History of this breed began more than three centuries ago. It was introduced to southern steppes of Ukraine to guard flocks of sheep imported from Spain at the end of the XVIII century (3-4 dogs guarded about 1500 sheep). In 1933 in an exhibition in Berlin this dog caused a furor. Sadly, the breed was heavily damaged and almost disappeared as a result of the World War II. Since the end of the XX century, their numbers gradually began to increase. It was widespread in former USSR, and individual specimens were exported abroad. The standard of the breed has been amended several times. The Hungarian Komondor and the Old English Sheepdog are very similar in appearance to this big Russian dog.
The South Russian Shepherd Dog has a large, muscular body covered with thick, long hair. Coloration occurs in gray or white. Representatives height varies from 62 to 65 cm and their weight is around 48-50 kg. Head is large with a short snout, small, triangular ears and dark eyes, covered with hair. The only part of head, which differs well, is a black nose. Limbs are muscular and tail is long.
Character and behavior
This is a very intelligent and courageous dog with perfectly developed protective instincts.
Male representatives are massive and strong. They are independent and will certainly respond with aggression to nervous or threatening actions. Their natural way to defend themselves is dominant attacking reaction. Keep in mind that the South Russian Shepherd is a very dominant animal and could try to enforce its will upon dogs of same sex.
Training and education
A proper socialization at an early age is a must, as this dog has a dominant character. Training is a true challenge, as representatives of the breed are very stubborn. You need to be patient and consistent if you want to achieve a decent result in educating your pet.
The South Russians Shepherds are distinguished with very good general health. Of course, like all large breeds, they also suffer from hip dysplasia and problems with joints. Some specimens could be prone to eye and ear infections or some minor skin issues. Average life span is about 9 to 11 years.
Grooming and care
An apartments are extremely unsuitable for these big dogs, they need more space and a lot of movement to spend their energy and feel in good shape. It is very important to socialize your puppy from an early age to suppress its desire to dominate. Appropriate owners of these animals are active families with experience in breeding dogs that will be able to educate them with right methods. Coat of the South Russian Shepherd requires frequent brushing to look good.
Children and other pets
These are very smart, responsible and strong dogs that get along well with their owners and children, but will hardly accustom to a company of other pets. They are very vigilant and always alert, which is totally understandable considering their strong protective instincts.
Canine specialists and historians continue to argue about an origin of the South Russian Shepherd Dog. Some claim that the breed's ancestors are pre-slavic dogs, also known as Arias. They lived in 4 BC and were mostly used as guardians of herds. There are descriptions by the Russian writer L. Sabaneev of wolf-killers with huge beards that were raised even in the homes of the Russian aristocrats.
The breed is considered one the few native dogs in Russia and was completely and definitively developed in 1971. It is still prestigious in to have such Shepherd and puppies for sale are very expensive.