Some people are passionate about really big dogs, and you won’t find many bigger than the Caucasian shepherd dog, also known as the Russian bear dog or the Caucasian ovcharka.
Bred in the Soviet Union in the 20th century, these giant dogs spend much of their time lazing around, but when danger strikes they know how to react. They can take down bears, jackals, and wolves when defending their territory.
A Russian bear dog can make a good pet if you are looking for a large dog that is relatively low energy, or you want a serious guard dog, but they require an experienced dog owner who knows how to train independent pups and show them who is boss at the right moment.
Read on as we go through everything you need to know about the Caucasian shepherd dog to help you decide whether they are the right animal for you.
Characteristics Of The Russian Bear Dog
The Russian Bear Dog is often thought to be a very aggressive dog due to their working background, but with the right training and socialization, this could not be further from the truth. They are still powerful, but they are very devoted to their families, too.
You can expect to pay anywhere between $1000 and $2000 for a Russian Bear Dog puppy. They are an expensive dog, but this price ensures they are healthy. Remember, always buy from a reputable breeder.
It is not secret that Russian Bear Dogs are big dogs! They usually weigh between 100 – 170 lbs and stand between 23-30” in height, with males bigger than females. Males also normally have a much larger head. They also look a bit like a teddy bear, which is where they get their name from!
Some Russian Bear Dogs have cropped ears. This was and still is done to many livestock guardian dogs due to the fact that it eliminated the opportunity for predators to bite and cling on to the dog.
The Russian Bear Dog has a thick, coarse double coat. This is due to the fact they were bred to be hardy animals that could withstand any temperature, even the freezing cold. Unfortunately, this means that they shed a lot and are, therefore, not the pet for those with allergies. We will go into more detail about grooming later on.
The Russian Bear Dog can come in any solid color, piebald or spotted. However, you will never see one of these dogs in a black of diluted black color — this is against the breed standard.
Due to their history of protecting sheep, the Russian Bear Dog is a natural protector who will protect their family. This means they can be wary of strangers, but are extremely loyal to their owners and will love you more than anything. They will not like strangers turning up at the home and will see them as a threat, so these pups do require a lot of socializing when they are young. However, this is also means they are great watchdogs and guard dogs, although they are not known to bark.
The Caucasian Shepherd is an active dog, but after their daily walk they do not require much more. What they really like is having space outside to roam, just like they would have had with their sheep, so they are most certainly suited to country life with a large area of land and will not do well with city living.
These dogs are very intelligent but it dos not mean that training them is easy. Due to their independence and alertness they can become distracted, so you will have to work to ensure they understand following commands.
The Russian Bear Dog has a life expectancy of between 10 and 12 years.
The Russian Bear Dog is a generally healthy breed thanks to the fact that many unwanted issues have been bred out. However, they are, like every dog, still susceptible to some health problems.
Due to the fact they are a giant breed, the Russian Bear Dog can develop hip dysplasia. This is when the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia.
They can also be prone to cataracts. You might suspect your dog has cataracts if they are constantly bumping into furniture. Cataracts can be cured with surgery.
Regular vet checkups and keeping an eye on your dog will ensure you can catch any of these issues before they become untreatable.
Remember — buy from a reputable breeder and the chances your dog will suffer any health conditions will be greatly reduced.
Now we understand the traits and characteristics of the Russian Bear Dog, it is time to take a look at what life with one of these dogs is like on a day to day basis. We will cover their food and diet, their exercise needs and their grooming requirements.
The Russian Bear Dog has, unsurprisingly, quite a big appetite! They require around 20 calories per pound of body weight per day. Of course, you should always double check the back of the food packet to see the exact amount of a certain food you should be feeding your dog based on their weight. You should always be feeding them high-quality food that meets their nutritional requirements.
One thing to remember with the Russian Dog is that, because they are a large breed, they are more prone to bloat which can be dangerous. Smaller, more frequent meals will reduce the risk of bloat. This should be around two meals a day as an adult, and four as a puppy.
It is very important not to overfeed these dogs as puppies. Overfeeding and excessive protein levels during skeletal development can be detrimental. They can also be prone to gain weight, so you should watch out for this and never let them free feed. At the correct weight you shouldn’t be able to see a waist and you should be able to feel but not see their ribs without pressing too hard.
Should I Adopt A Russian Bear Dog?
Now that you have read our profile, are you still thinking about adopting a Russian bear dog? Consider the following questions to make your final decision.
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