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Russian Bear Dog – Your Guide To The Caucasian Shepherd

russian bear dog
Reading Time: 5 minutes

What is a Russian Bear Dog

The Russian Bear Dog was initially bred to guard livestock. A powerful and big breed, they weigh up to 170lbs and stand at around 30 inches high. These guarding dogs are caring and faithful to their families, but wary of those they don’t know.

Russian Bear Dogs are also known as the Caucasian Shepherd or the Caucasian Ovcharka. Some even call it the Caucasian Mountain Dog.

This isn’t a pup for the faint of heart, and it is necessary to comprehend what makes them tick before you think about welcoming this impressive breed into your house.

This large breed is highly territorial and won’t back down from a fight, even against wolves or bears.

Caucasian Shepherd Pet dogs are smart. However, their persistent, independent nature can make them challenging to train. Their natural mistrust of complete strangers and other animals can also lead to aggressive tendencies if a skilled dog trainer does not keep them in check.


This breed is originally known as the Causcasian Ovcharka back in Russia.

It means the Sheepdog of Caucasus
It gets this name because of where it originates from — the Kavkaz/Caucasus Range Of Mountains
Those mountains are home to a lot of ancient Molossers, and the Ovcharka is the earliest living descendant of those dogs.

The Russian Mountain Dog was used to safeguard flocks, herds, and houses from predators like wolves and bears.

In the 1920s, the Soviet breeders saw this canine’s ferocity and used them to guard federal government centers and other facilities.

The Ovcharka became more and more popular and found its way to Azerbaijan, Russia, Germany, and other locations in Europe.

By 1930, the mountain dog got so well-known and debuted in its very first official show ring.

The Russian Bear Dog ultimately got acknowledged as a breed by significant organizations such as the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI), the United Kennel Club, and the American Kennel Club (AKC).

This breed is specifically listed on the AKC Structure Stock Service (FSS).

Other than the name Caucasian Ovcharka, this spectacular breed is also recognized by other names depending upon the region or place:

  • Ovcharka– the native Russian word for “Sheepdog.”.
  • Caucasian Mountain Shepherd or Caucasian Mountain Dog.
  • Baskhan (Karachay) Pariy.
  • Russian Bear-hunting Dog.

Now that you know a little bit about the Russian bear dog let’s then dive into its appearance.


General Appearance

Caucasian Shepherds will leave you dumbfounded with its robust and muscular appearance.

They have a broad face, kinda resembles that of a bear and a deep-set of dark, oval eyes.

Historically, this breed would have their ears cropped to avoid predators from biting and clinging on to them

Nowadays, the choice is left to the owner, if they want their dog’s ear cropped or not.

The Russian bear dog has powerful muzzle that tapers off to their nose.

They’ve also got some scary looking set of teeth, really sharp and pointy, these help in ripping the skin of predators.


The Russian bear dogs are massive, the male weighs around 110 pounds to 220 pounds while females tend to be smaller and weight about 100 to 180 pounds.

Concerning height, males can measure anywhere between 27 to 30 inches in height at the shoulder while females can measure anywhere between 25 to 28 inches.

Coat and Color

The coat of this canine is one of its rather uniques features. It has a double coat that consists of a soft underlayer and a coarse outer layer. This thick coat helps them withstand the freezing cold in the mountains where they were historically habituated.


So what’s the dog like?

The Caucasian Mountain Dog is not an easy dog to train. It isn’t a dog for beginner dog owners.

The dog is capable of being a loving, caring, and fun family pet, but it is naturally apprehensive of new faces or other dogs.
This can lead to them being aggressive and trust me, they never back down from a fight.
This “never back down” trait is reason they were chosen as guard dogs historically, they aren’t scared of fighting against wild animals like bears.

You’d have to start training these guys very early, particularly socialization training in order to curb this natural apprehension they have against new faces.

With humans they are familiar with caucasian mountain dog makes for a lifelong loyal pet.

Health concerns

Generally, they are considered to be a healthy breed but they are prone to hip dysplasia and cataracts.

They don’t have high energy levels so obesity is a fairly common finding in this breed. it is recommended you exercise them regularly and give them a balance diet to prevent excessive weight gain


The Russian bear dog should be fed a diet appropriate for a large breed with relative low energy levels.
It is advised you visit a nutritional specialist to formulate the right balance of macros and nutrients for your specific dog.
Smaller more frequent meals are recommended as opposed to larger meals to preventing bloating.

How to train a Russian Bear Dog

It is recommended you start training these dogs as early as 7 months. They tend to be quite stubborn and uncooperative if trained at a later age.

Exercise requirements

Overweight dogs are more likely to come down with diabetes and other illnesses, so it is essential to make the caucasian shepherd enjoys its daily exercise requirements.

You aim is to make your your Ovcharka stays fit.

Around 60 minutes of exercise a day is enough for a full grown caucasian shepherd.

Exercise requirement for the puppy is a bit different. You can use this nifty little formular to determine how many long you should train your puppy.

5 minutes per month of their age.


The length of the coat of a caucasian shepherd dog varies in each dog.
Those with shorter coats tend to be a lot easier to easier to groom requiring just regular brushing.

While those with longer hair requires more attention.

Their nails should be clipped regularly as they tend to grow fast.

It is advised to brush their teeth three to four times a week to prevent dental caries.

Live expectancy

Large dogs tend to have a shorter lifespan that their smaller counterparts. With that said, the average life expectancy of a russian bear dog(caucasian shepherd) is around 12 years.

Choose a puppy whose parent has been tested for both hip dysplasia and cataract (health conditions this breed is predisposed to) to reduce the probability of purchasing a puppy who might later come down with those health concerns


The asking price of a Russian bear dog varies from breeder to breeder. It will cost anywhere from $1000 to $2000 to buy and this is just the beginning. You can also expect more expenses while owning the dog, these include;

  • Pet insurance
  • Good quality puppy food
  • Annual vaccinations