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Home » Europe, Expat Life, Pet transportation

Breed of the Month – the Ukrainian Ovcharka

A brief profile of this strong and dominant dog

By Pet Lover
August 18, 2011

South Russian Ovcharka puppies
As relocation experts, at Move One we know very well that many expats like taking a memento home with them after their international assignments are over. What could be better than a local dog? To help you decide on the choice of pup, we have asked our country managers to recommend their favorite breeds and advice.
This month we guide you to Ukraine

The Ukrainian Ovcharka, also called the South Russian Ovcharka, was first seen in the Ukraine during the 1800s as a livestock guard. The dog was said to have faithfully protected sheep from wolves, bears or even thieves. The breed gradually migrated into Russia where, due to its strong territorial instinct, it was used as a guard dog by the Army. Although the exact roots of the breed are unclear, there are theories that this dog is a descendant of the Tibetan Mastiff. Another theory says that small sheepdogs were used to drive Merino sheep from Spain to the Ukraine, and later on these dogs crossed with local breeds. Whichever theory is true, today the breed is extremely rare outside of Ukraine and Russia.

These dogs are big with strong, dense muscles. Their coat is their main signifying characteristic, with hair that can be up to half a foot long covering the entire body, plus a thick furry undercoat. The color of their coat is mostly white but can also be grey, beige, or even white with grey marks. The coat plays an important role, protecting the dog against both cold and heat. It is self-cleansing, and even when the weather is dirty and rainy the coats will be bright white when it dries. Still, all the dirt has to go somewhere and it will most likely end up on your floor. It is even possible to spin and knit the hair which has traditionally been used for treatment of rheumatism.

The Ukrainian Ovcharka has a wide head and short muzzle. Its eyes are oval and dark, and its ears are triangular in shape. Its neck is strong and short, while the overall body structure is thick, wide and muscled.

This huge dog is often dominant, suspicious of strangers and sometimes can be very difficult to take care of. They have a possessive nature and consider their family, house and even a whole park as their own. The best environment for them is a large yard, a big family and preferably other animals which they will protect. If the Ukrainian Ovcharka is the second dog in the family, it will probably enforce its will upon the preceding dog with little effort. It socializes best while still a young puppy.

This is not a dog for everyone. It needs a strong owner who knows how to behave with alpha type breeds. Early socialization is very important, otherwise they may become aggressive and rather difficult to manage. It may take some time to train such a strong breed, as the Ukrainian Ovcharka needs firm and consistent training due to their independence and short attention span. If you are considering getting an Ovcharka, do not forget that it has to be trained well, by a knowledgeable and dominant trainer. Once well trained, it will become a perfect guard dog, protecting its home and its family as long as it lives.

If you wish to take a dog home with you after your assignment is over, please make sure you leave at least a full month to ensure all paperwork is in place prior to the move.

Move One’s Pet Transportation department specializes in the transportation of household pets, working dogs and exotic animals. If you would like advice about internationally relocating your pet safely, sanely and legally or just for further information about our general pet relocation services, please contact us at One of our dedicated animal relocation agents will get back to you shortly with information, advice and a quote tailor-made to your needs.

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One Comment »

  • Levon says:

    God I hate when ppl do this! It’s like a gold rush thingy, everyone hears about it’s glory and want to jump in by basically jumping on it and bullshitting those who are not educated into believing into their lies! I am Armenian Yet I won’t go and say this is an Armenian dog though in part it is, cause it’s Caucasian and does not only found in there but as well as Georgia and Azerbaijan. This specific type though is more of a Georgian origin though, but NOTHING to do with Ukrain whatsoever. Hate this when ppl steal, thi is infringement!!!! First Serbians with their so called sarpalaniacs or whatever they call it, then Russians with their Russian mountain dog (even though Russia itself did put a lot of input into helping this breed not to extinct), and now Ukrain with their bullshit, though I’m sure I must be missing some other assholes in middle!!

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