Caucasian Shepherd Dog โ€“ Your Complete Breed Guide To The Russian Bear Dog

Russian Bear Dogs have many different names, depending on where they come from. Originating from the Caucasus Mountains on the Continent of Eurasia, they are also called Caucasian Shepherd dogs, Caucasian Mountain Dogs, Caucasian Sheepdogs, and Caucasian Ovcharka Dogs. To those familiar and working with the breed, they are simply called, โ€˜Wolf Killersโ€™.

Caucasian Shepherds are extra-large dogs that were originally bred for livestock protection and herding, but still, work as guard dogs to this day. They are true guardians and will willingly defend their families from any threat.

Of many Shepherd breeds, the burly Russian Bear Dog strikes fear into the hearts of trespassers and predators as fierce as the Eurasian lynx. However, to a Russian Bear Dogโ€™s family, they are soft and sweet as can be. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the Caucasian Shepherd.

How Big Can A Russian Bear Dog Get?

Some Russian Bear Dogs are said to grow to be as big as a miniature horse. These extra-large Caucasian Shepherd dogs will grow to be 24 to 34 inches tall and will weigh from 80 to 220 lbs. Their thick fur makes them look even taller and thicker.

Physical Appearance Of Russian Bear Dogs

Like their name, the coat type and the general size of Russian Bear Dogs also depend on where they are being bred.

There are two different variants of this breed, which can span all the way from Eurasia, mainly Russia, all the way to Northern Africa. Those bred in Georgia and in the Soviet Union make up the breed standard, as they are the ones bred for their size and powerful strength.

The Mountain Caucasian Shepherd dog is much heavier with a thicker coat for outdoor life in the mountains. The Steppe version of the Caucasian Shepherd is much more suited for companion life, with a shorter coat and lighter weight.

The coat colors that Russian Bear Dogs will normally have include agouti and white, black, gray, cream, fawn, rust, sable, and white.

At What Age Is A Caucasian Shepherd Full Grown?

A Caucasian Shepherd puppy will do the most amount of growth during the first three months. They reach their full size in 9 months. Depending on the breed variant, they will be large or giant dogs with a lot of muscle mass, which means that training is absolutely vital in keeping a Caucasian Shepherd in shape.

As stated, the Caucasian Shepherd will grow to stand almost three feet tall. These Russian Bear Dogs are very tough-looking dogs, but when well-trained, they can be soft and sweet. They are kind to anyone who isnโ€™t a stranger, when theyโ€™re brought up around kids and other animals.

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How Long Do Russian Bear Dogs Live?

The lifespan of a Caucasian Shepherd dog is 10 to 12 years. For a dog of such massive size, this is considered to be a long lifespan.

However, this lifespan will be cut short if your dog develops a life-threatening health issue.

Common Health Issues In Russian Bear Dogs

All dog breeds have their own set of issues that you should be looking out for. Some of the common health issues found in Caucasian Shepherd dogs are:

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that develops progressively as the Caucasian Shepherd grows. In a healthy dog, the leg and hip socket grow simultaneously, but in a dog with hip dysplasia, they will grow unevenly, so that the leg never properly fits into the socket.

This can cause severe pain during mobility, arthritis, and other issues that you can manage and treat, but not completely cure.


In such large dogs as the Russian Bear Dog, obesity is a huge health risk. When your dog becomes obese, hip dysplasia, arthritis, and heart problems may pose a greater risk due to the extra weight it has been carrying. To better manage its weight, a proper diet and exercise regimen are imperative.


Cataracts are spots on the eyeball that affect a dogโ€™s vision. While they are not fatal, they can multiply and eventually cause blindness. Sometimes, a dog may need surgery to treat it.

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How To Take Care Of A Russian Bear Dog?

Russian Bear Dogs are not recommended for first-time dog owners. This is because special attention needs to be paid to the exercise routine and diet that the Caucasian Shepherd dog has to have in order to lead a healthy life.

Caucasian Shepherd Diet

Starting at the puppy stage, the Caucasian Shepherd dog needs a high-protein diet with no filler foods. We recommend feeding your Russian Bear Dog meals prepared by Pet Plate to ensure theyโ€™re getting the right ingredients without ever running into byproducts or fillers.

The general rule is to feed your dog 20 calories for every pound that your dog weighs. As a puppy, your Caucasian Shepherd will need 1ยฝ cups split into four meals every day.

When fully grown, your dog will need 3ยฝ cups split into two meals. When your dog becomes a senior, you wonโ€™t have to change its diet much, but it is good to add multivitamins and dental water additives to your dogโ€™s routine.

Exercising Your Russian Bear Dog

Your Russian Bear Dog will need to be walked at least twice every day. Experts recommend that you should exercise with your Caucasian Shepherd dog for 45 minutes to an hour every day, with half of that time engaged in high-cardio activities such as running or playing fetch.

As a working dog, the Russian Bear Dog is a high-energy breed with a lot of endurance. They will need to have something to do at all times, or else they will turn to destructive behavior, like chewing furniture, thereby eventually becoming more of a nuisance.

Are Russian Bear Dogs Good Family Pets? Temperaments Of Caucasian Shepherd Dogs

Many have considered the Russian Bear Dog as one of the worst dogs you can bring home, if you donโ€™t have previous experience with giant breeds.

While they can be gentle giants, this temperament does not come naturally in Russian Bear Dogs. You must remember that these are guard dogs that are trained to kill any threat.

The Caucasian Shepherd As A Family Dog

While many of these beautiful dogs live the companionship life, the Caucasian Shepherd isnโ€™t known to be an ideal family dogAlthough they are very compassionate with livestock in general, they are often selected and bred to be a working guard dog.

Hence, itโ€™s not the best choice to have the Caucasian Shepherd around other dogs and young children unless it is properly socialized or introduced to either party.

If you are planning on bringing a Caucasian Shepherd into your family, you must prepare socialization and training plans beforehand. This will help the introductory transition to go much smoother for you and for your Russian Bear Dog.

Training Your Russian Bear Dog

Any guard dog breed of this size is dangerous. Thatโ€™s why proper training is so important for your Russian Bear Dog. With a professionally trained Caucasian Shepherd and an experienced and knowledgeable handler, there should not be any problems.

Depending on what your plans are for your Russian Bear Dog, you will need a professional trainer who works specifically with giant dog breeds. This type of dog will throw its weight around and doesnโ€™t think twice before attacking any kind of threat, which can make fear aggression a big issue.

Negative reinforcement is a dangerous game to play with these dogs. It only backfires, when you come across as a threat to one of these dogs, and it will see you as a threat, which is likely to result in an attack, because of their nature. It is always best to have your Caucasian Shepherd professionally trained as soon as possible.

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Do Russian Bear Dogs Shed? Grooming Tips For Caucasian Shepherd Dogs

Yes, Russian Bear Dogs shed heavily. As such, they are not regarded to be hypoallergenic.

Russian Bear Dogs have a very thick waterproof coat that helps the breed acclimatize to severe climates, from the subarctic to the desert of North America. Depending on where your Caucasian Shepherd is from, your dog can either have a long or short coat.

The Caucasian Shepherd was also nicknamed Russian Bear Dog for their likeness to bears. This is not just because of their size and shape, but also because of their thick and fluffy coat.


With such a long and fine overcoat, you will need to groom your Caucasian Shepherd on a regular basis in order to prevent tangles and mats. This includes brushing with the FURminator Undercoat Tool once every day.


Caucasian Shepherds normally require a bath once every month to keep the coat fresh and clean. Bathing frequently is not advisable due to the ease of stripping the essential natural oils from its coat each time it was bathed.

For this purpose, we highly recommend Pro Pet Works All Natural 5 in 1 Oatmeal Shampoo as its oatmeal ingredient helps soothe those dogs with sensitive skins.

Besides bathing, nail trimming is also needed and is to be done once every month since they grow quite fast.

How Much Are Russian Bear Dogs? Reputable breeders will charge anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 dollars for a Russian Bear Dog puppy. Given that this breed is still very new to North America, the price of a Russian Bear Dog will be comparatively low to the more popular breeds.

Can A Caucasian Shepherd Kill A Pitbull? A Caucasian Shepherd can easily kill a Pitbull or any other dog breed smaller than themselves. But, if a Caucasian Shepherd has been properly socialized with other dogs, this aggression should not pose a problem.

Are Russian Bear Dogs Legal In The US? Since Russian Bear Dogs are a relatively new breed to this side of the world, there are no current laws that prohibit you from owning a Caucasian Shepherd in the United States, even in the places where Pitbulls have been banned. They are, however, illegal in other countries, such as Denmark, Italy, and Russia.

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Pete Decker