The Moscow Watchdog, also known as the Caucasian Otchartka,
is a recently developed dog from Russia that is intended to be an all-around
watchdog, suitable as a family or working dog as well as being tolerant to the
cold temperatures and harsh winter conditions that are often found in Moscow.
In order to create the proper mix of bulk, independent intelligence,
assertiveness, and gentleness, several breeds were considered as a basis for this
large and imposing animal. Eventually, in the 1940s and 50s, breeders sanctioned
by the government, such as General Medvedev at the Military Cynology School, settled
on a combination of the Caucasian Ovtcharka dogs, a breed chosen for their alert
and protective nature, and the Saint Bernard dogs, a breed chosen for their
genial and easy-going demeanor, with some additional contributions from breeds
such as Russian Harlequin Hounds, German Shepherds, and the Russian Wolfhound.
The resulting canine was a large, intelligent animal that was well-suited for
guarding the railroads, warehouses, and labor camps that the government needed to
be protected, but also generally affable rather than aggressive, and by the
1960s the resulting dog was dubbed the Moscow Watchdog. The first breed
standard for the Moscow Watchdog was published in 1985, the same year that the
Soviet Union granted the breed “official status.” The following year several of
these new dogs were taken to Hungary in 1986, but the breed standard remained
unapproved by the Federation of the Dog Breeders of Russia until 1992, and the
Russian Kennel Club until 1997.