Russian Bear Dog – Everything You Could Want to Know

If you’re planning to adopt a Russian Bear Dog or you’re here just as a dog lover, we’ve everything you’d want to know about this breed in one place for you.

These bear-sized dogs are one of the largest breeds of dogs today. Originally bred as protectors of sheep, they’ve all the qualities of a remarkable guard dog. They’re independent, loyal, and intelligent. If you’re looking for a protective bud, Russian Bear Dogs are your best bet. 

In this article, we’ve dug into everything anyone could want to know about this dog breed, including some frequently asked questions in the end – if you want to skip to that.

History of The Russian Bear Dogs

Nobody is really sure where these dogs originated from, but what we do know is that they come from the Caucasus region, which includes countries like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and southeastern Russia. 

The reason these dogs were bred in the first place was to protect the sheep from the biggest threat in the region: wolves.

So these dogs had to be big and strong enough to take on a pack of wolves alone.

But it wasn’t only that – the shepherds needed a dog that could tell the difference between a wolf and a friendly neighborhood sheep. 

These dogs were raised alongside the sheep, the shepherds, and their families, to learn the difference between a friend and a foe. 


In the United Kennel Club (UKC), this breed is registered as Caucasian Ovcharka. On the other hand, The American Kennel Club (AKC) calls it the Caucasian Shepherd Dog.

These are some names other names of the Russian Bear Dogs:

  • Caucasian Mountain Shepherd
  • Caucasian Ovcharka
  • Caucasian Shepherd
  • Caucasian Shepherd Dog
  • Caucasian Mountain Dog

Size and Appearance

Russian bear dogs, formally known as the Caucasian Shepherd, are like big, fluffy bears! They can be almost as tall as a grown human and weigh as much as a small car.

The males are incredibly massive, standing at a towering 72-75 cm tall, which is like three feet in doggy terms. Females are a bit smaller, but still, no slouches at 67-70 cm tall. And let’s not forget about their weight – these dogs can tip the scales at over 170 pounds! That’s a lot of fluff to cuddle with.

Speaking of fluff, the Russian bear dog has a thick double coat designed to keep them warm in their native Caucasus Mountains region. They come in various colors, from white to rust, with black markings that give them a cool, distinctive look.

Remember that all that fluff comes with a price – these dogs shed like crazy, especially during their twice-yearly shedding seasons.

So, if you’re thinking about adding a Russian bear dog to your family, make sure you’re prepared to give them lots of love, attention, and daily brushing to keep that beautiful coat in tip-top shape.


We mentioned earlier how these dogs resemble a bear in their appearance, but what if we tell you they have the temperament of bears, too!

While they might seem lazy and low-energy most of the time, they are fearless protectors when they sense danger. They have a natural guarding instinct and can be challenging to handle because of their massive size and weight.

Training and socialization are essential for these dogs. But even then, they will want to make their own split-second decisions about strangers and threats. While they’re brilliant, they’re also highly independent.

These gentle giants need a big home with lots of space to occupy and at least two 15-minute exercise sessions daily to stay fit and healthy. Don’t let their laziness fool you, they have the endurance to join you on a long hike if they are getting regular exercise.

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Russian bear dogs make great family pets when properly trained and socialized. They love cuddles and will defend their families, but be cautious with small children due to their size. They make excellent guard dogs but are overkill in terms of home protection for most people.

While they are not destructive when left alone, they do get bored and frustrated. They are happiest when someone is around, so make sure to give them plenty of attention and love.

Nutritious Requirements

It’s a simple mantra: If you want your dog to be healthy and strong, you gotta feed them right! 

It’s especially important when they’re just tiny balls of fluff and cuteness.

Don’t just grab any old bag of puppy food off the shelf. You must ensure it’s high-quality and has the right amount of calories and calcium. 

You see, these big dogs take a long time to finish growing – up to 2 whole years! And if they don’t get enough calcium when they’re young, they could develop problems like elbow and hip dysplasia (mentioned in the article).

But don’t go too crazy with the calcium and calories! As they say, “excess of everything is bad”, and the same is the case here:

Too much of either could also be bad news for your pup. You want them to grow slowly and properly so they don’t end up with those bone disorders. 

Once your furry friend is all grown up, keep giving them good food packed with all the right stuff. 

And don’t forget about glucosamine! It’s a magic ingredient that helps keep their joints and bones healthy. 


Taking care of your Russian Bear Dog’s coat can be a challenge. Their long, double coat needs proper maintenance to keep it healthy and shiny. 

The frequency of grooming your dog will depend on how long their fur is and the season of the year.

During spring, all dogs need more grooming sessions to shed their winter coats. But if your dog has shorter fur, you should only brush them a couple of times a week during the rest of the year. On the other hand, if your pooch has longer fur, you may need to give them daily brushing.

If you’re too busy or not confident enough to groom your dog at home, taking them to a professional groomer is a great alternative. 


Never shave your Russian Bear Dog! Their double coat has a purpose – it keeps them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. So shaving it off would strip them of this natural protection.

Keep in mind that if your dog’s fur becomes tangled, you need to detangle it as soon as possible. A small tangle today can quickly turn into a big knot that could be difficult to remove later.

How to Train

We all want a trained dog, so looking into the training techniques before bringing the dog into your house is smart. This is crucial for keeping your expectations in check.

Russian Bear Dogs are notorious for being a challenge to train- even for experienced dog trainers!

 And honestly, it’s not hard to see why – they have all the traits of a tough-to-train dog breed: 

  • Independence
  • Protectiveness,
  • A guardian instinct
  • Intelligence. 

Basically, they’re like the ninja warriors of the dog world.

Here are the 2 major reasons making them so tough to train: 

1. Independent thinkers

When they’re out in the field protecting sheep, they need to be able to make their own decisions without relying on human commands. So, when you’re trying to train them, it’s like trying to teach a kid who’s used to making all their own decisions to follow the rules. It’s not impossible, but it’s definitely a challenge.

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2. Aggressive

Let me tell you, you do not want an aggressive Russian Bear Dog on your hands. Some training methods can actually make them more aggressive, so you have to be careful. And, of course, they’re massive dogs, so if they do get aggressive, they can do some severe damage.

But here’s the thing: with the right approach, you can train a Russian Bear Dog. 

The key is to start early and be patient. It would be best if you taught them from a young age who is a friend and who is a foe. And you need to establish yourself as the leader – this dog will respond poorly to wishy-washy training.

Leash training is another method that needs to be done while your dog is still small. The following tips might help you with it:

  1. Your dog should walk behind or beside you
  2. Use a short leash
  3. Spend a lot of time walking.
  4. Reward your dog while out on the walk.
  5. Make sure you take the lead even after the walk.
  6. At the end of the walk, reward your dog.

At the end of the day, training a Russian Bear Dog is a big challenge, but leash training can make it easier. And if you do it right, you’ll end up with a loyal and loving companion who will protect you and your family with all their might.

Health Concerns

When it comes to health problems in dogs, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. But there are some breeds that are more susceptible to certain issues, and the Russian Bear Dog is no exception.

Now, please don’t get too worried because when it comes to overall health, the Caucasian Mountain Dog is a pretty healthy breed. 

However, they do have a couple of issues that you should keep an eye out for:

1. Hip Dysplasia 

This is a problem that many large-breed dogs face, and the Russian Bear Dog is no exception. Hip dysplasia occurs when the ball joint on the dog’s hip doesn’t fit properly into the socket. This can cause a lot of pain and discomfort for your furry friend. Unfortunately, there aren’t many treatment options available.

2. Elbow dysplasia

This condition is similar to hip dysplasia but affects the front leg at the elbow joint. Again, it’s painful and can make it difficult for your pup to get around.

3. Cataracts 

Due to this annoying condition, the dog’s eye’s lens becomes cloudy, which can cause visual issues and even blindness. Some dogs may only have minor cataracts that don’t significantly impair their eyesight, while others may eventually go blind.

What can I do to maintain a healthy Russian Bear Dog? 

Make sure your dog maintains a healthy weight and receives lots of exercise. Of course, it’s always a good idea to take your pet to the vet for routine checkups.

Just keep an eye out for any indications of distress or pain, and don’t hesitate to ask your veterinarian for assistance.

Do Russian Bear Dogs Make Good Pets?

Its enormous size can be dangerous for younger children, but it’s safe for older children.

Are Russian Bear Dogs Hypo-Allergenic?

No, they’re not because of their thick coats that shed a lot.

How long do Russian Bear Dogs Live?

These dogs can live anywhere between 10 to 12 years.

What’s the Bite Force of the Russian Bear Dog?

The bite force of a Russian Bear Dog is 550-700 PSI – stronger than a Lion’s bite force!

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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