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Ioujnorousskaia Ovtcharka Breed Description

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Breed Organization

United Kennel Club (UKC)

Native Country

Other Names
Southern Russian Sheepdog, South Russian Ovtcharka, South Russian Shepherd Dog, Ukrainian Ovcharka, Yuzhak, South Ukrainian Ovcharka, Ovtcharka de Russie Meridionale, Youzhnorusskya Ovcharka

Life Expectancy
Approximately 10-12 Years

Litter Size
Average 5-10 Puppies

Breed Group

General Description

It is a large dog: dogs stand no less that 66 cm at the withers and weigh at least 35 kg; bitches are about 4 cm smaller and weigh some 5 kg less.[2] The head is long and of wedge shape; the ears are pendent and triangular. The coat is long, coarse and thick. It may be solid white, grey or pale ivory; or white with tinges of yellow, or white with patches of grey, pale ivory or wheat colour.

Robust, lean, with massive bone structure and a strongly developed musculature.

The dog is banned in Denmark.

Breed Standard

Head: Elongated, with a moderately wide forehead. Slight stop. Large nose.
Ears: Fairly small, drop, triangular.
Eyes: Dark color, oval. Set horizontally in the skull.
Body: Very muscular. No dewlap. Fairly deep, broad chest, slightly flattened on the sides. Belly moderately tucked up. Strong, straight back. Short, broad, rounded loin.
Tail: Long.
Hair: Long (10 to 15 cm), rough, thick, bushy, slightly wavy. Heavy undercoat.
Coat: White, white and yellow, straw, gray, dark gray. White with small gray markings or flecked with gray.
Size: Dog: minimum of 65 cm.Bitch: minimum of 62 cm.
Weight: Approx. 25 kg.


This breed is descended from Asian Molossian types and was later crossed with Borzois to give it a more streamlined silhouette. The breed was officially recognized in the USSR in 1952 and was the first Russian breed to be recognized by the FCI. The Red Army used this sheepdog as a sentry. This breed is still rare outside of its country of origin.


This active dog is robust, strong, and well-balanced. He is well-known for his courage and is distrustful of strangers. This dominant dog is very protective of his owner. Though he can be aggressive, he can be a good companion if he is trained properly.

This dog needs a lot of exercise. Regular brushing is required.


Sheepdog, Guard and Defense Dog, Pet.


The South Russian Ovtcharka is generally a healthy breed, but is subject to many of the same complaints as all large, rapidly growing dogs.

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