Russia is the largest country in the world, covering 11 different time zones. This gives plenty of space for different dog breeds to develop and there are certainly plenty. Each breed was uniquely created to survive in the harsh Russian climate and they all serve various purposes.
#1 – 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 and was 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
The Bolonka is a Russian dog 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 and were bred mostly as fashionable companions for wealthy women.
#3 – Borzoi
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
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 and is known for its aggressive nature.
#5 – Central Asian Shepherd 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 dog fighting, 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 – Laika
The Laika is a hunting dog originating in Russia and was known for its method of hunting, called bark-pointing, in which it would “point” out prey by barking at it. The breed was separated into four different types and was used frequently up until the 19th and 20th centuries when industrialization brought other types of hunting dogs to Russia.
#7 – Russian Spaniel
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.
#8 – Russian Toy
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. It’s original purpose was a watchdog and ratter.
#9 – Samoyed
The Samoyed was originally a reindeer herder and carting dog developed by the Samoyedic peoples of Siberia. It’s 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.
#10 – Siberian Husky
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.
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