South Russian Ovcharka - White Sheepdog

South Russian Ovcharka is a shaggy looking breed with long white colored hair. The dog may look cuddly but firm leadership is required to control its dominant behavior. The dog has natural protective instinct and will defend its family in every dreadful circumstance. The term “Ovcharka” in its name means sheepdog in Russian language and is a rare breed outside Ukraine and Russia.  The dog was bred for herding and protecting, only experienced owner can train the dog obedience and mannerism. Beneath its shaggy snow white coat lies a powerful, strong willed and aggressive bear. The dog tends to be maliciously mischievous so it is important to train the dog when it is still in its puppyhood. You need to establish the idea in dog’s mind that it is the lowest creature in “pack” and even the youngest member in the family takes a higher position than it. A well trained SRO will not show aggression but still be a guarding dog of its family.


There is authentic data available about its origin. Though there are many speculations about its history. One thing is confirmed that the dog is a descendant of wolf cross mated with Russian hounds and shepherd dogs.  The primary job of the breed was to herd and protect sheep from thieves, wolves and foxes. Outside Russia and Ukraine, the dog is called as “Russian sheepdog”.


South Russian Ovcharka Facts & Characteristics

  1. The breed belongs to Russia and is a herding dog
  2. The protective instinct of the breed is incredible
  3. It is an active, aggressive and courageous and faithful breed
  4. The dog needs extensive large family to herd
  5. Timid and novice owners should not own this breed because they tend to strong willed and sometimes evil minded
  6. They are not meant for inside home. The dog needs to explore the outside environment. It needs plentiful vigorous exercise
  7. Life expectancy of the dog is 9 to 11 years
  8. It should be 65 to 66 cm tall
  9. Weight of the breed should be 48 to 50 kg
  10. They are available in white as well as smoky colors
  11. It is not a hypoallergenic breed
  12. Average cost of the breed is $800 - $1000 USD
  13. It is good around family children who know how to respect dog’s privacy
  14. They are not so good with other animals because they tend to be dominant with them
  15. It has a long, wiry coat which sheds moderately
  16. The dog can survive in any climatic conditions and temperatures.


It is above average sized breed with robust body. Males are more massive and strongly built up than females. They have well-developed bone structure with balanced body shape.  They should have broad forehead with elongated face. Muzzle should be blunt with barely visible stop. Nose should be big and dark in color. The whole face of the dog should be covered with long hair. Ears are of medium size and hanging shape.  Tail of the dog should be long and thick which gets curved towards the end. Its feet should be well formed, oval in shape and covered with hair.

Size and Weight

The dog is above average in height. Female breed should be 62–66 cm tall and male breed should be 65–66 cm tall.  Both the genders should weigh around 48 to 50 kg.

Coat and Color

The dog has a thick and dense double coat. Its coat should be 10 – 15 cm long and wiry in texture. Head, chest, legs and tail should be covered with equal sized hair. Generally the dog comes in shades of white color. Smoky colored dogs can also be seen.



  1. Personality - The dog is immensely powerful. Owing this breed will give you protective feeling. The dog’s goal in life is to defend and guard its pack. Being a strong head breed, it is not a recommended breed for first time dog’s owners. Dog is suitable for one who understands the dog’s nature and is ready to devote lot of time in training. The dog generally forms strong bond with only one person in family. Few dogs even don’t accept food other than owner. This breed is suspicious of strangers and generally acts in a defensive way with them. The dog divides the world in two categories- my family and not my family.
  2. Behavior - They are independent, intelligent, stubborn and faithful dogs. They will accept the dog which is raised with it and will guard it as well. They don’t even play with dogs that do not belong to its family.  To strange animals they may react negatively. They are good around children of older age. Socialization is must for the dog so that it can differentiate between evil people and good people. The dog will accept guest inside only when the owner is at the home. Other time, they may act suspiciously. Except owner they have little desire to please other members of its family. The dog tends to be bossy in nature and will not always follow the orders.
  3. Activities requirement - It is important to make the dog exhausted every day with vigorous exercises. The breed thrives well in an outdoor environment. It is necessary to have a fenced yard where the dog can express itself. Minimum an hour work out is must for the dog. The dog also loves to play and romp in snow.
  4. Trainability - No doubt they are intelligent breeds but their “tendency to please” is low. They are willful minded and act in accordance to their mood. As soon as you bring the dog home, teach him that human is always the leader and alpha in family. From the childhood only the breed develops a strong mindset regarding who is its family or not. You can bring a food of bowl and then ask every family member to caress the dog and talk to it. Do this regularly till the age of one year when the dog gets strong idea about its family members. Establish the thought in your dog’s mind that humans are always the first in hierarchy. Proper socialization lesson and obedience training are imperative for the dog to learn.


Though it is big in size but its food habit is that of small dogs.  As it is an active dog so feed it high quality and protein rich diet formulated for working category dogs.

Life Span

The dog can live up to 9 to 11 years of age.

Health Issues

It is not a hypoallergenic breed. The dog is generally strong and has a healthy life. The dog may suffer from health issues common to large sized dogs’ like- bloat and hip/elbow dysplasia



The breed sheds moderately. Its coat requires extensive care and grooming. Bangs of its head should be trimmed so that the dog’s visibility doesn’t get hindered. You need to regularly brush its coat from top to bottom to avoid tangled hairs. Trim and shear its wool at least once a year. Brushing its teeth, cleaning its ears and trimming its nails should also be a part of grooming routine. As it is a naturally clean dog which doesn’t possess dog’s odor so bath can be skipped.


The dog can withstand any climatic condition and temperature because of its weather resistant coat. As it is an energetic breed which is larger in size so yard less home is not suitable for it.

Pet Names

  1. Buddy
  2. Frankie
  3. Lucy
  4. Shadow
  5. Samba

Things To Consider Before Buying


  1. They are incredible guard dogs
  2. They are loyal and protective of its owner
  3. Generally the dog doesn’t face any severe health issues.


  1. The dog can be dangerous if not trained properly
  2. They are difficult to train because they are strong minded and willful
  3. They are not human pleasures and except their owner they may not listen to anyone in the family.