him as far back as the 18th century, the Russkiy Toy Terrier (Also known simply as the Russian Terrier), was once a symbol of prestige and wealth in the high society of Russia.

These tiny dogs, originally imported from England, soon found themselves upon the lap of luxury with noble men and women as a “living accessory”, according to the American Kennel Club.

Though they do appear to resemble Chihuahua dogs, it is believed that the Russkiy Toy Terrier is a combination of English Terriers and other small Terrier dogs.

This breed comes in two coat varieties including long and short, and though it is tiny, this Russian dog has a big personality.

Lively and playful, this is a Russian dog that can make an excellent companion to a wide variety of people and families. He does well with children and adores having young playmates, though it’s important to remember that the Russkiy Toy Terrier is quite small and can be prone to easy injury if handled too roughly.

You should also note that this is a dog bred for companionship over the years, and he can become very distressed if left on his own for too long.

The Russkiy Toy Toy Terrier is also an eager to please companion, making him easy to work with and train.

5. The Samoyed

7 The Samoyed
Also known as the Smiling Sammy, Samoyed dogs are known for their happy disposition and affectionate nature.

Height: 19 to 24 Inches

Weight: 50 to 60 pounds

Lifespan: 12 to 16 Years

Temperament: Playful, Affectionate, Social, Stubborn, Alert, Friendly

Best Suited For: Active Dog Owners

Samoyed Breed Overview:

The Samoyed Russian dog breed has an origin that is just as majestic as you might think. This gorgeous white dog was once used by the Samoyedic people of Siberia to help them herd reindeer through the rough and frigid terrain.

Friendly, outgoing and social, Samoyed dogs are often known as “Smiling Sammies” thanks to their infectious nature and their ever-present grin.

Samoyed dogs do well with a variety of people, but they are best suited to homes that have large, securely fenced yards and to families that are active, adventurous and attentive.

The Samoyed can be somewhat stubborn from time to time, which can make training frustrating. Still, owners should stick to positive reinforcement training utilizing treats and praise and avoid scolding or punishments, as this could lead to this Russian dog breed shutting down.

Overall, the Samoyed dog has a decent lifespan of between 12 and 14 years. Unfortunately, for his wonderful traits he does come with some serious health issues. Some of these issues include heart problems, eye issues and orthopedic problems.

6. The South Russian Ovcharka

8 a russian ovcharka stamp
The South Russian Ovcharka is a unique herding dog ideal for more experienced owners.

Height: 24 to 26 Inches

Weight: 100 Pounds

Lifespan: 9 to 11 Years

Temperament: Active, Skittish, Alert, Work-Oriented, Intelligent

Best Suited For: Experienced Dog Owners

South Russian Ovcharka Breed Overview:

The South Russian Ovcharka, also known as the Russian Sheepdog, is a large, beautiful white dog with an incredible intelligence and unique temperament. These are work oriented canines that are bred herding dogs, so they do have strong herding instinct and a powerful prey drive.

In the home, they become very bonded with their families and can do well with children they are raised with. However, they can be shy and skittish around strangers, and without proper socialization and training these dogs can exhibit behavioral issues and like fear based aggression.

The South Russian Ovcharka is known for his fabulous coat. Long, dense and flowing, this coat requires routine care to help keep it from tangles and mats. For this reason, grooming can be cumbersome.

This is also a Russian dog breed that can be prone to a number of health issues, especially if obtained from an irresponsible source.

Some of the most common health issues in the South Russian Ovcharka include orthopedic issues and bacterial infections.

7. The East Siberian Laika

9 an East Siberian Laika
The East Siberian Laika is an all purpose working dog bred for versatility.

Height: 20 to 26 Inches

Weight: 40 to 50 Pounds

Lifespan: 12 to 15 Years

Temperament: Courageous, Devoted, Mild-Mannered

Best Suited For: More Experienced Dog Owners

The East Siberian Laika Breed Overview:

If you think the East Siberian Laika looks similar to a wolf or a Husky, you’d be right. This dog belongs to the Spitz family just like his Siberian Husky cousins. Spitz dogs are also believed to be most closely related to wolves.

However, the East Siberian Laika does not have a wolf temperament. For the most part, this is a Russian dog that is even tempered, friendly and affectionate. He was originally bred as an all purpose working dog and excelled in hunting, sled pulling, and guarding against wild boar and even cougars.

Today, the East Siberian Laika is a popular dog amongst active families. However, while he can do well with children, this is a dog that can become impatient with rough play. He is best suited for older, more gentle children who understand how to respectfully and safely interact with the family dog.

We should also note that the East Siberian Laika, like all dogs, requires proper training and socialization at an early age to ensure he grows up happy, healthy and well rounded.

8. The Sulimov Dog

10 two Sulimov Dogs
Sulimov dogs are hybrid crosses between Jackals and domesticated dogs.

Height: 62 to 85 Pounds

Weight: 26 to 30 Inches

Lifespan: 12 to 15 Years

Temperament: Wiley, Affectionate, Devoted, Confident, Courageous

Best Suited For: Experienced Dog Owners

The Sulimov Dog Breed Overview:

You’ve likely heard of coydogs and wolfdogs before, but have you ever heard of a jackal dog hybrid?

Enter the incredible Sulimov. This is a Russian dog that was born from breeding Lapponian Herding dogs with Turkmenian Golden Jackals. This breed comes from a very specific stock that can be traced back to a breeding program in 1975. Primarily used for working purposes and hunting, the Sulimov dog, also known as the Shalaika dog, has an incredible sense of smell and has been used throughout his short existence to be a bomb sniffing dog.

Travelers coming to and from Moscow may see this dog at airport security, though the Sulimov dog is more than just a sniffing extraordinaire. He has also been trained to hunt and is quite protective of his family.

Through careful breeding, modern day Sulimov dogs are considered intelligent, trainable and devoted. However, it is said that there are only about 40 Sulimov dogs in existence and they belong specifically to the Aeroflot as trained bomb sniffing dogs.

9. The Moscow Water Dog

11 a moscow water dog
The Moscow Water Dog is a now extinct breed that was derived from the Newfoundland and the Caucasian Shepherd.

Height: 25 to 28 Inches

Weight: 99 to 154 Pounds

Lifespan: 9 to 12 Years

Temperament: Intelligent, Strong, Courageous

Best Suited For: N/A

The Moscow Water Dog Breed Overview:

Are you wondering why we put N/A in the Best Suited For category above? It’s because this incredible Russian dog no longer exists. Bred as a mix between the Caucasian Shepherd and a variety of other large shepherd dogs, the Moscow Water Dog’s sole purpose was to help save drowning victims.

Unfortunately, breeders found that the Moscow Water Dog instead had an unpredictable temperament and was not taking well to his newfound duty as a hero.

For this reason, the Moscow Water Dog project was abandoned and the breed slowly dissipated into extinction.

10. The Russian Spaniel

12 a Russian Spaniel
Russian Spaniels are dogs bred to hunt small game.

Height: 15 to 17 Inches

Weight: 28 to 40 Pounds

Lifespan: 12 to 14 Years

Temperament: Friendly, Loyal, Agreeable, Affectionate, Devoted

Best Suited For: Active and Attentive Dog Owners

The Russian Spaniel Breed Overview:

If you’re looking for a Russian dog that does well with children, you may have found him in the Russian Spaniel. Originally bred as a hunting dog, Russian Spaniels are known to be playful, friendly, affectionate and intelligent. They get along well with children of all ages and are full of joy and love.

These Russian dogs are also eager to please and easy to train, and make wonderful companions for active, outgoing families who can take time to commit to training, exercise and socialization.

With that being said, the Russian Spaniel can be prone to some health issues including overheating and obesity.

11. The Caucasian Shepherd

13 a caucasian shepherd dog
The Caucasian Shepherd is a Russian herding dog bred for working in cold, harsh environments.

Height: 24 to 28 Inches

Weight: 88 to 110 Pounds

Lifespan: 12 to 15 Years

Temperament: Courageous, Bold, Strong, Independent, Work-Oriented, Quiet

Best Suited For: Experienced Dog Owners

The Caucasian Shepherd Breed Overview:

The Cacausian Shepherd is a massive Russian dog designed for herding and guarding. His origin began on the harsh terrain of the Caucasus mountains, but over time the Caucasian Shepherd has made his way throughout the world and certainly left his mark on all he meets.

Standing up to 28 inches in height and sometimes weighing more than 110 pounds, the Caucasian Shepherd is quite a bit of a dog even for the experienced dog owner.

This is a work oriented Russian dog that is happiest when he is doing a job. He is deeply devoted to his owners and protective over his family and territory, though in the wrong hands this dog can be prone to behavioral issues and aggressive tendencies.

Also known as the Russian Bear Dog or the Caucasian Mountain Dog, the Caucasian Shepherd lives up to his name. In Russia, his duties included herding, guarding, and protecting his home, family and flock from predators like bears.

Today, Caucasian Shepherd dogs do best with owners who have a good understanding of working breeds and who are active, devoted and strong-minded.

With a lifespan of between 12 and 15 years, it’s important to implement socialization and training throughout your Caucasian Shepehrd’s lifetime to ensure he grows up happy, healthy and well-rounded.

12. The Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka

14 a Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka
This tiny dog is bred specifically for companionship and becomes very attached to his family.

Height: 7 to 11 Inches

Weight: 5 to 11 Pounds

Lifespan: 12 to 16 Years

Temperament: Social, Spirited, Easy Going, Alert, Friendly, Affectionate

Best Suited For: Attentive Dog Owners

Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka Breed Overview:

Last on our list of amazing Russian dog breeds is the adorable and polite little Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka. This is a Russian dog that was bred specifically for companionship, which means that he can become anxious and depressed if left on his own for too long during the day.

With that said, this Russian dog is best suited for owners with flexible schedules. And while the Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka breed does get along well with children, (and most people, in fact) he can be prone to injury.

These dogs often stand no taller than 7 inches and sometimes weigh around 5 pounds. As such, children should be supervised around their Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka dog and parents should take care to work with youngsters on appropriate ways to interact with small, fragile dogs.

Is A Russian Dog Breed Right For You? Here’s What You Should Consider!

15 a Samoyed puppy
Before choosing any dog, it’s important to do your research and know which type of dog would be best for you!

Russian dogs are like any other dog, and they require plenty of time, attention, affection, training, socialization and love.

Are you considering getting one of the Russian dog breeds above? If so, we suggest ensuring that the dog you like is not only a good fit for you and your family, but that you are a good fit for that dog.

We also recommend making sure you go through reputable sources when looking for a Russian dog breed. This would include reputable breeders, rescues or shelters you trust. Avoid backyard breeders, online sellers or those who are not certified or who are promising a dog at a much higher or much lower cost than average for the specific breed.

When going through a reputable and certified breeder, keep in mind that cost will typically be more up front. The average cost of a Russian dog through a breeder is between $500 and $2,000. However, that money you put out up front can end up saving you more money in the long run when it comes to health and overall temperament.

Also note that reputable breeders will often be able to provide you with certificates proving health and pedigree. You may even be able to meet your new puppy’s parent breeds!

On the other hand, you also have the option of going through a rescue or shelter to obtain your Russian dog or puppy. Rescuing a dog is often much less than going through a breeder, with prices ranging from between $250 to $500.

There are countless benefits of adopting a dog in need of a good home that go far beyond the price. Some of those benefits include a free initial vet exam, the potential for basic training and socialization through the shelter, and perhaps even getting a dog that has already been spayed, neutered, and microchipped.

Regardless of the road you take to obtain your Russian dog breed, remember that all dogs need plenty of care, patience and affection.

Are you interested in one of the Russian dog breeds above? Tell us which dog stole your heart below in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading!

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