South Russian Ovtcharka

Breed Rating

family friendly:
Dog friendly:
Watch/guard dog:
Affection / Dependance:
Exercise needed:
Space needed:
Tendency to bark:
Grooming Requirements:
Tendency to bark:
Grooming Requirements:

Breed Attributes


Breed group: Working    Type: Pure Breed    Talent: ,


Size: Large     Weight: 108-110 lbs     Fur length: Long    Ears: Flappy    Fur type: Straight    Fur Color: Gray / Salt & Pepper, White / Cream


Life Expectancy: 12-14 years    Rarity: Common    Availability: Easily available    Climate: Good for every climate.

Breed Details


The South Russian Ovtcharka is also known as Ioujnorousska�a Ovtcharka, South Russian Sheepdog, Ukrainian Ovcharka and south Russian Shepherd Dog. It is a large, long haired native Russian sheepdog that was developed in Russian Steppe in 1790s as a ferocious guardian of flock from such predators as wolves, mountain lions and bears. This is an ancient breed and as is the case with most old breeds, its exact origination is cloudy and debatable. Some researchers believe that this dog originated from European breed known as Austrian Shepherd which was imported to Russia. This belief stemmed from the fact the the South Russian Shepherd has very similar hair type as Austrian Shepherd. Documentary evidence prove that these dogs were indeed imported to Russia(now Ukraine) along with merino sheep but they proved too small to cover vast areas though their protecting skills were unparallel. So the Austrian Shepherds were bred with "tatar" (Caucasian) shepherds, Hungarian Komondor and Crimean Greyhound. The progeny of these cross breeding were large hardy dogs with aggressive temperament. These dogs became the ancestors of the South Russian Sheepdog.

This large size dog stands atleast 25 inches minimum and weighs between 108-110 lbs. It is a robust dog with lean and massive bone structure and strongly developed musculature. The dog comes with an elongated head and slightly rounded forehead. The big nose is black. Small and triangular ears are hanging down. Eyes are oval shaped. A South Russian Sheepdog has a straight and strong back, a short broad and rounded loin. The deep chest is reasonably broad and slightly flattened. The belly is moderately tucked up. Muscular body and strong limbs enable the dog to run as fast as wolves. It has a very long coat that is harsh to touch and comes in white colour though shades of grey and white and yellow dogs are also seen.

This breed is NOT recognized by AKC however it is recognized by FCI and UKC as guardian dog.


Basic and most common colour for this breed is white but it does come in other colours which include yellow-white, ashen grey, straw colour, different shades of grey and grey speckled.


The long coat of South Russian Ovtcharka is its distinct characteristic. The coat hair are usually 4-6 inches long and very dense. The texture is harsh and coarse. The equal length hair are uniformly distributed all over body including head, chest, legs and tail. The breed has a dense undercoat.


A dominante breed by nature, the South Russian Ovtcharka is accustomed to guarding and guarding flock and cattle. It is a dog of above average size and robust construction and not a breed for every one due to its very lively and dominant nature. The dog has developed a domineering nature to any one and every one that it considers its property. As a family pet, this breed needs obedience training and early age socialization but most importantly, strong and true packleader who can show that he is the true boss of the dog. A well trained SRO will not only be tolerant of children but also very protective of them. This dog shows its dominant nature over dogs and would try to assert itself upon them. Though intelligent, this breed will not be easy to train due to its independent nature. The dog will prove quite a handful for a weak or inexperienced owner. A well trained South Russian Ovtcharka will make excellent pet and a guardian par excellence.


The long and dense coat needs to be brushed daily down to undercoat to remove matting. This lively breed tends to get matted easily but its self-cleaning coat will shed off dirt. A dog that has been working in the wet and muddy steppe would still have a striking white coat when dried.


The SRO is an intelligent but naturally independent breed that will need a reason to obey commands. This dominant breed will need a strong and more dominant owner than itself. While it is unsuitable for weak or inexperienced owner, it will respond to positive, firm and consistent training.


The SRO is a very lively and energetic breed that needs lots of physical and mental stimulation. Definitely not a breed for apartment lifestyle, the dog is ideally suited to rural or suburban life or needs atleast a large yard to play and run as it likes.

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