Moscow Watchdog

Canis lupus

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Michal Ninger/

This Molosser-type dog is the Russian cousin of St. Bernard.


Moscow Watchdog Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Moscow Watchdog Locations

Moscow Watchdog Locations

Moscow Watchdog Facts

Fun Fact
This Molosser-type dog is the Russian cousin of St. Bernard.
Gentle and powerful

Moscow Watchdog Physical Characteristics

  • Red
  • Black
  • White
Skin Type
9 to 11 years
150 lbs

Moscow Watchdog as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Cold climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
Dog group
Male weight
121-150 lbs
Female weight
99-121 lbs

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The Moscow watchdog bite force has a bite force of 259 psi.

The Moscow watchdog (Moskovskaya Storodzevay Sobaka) is a giant Russian service dog that was developed in the 1980s in the former Soviet Union. This hybrid is the result of a cross mainly between the St. Bernard and the Caucasian Ovcharka (Caucasian Shepherd Dog), with smaller contributions from Russian spotted hounds. The “gentle giant” breed is a top choice for a guard dog but with a gentle temperament that also makes it great as a family pet and an alpha streak that makes it a great working dog or the leader in a pack.

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3 pros and cons of owning Moscow Watchdogs

Top guard dog. The Moscow watchdog is one of the best choices for a guard dog. Whether you want to guard your family, your home, or a farm, this breed is strong and protective.Not for new dog owners. Not for the first-time or inexperienced dog owner, this breed is a lot to handle. It needs an active, consistent, and firm owner to lead him.
Gets along with children and other dogs. The alpha protective instinct translates well to children. It also gets along with less dominant dogs.Drooling. Although it probably doesn’t drool as much as, say, a St. Bernard, be prepared to deal with saliva.
Easy to train. This intelligent breed takes commands very well and is the easiest to train during puppyhood.Very large breed. With its huge size, this breed needs a lot of space to move around and play in. It is not appropriate for small homes or homes with no yards.
Moscow watchdog playing in the river.
Moscow watchdog playing in the river.

Moscow Watchdog Size and Weight

This is a giant long hair dog with an average height of 27-31″ for males and 26-29″ for females. Males weigh 121-150lbs fully grown, while females weigh over 99lbs fully grown. The puppies weigh 15-22lbs at 8 weeks and are typically fully grown between 18-24 months.

Height (Male) 27-31″
Height (Female) 26-29″
Weight (Male) 121-150lbs, fully grown
Weight (Female) over 99lbs, fully grown

Moscow Watchdog Common Health Issues

The Moscow watchdog generally tends to be very healthy. However, it is prone to health issues that large breeds have, such as hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and gastric torsion (bloat). Its health is also connected to getting enough exercise to reduce stress and stay fit. The average lifespan for this breed is 9-11 years. In sum, the most common health issues are:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation
  • Gastric torsion (bloat)

Moscow Watchdog Temperament

Their temperaments are stable, gentle, assertive, protective, and intelligent. It has a powerful, affectionate personality with aloof behavior around strangers. This does not mean it is not excellent for a family, however. It gets along well with children and other dogs, as long as it gets to be the leader. The owner is best as a pack leader as well, after which the dog will follow.

How To Take Care of Moscow Watchdogs

The Best Dog Food for Moscow Watchdogs

New pet owners looking for how to care for these dogs, especially as puppies, must consider a variety of unique needs. Whether it’s health issues such as hip dysplasia or different care related to their long hair and large size, Moscow watchdogs have breed-specific needs that must be kept in mind. Preparing oneself with knowledge of proper care for this breed will ensure a good quality of life and a long lifespan.

Health and Entertainment for your Moscow Watchdog

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Puppy food: Your puppy should have premium or high-quality puppy food specifically made for large breeds. It must have animal protein as its first and main ingredient. Look for phosphorus, DHA, vitamin K, and fish oil for healthy brain development and other health benefits for your developing puppy.

Adult dog food: adult dogs need a grain-free premium or high-quality adult dog food specifically made for large breeds. 3 cups a day is the recommended amount for adult dogs. A joint supplement for strong bones can help. To prevent bloat, make sure your dog’s food has few fermentable ingredients such as beans or soy, feed him from the floor, and avoid exercising him within 90 minutes of eating.

A-Z Animals thinks the best dog food for Moscow Watchdogs is Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach, High Protein Dry Dog Food.

While not grain-free, this balanced, best-selling dog food promotes nose-to-tail wellness that starts with the gut. It’s formulated with salmon, barley, rice, oats, and probiotics for an easily digestible mix of fiber and protein. Also, there’s naturally occurring glucosamine to protect from hip and knee issues.

Check out Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach High Protein dog food on Chewy and Amazon.

Moscow Watchdog Maintenance And Grooming

The Moscow watchdog does not need professional grooming. Although it is a moderate shedder with a medium-long, thick coat, a weekly brushing and regular bathing (once a month) should be enough to control the amount of fur around the house. A brushing glove to remove dead hair is excellent and can cut down shedding as well.

Moscow Watchdog Training

The protective instinct of this breed comes from its development as a guard dog. When introducing people or other animals for the first time, it’s best to supervise your dog. Early socialization and training from a pack leader will ensure a well-balanced dog rather than an overly headstrong one. Owners will find that it is easy to train and takes commands easily.

Moscow Watchdog Exercise

Having this breed can keep owners active if they are up for the challenge! This breed needs space to freely jog and run around in the backyard. It also needs a long walk every day.

Moscow Watchdog Puppies

This sturdy breed is a handful as a puppy! Take care to not over-exercise it. 5 minutes per month of age is enough or simply allows for spontaneous play. Do not over-feed, which will promote excessively rapid growth. The average price of a puppy from a reputable breeder tends to be less than that of a top-quality adult dog.

Cute Moscow watchdog puppy playing in the garden.
Cute Moscow watchdog puppy playing in the garden.

Moscow Watchdog And Children

This breed is best socialized with children as early as possible. Doing so serves 2 purposes: It encourages familiarity and promotes bonding. Once it has bonded with children, it considers them a part of its pack.

Dogs similar to Moscow Watchdog

Dogs that are similar to Moscow watchdogs are Caucasian Ovcharkas (Caucasian shepherd dogs), St. Bernards, and mastiffs.

  • St. Bernard: One of the ancestors of the Moscow watchdog, it is likewise a Molosser-type breed and lends its appearance. However, it is about 44lbs heavier and is used for search-and-rescue, while its Russian cousin is not.
  • Mastiff: Another Molosser-type dog, the Mastiff is large and heavy-boned, but an ancient breed.
  • Moscow Water Dog: Like the Moscow watchdog, the Moscow water dog has the Caucasian Ovcharka (Caucasian Shepherd Dog) as one of its ancestors. It is also called the Moscow Retriever.

Moscow Watchdog vs Caucasian Ovcharka

The Moscow watchdog has the beauty, size, and intelligence of the St. Bernard, with the traits of assertiveness, confidence, and awareness of a Caucasian Ovcharka, also called Caucasian Shepherd Dog or Caucasian Mountain Dog. One can see immediately a difference in coloring and physical, with the Moscow watchdog being 2 inches shorter and weighing 70lbs less.

Famous Moscow Watchdogs

This breed is rarely seen outside of Russia. However, one famous Moscow watchdog is the handsome Bart, who has Instagram celebrity status.

The following are popular names for your dog:

  • Sasha
  • Masha
  • Artem
  • Vova
  • Zoya

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About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

Moscow Watchdog FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

When did the Moscow Watchdog come to be?

In the 1980s.

Is a Moscow Watchdog a good guard dog?

Yes, it is an excellent guard dog.

How much does a Moscow Watchdog cost?

The price of a Moscow watchdog depends on factors such as pedigree, quality, age, sex, and breeder location. The average price of a Moscow watchdog puppy is $2,000-2,500, while the price of a top-quality adult dog is upwards of $3,000.

Do Moscow Watchdogs shed?

Yes, they are moderate shedders.

How long do Moscow watchdogs live?

Their lifespan is 9 to 11 years.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.


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