10 Best Russian Dog Breeds In The World

10 Best Russian Dog Breeds In The World

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: Jun 28 2023


Russia is the largest country in the world. Such a large country has different regions, weather conditions, and people, which means their dog breeds developed in accordance with those things. We love Russian dog breeds; they are elegant, and powerful, and some are very fluffy. That’s why we decided to bring you the list of the 10 most popular Russian dog breeds.

1. Siberian Husky

The name “Siberian Husky” is something we are so accustomed to that we often forget where these dogs come from. They first came to life in the most northern part of Russia - Siberia. They were initially bred as hard-working sled dogs, and those traits still remain with them today. The adorable Husky looks a lot like a wolf, which is something many dog owners appreciate.

husky puppy

If you’re not too familiar with this breed, you might want to know they are very vocal. Huskies will tell you what they’re feeling with different grunts, snarls, whines, and howls. A simple YouTube search can reveal thousands of videos of Huskiesarguing” with their owners about food, going home from the park, or getting out of bed. You won’t be sorry if you decide to look it up.

2. Samoyed

Like the Siberian Husky, the Samoyed is also a working dog. However, they originally had several jobs like herding reindeer, hauling, hunting, and keeping their owners and their children warm at night. Yes, original Samoyed owners used them as their personal heaters, which many modern-day owners still do. These dogs are very popular, and they are originally from Russia.


Samoyeds are one of the fluffiest breeds out there. They have a soft, double coat that makes them incredibly nice to cuddle with. They had to develop that type of coat to survive the freezing temperatures of their birthplace. These days, Samoyeds are fantastic family pets with plenty of energy to play.

3. Russian Toy

There are different toy breeds in the world, and Russia is not without representation in that category. The adorable little Russian Toy is a companion breed originally owned by the Russian aristocracy. These dogs became a status symbol, and “commoners” weren’t allowed to own one. However, these dogs were bred relatively late, at the beginning of the 20th century, so they quickly became available to all Russian citizens.

Russian Toy

You might not guess it, but Russian Toys are pretty intelligent dogs. They are bright and can quickly learn new things. However, that means these dogs will require training. Many toy breeds are left untrained because their owners think such small dogs don’t need training. The adorable Russian Toy can become very vocal and develop behavioral problems if they’re not trained.

4. Borzoi

The Borzoi is an elegant Russian dog breed. These dogs were bred in the 17th century, and their first standard was written in 1650. They are pretty large and were initially used for hunting wolves, foxes, and rabbits in open fields. These dogs use their impressive speed to catch prey, and they are also called Russian Wolfhounds.


Unfortunately, after the Russian Revolution in 1918, many Borzoi were killed. These dogs were kept mainly by the Russian aristocracy. Since the Revolution put an end to them, these dogs became collateral victims. Luckily, the breed was saved from extinction because these dogs were given to guests from other countries.

5. Black Russian Terrier

The Black Russian Terrier is a large black dog that still works as a police and military dog in Russia. They are powerful, brave, and confident, which is what makes them ideal service dogs. Black Russian Terriers need experienced owners, and this is not a breed for everyone. They need a firm owner that will provide them with plenty of activities and training.


The Black Russian Terrier has an exciting history. These dogs were created in the national kennel called Red Star. In the Soviet Union, everything was nationalized, and so was dog breeding. They took different breeds from around the world and tried to create the perfect military working dog. The Black Russian Terrier is a direct result of that effort.

6. Caucasian Shepherd

The amazing Caucasian Shepherd is one of the most impressive dog breeds you can ever encounter. These dogs came to life through natural selection and have a longer than 2.000 years of history. To this day, the Caucasian Shepherd is a livestock and personal protector, fitting for such an incredible breed.

Caucasian Shepherd

These dogs are not meant to be peaceful family pets. They need to have a protection job. Make sure you don’t get this dog if you have nothing for them to protect. Plus, some of these dogs reach 200 pounds. Keeping them at home is not cheap.

7. Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka

The Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka, or Bolonka, is a tiny companion breed not fully registered by the American Kennel Club yet. These dogs are in the Foundation Stock Service, which means they are on the way to full recognition. This tiny breed’s only goal is to be the best possible companion out there.


Bolonka was created to be a companion. These aren’t working dogs that suppose to clear farms of vermin or be a fantastic watchdog. They are friendly, gentle, and very affectionate. Despite those tremendous qualities, the Bolonka is still a fairly rare dog breed. It is most popular in Russia, but breed lovers are working on getting these dogs to all parts of the world.

8. South Russian Ovcharka

The South Russian Ovcharka is not a breed that is popular in the US. However, it is one of Russia’s national dog breeds. These dogs are fantastic workers. They were bred as herding dogs, and those instincts remain with them to this day. They are energetic, intelligent, and love to please their owners. However, they need plenty of activities every day.

South Russian Ovcharka

Perhaps the best-known feature of the South Russian Ovcharka is their fluffy white coat. They have soft coats that can be pretty nice to cuddle with. However, South Russian Ovcharkas are not a breed that is meant to be only at home. They will protect their family from anything.

9. Russian-European Laika

The Russian-European Laika is the smallest of all Laikas. This is a primitive dog breed that was mainly used for hunting. They have a unique ability to chase prey into a tree and keep them there until hunters arrive. They have thick, double coats; most dogs are black and white.

Russian-European Laika

Like other Laika breeds, the Russian-European Laika can become a good family pet. Other primitive breeds can become somewhat stubborn and independent. However, these dogs form strong bonds with their families, and if they have to be rehomed, they often can’t adapt to new families.

10. Yakutian Laika

The Yakutian Laika is an old dog breed that comes from Yakutia in Russia. It is one of the federal Russian Republics, and this breed developed in that area. These dogs are a primitive breed, and they were used for different tasks. Laikas were mostly working dogs that were used for sledding and hunting.

yakutian_laikaPhoto by: Natalia Orel

Yakutian Laikas are great family pets. These dogs are meant to live in large areas where they can work side by side with their owners. That is what they originally did. They traveled, hunted, and herded reindeer alongside their owners. They form strong bonds and love the kids in their families.

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