Discussing dog breeds, dog-adoption, and the human-canine connection.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Livestock Guardian Breeds: Ukrainian Ovcharka (South Russian Ovcharka)


SRO pup

Yes, the Ukrainian Ovcharka is more commonly known as the South Russian Ovcharka, however, there seems to be some agreement that the breed was developed in the Ukraine, then moved with sheep throughout Russia.

The breed is also sometimes called the South Russian Sheepdog -- most commonly though, they are known as SROs - South Russian Ovcharkas. 



Those who follow this blog might think of a sheepdog as a herder that lives and works alongside people. SROs were traditionally used more like livestock guardians and have been bred to independently watch their flocks, territory, and families without a person overseeing their activities. As a result, this is a very independent and active breed of dog.


This is also a large dog. Very heavy boned, their height makes them look a bit smaller than they actually are. At 62 - 65 cm (24-25") there are solid dogs weighing 48-50 kg (108 - 110 lbs). They are also a long haired dog, with hair reaching up to 15 cm (6"); apparently their hair has been used for spinning.


While the SRO are starting to be bred by some for a slightly 'softer' personality -- at times the military has used them as guard dogs -- this is still a breed that is not for many. They require a strong, steady handler who is consistent. This breed can be stubborn and needs exercise. They are also known, however, for their great devotion to their people. During the chaos of war SRO were sometimes shot because they refused to accept a new handler if something happened to their original person. That's devotion.


Still an uncommon breed, there are a few kennels who are now breeding the SRO for showing and exports. With the increasing popularity of livestock guardian dogs as a more 'natural' way of protecting animals, this is a breed that may start to show up amongst northern farmers, ranchers and fanciers who want a self reliant guard dog. 












16 comments:

  1. Beautiful dog..... as they all are:)) Very interesting!!! Now I have to go get me a farm(only in my dreams). Would love to have a farm so I can have my animal friends with me. I truly love dogs and more. Thank you for sharing your lovely blog:)
    ♥hugs♥
    Bev

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    1. I know Bev - I too have dreamed of being on a farm with a collection of animals :-)
      Of course, milking, feeding etc. - that's actually work!

      My blog is not nearly so lovely as yours - so I at least try to be informative ;-)

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  2. Really interesting, I had never heard of these guys

    urban hounds

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    1. There are SO many interesting dogs in the world, aren't there! I'm always learning something....

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  3. Never heard of the name but what a beautiful dog!! Love it!

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    1. I can certainly see why people would be attracted to the breed :-)

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  4. Love this post! Never heard of this dog breed and what a beauty! Thank you!

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  5. Hi Y'all,

    How y'all doin'? Just stopped by for a visit.

    Although not a breed my Human would ever have, she has always been fascinated with these special breeds that work independently to protect their livestock.

    Hope y'all are havin' a great week!

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

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    1. Hawk I think this is one breed that most of us are better off admiring without necessarily living with - very specialized and well suited to their work. Thanks much for stopping by!

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  6. Are these related to the Russian Police Dogs, the big black ones that I think are a cross with Giant Schnauzers and Briards?

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    1. Hi Rachel - good question! I believe you are speaking of the Russian Terrier - which was created by crossing up to twenty other breeds of dogs, including Giant Schnauzers.

      In that cause they used the Caucasian Ovcharka - which is also a large livestock guardian dog but from a different region and that looks different. The Caucasian is taller, and with a grey/black coloring closer to the Malamute/German Shepherd Dogs.

      There are three main groups of Ovcharkas from the areas of the former Soviet Union -- the third is the Central Asian Ovcharka. Thanks for taking time to comment Rachel :-)

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    2. I'm not too awake yet - when thinking Caucasian Ovcharka the closest looking dog would be the Tibetan Mastiff :-)

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  7. Where can I find one of these for sale in the US? A friend of mine lost hers to bloat not too long ago and we want to see about getting her another SRO.

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  8. I had SRO for 10 years. est thing that ever happaned to my family. There are no breeders in USA. You have to import them from europe, and I think there is one ore two in South Anerika

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    1. Thank you for taking time to share your personal experience and information! This is an uncommon breed of dog and rightly so - they are not suited to life with just anyone. Of course, no one breed is :-)

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