Thinking of adopting a Russian bear dog? let us help you with everything you need to know about this breed.
These are one of the biggest dogs that have their roots in the Caucasus mountains. Some other names for this breed include the Caucasian shepherd, Russian bear dog. Often mistaken as the king shepherd and Shiloh shepherd but you need to realize that these are different breeds.
Russian bear dogs don’t move much but are very protective of their families as of their guarding history. These giants require proper care as these do not belong to the average breeds people opt for their pets in general, the reasons are numerous but the main reason is their big size and training requirements. Dogs are a part of our family and if you can invest time and space in these giants they can turn out to be wonderful family dogs.
The name Caucasian shepherd is originated from the Caucasus mountains, these mountains are home to many different dogs which are as large as the Russian bear dogs. The ancestors of Russian bear dogs were livestock guardians they use to defend sheep from different animals such as wolves, jackals, and bears. During the times of increased bear activity, they often were used as guard and bear hunting dogs. In short, their job was to protect their master’s land, property and take care of the surrounding from different animals.
Soviet breeders began a breeding program that included some dogs from the Caucasus mountains in the 20th century. Caucasus mountains were born from this program. The modern Russian bear dog is bred from a variety of breeds from the Caucasus mountains, for example, the Georgian Shepherd.
This breed came out of Caucasus in the 1930s in Germany for the first time. Despite the short history, the Russian bear dog is a fully standardized breed. By standardized, it means that they can easily compete in many things such as show rings along with recognizing the standard they should live up to. They are also recognized by some of the most popular kennel clubs such as the American Kennel Club. However, they are still thought to be foundation stock breed by AKC.
Let’s see some important facts and information about Russian Bear Dog.
Lifestyle And Facts About Russian Bear Dog
1. Temperament Of Russian Bear Dog
They are basically guards of their owners which you already know by now. Initially, they were bred and kept by humans for protecting or guarding their livestock as there were instances that led to life-threatening issues in livestock. They were also used to protect acres of land which people had in previous centuries. Clearly, they have great instincts due to their previous work. You cannot train your dog’s instincts out because their instincts and willpower make them how they are now.
Their instincts when combined with the massive size these dogs have, make them quite difficult to handle which is the main reason why they are not kept as pets by most people. We do not have the actual bite statistics of Russian bear dogs due to how rare they are. When not given the right training and socialization, they can be quite aggressive towards other people and can be provocative unnecessarily sometimes against other pets living in your house.
Also, unlike other breeds of dogs, they are not completely reliable on humans for everything even if they are kept as pets because they like being independent. The reason behind this is that they were mainly bred to complete their job by themselves without the help or command of their masters to do so. One should know that Russian bear dog is deigned and determined to make split-second, life or death decision all by themselves, they will do the same even if they are kept as companions.
In other words, if there are guests outside and they knock on the door, a Russian bear dog is likely to make a decision in seconds whether your guests are a threat to you or not without staring at you for the decisions or command. This is the main reason why you should socialize your dog in their childhood.
You always want your Russian bear dog to make the correct decision, know that they would not be able to do so unless they get the right guidance from you at an early age. A dog who never has never met any person or animal outside their house is likely to consider all others a threat and attack them for no reason.
Not only that, these dogs are extremely fearless. They were also bred to hunt bears, you easily know this by their name. They require to stay in a fenced backyard for them to stay safe. Luckily, their intelligence levels are superior which makes them good at keeping themselves out of any hazards and troubles with amazing learning abilities.
They are intelligent and fearless, however, their energy levels are not at high as you expect after reading all the heroic things mentioned above. They are low-energy breeds which means they are not excited or energetic.
This is the reason you do not have to be worried about your Russian bear dog knocking someone down out of excitement with their heavy bodies. In fact, the people who already own them as their pets describe them to be almost lethargic. Most of the time of their days g in sleeping or taking naps unless they spot something that triggers the aggressive side.
When they feel threatened, they tend to become intimidating and noisy. They obviously do make amazing guard dogs, though, in these modern times, they might become a little too much for such purposes.
Certain strains of these Russian bear dogs are more dangerous or aggressive than others. However, it highly depends on the way they were bred initially. Those dogs that were bred for purpose of guarding are more aloof and territorial, while dogs that were only bred for companionship are more laidback.
That being said, Russian bear dogs can be aggressive as well as territorial when they are not socialized properly. They have the tendency to show territorial nature around other dogs especially when they are highly protective of their owner and family.
Let’s collect more information and discuss the size and appearance of Russian Bear Dogs.
2. Size And Appearance
the Russian Bear Dog is a massive dog. According to research published by the American Kennel Club, their weight ranges from 70 pounds to 170 pounds. However, there are some larger versions that are uncommon while they do exist.
Males are usually bigger than female dogs. The minimum weight of a female Russian bear dog is 99 pounds, while that of the male is 110 pounds, They stand very tall. Their height can reach nearly 30 inches, with the minimum height being nearly 23 inches. Similar to American Mastiff, male dogs are larger when compared with female dogs.
On top of being massive and great in their size, they are also extremely muscular. This makes them no less than a bear, their strongly bonded and muscular body can certainly also produce a lot of damage if they wish to do so. They were bred to guard sheep against wolves and bears, this clearly shows in the modern form they have. Their size and weight are quite the same as Tibetan Mastiff, and they are often compared to those dogs by their dog owners.
3. Coat And Color Of Russian Bear Dog
The Russian Bear Dog comes in a variety of color combinations. They are very fluffy and have a thick coat for protection from certain elements, this makes them look even bigger than usual. Their coat is double-layered, the inner coat is very soft while the outer coat is coarser. Their fur can certainly vary in length. Some Russian bear dogs have very long coats while other dogs have moderately short coats. This highly depends on their genetic composition and it is quite difficult to what the length of their fur or coat will be while they are in their pup stage. Their coat usually grows in size or length till the time they reach their adulthood stages.
Long-haired Russian Bear Dog also has “mane” surrounding their neck, while those that have shorter hair do not. This is a part of the reason while many people refer to these dogs as the Russian bear dog. Dogs having medium coats also have some feathering. Their colors range from white to rust shades. You should know that black markings are quite common in this breed, and nearly all Russian bear dogs possess such linings.
4. Health Of Russian Breed Dog
You can easily tell by just looking at Russian Breed Dog that they are very healthy. They were initially bred for certain purposes to follow. They are much healthier than the usual breeds we see now. They usually live a good and healthy life with very few chronic diseases. To be more precise, the average lifespan is 10 to 12 years only, which is quite high and good for a breed so massive.
For comparison, The Saint Bernard breed is also are but their lifespan is only 8 to 10 years. When they are properly taken care of, you can easily expect these amazing breeds to live with you for many long years. That being said, their lifespan can also be lowered when their owners do not take the necessary steps to care for them, so it is very important that you know all the important things you should do to take care of them.
5. Hip Dysplasia In Russian Breed Dog
This is quite common in larger breeds like Russian breed dogs. So it is not a surprise that this breed is prone to acquiring this disease. This condition mainly occurs when their hip sockets do not form in the right manner. This will eventually prevent the hip bone from fitting properly in the socket of the hips.
The fit is either too tight or too loose. There are few cases in which the bone is not even present in the socket properly due to a misfit. Furthermore, the end of this bone is not formed properly and could appear jagged. This will eventually cause unusual wear and tear.
You might be wondering how one can help reduce the pain and damage of this condition. The dog can reduce the damage by restricting its movement. This will lead to a “bunny hop”- this is a sign of disease. Some other symptoms other than this include difficulty in moving, stiffness, irritability, lethargy, and scratching or biting at the joints. This particular condition is the main cause of another disease called hip arthritis in dogs, so the symptoms of this are almost similar to hip arthritis.
You should know that this disorder is genetic or heritable. If the parents of a Russian bear dog have this, the dog is more likely to acquire this. Luckily, the breeders of most Russian bear dogs do not breed dogs having hip dysplasia. This will help cut out the prevalence. However, there are plenty of unethical breeders and puppy mills that produce puppies with this condition anyway. Because of such breeders, it is very crucial that we check the health of the dog’s parents before getting a puppy in our family.
There are some environmental factors too that contribute to having hip dysplasia. However, neutering the dog before they reach full growth can even double the probability of dogs acquiring this condition. The repetitive motion of joints before they reach 3 months of age will also increase the risk, while general exercises and playing around will reduce the chances. You can take your dogs for regular walks or ask them to jog on the stairs to help them avoid this condition.
6. Obesity In Russian Bear Dog
As already mentioned above, The Russian Bear Dog is not very energetic, this makes them more likely to get obese. When they do not receive a good amount of exercise with proper encouragement to do so every day, they will become obese. Remember that leaving them in the backyard alone will not lower the risk of obesity, instead, you have to take time and play with them.
You can call an animal obese only when its weight is nearly 20% higher than its optimal weight. However, even being slightly more than optimal weight plays a negative impact on their body. Furthermore, once the dogs become obese, it becomes very difficult for them to shed the stored fat. So, it is better to prevent weight gain rather than helping them I shedding fat later on. Do not wait until your dog becomes overweight or obese.
The causes of obesity are quite simple and are the same as humans. Having too many calories with no exercise or walks will cause them to remain fat. You should give your dogs an appropriate diet depending on their weight and energy levels. When you do not pay attention to their obesity, it will cause some serious health issues like joint problems. Breathing capacity and digestive organs can also be affected negatively. Preventing obesity is the easiest way to prevent further diseases. Try to give them a good guide and increase their daily activity.
7. Living Requirements And Exercise
The Russian Bear Dog is just a giant couch potato. If you will allow them to lay on the couch doing absolutely nothing, they probably would lie there the whole day. However, this is very bad for their health. This will cause them to become obese (as discussed above). After reading this, you know the importance of regular exercises.
A quick walk for 15 minutes twice a day is enough for the dogs to maintain their health. It is important to keep an eye on their weight and be prepared to increase the exercise when needed. While they are not very energetic unlike some other breeds, they still have the endurance for performing energetic activities.
Due to their massive size, they are more prone to getting hip issues. You should let them exercise heavily when they are at their early age. On top of all the physical needs they have, they are very intelligent too. Russian Bear Dog is not destructive or hyperactive once their mental stimulation and needs are met.
However, they can get bored and become slightly destructive, this is the reason obedience training is also required for dogs. If your dogs become destructive or seem restless, it could be because they do not have anything to do or they are bored. You have to increase their sessions in order to give them proper training, obedience, and reduce the chances of your dog getting bored.
These dogs are massive in size and therefore they require plenty of socialization and training. A tiny and untrained dog cannot do much damage even if they start misbehaving as you can handle them easily. However, a large dog can easily become destructive because even you as their owner cannot stop them. These dogs are extremely intelligent so they understand the new commands you give to them easily and are really great at figuring out what you wish them to do. They were bred to take decisions without humans’ help.
However, they are independent, they were not bred to take all your commands and to answer them thoroughly. Their independent nature is not very helpful when it comes to training them. You should begin their training early. Start with short sessions of training and then proceed towards higher. Early training builds a good foundation and improves the relationship between you are your dog.
It is highly recommended that you train your dogs early. There are various classes that teach them everything, if you cannot go out to teach them, you can always opt for training sessions at home through online classes or YouTube classes for free.
Socialization is crucial for your Russian Bear Dog. Without proper levels of socialization, these dogs can turn out to become territorial and aggressive. While genetics also play a key role in their temperament, environmental factors also contribute a lot. As soon as they get all the necessary doses of vaccines, you should take them out to meet other dogs and people in your neighborhood for socialization. Remember, a fearful dog turns out to be aggressive, we have to remove this fear out of them and that could only be possible when they socialize at an early age.
You may also ask people to visit your house regularly so that your young Russian bear dog can meet them happily. These dogs are also notoriously territorial. They need to learn that every stranger that walks into your house is not a threat to them or you. This experience should remain positive for all the people involves in the process.
You should give extra attention and take extra precautions when you introduce your Russian bear dog to other pets because their territorial nature tends to increase and come out once they meet other dogs. You can just join a playgroup of puppies to receive the training. Try to take obedience training.
10. Nutrition For Russian Bear Dog
Russian Bear Dog eats a lot of dog food, you can easily figure that out by looking at their massive size. However, you cannot just allow them to eat any kind of food, you need to give them food recommended for their breed in particular. This will help a lot in preventing obesity-like diseases in the future.
Also, there are certain rules one must follow while choosing a great diet for one dog. Firstly, grain-free food is not always the best one for your dog. Despite so many misconceptions, grain-free is not bad for dogs but it is not always the best choice. Furthermore, eating grain-free food can be dangerous for dogs at times even if they have adapted to eat this kind of food.
Secondly, you need to avoid food items having peas, legumes, and potatoes in them. These ingredients can be dangerous and linked to heart disease especially in the case of larger breeds. They can disrupt your dog’s digestive system and prevent it from absorbing essential nutrients ad vitamins. Grain-free food also has these ingredients but is present as filler, this is the main reason why it is not highly recommended as normal food for many breeds.
Thirdly, one must avoid Boutique diets, know that getting expensive things to eat is not always the best option. It is always a good option to go with a known company that provides a large quantity of dog food. If the food has certain exotic ingredients, it is most likely that the food has not been tested properly. Check all the details including the manufacturing date on the label. When your Russian bear dog is a puppy, you can use any giant breed puppy formula food to promote and escalate their growth.
Finally, avoid any dog food having exotic proteins as the main source of protein. This may include food like a duck, lamb, or boar. These protein sources are not tested nicely and appropriately till now in dogs, so it is still not known what benefits they actually provide. These diets are mostly grain-free and have some other exotic ingredients.
These dogs usually have a lot of fur or hair, especially the dogs having longer coats. These dogs are massive as already told, which means grooming can be hectic and take some time, even if their hair is short. If you are wondering whether these dogs shed or not, they do shed a lot throughout the year. You can notice their fur throughout your house. This is termed blowing. Often, dogs’ hair will become less after this process occurs.
During the period of blowing, it is recommended that you get your dog groomed by a professional. Getting your dog rid of excess hair will make your dog feel a lot better. While you can easily complete this procedure at home, it is best to visit a groomer for good effects.
Long-coated Russian Breed dogs should be groomed every day while the ones having short hair can be groomed twice a week or so. You can attract their attention to comb their long fur.
They only need to take bath when it becomes really necessary. This is mainly due to their large size. They are so massive that most professional groomers do not even the right bathtub so that Russian bear dog can fit inside of it. Regular maintenance of these dogs is quite the same as other dogs.
You will also have to trim their nails regularly. When you start grooming your dog in their early life, this should be easier for you to complete at home, especially when the professional groomers are far away. However, you should take some time and effort to take them to a professional in a month or so if you cannot take out some time weekly.
12. Cost Of Russian Bear Dog
If you love this breed and planning on getting a Russian bear dog at home, you can expect the cost to be anywhere around 1500 dollars or so. Depending upon their pedigree chart, the cost might rise or decline in amount. You cannot expect the dogs to be cheap and you should prepare yourself for the cost.
Other than the cost of purchasing these dogs, one should also be prepared for other costs involved too in taking care of the puppy. Other costs include dog crates, training, toys, trips, grooming, etc. Because of their massive size, you should also be prepared for the number of food boxes these giants require.
Final Take On Russian Bear Dog
The Russian Bear Dog is a giant and massive dog, that needs a lot of training and room to live. If you have time and space to dedicate to their care and maintenance, you should bring them home. They will make great members of your family and show a lot of love, just make sure you socialize them with other people.
The Russian Bear Dog comes with a lot of intelligence but they are quite lazy. They are big and beautiful which means they will require a lot of food, grooming, and proper training.
This was all you needed to know about Russian Bear Dog and major facts about their lifestyle, if you loved how they are, make sure you bring one to your family.