8 Large Russian Dog Breeds

8 Large Russian Dog Breeds

Last Updated: August 18, 2023

In this article you will know the answer to the query “8 Large Russian Dog Breeds“.

In my previous post I discussed small breeds of Russian dogs.

As a result I have decided to write a post exploring large breeds of Russian dogs.

8 Large Russian Dog Breeds

I have always been fascinated by Russia because their way of life seems so different from ours.

The Russian Federation has always projected a picture of strength and military power on the world stage.

These dogs are huge which is quite appropriate since I listed eight Russian dog breeds. 

At the withers the shortest breed stands 66 cm (26 inches) tall while the tallest could reach 81 cm or 32 inches.

Thats even before I mention how heavy they are!

First up is a breed that has appeared on quite a few of my lists and I still shake my head when I think of it…

Black Russian Terrier

Today there are many stories about Russian hackers in the news. Invasion of public websites and private businesses have become increasingly common. Okay. Russian government hacks dog genes as well which may or may not come as a surprise to you.

As early as the late 1940s and early 1950s the Kremlins Red Star Kennels located on the outskirts of Moscow established a breeding program to breed the perfect military dog. This dog would guard military establishments detention centers and border posts.

17 breeds were mixed including the giant Schnauzer the Airedale the Rottweiler and the Caucasian Shepherd possibly to balance out their They developed the Russian Black Terrier from temperaments the Newfoundland and the Newfoundland. Canines like this stand up to 18″ (72cm) in height and weigh up to 150 pounds (68kg). 

In Russia the dog was bred for power and ability instead of appearance. Private breeders began working with them in the mid-1950s and the longer coarse hair covering the softer inner variety was developed to make the dog more attractive.

It is necessary to groom them twice a week since they shed regularly. It may be deceiving to assume that the dog is a terrier despite the fact that it is actually black. Traditionally the RBT was a working dog used to guard and protect. In addition to developing a close bond with the family with whom it lives it will also be especially protective of young children.

It exhibits aloofness towards strangers because of these strong bonds. Highly intelligent and trainable this breed is well-suited to domestication. These dogs were bred as working dogs so they may need a job in order to stay happy. Like any good soldier they are ready to follow orders and respond well to training.


Borzoi dogs are yet another breed of Russian canine but they differ greatly from their cousins from the Soviet Union. With its long legs designed for running and long silky hair the Russian Wolfhound is the picture of grace and nobility.

Original breeders in Belarus designed the dog as a hunting dog hunting rabbits foxes and yes even wolves. Adult males can reach a height of 32 inches (81 cm) at the shoulder and weigh about 100 pounds (47 kg). Due to its graceful appearance intelligence and kind and gentle nature it soon became a favorite companion animal of the royal families of Europe.

The breed can live well in an apartment despite its size; however it does not like being left alone for long periods of time. To maintain its attractive appearance its coat which comes in a wide variety of colors such as black white brindle cream fawn and sable will need a lot of grooming.

Caucasian Shepherd

There is yet another fine creature to be found in the Caucasus the Caucasian Shepherd. The Caucasian Shepherd comes in two types. To protect themselves better from the cold mountain air Mountain dogs have a thicker rougher coat to compensate for their heavier bodies.

With a lighter coat and a smaller body mass the Steppe variety seems like his little brother. Airs have protected livestock and homes for centuries so it should come as no surprise that they are fearless and bold.

However it is also a kind breed becoming especially attached to its family which includes other pets in the home. The long-haired type of this breed requires daily brushing and the short-haired type exhibits a variety of coat types.

They need quite a bit of exercise and would be best suited to a family with a large yard and willingness to exercise them daily. Your choice of dog can change the size but males can grow to be as tall as 30″ (76 cm) and weigh as much as 170 pounds (77 kg).

Central Asian Shepherd Dog

The Central Aian Shepherd is yet another large working dog that comes out of Russia or what was once the Soviet Union. These are working dogs employed for centuries to guard flocks of sheep and goats or herds. This breed dates back over 5000 years making it one of the oldest.

It is well-muscled and has a big bone structure making it easy to take on any threat. It stands up to 31″ (78) tall as a fully grown male. It can weigh as much as 170 pounds (79 kilograms). Despite not being a particularly energetic breed it will need about an hour of exercise each day.

Families find them playful and affectionate and they get along well with other pets even cats. The colors of their coats range from solids to combinations of solids.

They come in black white piebald brindle rust and dead grass which is a shade ranging from almost white to brown.

East European Shepherd Dog

Its possible to confuse an East European Shepherd with the more common German Shepherd if you see one. In order to produce a larger and more cold-resistant dog this breed was bred during the 1930s in Russia Belarus and Ukraine from German Shepherd stock. It was a success.

This breed is slightly larger with a height of 30 inches (75 cm) and weighs 110 pounds (50 kg). As a result it can easily be kept as an outdoor pet. Despite its loyalty to its family and ability to be protective of them it can be wary of strangers which is what makes it an ideal guard dog.

The thick coat of this pet will need regular brushing but you should only bathe this pet if absolutely necessary as shampooing will deplete its oils that contribute to its resistance to the cold.

Moscow Watchdog

It seems that Russia is a hotbed of dog breeding and one of their most successful breeds is the Moscow Watchdog.

A rising crime rate in the Soviet Union after the Second World War prompted the Soviet government to develop a breed of watchdog tolerant of the harsh climate of the capital.

This breed was developed by crossing the Caucasian Shepherd Dog with the mountainous St. Bernard. It retains the positive characteristics of both parents. Caucasian Shepherd Dogs combines the size strength and loyalty of St. Bernard with the protectiveness and loyalty of St. Bernard.

Approximately 28 inches tall (71 cm) and weighing 150 pounds (68 kg) this dog is a gentle giant. The pet will require you to do some work instead of being a  vigorous exercise program for couch potatoes. This dog will require moderate grooming because of its long coat white and red colors. Although this dog was rarely seen outside of the former Soviet Union it is gradually gaining in popularity as it makes its way from Europe to the United States.

South Russian Ovcharka

For there are certainly a large variety of sheepdogs native to Russia the country must certainly have a lot of sheep. This is the case with the South Russian Ovcharka which originated on the steppes of Ukraine between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

Their origins are a mystery as they date back hundreds of years. Several smaller European sheepdogs and the Caucasian Shepherd were combined to create it according to most experts. A bit of wolf genetics is also present in the breed which may account for its fearlessness.

As wolves and bears preyed on them they were bred for size to protect their families. It goes without saying that they are strong confident loyal and brave rarely backing down from challenges. A small species they stand 26 inches (66 cm) tall and weigh approximately 140 pounds (65 kg). These dogs are lively active and sometimes anxious.

A large fenced area will be necessary for them to roam. They look like fluff balls with their hair. The coat is long bushy thick and coarse and sometimes shows a bit of yellow grey gold or dead grass color.

Hortaya Borzaya

In Russia or more specifically in Lithuania is the Hortaya Borzaya a large and graceful sighthound with looks similar to greyhounds but with a wider face that resembles a Borzoi more. Designed to pursue and retrieve prey these hounds returned their masters prey undamaged.

Because of its soft bite and exceptional stamina it has a great bite and great stamina. While hunting with their masters they can stay in the field for the entire day resting only briefly between chases. Due to their hunting heritage they get along quite well with the other dogs in the house. As a result they will respond with gentleness and affection to the family too. As with greyhounds these dogs are tall and elegant about 30 inches (75 cm) and weigh about 77 pounds (35 kg) when fully grown.

They can tolerate colder climates due to their short but dense coat. It takes only a few minutes to brush their coat once or twice a week. It has five distinct types and many subtypes which vary quite a bit in appearance.

A wide range of colors is found in the breed including white black cream sable red and brindle. In order to satisfy the breeds need for exercise the Hortaya Borzaya needs plenty of wide-open spaces. Perhaps this explains why it is extremely rare rarely seen outside of rural Russia.

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With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

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Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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