6 Unique Russian Dog Breeds

Russia’s rugged landscape has given rise to some of the world’s most memorable breeds. Let’s meet some of these cuties here!

Dec 22, 2023By Sara Payne
exploring unique russian dog breeds

Russia is the largest country in the world. It spans across two continents: Europe and Asia. Throughout the years, there have been many great dog breeds developed in Russia that suit the unique climate and landscape they live in.

The Siberian Husky, Samoyed, Black Russian Terrier, Borzoi, Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka, and Yakutian Laika are some Russian dog breeds that stand out. These unique canines are great companions and hard workers.

Read on to learn about these six fascinating and unique Russian dog breeds.

Siberian Husky

siberian husky
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One of the most popular Russian dog breeds is the Siberian Husky. The Chukchi people bred this active, lovable, and noisy dog to transport loads over long distances. Contrary to popular belief, Huskies are not wolf-dog breeds; they are their own domesticated breed (although they do have some ties to their wild ancestors).

Siberian Huskies have fluffy tails and pointy ears. They’re not exactly a gentle giant dog breed, but they can easily exceed the 30-pound mark. They come in a variety of coat colors and patterns with a general wolf-like appearance. Many have blue eyes; some even have heterochromia! That’s when a dog has different-colored eyes.

The Chukchi bred these dogs to exert lots of energy pulling dog sleds across the tundra, so these dogs can be rowdy cooped up inside the home. They need lots of mental stimulation and exercise. They are also very vocal dogs. But they are very friendly, and they make great dogs for families with kids.


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Originating in the Siberian town of Oymyakon, people bred the Samoyed to have thick, white coats to survive temperatures that reach up to -60 degrees Fahrenheit. Samoyeds, or Sammies for short, are energetic and loyal work dogs.

They have triangular ears and small eyes. Their faces look like they are perpetually smiling. Their thick fur sheds a lot, so if you have a Sammie, you’ll need to groom him a lot. Also, they don’t do well in warmer climates. Samoyed weigh 35 to 50 pounds and are 19 to 23 inches tall. They have fluffy, upturned tails––like many Spitz dog breeds.

Samoyeds are loving and adaptable dogs, but they need lots of training and work to keep them out of trouble. If they are cooped up inside, they may become mischievous, getting into things you’d like them not to. They are also stubborn, which can make training difficult.

However, if you have a lot of work for them to do and a lot of time to devote to them, the Samoyed can be a great companion.

Black Russian Terriers

black russian terrier
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Although the Black Russian Terrier has “terrier” in the name, this Russian dog breed is part of the working group of dogs. It’s not like Yorkshire Terriers or Jack Russell Terriers that were bred to hunt rats and other small vermin.

The Belgian people developed Black Russian Terriers for military use. It took the Soviet Union 20 years to develop the breed standard.

They are brawny dogs with hound-like heads and a large, powerful build. Black Russian Terriers grow to 30 inches tall and weigh around 80 to 130 pounds. They have double coats that are waterproof and perfect for the harsh climates in Russia.

Black Russian Terriers make excellent guard dogs. They are stubborn, protective, and intimidating. But they do well with family and can be calm and affectionate. They just need plenty of stimulation and exercise.


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Borzois are large dogs that stand 28 inches tall and weigh over 100 pounds. They grow slower than other dogs, taking three years to reach full maturity. These fast Greyhound-like dogs can run 40 miles per hour.

They have long, hound-like snouts and white, flat coats that are silky, wavy, or curly. Sometimes, they have patches of brown on them. These are very affectionate and independent dogs who can be stubborn. Being a cat-like dog breed, they get along well with cats.

As a sighthound, humans originally bred them to hunt down prey on sight, so they will have a strong instinct to chase while outdoors. It is wise to keep them on a leash when taking them for walks. Borzois love the outdoors and plenty of exercise to keep them happy and healthy.

Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka

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Smaller and more compact than many of the others on this list, the Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka only weighs six to nine pounds, standing only 11 inches tall at the withers. A member of the Bichon family, this is a hypoallergenic dog that is a loyal companion. They come in a variety of colors and markings and have wavy, medium-length coats.

This friendly dog is easy-going and great with children. They do bark when startled, but with proper training, the Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka can become a quiet dog breed. They get along well with other animals and are smart dogs that train easily.

This toy-sized breed is better suited to life in urban areas. They fit well into apartments or small homes. They make great lap dogs and are easy dogs to travel with.

Yakutian Laika

yakutian laika
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The natives of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic bred the Yakutian Laika to be herding, hunting, and sled-pulling dogs. They hail from the Arctic region known as the Sakha Republic. It is a cold, harsh region where these dogs were important and faithful companions and work dogs for the native people. They have incredible stamina, hearing, vision, and sense of smell.

Yakutian Laika weigh 40 to 55 pounds and are about 21 to 23 inches tall. They have thick, double coats that protect them from harsh weather. This coat can be in a variety of colors and patterns. It does shed quite a bit, though.

Yakutian Laika are gentle, loyal, and hardworking dogs. They are full of energy and easy to train. Yet, they need stimulation to avoid some common behavioral problems.

Russia Is Home to Many Popular Breeds

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Russia’s cold, harsh climate was the perfect place to develop these strong, hardworking, and determined dogs. Each of these six unique Russian dog breeds is a loving family companion with lots of energy and intelligence.

Every dog breed on this list would make a great pet for someone with a lot of time to devote to their training and socialization.

Sara Payne
By Sara Payne

Sara is a mother of two and a high school English teacher who rediscovered her love of writing during the pandemic. She has 5 rescue cats: Neville and Luna, who are white cats with black and grey spots, and Ginny, Blue, and Fairy, who are calicos. Besides taking care of humans and fur babies, Sara enjoys gardening, crafting, and spending time in nature.