South Russian Sheepdog, National Gem

A South Russian Ovcharka, also known as a South Russian Sheepdog, is a large, long-haired (12 centimeters), white sheepdog. Breeders have not yet developed a precise theory of the dog's origins. However, it is agreed that its ancestors lived in the Crimea region between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. About 36 inches tall it has a long head, with dangling, small, triangular ears. Its coat constists of long, usually white (although sometimes white with yellow, or with shades of grey), thick coarse hair, that is bushy and slightly wavy. An undemanding dog, it can adapt to most weather conditions.

South Russian Sheepdog, National Gem

The South Russian Ovcharka is robust and lean, with massive bone structure and strongly developed musculature. The coat is long 4-6 inches (10–15 cm), coarse, thick and dense. It is of equal length on head, chest, legs and tail, with a well developed undercoat.

South Russian Sheepdog, National Gem

he coat colors are most often white but also white and yellow, straw color, grayish (ashen gray) and other shades of gray; white lightly marked with gray, gray speckled. The head is an elongated shape with a moderately broad forehead; the occipital crest and the zeugmatic arches are strongly pronounced. The stop is barely visible. The nose is big and black.

South Russian Sheepdog, National Gem

The ears are relatively small, of triangular shape, hanging. The eyes are oval shape, set horizontally, dark; the eyelids lean, tight. The teeth are white, big, fitting closely. The incisors are set regularly and close in scissor bite. The neck is lean, muscular, of moderate length, set high. The chest is reasonably broad, slightly flattened, deep. The belly is moderately tucked up.

South Russian Sheepdog, National Gem

The Loin is short, broad, rounded. The withers are apparent but not high. Back straight and strong. The tail is falling at rest, reaching the hock, with the end curved upward.

South Russian Sheepdog, National Gem

The front legs are straight, parallel, relatively long. The angle formed by the shoulder bone and upper arm bone is about 100 degrees. Pasterns are strong, wide and long, with a slight slant.

South Russian Sheepdog, National Gem

Hindquarters are powerful, wide set, parallel. Well-angulated. The upper thighs are well-muscled. Stifle bones are long, inclined. Hock joint is clean-cut, angular. The hock is strong, long, slightly inclined. The feet are oval shaped, strong, well arched, covered with long hair.

South Russian Sheepdog, National Gem

The South Russian Ovcharka is not for everyone. This very large breed can be dominant, wary of strangers, and is very lively making him difficult to care for. It is a great guardian breed however and would do well guarding cattle or flocks of sheep. The South Russian Ovcharka is a dog of robust constitution, of above average size; it is fierce and distrustful of strangers, not very demanding and can adapt easily to diverse climatic conditions and temperatures.

South Russian Sheepdog, National Gem

This is most evident according to its sex. The males are more dominant, stronger and larger than the females. They are usually highly nervous when engaging in sports activities; strong, balanced and are also very lively. They have a dominant reaction: active way of defense. As guardians they extend themselves to include their families, their home and as much land as they can scent fully call their own. The possessive nature of this dog requires extensive property, a sizable family, and preferably other animals that it can protect. It has a dominating personality and can enforce its will upon other dogs with ease. This breed needs an owner who knows how to display strong leadership. It socializes best while still young.

South Russian Sheepdog, National Gem

The South Russian Ovcharka requires firm and consistent training as he can be very independent and can have a short attention span. Given a dominant trainer/handler, this breed can do exceptionally well