Moscow Watchdog breed: its existence was a military secret in the Soviet Union

Jóvári Krisztina, 2023. May 5 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

The breeding of the Moscow Warchdog is linked to the Soviet Union. It was an excellent combination of the advantages of the Bernese Mountain Dog, the Caucasian Sheperd Dog and the Russian Spotted Hound.

The Moscow Watchdog is a trainable, balanced, but strong breed, resistant to harsh conditions. Its intelligence and alertness make it a good bodyguard and an excellent watchdog.


The origins of the Moscow Watchdog are not lost to time, as it is a fairly young breed. Its history dates back only to the Soviet era and began at the Red Star military base near Moscow. In the midst of the Cold War arms build-up, the Soviet leadership decided to create a new service dog to be used for guarding objects and personal protection.

Why was this necessary when they had a number of excellent guard dogs? The question is a fair one, since the Caucasian Shepherd Dog, the Central Asian Shepherd Dog and the South Russian Shepherd Dog were already known breeds in the Soviet Union. However, these breeds were less suitable as service dogs because they are independent and act on instinct, not necessarily on command.

So the goal was an intelligent, trainable dog that would work with its owner. It also had to have excellent guarding and protection qualities, with a strong action. Willfulness or excessive ferocity was to be avoided in the breed, but it had to be resistant to weather and conditions.

The breeding of the Moscow Watchdog is linked to the name of Grogorij Pantelenovich Medvegyej, who served as a general at the Red Star military base near Moscow. Three breeds were eventually used to create a breed of dog with the characteristics defined by the leadership: the Caucasian Shepherd Dog, the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Russian Spotted Hound. The best specimens of the Caucasian Shepherd Dog and the Russian Spotted Hound were collected, while the Bernese Mountain Dogs were imported from German, Czech and Slovakian areas.

The painstaking selection process was not easy, but in the end they succeeded in creating the Moscow Watchdog in the form they had envisioned. It is said that during the process, if something went wrong, several people ‘paid a visit’ to Siberia. And they stayed…

The Moscow Watchdog is bred to have the intelligence and focus of the Bernese Mountain Dog, the hardiness and excellent guarding and protection of the Caucasian Sheperd Dog, and the excellent conformation and endurance of the Russian Spotted Hound. The breed has been so successful that it has been kept secret and has not been allowed to pass into civilian hands. They appeared only on military parades, parades and at military installations.

The weakening of the Soviet Union brought a change, and the first civilian specimens were released. The first Moscow Watchdog were brought to Hungary in 1986, after which the breed was bred and nationalised.

Breed standard

Powerful looking dog with a massive build. Strong bone structure and well developed muscles. The sex must be clearly visible in the specimens, with a minimum height of 68 cm for males and 66 cm for bitches. The most expected height at the withers is 77-78 cm for males and 71-73 cm for females. The head of the Moscow guard dog is massive and the skull is broad. The forehead is divided into two parts by a not too large longitudinal furrow. The nose is black and the ears are triangular, the front part of the ears fitting close to the head. The eyes are dark, the lids black and firm. The scissor bite and complete dentition are expected.

The neck of the Moscow Watchdog is massive and short, set at an angle of 30-40 degrees to the line of the back. Chest deep and broad, bite well muscled, broad and powerful. The back is also strong, muscular and sufficiently broad, the belly is firm. The dog’s limbs are strongly boned, parallel and straight, not turning inwards or outwards. When at rest the tail reaches to the hock, when excited the dog holds it in a sickle shape.

The Moscow Watchdog has a strong, close-fitting and dense fur. Under the topcoat is a well developed undercoat. The fur is longer on the neck, especially in males. This forms a kind of mane. The hair on the back of the legs is also longer, as well as on the underside of the tail. The colour shades are red and white, with white on the snout, collar, tail tip and legs. The dark colour on the ears and the white forehead stripe are obligatory elements. Its movement is characterised by parallel limbs, with the forelimbs approaching the midline.


The Moscow Watchdog is not only strong but also well trained. Its outstanding intelligence and excellent guarding qualities make it an ideal guard dog for people, territory and objects. No one can endanger the owner or his property in its presence.

It waits for the master’s command, it does not act as independently as the Caucasian Sheperd Dog. He has a well-balanced temperament and is an excellent guard dog. Resistant to weather conditions, alert and attentive guard dog. Distrustful of strangers. He only barks when it is absolutely necessary and does not usually like to make his voice heard.

Ideal environment

The Moscow Watchdog is a fearless territorial guardian who likes to be outside and in large spaces. This makes it ideal for gardens, farms and ranches, as well as for guarding objects. It requires a strong, determined and consistent owner, who can be respected as the leader of the pack. In this case, he is extremely loyal and will do anything for the owner and his protection. Early socialisation and consistent training are important so that he does not “grows on master’s head”.


The care of the breed does not require much effort. It is worth combing the coat thoroughly, especially where it is longer. During the shedding period, it requires a thorough combing, as it has a coat of topcoat and undercoat. In addition, it is important to keep the eyes and ears clean.

Common health problems

The breed was created using the best specimens from the Bernese Mountain Dogs, the Caucasian Sheperd Dog and the Russian Spotted Hound. This has minimised health problems and created a dog breed that is resistant to harsh conditions. Cardiovascular disease, typical of large breeds, is minimal, and joint disease (hip and elbow dysplasia) is rare.

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