Breed Family: Guardian Dog
Country of Origin: Ukraine, Russia
Also Known as: Ioujnorousskaïa Ovtcharka, South Russian Sheepdog, Ukrainian Ovcharka, Yuzhak, South Russian Shepherd Dog
Lifespan: 9-11 years
Care Requirements: Medium/High
Exercise Requirements: Medium/High
General information and Appearance
Large and bold, the South Russian Ovtcharka is a dog bred for defending its home. They are best-suited as guard dogs and sheepdogs and are typically not a good fit for families. They are very heavy and ordinarily do not back down in the face of a threat.
This breed is very large, but not bulky. They have a lean build but still have plenty of solid muscle. These dogs have broad, deep chests which slope up to where their bellies tuck. Their backs are straight and very strong, leading into a well-muscled but not overly wide neck. Their hind legs are set in a wide stance, with strong, thick thighs. Their heads are long and tipped with a large, black nose. Dark, oval eyes can be seen through the veil of hair that covers the face of this breed.
Distinguished by its hair, this dog has bushy, thick hair that measures 10-15cm all the way around. Underneath the coat is a dense, soft undercoat. The outer coat is wavy and very coarse. The layers of hair puff out quite a bit, giving this dog its characteristic bushy appearance.
This dog is a bit difficult to train. They are willful and very dominant. They are also highly protective and not particularly inviting to strangers. These characteristics make them fierce in protecting their land and families, but not necessarily suited for a suburban, family life.
These dogs should be socialised very early with any type of animal it is expected to get on with. The dog should also be trained from a very early age. The trainer of this dog must assert alpha behaviour at all times. A meek or soft person will not be able to control a dog of this size.
This dog is an excellent defender. They will patrol as much property as they can claim and fiercely protect the people and animals inside of it from any intruders. They must be controlled when welcome visitors arrive to avoid problems.
South Russian Ovcharkas are overall very healthy. Overall, not much is known about the exact origins of this breed and as they are not very common, the health issues are a bit of mystery as well. They do oftentimes live to be quite old, especially for the size of the breed.
Grooming and Care
This breed has a lot of hair both in the undercoat and overcoat. This hair needs to be brushed daily to prevent matting and tangling. These dogs spend a lot of time running about out of doors and if the hair is tangled, it will lose its ability to self-clean. Typically, these dogs do not need to be bathed because their coats slough off the dirt.
Suitability as Pet In Australia
These dogs are very well suited for life on a ranch in Australia. They are most happy with land to defend, so a suburban or urban setting is not a good fit for this breed. They will enjoy marking their property and can be very territorial.
This breed is ideal for those raising cattle or sheep. This breed is very unlikely to back down in a fight, even against other large animals. They will defend their charges bravely in the face of danger. South Russian Ovtcharkas can also be kept as guard dogs on any larger expanse of property. They will keep out any introducers with ferocity.
These dogs can be very useful and enjoy the job of guarding. They do require a strong trainer. This breed is dominant and independent. They need a trainer who is unwilling to back down, consistent and able to assert his/her will over the dog.
Generally, male dogs of this breed are more dominant, and also stronger, than females, which can be an important consideration. Both males and females, however, remain strong and difficult to train. This breed is also characteristically stubborn, with a short attention span. They really should not be trusted around children, but if there are children in the family, the dog is very likely to protect them.
South Russian Ovcharka Organisations in Australia
No club information listed
South Russian Ovcharka Organisations in the US
American Dog Owners Association (ADOA) – South Russian
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