South Russian Shepherd Dog

Other names: South Russian Sheepdog, Yuzhak, Ukrainian Shepherd Dog, South Russian Shepherd Dog

South Russian Shepherd Dog

The South Russian Ovcharka is a sheepdog native to the Russian steppes. It is supposedly an ‘undemanding’ dog but one that is bred to defend its flock with zeal and independence. It is known as an intimidating dog but also as a loving companion. The dog is classed as ‘dangerous’ under Danish law and ownership is prohibited. 

Key facts about the South Russian Shepherd Dog

Life expectancy :





Temperament :


Size :

Origins and history

There is little evidence of the exact origin of the Ovcharka. However, some evidence shows a development of the breed in 1790. The Russian Ovcharka is thought to have been born of various mixes of Austrian shepherding dogs and Russian sighthounds. This dog is rarely seen in the United Kingdom. 

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)


Section 1 : Sheepdogs

Physical characteristics of the South Russian Shepherd Dog

Adult size

Female : Between 24 and 30 in

Male : Between 26 and 30 in


Female : Between 95 and 104 lb

Male : Between 110 and 132 lb

Coat colour

Type of coat

Eye colour



This long-bodied and elegant dog is strong-boned and muscular. It does not have a stocky appearance and looks to be well-proportioned. There is a significant size difference between the bitch and the dog. This is a quick and agile dog. 

Good to know

This dog is not easy to train. It will learn instructions quickly but it is likely to prefer to do its own thing. Repetitive training is called for in order to reinforce commands learned in previous lessons. 


  • 66%


    The Ovcharka has a pleasant personality and is affectionate but it will not suffer fools. Training is required to eek out the best side of this dog’s temperament. 

  • 66%


    An active dog that likes to play and interact but will do so in its own time and on its own terms.

  • 66%


    This dog does not enjoy surprises, loud noises or sudden movements, which could cause him to be agitated and aggressive.

  • 100%


    This is a highly intelligent dog. Its training needs to be varied and done so in a forthright manner. 

  • 33%


    The Ovcharka is a herding dog. Generally speaking, it does not have an inherent wish to chase and to kill. 

  • 66%

    Fearful / wary of strangers

    This dog is exceptionally nervous around strangers and will either be aloof or defensive. 

  • 100%


    Ovcharkas are independent thinkers. They are loyal but they enjoy roaming and will do so with little or no instruction. 

    Behaviour of the South Russian Shepherd Dog

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      Tolerates solitude

      Ovcharkas do not tolerate solitude. If left alone for long periods of time this dog becomes agitated.

    • 33%

      Easy to train / obedience

      The Ovcharka is a challenge to train. A confident and dominant master who consistently varies the dog’s training is needed. Ovcharkas have a tendency to test the pecking order of the pack. 

    • 66%


      The Ovcharka is not considered a very vocal dog.

    • 33%