10 Outstanding Facts About the Russian Bear Dog (Caucasian Shepherd)

Russian Bear Dog in the outdoors

As you probably already know, I am a giant fan of big dogs. And when I say big, I mean massive, scary dogs. And the Russian Bear dog (also known as the Caucasian Shepherd) is definitely one of those (I mean, come on, he even has the word “bear” in his name, this should tip you off). The Russian Bear Dog is quite controversial. For his family, he is a loving and affectionate dog, but for anyone he deems threatening, he is dangerous and aggressive.

The Russian Bear dog is an intriguing dog. Fluffy to a fault, he is a fearless and loyal companion who will do anything to keep you safe, even if that means he might die for you.

So, let’s learn more about this majestic dog breed, shall we?

Buckle up, this is going to be a long and fantastic) ride!

1. The Russian Bear Dog is an old and proud breed

Russian Bear Dog snow

The Caucasian shepherd dog, also known as the Russian Bear dog, was bred in the Caucasus Mountains where he was used by farmers to guard of the local herders’ flock. This massive dog’s origins go back to the famous pre-historic Molosser breeds, and their primary job was to offer protection from predators, thieves, and anyone else who posed danger to the family.

This dog breed can vary from one country to another. This is all because of the improperly written standards and organized kennel clubs. Still, Caucasia is famous for being the primary home for this dog, and it is situated between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea.

Thanks to his fluffy and adorable appearance, the Russian Bear Dog would always draw much attention to himself. He is extremely popular in Russia and is very respected there. The Russians named him “Ovcharka” which means “Sheepdog.” He didn't arrive in East Germany until the late 1960s.

The Caucasian Shepherd was prominent in the region along the Berlin wall, where he was used as a border patrol dog by immigration services. When the Wall of Berlin was destroyed in 1989, most of these patrol dogs were dispersed to a variety of homes in Germany. In other countries, such as the Soviet Union, he was used in several dog shows and most people loved him because of his beautiful and strong physique (classic Russian style, am I right?).

The Russian Bear Dog’s first official show ring was in Germany, during the 1930s. It also has been proved that without the Russian Bead Dog, shepherds’ lives in that part of the world (especially in Georgia) would have been much more difficult. The Caucasian Mountain Shepherd is one of the breeds that appears in the shows more often compared to other race variants.

Today, in the Caucasus, the Russian Bear dog still provides protection to the sheep of the local herders. But, not just that. Now, he is also used as a watchdog and a companion pet in other countries.

2. The Russian Bead Dog is definitely not a small dog

Not even a medium-sized one either. This dog is massive, which is probably why he has the word “bear” in his name.

This beautiful dog has deep-set and dark eyes, always watching for danger. The ears are usually densely covered with hair for insulation since this dog was always bred and lived in cold conditions. You will find out that his tail is extremely furry, with long feathering of heavy hair.

The forelimbs are usually long and densely boned, which makes this dog quite impressive. The paws are large and heavy, just like a bear’s. The Russian Bear Dog’s coat is thick, dense and weather-resistant making it perfect for cold weather. The coat could be longer or shorter depending on the region the dog comes from.

The Russian Bear Dog comes in a few, yet diverse colors: tan, fawn, gray, brindle, pied and white. In his native country, the Russian Dog Bear’s ears are cropped.

Powerful and muscular, the Caucasian Shepherd has the face of a bear, and the massive body to go with it as well. He has an imposing figure and usually stands up to 30 inches tall. The height of these dogs does vary with gender though, and females tend to be a bit shorter than males. Usually, he weighs between 110 and 130 pounds, which is definitely giant, even for a large dog breed.

3. Grooming the Caucasian Shepherd might prove to be difficult

Russian Bear Dog

The Caucasian Shepherd has a long, double coat which makes it quite difficult to groom and care for. How often you have to groom your Russian Bear Dog usually depends on the length of their fur (as I’ve already stated, the fur is sometimes longer or shorter depending on the country he is bred in) and the season as well. Of course, like all dogs, your Russian Bear Dog will need to be groomed more often during the spring. This is usually when he will shed his heavy winter coat.

If your Caucasian Shepherd has shorter fur, then brushing his coat two to three times a week will be enough. However, if your best friend/giant bear-like dog has longer fur, then you will definitely need to brush him daily.

If you don’t have time to brush your dog daily, then taking him to a professional would be the best decision you would take. Sure, it’s going to be expensive, but it’s going to be worth it. And, remember one important thing: never shave your Russian Bear Dog. His thick coat is there for a reason. It is made to protect him, and if you shave it away, well, he’s not going to be protected from the winter anymore, is he? (sorry I’m being sassy).

If your Russian Bear Dog’s coat becomes tangled or matted, then it’s important to get it untangled as soon as possible.

As for bathing, make sure to bathe your Russian Bear Dog as needed. Instead of using shampoo made for humans, which is too harsh on your dog’s skin, use a dog shampoo. You can either purchase it online or in a pet store. If you don’t know which brand to buy, check out our review of the best dog shampoos here. This might give you an idea of what’s on the market.

Trimming your dog’s nails once a month (or more, if you see that he needs it) is a must. Always remember that using special clippers is better than using regular ones.

Brush your dog’s teeth 4 or 5 times a week to keep dental problems at bay and keep his breath smelling fresh (well, as fresh as a dog’s breath can be). You can either use commercial dog toothpaste to do so or DIY toothpaste that you can make at home (which is a better alternative since it’s cheaper AND easy to make AND organic).

Finally, check and clean your dog's ears weekly. This will not only help prevent ear mites but also ear infections. Use a special cleaner to do so.

4. The Caucasian Mountain Shepherd is first and foremost a guard dog

Russian Bear Dog in a forest looking at the camera

Because he is famous for being a massive guard dog breed, the Russian Bear Dog has quite the reputation.

When he was first bred, the shepherds wanted him to be, at the same time, gentle and calm with them and their flock, and scary and aggressive towards intruders. But usually, Russian Bear Dogs are considered to be very loving and affectionate towards their owners and whoever they deem close to them.

They are also quite good with kids, though, there a few things to think of first (I’ll talk about this a bit later in the article.)

Usually, the Russian Bear Dog is quite aloof of strangers. He doesn’t easily trust them and will respond with aggression if he senses a threat. Now, this is perfect if you want your Caucasian Shepherd to be a guard dog. But, if you want him to be a companion, you will have to socialize him so he can be comfortable around people he doesn’t know.

Fortunately, with enough training and socialization, turning your giant Russian Bear Dog into an obedient pooch will be easy.

5. The Russian Bear Dog can be good with children, but never leave your kids alone with him

Russian Bear Dog looking away

Everything and everyone who belongs to the family, including children, cats, other dogs, etc., will be seen by this beautiful pooch as part of his family and will be respected and protected at all cost.

Still, a dog this big should not be left alone with children, because if play becomes too rough, the Caucasian Shepherd may and will feel the need to protect your child and may do it extensively. He is too big to be left alone with a kid, as an accident is quick to happen.

Always, always monitor your children’s interactions with your dog, especially with a dog as big as this one. Make sure to train your best friend to be gentle around kids, as well as educate your children on how to behave around a dog.

6. Training a dog as big as the Caucasian Shepherd is extremely important

Russian Bear Dog

Your Russian Bear Dog can be extremely dominant toward other dogs, especially the ones he doesn’t know. This means that the Caucasian Shepherd is not a dog for everyone, and definitely not the first-time dog owner. This four-pawed giant needs an owner who knows how to display strong leadership and who is willing to spend a lot of time socializing and training him, in order to help him grow into a well-rounded dog.

Even if you are an experienced dog trainer, you will definitely have difficulties with this breed. After all, the Russian Bear Dog has all the traits of dog breeds that are notoriously hard to train: he is fiercely protective, very independent, and extremely smart.

One thing that makes the Caucasian Sheep difficult to train is his aggressive nature. He usually doesn’t respond well to harsh or aggressive training and using violent tactics with him could turn him aggressive towards everyone.

Training a Russian Bear Dog should start as early as possible. As soon as you welcome a puppy into your house, you will have to start training. Obedience training, housebreaking, crate training, and socializing are a must. Instead of using aggressive or harsh methods, go with positive reinforcement techniques, treats, and praises. Your dog will love you more for it.

Socialize him early into his puppyhood as well. The Russian Bear Dog can be quite aggressive towards other dogs and strangers. So, taking him to dog parks and having new visitors every day will do him well. It will help him learn that not everyone is a threat.

All in all, your Russian Bear Do should understand that you are the boss and the pack leader. As soon as he senses weakness or meekness from your part, that’s it, it’s too late. So be firm without being violent, and you sure will have a great dog!

7. The Russian Bear Dog is a giant pooch who doesn’t need a lot of exercise

The Russian Bear Dog is considered to be a moderately active canine. This means that he only needs an hour-long, leashed, walk every day to fulfill their exercise needs.

Because of his massive size, the Caucasian Shepherd lives best in a house with a large fenced backyard where he can run around, play, and get rid of his excess of energy.

Creating an obstacle course for your dog in your backyard would be a great idea, especially if you can’t control him on a leash, and thus, can’t take him on walks. This is also a great way to bond with your furry best friend.

Because this breed is extremely intelligent, it can get very bored very quickly, especially if the amount of exercise it is given is not enough. And, as you know, a bored dog can become destructive or dangerous. And really, with the Russian Bear Dog, you don’t want to take that chance. So, make sure you are going out with your Russian Bear Dog every day to give them the physical activity he needs.

8. Keeping tabs on your dog’s diet is important

Russian Bear Dog puppy thong

First of all, you should know that whatever you feed a Russian Bear Dog can and will make or break his life. This is especially true when your Caucasian Shepherd is still a puppy. When he’s still small, you will need to feed him special food that is made for puppies. This will help him grow and stay healthy.

Dogs of this size don’t usually finish growing until they’re 2 years old, which means they need to be on puppy food for that long. Once your Russian Bear Dog is officially an adult, you will need to keep him on a healthy diet.

Four to five cups of high-quality dog food a day, given two him in two feedings (to avoid bloat), is enough to keep your furry best friend happy. You can also add Glucosamine to your pooch’s diet, as it helps prevent a number of bone and joint disorder, which is something the Russian Bear Dog is prone to develop later in his life.

Of course, don’t forget healthy treat. As I always say, fruits and vegetables are the way to go. They provide your dog with things that he cannot get from dog food, such as fiber or Vitamin C. Check out our list of the best human food for dogs here to learn more about this.

9. The Caucasian Mountain Shepherd is a healthy breed, still…

Three Russian Bear Dog puppies together

There are some health issues that you will definitely need to look out for. These are usually inherited diseases, which are more than likely to affect your furry best friend since he is a purebred dog.

Here are the main ones:

All in all, with a good exercise regimen, a healthy diet, and a lot of love, your dog will live a long and happy life. And, of course, never skip his vet visits.

10. The Russian Bear Dog is expensive

Russian Bear Dog

The price of a Russian Bear Puppy usually depends on the breeder, but it fluctuates between 1000$ and 2000$. It is all about the dog’s pedigree and the breeder, so make sure to do your research before adopting or purchasing a Russian Bear Dog.


The Russian Bear Dog is definitely one of the most impressive canines you will ever encounter. Massive, affectionate, and fiercely protective, he makes the perfect guard dog and a not so bad family companion.

More pictures 🙂

Russian Bear Dog and a cat
Russian Bear Dog smiling
four caucasian shepherd
sad caucasian shepherd
happy caucasian shepherd
scary and strong caucasian shepherd

About the Author Houda Laabadi

A dog lover!

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