Russian bear dog – Dogs that look like bears

Does the name “Russian bear dog” disclose anything about this giant breed? Does he look similar to a bear? Is this Russian bear hunting dog as dangerous and formidable as rumours?

There may come such questions in your mind when you hear about this huge canine. In this post, WewPet will help you understand why the dog that looks like a bear is one of the greatest and the most devoted companions on earth.

Before diving into details about this huge breed, let’s have a glance at their background.


History of Russian bear dogs:

A long time ago, in the Caucasus mountain range, mainly occupied by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Russia, its shepherds started to raise ancient Mollossers – the oldest living descendant of the Russian bear dogs, as guardians of their farms thanks to their immense size and powerful, extremely ancient permanent. These guardians have an important responsibility of defending livestock from bloodthirsty predators such as bears and wolves.

Then they were called Caucasian Ovcharka, which originally meant the sheepdog of Caucasus. Since the 1920s, this giant breed has spread widely through Europe, including Russia, Georgia, Germany, etc.

Due to its popularity, there are a diverse number of names for the Russian bear dogs;

  • Ovcharka – a native Russian word meaning “Sleep dog”
  • Russian Caucasian mountain shepherd or Russian Caucasian mountain dog
  • Baskhan (Karachay) Pariy
  • Russian bear hunting dog

How big can a Russian bear dog be?

It is a fact that the Caucasian shepherd is considered as one of the biggest breeds in the world.

A fully grown Russian bear hunting dog can be around 25 – 30 inches (63 – 76 cm) high. In terms of weight, the number reaches up to 110 – 200 pounds (50 – 91 kg). Males are much larger than female counterparts.

What does a Russian bear dog look like?

As mentioned above, the Caucasian shepherd can make you frightened by the time you first see him. He looks giant, muscular and robust, with the scary covering his broad face. People call this breed as a bear-hunting dog in Russian maybe because of his bear-like face. Nevertheless, it is exactly an interesting appearance that many people love.

The Russian bear dog also has dark and oval eyes exuding complete confidence and fearlessness, which proves how he is excellent in protecting the flocks and herbs. In history, Caucasian shepherds usually appeared with cropped ears, avoiding predators from any kind of biting or clinging on to them.

Powerful ability to sniff is also bred for these specialized guardians, tapering off in their black muzzle. Besides, their sharp and pointy teeth, similarly to fangs, are a potent weapon for fighting against predators, making the tearing process as quick as possible.

You must be shocked when comparing the size of your hand with that of their feet; it is nearly the same.

How about the coat and color of dogs that look like bears?

Born to be a Russian guard dog, the Caucasian shepherds are covered by a thick double coat: a soft underlayer located under a coarse outer layer. Thanks to this thick coat, they are able to survive in extremely hard weather and freezing temperatures often going down to 40 degrees below.

In the prime of their life, the coat varies in length. So it depends on their owner; whether they want it to look short or long. It also differs in color, including black, white, grey, fawn, cream, rusty or red-brown shade.

It is lucky for those who are interested in the Russian bear dog’s coat, it causes no allergy at all.

Characteristics of Caucasian shepherds

As trusted to be guardians in the mountain, strong, powerful and fearless blood flows inside every Caucasian shepherd’s body. They have to be the shield of the livestock, protecting them from the bloodthirsty bears and wolves.

On the other hand, they appear calm and gentle with the flocks, like parents defending their children against potential fear. When it comes to the shepherds and their family, they show the goodness and friendliness in a reliable way.


There comes a question: “Can this formidable creature be a family pet?”

The answer is an absolute yes if you have proper techniques. This dog breed seems to best suit with an all-adult home. Even though with skillful training, a Russian bear dog can become calm and devoted, you should never leave your children unsupervised with any dog, especially the Caucasian shepherd.

With the territorial instinct, he will always have a careful look at you and your family, to protect you from any potential fear. Hence, try to keep your dog in control to avoid any misunderstandings between him and strangers.

In case the dog that looks like a bear feels unsafe, he will not hesitate to fight and secure safety for your family members. His natural aggressive or dangerous temperament seems to highly improve as long as he is raised or trained properly, which requires an experienced owner who can deeply understand and teach him step by step.

How to care for a Russian bear dog?

  • Food and diets:

Like most dogs, a Caucasian shepherd needs nutritional meals to fully grow. It is recommended that puppies be served 4 times per day. Once fully matured, this quantity is reduced to 2 meals per day.

Every Caucasian shepherd needs to meet the protein requirements to benefit the skeletal development, but you should not overfeed them. Also, balanced nutrition and proper level of calcium have a positive effect on his bones and joints. If you have doubts about what is good to feed your dog, you should ask a veterinarian or dietitian for a nutrient recipe.

  • Exercising:

A Russian bear dog needs regular daily exercise to keep fit and reduce the risks of being obese. As a puppy, he should have a 5-minute exercise per month of age. For example, if your dog is 6 months old, the proper time of exercise for him is about 30 minutes. As he is fully matured, the ideal time for outdoor activities is 60-80 minutes per day.

Nevertheless, over-exercising is detrimental to skeletal development because it will put unnecessary pressures on his joints and bones. Besides, you should not let a Caucasian shepherd jump in and out of a car or climb stairs until he is fully grown (about 2 years) to avoid risks of hip and elbow dysplasia.

  • Grooming:

Like other breeds, a Caucasian mountain dog needs to be groomed on a regular basis, ideally twice a week to keep his coat and skin in the right condition. The coat shedding often happens in spring and autumn. Fortunately, he does not require a grooming specialist and you can learn to do it at home.

  • How to train a Russia bear dog?

The independent, protective and intelligent instincts make it notoriously hard to train a Caucasian shepherd. When his ancestors protected the livestock in Caucasus, they were free to make their own reasons and act without any commands. As a result, independence and aggressiveness are presently in his blood.

Therefore, how to turn him into a calm and gentle dog? Our answer is to start as soon as possible. When a Caucasian shepherd is still small, you should teach him how to distinguish who is safe and who is a dangerous stranger. Also, he should be learnt to look to you for direction when meeting a human.

Another useful technique is leash – training when a Russian guard dog is a puppy. WewPet will give you some important tips to train your puppy:

+ Always make your dog walk beside or behind you.

+ Use a short leash to keep them.

+ Spend a lot of time walking with your dog.

+ During the walk, give him a reward.

+ You are always the leader of the walk.

+ At the end of the walk, he deserves to have a reward.

After a long time, the dog gets used to acting properly in the leash. You can take the leash out as he behaves and socializes appropriately. Therefore, this process requires time and patience of the owner.

What common health problems can a Russian bear hunting dog suffer?

  • Hip dysplasia:

Scientifically, hip dysplasia is a common problem in large dog breeds, due to their quick grow to such sizes. It happens when the ball joint of the hip is no longer seated in the socket. In case your dog is trying to limp and move, you should take him to the veterinarian promptly so that he can diagnose the problem.

A similar one is called elbow dysplasia. It causes troubles in the front legs at the elbow joints. In this case, your dog shows the same symptoms as the hip dysplasia.

  • Cataracts:

Cataracts are problems with your dog’s lens of eyes. When this happens, many dogs may have tiny cataracts, which has almost no negative impact on their visions. Some dogs, however, may end up being blind. The only option for this common problem is the interruption of surgery.

Is a Russian bear dog a good fit for me?

Honest to say, it depends on your needs and your living conditions.

Once you decide to raise a Caucasian shepherd, you should have lots of experience with large breeds because he requires an owner who has enough strength and confidence to be a good leader. Moreover, you should take raising costs into many accounts because this is a really big amount. The only purchase cost is ranging from $500 to $3000.

An ideal living area for a Caucasian shepherd is rural areas, where he has a large playground to fully develop. Cities seem to be not a good choice.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Is that true when a Russian bear dog is able to kill wolves and bears?

There is not any scientific evidence to prove this statement. Perhaps due to the responsibility of a guardian to defend the flocks or herds from predators, there seems to be a fairy tale that a Caucasian shepherd can kill wolves or bears as a hunting breed.

  • How long is a Russian bear dog’s life span?

This dog breed can live for about 10 to 12 years.

  • Is a Russian bear dog able to pull over a very large adult man?

Unfortunately, the answer is probably yes due to his giant and powerful appearance.

In conclusion:

To sum up, a Russian bear dog is not as dangerous as rumours. When well-trained, he turns to be a calm, gentle and friendly companion. He would entirely devote himself to protecting you and your family, which definitely touches your heart.

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