Shelter Dog Meal Donation Count:

Learn More

17 Dog Breeds From Russia

Written by: Scott H
Scott Haiduc is the Director of Publishing for iHeartDogs, iHeartCats and The Hero Company. When not working, Scott spends his time on the farm, taking care of his animals and crops.Read more
| Published on April 29, 2015

It’s a giant world out there and with Russia being the largest country on Earth, covering 11 different time zones, all this room gives space enough for the development of different dog breeds and there are certainly plenty of Russian dog breeds.

Each breed was uniquely created to survive in the harsh Russian climate and they all serve various purposes. But as dogs, Russian or otherwise, they still love their families and require the love and care all pups are due!

17 Russian Dog Breeds

#1 – Black Russian Terrier

black russian terrier

The Black Russian Terrier was developed in the 1940s in the then USSR. It was used mainly as a military working dog, created by breeding a multitude of imported breeds from occupied countries, such as Giant Schnauzers and Rottweilers. Until 1957, Black Russian Terriers only came out of Moscow’s Red Star Kennel.

#2 – Bolonka

bolonka dog

The Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka is a Russian dog breed of Bichon type and covers two breeds, the Franzuskaya Bolonka and the Bolonka Zwetnaya. The ancestor of the breeds was a French dog brought to czarist Russia in the 18th and 19th centuries. The fluffy dogs were bred mostly as fashionable companions for wealthy women. 

#3 – Borzoi

Russian dog breeds

The Borzoi, or Russian Wolfhound, is a sighthound bred for hunting wolves that dates back to the 9th and 10th centuries. Hunting trials were held for a long period of time to determine proper breeding stock for the Borzoi, until wolf hunting with sighthounds fell out of fashion.

#4 – Caucasian Shepherd Dog

russian caucasian shepherd dog

The Caucasian Shepherd Dog, or Caucasian Ovcharka, is a Molosser breed originating in the Caucasus mountains. Most of the Caucasian dogs are similar in type and vary only slightly depending on their region, although they were crossbred. The Caucasian Shepherd Dog was created as a livestock and property guardian. This large dog is known for its aggressive nature. 

#5 – Central Asian Shepherd Dog

russian central asian dog

The Central Asian Shepherd dog originates from the former Soviet Union and was bred as a livestock and property guardian. The breed was also used in traditional dogfighting, in which the dogs seldom injured each other. Shepherds and farmers set their males against each other to find the most dominant dog in the group, but not necessarily the most aggressive. 

#6 – Chortai

A sighthound hailing from Russia, the Chortai, also spelled Chortaj, looks much like a Greyhound without the dramatic waistline. Thought to be descended from the now-extinct dog breeds the Krymskaja and the Gorskaja, the National Purebred Society reports the first descriptions of the Chortai appear in the mid-nineteenth century. A fast hound, the Chortai was used in conjunction with hunters on horseback and their falcons or other birds of prey.

The Chortai isn’t the only rare breed, here are 21 Rare Dog Breeds You Didn’t Know Existed.

#7 – East European Shepherd

Russian east european breeds

This Russian dog breed came to be after German Shepherds were bred to withstand the harsh Russian climate. With such a similar appearance, it’s no wonder these dogs are also known as the Russian German Shepherd. As a large dog with strong protective instincts, the East European Shepherd makes an ideal working dog.

For more working dogs, Meet The 8 Most Popular Working Dog Breeds.

Keep scrolling for more Russian dog breeds!

#8 – Laika

laika dog breed

The Laika is a hunting dog originating in Russia, known for its method of hunting, called bark-pointing, in which it would “point” out prey by barking at it. The breed is separated into four different types, the Eastern Siberian Laika, Russo-European Laika, Western Siberian Laika, and the Yakutian Laika. They were used frequently up until the 19th and 20th centuries when industrialization brought other types of hunting dogs to Russia.

To learn more about hunting dogs breeds, check out these 11 Dog Breeds That Have A High Prey Drive.

#9 – Moscow Watchdog

russian moscow watchdog

This Russian dog is popular in its home country, bred by the army as a dependable and easily trained guard dog. While not a cuddly pup, they can be trained to be patient with the right handling. They aren’t for families as their genetics hold the memory of their past as war dogs with a fighting spirit.

Like the Moscow Watchdog, here 8 Dog Breeds For Experienced Owners Only.

#10 – Moscow Water Dog

The Moscow Water Dog, known also as the Moscow Vodolaz, was bred from Caucasian Shepherd Dogs and East European Shepherds to create the ideal dog breed for use in the Russian Navy. Now an extinct dog breed, the Moscow Water Dog weighed over 100 pounds as an adult and had an aggressive nature. He was a dog built for work, not hugs.

#11 – Russian Spaniel

russian spaniel dog

The Russian Spaniel was standardized in 1951 and was developed by crossbreeding various spaniels. Cocker Spaniels were used for hunting in Russia but were found to be of little use because their small size couldn’t get them through the harsh Russian terrain. Breeding for longer-legged gun dogs soon became popular. 

#12 – Russian Tracker

Another extinct dog breed, the Russian tracker was bred to hunt in the Caucasus Mountains. Having to battle the harsh, cold elements, this Russian dog breed bore a double-layered coat and extreme intelligence. According to, as one of the breeds in the Golden Retriever lineage, the Tracker looks much like a Golden, sharing “share the same glamorous coat and build,” but reached weights of 100 lbs.

In addition to the Tracker, here are 15 Dog Breeds That Are Now Extinct.

#13 – Russian Toy

dogs from russia toy small

The Russian Toy was bred exclusively in Russia until their political isolation diminished. There are two types, a smooth and long-coated dog, with their various standards written in 1966. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the breed was known outside of its homeland and it faced near extinction after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Its original purpose was a watchdog and ratter. 

#14 – Samoyed

russian samoyed fluffy dog breed

The Samoyed was originally a reindeer herder and carting dog developed by the Samoyedic peoples of Siberia. Its thick coat kept it warm and safe during the extremely harsh winter conditions. Recent studies have confirmed that the Samoyed is one of the most ancient dog breeds and they have been bred and trained for over 3,000 years. 

What’s the oldest dog breed known? Find out with The 10 Most Ancient Dog Breeds In Existence.

#15 – Siberian Husky

siberian husky russian dog

The Siberian Husky is one of the most ancient dog breeds in existence, as confirmed by DNA analysis of various dog breeds. It was developed in the harsh Siberian climate as a sledding and carting dog. The breed helped people survive arctic winters. It became popularized during the 1925 Alaskan diphtheria outbreak, in which a team of Siberian Huskies was able to transport serum over 600 miles when no other mode of transportation could make it through the climate. 

#16 – South Russian Ovcharka

South Russian Ovcharka dog breed

Called also the South Russian Sheepdog and the Ukrainian Shepherd Dog, the Ovcharka is a hardworking livestock guard dog with a shaggy coat designed to keep them warm in the cold Russian winter. While protective of flocks and their people, the Ovcharka tends to be independent. They require an experienced owner for firm training against their stubborn ways.

#17 – Sulimov Dog

Russian dog breeds sulimov dog

Developed by Soviet biologist Klim Sulimov in the 1980s, the Sulimov is a Russian dog breed created by crossing Laponian herding dogs and the Golden Jackal. They are reportedly energetic dogs who are eager to please. However, they aren’t seen often outside Russia. Because of their strong sense of smell, Sulimov dogs are employed to sniff out explosives at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

Want more exotic dog breeds? From the continent next door to Russia, check out these 21 Asian Dog Breeds.

Recent Articles

Interested in learning even more about all things dogs? Get your paws on more great content from iHeartDogs!

Read the Blog