South Russian Ovtcharka

 
  • Height: 24-26 inches
  • Weight: 100-110 lb
  • Lifespan: 9-11 years
  • Group: not applicable
  • Best Suited For: active singles, house with a yard, experienced dog owners
  • Temperament: independent, willful, alert, protective
  • Comparable Breeds: Polish Tatra Sheepdog, Catalan Sheepdog

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Also known as the Ukrainian Ovcharka or the South Russian Sheepdog, the South Russian Ovtcharka is what you would imagine a sheepdog to look like. With a long, shaggy coat and plenty of facial furnishings, this breed is similar in appearance to other sheepdog breeds including the Catalan Sheepdog and the Croatian Sheepdog. Though they may look cute and cuddly, South Russian Ovtcharkas are actually protective and they will stop at nothing to defend their families.

Though they may look cute and cuddly, South Russian Ovtcharkas are actually protective and they will stop at nothing to defend their families.

The exact origins of the South Russian Ovtcharka are up for debate but they are generally thought to be an ancient breed descended from various bearded Russian breeds that were used as herders and livestock guardians. Though the South Russian Ovtcharka has ancient origins, the modern breed was only developed as recently as 1790 at which point the Russian herding type separated into a number of different breeds. Smaller Austrian-type shepherds were crossed with larger Tatra shepherds and sighthounds, creating offspring that were large, hardy, and aggressive. The modern South Russian Ovtcharka retains some of these traits as well as its ancient appearance.

Developed as a livestock guarding breed, the South Russian Ovtcharka has a willful and independent nature.The exact origins of the South Russian Ovtcharka are unknown but it may have been developed by crossing Austrian-type shepherds were crossed with larger Tatra shepherds.

As an extra-large sized dog breed, the South Russian Ovtcharka should be fed a high-quality commercial dog food diet formulated for dogs of its size. Because this breed is a high-energy hunting breed, however, an active or working breed formula may be more appropriate to meet his needs.

Developed as a livestock guarding breed, the South Russian Ovtcharka has a willful and independent nature.

Developed as a livestock guarding breed, the South Russian Ovtcharka has a willful and independent nature. Although these dogs are not aggressive, they have strong guarding instincts and they are self-sufficient. The South Russian Ovtcharka is a strong breed that requires a good deal of training and socialization, especially to keep his guarding behavior under control. You must have a firm and consistent hand in leadership for this breed – the South Russian Ovtcharka is generally not recommended for inexperienced dog owners.

The South Russian Ovtcharka is a fairly large dog, with females standing a minimum of 24 inches and males standing a minimum of 25 inches tall. These dogs weigh between 100 and 110 pounds, on average.

The South Russian Ovtcharka is a strong breed that requires a good deal of training and socialization.The South Russian Ovtcharka is a large and robust dog that often exhibits independent and willful tendencies. In short, this breed is generally not recommended for inexperienced dog owners because they need a strong hand in leadership. Although he may be a little willful at times, this dog is not a demanding breed and he can be adaptable to being left alone for most of the day as long as his exercise needs are being met. These dogs were bred to protect livestock and their guarding behavior will likely extend to their family and to their property. The South Russian Ovtcharka also has a tendency to enforce his will on other dogs and household pets.

As an ancient breed, the South Russian Ovtcharka is also fairly healthy and hardy. Due to its large size, however, this breed is prone to certain health problems including gastric torsion, hip dysplasia, and other musculoskeletal issues.

The average lifespan of the South Russian Ovtcharka is generally 9 to 11 years.

As a herding breed, the South Russian Ovtcharka is fairly high-energy. This breed requires a long daily walk to meet its minimum needs for exercise and it will also appreciate having time to run in a fenced yard. These dogs do not tend to do well with apartment or condo life.

The South Russian Ovtcharka is a strong breed that requires a good deal of training and socialization.

The South Russian Ovtcharka is recognized by the FCI and the American Canine Association but it has yet to be recognized by the AKC.

The South Russian Ovtcharka is easily recognized by its long, thick coat of coarse, wavy hair. The coat for this breed varies in color, but generally ranges from white or whitish yellow to gray. These dogs have thick facial furnishings including a mustache and beard, generally with long hair that falls over the face.

The average litter size for the South Russian Ovtcharka breed is 5 to 10 puppies. Because these dogs have such a strong, willful nature it is best to start the puppies with socialization and training as early as possible. These dogs are smart, so they will learn quickly but you will need to maintain a firm and consistent hand in leadership throughout the dog’s life. When raised from puppies, these dogs develop strong bonds with family and they can be protective of them.

Photo credit: Antonio Gravante/Bigstock; Volofin/Bigstock


Comparable Breeds

Go to Polish Tatra Sheepdog

Polish Tatra Sheepdog

  • Height: 24-28 inches
  • Weight: 80-130 lb
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years
  • Group: not applicable
  • Best Suited For: active singles, active families, experienced dog owners, house with a yard
  • Temperament: Intelligent, independent, hard-working, gentle
  • Comparable Breeds: Great Pyrenees, Kuvasz
Go to Catalan Sheepdog

Catalan Sheepdog

  • Height: 17.5-21.5 inches
  • Weight: 35-40 lb
  • Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Group: not applicable
  • Best Suited For: active singles, active families, house with a yard, family with children
  • Temperament: gentle, mild-mannered, intelligent, quiet
  • Comparable Breeds: Croatian Sheepdog, Maremma Sheepdog