Moscow Watchdog vs Istrian Sheepdog - Breed Comparison

Moscow Watchdog is originated from Russia but Istrian Sheepdog is originated from Slovenia. Moscow Watchdog may grow 6 cm / 3 inches higher than Istrian Sheepdog. Moscow Watchdog may weigh 28 kg / 62 pounds more than Istrian Sheepdog. Both Moscow Watchdog and Istrian Sheepdog has almost same life span. Moscow Watchdog may have more litter size than Istrian Sheepdog. Both Moscow Watchdog and Istrian Sheepdog requires Moderate maintenance.

Basic Information

Group:
Working dog
Working dog
Origin:
Russia
Slovenia
Height Male:
64 - 69 cm
25 - 28 inches
54 - 63 cm
21 - 25 inches
Height Female:
64 - 69 cm
25 - 28 inches
54 - 63 cm
21 - 25 inches
Weight Male:
45 - 68 kg
99 - 150 pounds
26 - 40 kg
57 - 89 pounds
Weight Female:
45 - 68 kg
99 - 150 pounds
26 - 40 kg
57 - 89 pounds
Life Span:
9 - 11 Years
10 - 12 Years
Litter Size:
5 - 10
3 - 6
Size:
Giant dog
Medium dog
Other Names:
Moskovskaya Storozhevaya Sobaka
Karst Sheepdog
Colors Available:
White and red
Dark and Light shades of Grey
Coat:
Medium length, thick
Long, thick and harsh
Shedding:
Moderate
Moderate, Seasonal
Temperament:
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Docile, Energetic, Friendly, Gentle, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Quiet, Responsive, Social, Stubborn, Territorial
Affectionate, Aggressive, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social, Stubborn, Territorial
Grooming:
Moderate maintenance
Moderate maintenance
Trainability:
Easy
Easy
Hypoallergenic:
No
No
Kids Friendly:
Yes
Yes
New Owners Friendly:
Yes
Yes

History

The Moscow Watchdog is a cross between the Caucasian Oytcharka, the St. Bernard and other Russian hound dogs. This large breed dog was developed in the Soviet Union for the purpose of being guard dogs. It had the awareness and assertiveness of the Oytcharka and the size, intelligence and attractiveness of the St. Bernard. The breed is common in Russia today but hardly seen anywhere else even though they were exported to the United States and Europe. The breed had the first U.S. born litter in 2015 and it is not AKC recognized.

Following the second world war crime was on the rise in the Soviet Union and a new breed of dog was needed to counter this trend. The dog had to be adaptable to very cold temperatures, snowy weather and have a guard dog personality and ability. The breed was called on to guard such locations as railroads, government offices, warehouses, infrastructure and labor camps.

The project to develop this breed was led by General Medvedev beginning in 1946 at the Central School of Military Kynology – which was a department of the Soviet Ministry of Defense. It took many years to develop the Moscow Watchdog which then became a very successful breed.

It took until 1985 for the breed to be “officially” recognized in the Soviet Union and until 1992 to be recognized by the Federation of Dog Breeders in Russia and until 1997 for the standard to be approved by the Russian Kennel Club. They are still working with the FCI to gain international recognition for the breed. At the moment they are considered a part of the Molosser group and shown in the “Special Show” in Russia.

Committed breeders brought the Moscow Watchdog to Hungary in 1986 in order to make the breed more popular. In addition to this there were many breeders from previous Soviet States that wanted to preserve the breed as well. There were about 500 Moscow Watchdogs in Hungary around then. Currently there are about 27 Moscow Watchdogs in the United States. The breed is known to be a gentle giant and very much a family dog these days.

Known also as the Karst Sheepdog, the beautiful, medium sized Istrian Sheepdog hails from Slovenia, Yugoslavia in the 1600s, being used to guard sheep. In fact, the Karst Shepherd was recognized as the Illyrian Shepherd in 1939.

The dog is fairly scarce in his own country, but interest in the dog started developing in the late 1970s. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale recognizes the breed and it has also been exported to the United States, being recognized by the United Kennel Club.

It is also recognized by a number of smaller kennel clubs. The dogs numbers have declined at certain periods in its history but fortunately breeding programs boosted its numbers.

Description

The Moscow Watchdog is related to the mountain dogs and is a very large breed. They are sturdy, muscular and powerful. They have big heads and a thick double coat that sheds profusely four times a year. They have a long tail, an arched chest and an air of confidence.

He is in the Mastiff family and is smart and trainable. He is not clumsy but has big bones. He is surprisingly agile and active for a dog his size. Unlike the St. Bernard he is not a couch potato. He is also differentiated from the St. Bernard because he does not drool.

Temperament:

These dogs are large but they’ve got a gentle temperament and are good with kids, being playful and energetic with them.

Even though he is a docile dog, you want him trained and socialized, and then he gets along well with other pets too. His sheer size makes it that it is best to supervise him when he’s around small children. He is also a protective dog breed, willing to bond closely to, and protect his human family.

This is a medium sized, muscled, strong dog with an iron-grey coat that has shades of deeper grey. His beautiful coat is long, thick and fairly harsh to the touch, with the undercoat protecting the dog against cold weather.

Around the neck area the hair is longer, forming an eye-catching-like mane. The stomach area has longer hair too. He has a noble look about him with kind, brown eyes and a round skull. The muzzle of the dog is dark, the limbs long and muscular and the tail is long and covered in thick fur.

The dog is slightly longer than its height, and both males and females stand at 54 to 63cm in height and weigh between 26 and 40kg. The long tail reaches right down to the hocks. The ears of the dog are fairly short and are floppy.

Temperament:

This dog has always made an excellent guard dog, being alert and also being distrustful of strangers. He will need to be trained and socialized if you want him to be obedient to you and more amicable around children in the home as well as visitors to the home.

If he is trained and well socialized, he is able to make a good pet. However, he is an energetic dog, used to working and he isn't recommended for life in the city if there is only a tiny garden. He needs space and will require a large garden.

He will also need to be exercised and not just left to his own devices in the backyard. Because he is essentially a working dog he doesn’t easily fit into the role of pet and companion. He is a working dog and will need to be kept busy.

Health Problems

Moscow Watchdog is looked upon as a fairly healthy dog breed but there are some risks such as hip dysplasia as well as some other large breed problems.

With big dogs like this, hip dysplasia is a threat. Its an hereditary condition where the parent dogs pass down the problematic genes. Hip dysplasia results in inflammation and pain for your pet, and where once he loved to play, he is reluctant to and battles to get up after lying down.

As with many other dog breeds, the Istrian Sheepdog is a healthy dog that, because of history of hard work, is robust and able to stand up well to common dog illnesses.

However there is one dog illness that strikes many dogs and at any age, and it is hip dysplasia. This is a malformation of the hip joints.

You'll notice that your once active dog is lethargic, doesn't want to play so much anymore and battles to get up after lying down. The disease is painful for your dog and it can lead to mobility issues. The disease is diagnosed with x-rays and your vet will recommend treatment options to make life more comfortable and less painful for your beloved pet.

Caring The Pet

Excercise:

The Moscow Watchdog is a giant sized dog and will require a lot of regular exercise, and apart from a fairly brisk daily walk, will also need games and a run in the park.

As a large dog requiring a regular dose of physical exercise as well as mental stimulation, he is better suited to life in the country or at least where there is a large garden.

Grooming:

The Moscow Watchdog has a medium length coat, and as a moderate shedder, you will need to simply brush his coat twice a week to remove loose hair. There is no professional grooming required for these dogs.

Diet:

Homemade food is always a treat for a dog, but if you’re feeding your Moscow Watchdog commercially manufactured food because of the sheer convenience it provides, make sure the packaging says 'large- or giant dog breed' food. This way you know your pet is getting the right amount of minerals and vitamins for his size.

Always buy the best quality food to avoid giving your pet an overdose of colorants and preservatives. Try and give your pet some home-made food such as boiled chicken, some brown rice or pasta and some cooked vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots and spinach. These can be added to his kibble every now and again.

A simple diet like this agrees with your pet and he will be healthy and happy with his lot.

Exercise:

This is a dog that is used to guarding his flock and he will need to be in a home that has a fair sized garden. He can adapt to life in the city or to the countryside, but wherever he is, he will need sufficient exercise. Take him with you on your walks or hikes and give him some rope- and ball games.

General Care:

Wherever you live in the world, when the Winter winds howl and blow in icy rain or snow, a dog is at an increased risk of illness. You decided to have a dog in your home and it is your responsibility to care for him. Winter weather is downright unpleasant and dangerous for most pets.

Bring your pet in during such weather and provide him with a warm, dry sleeping space. During hot weather, make sure your pet has a cool, shady spot to lie down in, out of the boiling sun. Whatever weather you're experiencing, your pet should never ever be without a constant supply of fresh, cool water.

Provide him with excellent food that is full of vitamins and minerals to keep him healthy. Learn to know what human foods can be toxic for him and cause him digestive problems.

Grooming:

Your double coated Istrian Sheepdog will need a thorough brushing at least twice a week because of his dense, double coat. He does shed and isn't a hypoallergenic dog. His thick coat can tangle easily if it isn't properly brushed and maintained.

Clip his nails when and if they grow long. Other grooming aspects for this attractive dog require checking his ears for infection and also checking his teeth as dental disease can lead to a host of serious illnesses in your dog.

Characteristics

This is a large dog who likes to be involved and busy, even though he is so big. He isn’t suited to city life and being confined to a tiny garden as he needs space.

They’re independent dogs too and you can leave them alone during the day. He is social, so while you can leave them during the day while you’re at work, he’ll want your attention when you get back. They're such loving, loyal family pets that you owe it to him to make this gentle giant of a dog as happy as can be.

Your Istrian Sheepdog is a unique, strong-willed dog that is used to guarding, and working and he wants to be kept involved and busy.

He is wary of strangers and makes an excellent guard dog for any family home. Remember that it is never good to invest in a dog purely for guard dog purposes. A dog such as the Istrian Sheepdog is a social creature and he also wants- and needs to be part of a human family that provides him with plenty of interaction with them.

The Istrian Sheepdog is a loyal, loving dog who is capable of forming strong bonds with his human family. With proper training and socialization he makes a good friend of children and the elderly too.

Include him in all your family activities just like any human family member and he will make you a splendid, courageous pet.

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