South Russian Ovcharka: Dog Breed Facts and Information

Country of origin: Russia
Shoulder height: 62 – 67 cm
Weight: 45 – 60 kg
Age: 11 – 12 years
Color: white, light beige, or light gray, each with or without white
Use: guard dog, protection dog

The South Russian Ovcharka is a less common sheepdog breed from Russia. Like all livestock guardian dogs, it is very confident, independent, and territorial. Its ideal living space is a house with grounds that it can guard.

Origin and history

The South Russian Ovcharka is a sheepdog breed from Russia. The South Russian Shepherd originally comes from the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine. Its task was to independently protect herds of cows and sheep against wolves and other predators. Southern Russia must have originated in its basic form around the middle of the 19th century. Its heyday can be dated around 1870. At that time several southern Russians could be found with almost every flock of sheep in Ukraine. After World War II, however, the number of purebred dogs fell sharply. Even today, the breed is not very common.


The South Russian Ovcharka is a large dog that differs from the other Ovcharka breeds primarily in its fur. The top coat is very long (about 10-15 cm) and covers the whole body and face. It is coarse, very dense, slightly wavy, and feels like goat hair. Underneath, the southern Russian has a plentiful undercoat, so the fur provides ideal protection from the harsh Russian climate. The coat is mostly white, but there are also gray and beige dogs with or without white spots.

The South Russian Ovcharka has small, triangular, lop-eared ears that are hairy like the rest of the body. The dark eyes are mostly covered by the hair so that only the big, black nose sticks out in its face. The tail is long and hanging.


The South Russian Ovcharka is a very confident, spirited, and territorial dog. It is reserved to be suspicious towards strangers, but loyal and affectionate towards its own family. However, it needs to be socialized early and integrated into the family, and also needs clear leadership. With insecure people who don’t exude natural authority, the South Russian will take charge and turn his dominant nature on the outside. Therefore, it is not necessarily suitable for beginners.

The adaptable South Russian is an incorruptible guardian and protector. Therefore, it should also live in a house with a large lot where it has a job that suits its disposition. It is not suitable for an apartment or city dog. Although the South Russian Ovcharka is very intelligent and docile, its independent, stubborn nature makes it hardly suitable for dog sports activities. One cannot expect blind obedience from it. It will obey, but only when the instructions make sense to itself, and not to please its owners.

Grooming does not require much effort. The fur is dirt-repellent – weekly brushing is sufficient.

Ava Williams

Written by Ava Williams

Hello, I'm Ava! I have been writing professionally for just over 15 years. I specialize in writing informative blog posts, breed profiles, pet care product reviews, and pet health and care articles. Prior to and during my work as a writer, I spent about 12 years in the pet care industry. I have experience as a kennel supervisor and professional groomer. I also compete in dog sports with my own dogs. I also have cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

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