South Russian Ovcharka

100-110 lbs
Ukraine, Russia
South Russian Sheepdog, Ukrainian Ovcharka, Ioujnorousskaïa Ovtcharka, South Ukrainian Ovcharka, South Russian Shepherd Dog
The South Russian Ovcharka is a steadfast guardian and that may be its most dominant characteristic. They were bred to be guard dogs in every facet in order to protect the family, home, and property and they take their responsibility with zeal, willingly acting as intimidators if they sense a big enough threat. They are highly attuned to their environment and act as sentinels of their home even if it is not requested of them. They are highly intelligent but they use it two-fold: one to understand the rigors and aim of training quickly and the other to make their own decisions. They are not particularly difficult dogs to train, as they pick things up rather quickly. But what they do require is a firm and consistent hand, as even after they are fully trained, still prefer to often make their own decisions unless they have someone to tell them otherwise. Those who choose to spend the time and energy on training will receive a more thorough bond with their dog, although they will also attach to other members of the family and protect them with the same vigor. They are only moderately affectionate and playful but generally respond with as much as in return as they receive. South Russian Ovcharkas generally need thorough socialization from early on if they are to live around other dogs and people outside the family with minimal issues, although they seem to be relatively patient with children on their own. Given their high requirement for exercise and the necessity for a strong hand, they are only recommended for experienced dog owners with a large space for them to run and patrol.
purpose Purpose
Guardian, Companion, Watchdog
history Date of Origin
Ancient Times
ancestry Ancestry
Austrian Shepherds, Tatra Shepherds

South Russian Ovcharka Health

Average Size
Male South Russian Ovcharka size stats
Height: 25-27 inches Weight: 100-110 lbs
Female South Russian Ovcharka size stats
Height: 24-26 inches Weight: 100-110 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Hip Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Gastric Torsion
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Bloat
Occasional Tests
  • X-Rays
  • Physical Examination

South Russian Ovcharka Breed History

Like many breeds that are considered ancient, there is no well-documented history of the South Russian Ovcharka. Many believe that they are long-separated descendants of wolves and native bearded Russian dogs that were used for herding and protecting livestock. Regardless, there is much more evidence that the breed developed much more quickly from about 1790 on, when many of the type separated into their own distinct groups. It is believed that during this time, Austrian shepherds were mixed with Tatra shepherds and sighthounds, producing large, dominant, and rugged dogs with excellent endurance. Judging by the breed's look and personality, these seem like likely candidates to descend from. While they are still somewhat popular in their region of origin, mostly still as a cross of guard dog and companion, they are still somewhat rare elsewhere.

South Russian Ovcharka Breed Appearance

South Russian Ovcharkas are large dogs, standing a minimum of two feet tall and weighing upwards of 100 pounds. They have long, shaggy outer coats that are usually 4 to 6 inches in length and come in a few shades including white, fawn, and gray with a dense undercoat as their base layer. Underneath their ragged exterior, they are incredibly muscular and built on a hefty bone structure. Their heads are elongated, not dissimilar to that of a wolf, with the skull being about as long as the black nosed muzzle. Their eyes are dark and oval-shaped and their ears relatively small for their head, triangular and folded. Their chests are deep and relatively wide and their backs are straight and muscular. Their forelegs are long and straight and their hind legs are well-angled with heavy thigh muscle. Their tails are long and as hairy as their bodies, if not more so, and generally hang at rest with a slight upturn.
Eye Color Possibilities
brown South Russian Ovcharka eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black South Russian Ovcharka nose
Coat Color Possibilities
white South Russian Ovcharka coat
gray South Russian Ovcharka coat
fawn South Russian Ovcharka coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
South Russian Ovcharka wavy coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

South Russian Ovcharka Breed Maintenance

South Russian Ovcharkas are considered a medium to high maintenance breed, largely due to their excessively long coats. They are moderate shedders in between seasons but undoubtedly unload in spring, so they need brushing and combing on a daily basis to keep their coat clean, untangled and free of matting. They are notorious transporters of dirt from outside and while they do a pretty good job keeping themselves clean, rest assured they will deposit the rest in the house, so the more they are brushed, the more controlled the mess will be. Many owners choose to take them to professionals to make sure they are thoroughly brushed, trimmed, and clean, though it's certainly possible to do at home for any owner dedicated enough to attempt it on a regular basis. Their folded ears also need to be monitored, as they are prone to collecting excess moisture and wax that could cause ear infections, although they are generally safer than dogs with larger ears. Of course, like any breed, they will need their nails trimmed as necessary and their teeth brushed at least on a weekly basis to help maintain good oral health.
Brushes for South Russian Ovcharka
Slicker Brush
Slicker Brush
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
South Russian Ovcharka requires daily brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

South Russian Ovcharka Temperament

While South Russian Ovcharkas are generally easy-going and relatively affectionate dogs with their families, they still retain much of their ancient status as independent guardians. They are not a particularly difficult breed to train, as they are incredibly intelligent, but their strong-willed nature often means that even once fully trained, they will still attempt to make their own decisions unless told otherwise. Because of it, they need an extremely consistent and firm hand to maintain ideal behavior, as they will often try to reassert themselves as the dominant member of the family if not given direction with regularity. Although they do enjoy spending time with the family, they are just as happy to be alone as long as they've received a proper amount of exercise. If left to their own devices, they will often patrol their home or yard, making sure they don't see or hear anything potentially harmful. Because of the independence acquired by years of guardianship over flocks and families, they can be a bit standoffish, especially with strangers and other dogs and will need thorough socialization early on if they are to co-exist with either regularly with minimal issues. They are also moderately good with children inherently, but should be socialized nonetheless to prevent potential incidents. They do also have high exercise requirements, so they generally do best with an active family, one with a large house, large yard, or with a healthy dog park nearby - another reason for early and thorough socialization.

South Russian Ovcharka Activity Requirements

This breed is considered a high energy breed thanks to their extensive muscle and inherited endurance. If left alone in the yard, they will generally exercise themselves, if only in a small capacity, by patrolling the area, but will be much more prone to being upset or startled if they have pent up energy. To optimize their behavior, they require at least 16 to 18 miles of running or walking a week or about 70 minutes of daily exercise to keep them happy and healthy. Not meant for an apartment at all, this canine needs a home with plenty of room inside and a secure back yard space outside.
Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
16 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
70 minutes
activity minutes

South Russian Ovcharka Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
4.5 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$2.00 - $2.50
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$60.00 - $75.00
food bag monthly cost

South Russian Ovcharka Height & Weight

6 Months
Male South Russian Ovcharka size stats at six months
Height: 18.0 inches Weight: 70.5 lbs
Female South Russian Ovcharka size stats at six months
Height: 18.0 inches Weight: 70.5 lbs
12 Months
Male South Russian Ovcharka size stats at 12 months
Height: 22.0 inches Weight: 88.0 lbs
Female South Russian Ovcharka size stats at 12 months
Height: 22.0 inches Weight: 88.0 lbs
18 Months
Male South Russian Ovcharka size stats at 18 months
Height: 26.0 inches Weight: 105.0 lbs
Female South Russian Ovcharka size stats at 18 months
Height: 25.0 inches Weight: 105.0 lbs

South Russian Ovcharka Owner Experiences

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