The Russian Bear Dog, often known as the Caucasian Shepherd or the Caucasian Mountain Dog, was originally bred to protect a flock from wolves. Therefore, these pups are known for being a predator and are sometimes controversial as pets. That being said, these gentle giants are also very loyal and devoted, protecting their flock and keeping them calm.
Because of this, these dogs do actually make great family members, but they’re a large dog with a number of requirements that you’ll need to be able to meet! Take a look below to see if one of these pups could be for you.
History Of The Russian Bear Dog
The Russian Bear Dog was an invaluable tool to many farmers due to the fact they could guard flocks of sheep. They were strong, intimidating and fearless, warding off anything that could harm. They were hardy and could stand the cold, too, which was beneficial. Today, these dogs are mainly companion dogs, watchdogs and property guardians, though they are still used by shepherds to tend to flocks.
These dogs are known to still carry some of the aggressive, cautious and standoffish traits that the original Russian Bear Dogs did, but with socialization they can become very loving members of the family. With the popularity of the breed growing, too, breeders are creating dogs with less and less of these unwanted traits.
The origin of the Russian Bear Dog is largely unknown but it is thought they are one of the oldest breeds of working dogs. They come from the Caucasus Mountain region and are thought to have been around for roughly 2000 years. Some people think they were bred from wolves, while others believe they were bred from Mastiffs and other breeds. There are also researches that believe the Caucasian Shepherd Dog is descended from sheepdogs that migrated from Tibet.
Russian Bear Dogs became companions to the shepherds of the Caucasus region for centuries. These shepherds bred the qualities they needed from their sheepdogs and, therefore, there are many different variants of the Russian Bear Dog breed. The Caucasian Shepherd dog that came to Georgia became the breed standard that is recognized by most Kennel Clubs today.
It is not known when the Russian Bear Dog arrived in the US, but they became a member of the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1995. They are also recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Characteristics Of The Russian Bear Dog
The Russian Bear Dog is often thought to be a very aggressive dog due to their working background, but with the right training and socialization, this could not be further from the truth. They are still powerful, but they are very devoted to their families, too.
You can expect to pay anywhere between $1000 and $2000 for a Russian Bear Dog puppy. They are an expensive dog, but this price ensures they are healthy. Remember, always buy from a reputable breeder.
It is not secret that Russian Bear Dogs are big dogs! They usually weigh between 100 – 170 lbs and stand between 23-30” in height, with males bigger than females. Males also normally have a much larger head. They also look a bit like a teddy bear, which is where they get their name from!
Some Russian Bear Dogs have cropped ears. This was and still is done to many livestock guardian dogs due to the fact that it eliminated the opportunity for predators to bite and cling on to the dog.
The Russian Bear Dog has a thick, coarse double coat. This is due to the fact they were bred to be hardy animals that could withstand any temperature, even the freezing cold. Unfortunately, this means that they shed a lot and are, therefore, not the pet for those with allergies. We will go into more detail about grooming later on.
The Russian Bear Dog can come in any solid color, piebald or spotted. However, you will never see one of these dogs in a black of diluted black color — this is against the breed standard.
Due to their history of protecting sheep, the Russian Bear Dog is a natural protector who will protect their family. This means they can be wary of strangers, but are extremely loyal to their owners and will love you more than anything. They will not like strangers turning up at the home and will see them as a threat, so these pups do require a lot of socializing when they are young. However, this is also means they are great watchdogs and guard dogs, although they are not known to bark.
The Caucasian Shepherd is an active dog, but after their daily walk they do not require much more. What they really like is having space outside to roam, just like they would have had with their sheep, so they are most certainly suited to country life with a large area of land and will not do well with city living.
These dogs are very intelligent but it dos not mean that training them is easy. Due to their independence and alertness they can become distracted, so you will have to work to ensure they understand following commands.
The Russian Bear Dog has a life expectancy of between 10 and 12 years.
Known Health Issues
The Russian Bear Dog is a generally healthy breed thanks to the fact that many unwanted issues have been bred out. However, they are, like every dog, still susceptible to some health problems.
Due to the fact they are a giant breed, the Russian Bear Dog can develop hip dysplasia. This is when the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia.
They can also be prone to cataracts. You might suspect your dog has cataracts if they are constantly bumping into furniture. Cataracts can be cured with surgery.
Regular vet checkups and keeping an eye on your dog will ensure you can catch any of these issues before they become untreatable.
Remember — buy from a reputable breeder and the chances your dog will suffer any health conditions will be greatly reduced.
Now we understand the traits and characteristics of the Russian Bear Dog, it is time to take a look at what life with one of these dogs is like on a day to day basis. We will cover their food and diet, their exercise needs and their grooming requirements.
Food And Diet
The Russian Bear Dog has, unsurprisingly, quite a big appetite! They require around 20 calories per pound of body weight per day. Of course, you should always double check the back of the food packet to see the exact amount of a certain food you should be feeding your dog based on their weight. You should always be feeding them high-quality food that meets their nutritional requirements.
One thing to remember with the Russian Dog is that, because they are a large breed, they are more prone to bloat which can be dangerous. Smaller, more frequent meals will reduce the risk of bloat. This should be around two meals a day as an adult, and four as a puppy.
It is very important not to overfeed these dogs as puppies. Overfeeding and excessive protein levels during skeletal development can be detrimental. They can also be prone to gain weight, so you should watch out for this and never let them free feed. At the correct weight you shouldn’t be able to see a waist and you should be able to feel but not see their ribs without pressing too hard.
Best Dog Food For The Russian Bear DogBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend the Life Protection Formula for large breeds from Blue Buffalo for your Russian Bear Dog. This food is formulated with protein-rich chicken as the first ingredient, ensuring your doggie gets all the nutrients they need to keep their muscles healthy and strong.
Designed specially for large dog breeds, this food contains glucosamine and chondroitin to help support joint health and overall mobility of bigger dogs. There are also antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to support immune system health, life stage requirements and a healthy oxidative balance. Even better, there are no artificial flavors or preservatives in this recipe, only good, wholesome ingredients that’ll keep your Russian Bear Dog healthy.
The Russian Bear Dog is a large breed and therefore does have somewhat high exercise needs. They are actually described as low energy dogs, but they were bred for their stamina and endurance which can mean that they are excellent hiking buddies. While they are out in public, it is best to keep them on a leash as their size can be intimidating to others.
As an adult, they will require upwards of 60 minutes of exercise a day. However, after this exercise, they are happy to fit in with everyday life and go back to their low energy ways. Remember, they like to wander in large open spaces around the home as you go about your daily life, too.
Because they are a large dog breed, it is very important that you don’t overexercise them when they are young. Exercising too much when they are little can put unnecessary strain on their joints and can cause more problems later on in life.
While they are growing, they should only be exercising for 5 minutes per month of their age. You should also not let them jump in and out of cars or climb the stairs until they are fully matured (2 years old).
The Caucasian Shepherd can make an excellent family dog in the right environment. Certainly not for first time owners, this dog needs a family who understands their herding and guarding background and will let them continue with these behaviors. Of course, you can socialize these dogs and teach them not to be as scared of strangers, but they can still be aloof and will want to protect you.
Due to this protective nature, the Russian Bear Dog makes an excellent guard dog. They are very loving towards their family and those who they know and trust, which is why socializing is so important. They are an intelligent dog but training can be a challenge because of their independence, so this is something to note.
When raised with children and other animals, this Russian Bear Dog should have no issue becoming a devoted member of the family. Of course, they are a large dog, so you will need to watch them when they are around very young children!
The Russian Bear Dog can be a little difficult to train because of their independence, but it is not impossible. You will need to use reward based training and positive reinforcement techniques when training these dogs. This includes verbal praise as well as treats.
You should never punish your Caucasian Shepherd, especially as they are already wary of humans. By giving them a treat when they do something good and ignoring negative behavior, they will soon learn that the positive behavior is more beneficial.
We have mentioned above that the Russian Bear Dog can be very aloof with strangers due to their guarding and protective nature. They will want to protect their owners at all times and so socialization from a very young age is imperative if you want your pup to tolerate those who don’t live at the home.
You should introduce them to new sights, sounds, places, smells, people and animals in a safe environment so that they learn there is nothing to be afraid of. They also need to have positive experiences with humans, otherwise it will confirm the idea in their head that all humans are a threat.
The Russian Bear Dog has a thick, double coat that is quite coarse. They do shed a lot, so they are not for those with allergies. This thick coat means that they do need to be brushed often — at least twice a week to prevent matting and tangling of the fur.
They can be taken to the groomers if it is easier for you. The groomers can also help with clipping their nails. You should also try to brush their teeth as often as you can to prevent dental decay and disease.
Russian Bear Dog FAQ’s
How much does a Russian Bear Dog cost?
A Russian Bear Dog can set you back between $1000 and $2000 for a Russian Bear Dog puppy. They are an expensive dog, but this price ensures they are healthy. Remember, always buy from a reputable breeder.
If this is out of your price range, you can always check your local shelter. You may find a dog there that is looking for their forever home!
Is a Russian Bear Dog aggressive?
It is often thought that Russian Bear Dogs are aggressive because of their protective nature. This is not true, however, and when raised in the right environment, they are very sweet dogs. They bond very quickly to their owners and are very loyal, but this does mean they can be aloof with strangers. Proper socialization as a young age will help to fix this.
The Russian Bear Dog is a loyal and protective large breed of dog that can make an excellent family pet. With strong defensive natures passed down from their sheepdog days, these pups can be a little wary of strangers and animals they do not know, but socialization can help. While these are certainly not for first time dog owners, the Russian Bear Dog fits well into an experienced family and is known for being an excellent companion dog and exercise buddy! If you’re thinking about getting another dog, why not make it the Russian Bear Dog?