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South Russian Owtcharka

Country/Date of Origin: Russia/1700s

This is a large, aggressive livestock guarding dog that originated in the Crimean and Ukrainian regions of Russia. These dogs were relied upon to protect the flocks from wolves and robbers and were left on their own to perform this function. In more recent times they have been used to keep prisoners from leaving gulags and have proven to be excellent military guard dogs.

FCI Group: 1 (Herding)

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Iuzjnorusskaja Owtcharka, South Russian Sheepdog

AKC Group: Miscellaneous

Breed Club:

Rescue Club:

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Body Type:

  • Resembles an oversized Briard
  • Height: over 26 inches (at shoulder) Many are much bigger
  • Weight: 110-140 pounds
  • The long tail is carried low with a slight kink at the tip as found in the Briard. It is not altered
  • The ears are often cropped and the abundant hair gives the same appearance as in the Briard. If not cropped, the ears hang close to the head


  • Fierce, strong guard dog
  • Very intelligent
  • Suspicious and aggressive toward strangers


  • A thick double coat that is water resistant. Coat is abundant and about 6 inches long
  • White is the most common color. Cream, pale lemon or gray is also allowed
  • Requires extensive grooming especially when shedding

Health Concerns:

  • Subject to hip dysplasia
  • Generally robust
  • Not suited to hot climates
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • Owtcharka means sheepdog in Russian. Pronounce it of-charka as the Russians do. Plural is Owtcharki
  • Will be difficult to obtain
  • Obedience training is recommended
  • Needs plenty of room

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