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Originating from Russia (obviously), the Siberian moves with the grace of a ballet dancer. They are also known as the national treasure of Russia, the feline is well aware of this, so treat him accordingly or you make receive letters (lol). The Siberian coat has three dense layers (it’s cold in northern Russia!) that also sports a ruff around the neck, fluffy leg britches and a bushy tail. Their ears have tufts and probably sport lynx tipping.

Described as “lightning fast and whisper quiet,” a Siberian is also a problem solver. He will figure out how to get into anything — especially everything that you wants off limits. They love to play in water and enjoys a relaxing bath (you can keep the bubbles for yourself though). A natural explorer, he will tolerate learning to walk on a leash. Hind legs are longer than their front legs so a Siberian is a fantastic jumper. (I already warned you that he’d figure out how to get into off limit areas…) Soft voices demand to be heard — when they have something to say. They also love a hard
days work, so he will make sure your home is free of vermin. If he can’t have the real thing, he loves the fake toys too. He loves to play so expect to invest a lot of bonding time there. They love you, but won’t follow you around.

The Siberian is one of the biggest breeds. Females range between 9 to 18 pounds, and males are always larger. It also takes them a full five years to fully mature!

Their triple coat is water repellant. They shed twice a year and require regular brushing to remove dead hair. Siberians don’t tend to tangle easily. The most common coat pattern is brown tabby. However, Siberians come in all coat colors and combinations and they can be pointed.

Siberians developed on their own without human interventions. After the break-up of the Soviet Union Westerners finally learned of the breed. In 1990, they first Siberians were imported into the U.S.



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The Peterbald may appear to be hairless; but not so, he is actually covered in short, fine down. Like the Sphynx, Peterbalds are more furless cats than actual baldies. The body of a Peterbald feels warm and soft to the touch. He feels like suede. His skin should not be nor feel oily.
Peterbalds vary in their degree of hairlessness. It’s not uncommon for kittens in the same litter to have a variety of hair types. Some may be ultra bald while others sport a full, straight coat. (It all depends on the parents’ genes.) The genes responsible seem to be more of a hair loss rather than hairless gene. Kittens can and do change coat types as they age. They will lose or gain hair coverage for up to two years. (So don’t fret if you come across a full-coated kitten.)
There are five distinct coat types: ultra bald, chamois, velour, brush and straight. Ultra bald Peterbalds are hairless; they have no whiskers or eyebrows and never grow any kind of coat. Their skin is warm and sticky to the touch. Chamois Peterbalds are 90% hairless. They have no visible hair and feel smooth to the touch (but not sticky). Their whiskers and eyebrows may be kinked, curled or broken. Velour Peterbalds are 70% hairless, their coat is up to a millimeter in length. The coat resists when stroked. As these Peterbalds age, they may change to a Chamois Peterbald. Brush Peterbalds have wiry hair up to 5 millimeters long. The coat may be wavy to almost curly and has an irregular texture. Whiskers are curled and kinked. Straight coated Peterbalds do not have the Peterbald gene and have short, close lying hair with straight whiskers. If that isn’t confusing enough, any Peterbald may have a combination of coat types. (These crazy cats tend to have longer, dense hair on their extremities.)
The Peterbald is a medium sized cat with visible wrinkles over most of his body (assuming he has a short enough coat to display his wrinkles). Wrinkles should appear on the head, at the base of the neck, the base of the tail, at the top of the legs and down both sides of their body to their underbelly. (Fun fact: All domestic cats are actually wrinkled, but most cats have fur to cover up their wrinkles.) The Peterbald body is long, sturdy and lean.Their muscles are firm. Legs are long. Feet are oval and medium in size with long, agile, prominent toes. Tails are long, straight and whippy. The neck is long and slender. The head is shaped like a long inverted triangle. Extra large, oversized, pointed ears are broad at the base. The forehead should sport several vertical wrinkles. The
chin is strong with the tip of the nose in line with the tip of the chin. Whiskers and eyebrows (for those who have them) are wavy or broken. Eyes are medium in size and almost almond-shaped. Males weigh 8 to 10 pounds,females weigh 6 to 8 pounds.
Peterbalds are also known as Petersburg Sphynx, though they have no connection to the North American Sphynx breed. The Peterbald is the newest recognized hairless breed, created by mating the Russian Don Sphynx (also known as the Donskoy or Don Hairless) with Siamese or Oriental Shorthairs to produce a hairless cat with a Siamese head and body shape. Until the 1980s, the Russian government discouraged citizens from owning household pets. After 1987, these restrictions were lifted and several clubs and organizations popped up and many cats were finally brought inside.
The Peterbald came into its name change thanks to a Saint Petersburg breeder who in 1993 proved that the hairlessness gene is dominant, unlike the Sphynx’s recessive gene. When the Peterbald began increasing in popularity, his name was changed to reflect his new city of origin. To increase the gene pool, Peterbalds were mixed with bloodlines from Don Sphynx, Siamese and Oriental Shorthairs.
Because the Peterbald is still under development, personalities vary depending on bloodlines. Generally, Peterbalds are trusting by nature and approach humans with curiosity and playfulness. They are an active, loving, friendly, frisky breed that gets along well with pretty much everyone. Any age of youngster needs a proper introduction. A Peterbald is an affectionate, outgoing cat. They crave human love and attention. They will wrap you up in their agile paws to lick you chin or give you a forehead press. Don’t be surprised if he follows you around the house, helps with your chores then hops into your lap when the work is done. After a day at work, he’ll most likely be waiting for you at the door, wag his tail and tell you all about his day.

Caucasian Sheepdog (Ovcharka)

AKC Group: Foundation Stock Service

These Russian stunners developed from pre-historic molosser breeds. The Ovcharka guarded the local sheep of Caucasia, the mountainous mass between the Black and Caspian Seas, near the Russian borders with Turkey and Iran. Ovcharka have been guarding sheep for at least 600 years. “Ovcharka” means “sheepdog” in Russian. As Ovcharkas made their way into Europe, especially in East Germany, they were used as border patrol along the Berlin Wall. (When the Wall came down, they were re-homed into German households as pets.)

Size: 20 to 35 inches tall, 100 to 200 pounds

Color: For the show ring, grey with white is preferred. Golden yellow, fawn, brindle, red/brown, creamy white, pearl white and various piebald patterns occur.

Life span: 10 to 11 years

Health problems: Watch for hip or elbow dysplasia.

Ovcharka have deep, dark eyes. They have a thick, dense weather resistant coat that feathers profusely. The tail is feathered with heavy hair. Ovcharka have large paws that have hair between the toes. The nostrils are large. All this helps the Ovcharka to survive Russia’s harshest of winters (and now winters anywhere). In Russia, the extra furry ears are often cropped short. Ovcharka puppies feature a finer coat than what they’ll sport later.

“Designed” to protect livestock, an Ovcharka remains an assertive, strong-willed dog destined to win medals for bravery. If an Ovcharka is not socialized properly (or trained properly), he will  become unmanageable and dangerous. They do not tolerate interlopers and will protect its family (adults, children and pets) at any cost. Your children should not engage in rough-housing with each other or him because the situation can escalate out of control. (As a natural instinct, you cannot train it out of him.) Modern Ovcharka are used most as guard dogs or as a deterrent. Despite this, an Ovcharka truly adores his family and will greet you most affectionately and genuinely.

Training must be firm and patient. He needs a strong trainer that will establish that he’s the leader of the pack. Clearly define and set rules. When an Ovcharka is not happy he will growl and may bite. He needs to know that all his human family members are in charge and he’s not making the rules. If not, life will be a nightmare. Ovcharka are highly trainable and able to think independently. They are slow to mature and very headstrong until about 2 1/2 years old. Thankfully, they (somewhat) mellow as they age. An Ovcharka will keep you entertained. They are always able to find a new way to get into mischief.

Ovcharka have two kinds of coats: short and long. Long-haired Ovcharka need more brushing, but both coat varieties need more attention where the coat feathers to avoid tangles.


AKC Group: Hound

Borzoi were first thought to have been brought to Russian nobility from Arabia in the 17th century. Nobility bred them to have the long hair that they now sport. They were used to hunt wolf — hence, their other common name: the Russian Wolfhound. The breed quickly spread through Europe, but always remained a favorite with the aristocracy.

Size: 26 to 28 inches tall, 60 to 110 pounds

Color: They are most often white, tan or gray, but can come in almost any color. Often they have a mixed colored coat.

Life span: 10 to 13 years

Health problems: Retinopathy, cataracts, bone cancer, heart defects, bloat and chemical or medicinal allergies. Also look out for PRA (progressive retinal atrophy).

The Borzoi is similar to the Greyhound in size and structure. If you have a lot of room for a Borzoi and you’re looking for an absolute stunner, this may be the dog for you. Borzoi are graceful, dignified and well-mannered. Affectionate yet independent, he is a quiet dog indoors. Outside, he comes alive: he’s fast, active and needs plenty of exercise. His yard should be secured or he may take off. Noble and regal, he’s best around older children (his size makes him inappropriate for small children) and other large dogs (with smaller animals, he tends to chase them and who wants to be chased all the time?)

Borzoi have long, thin, narrow heads and an arched muzzle. The tail is long, curved and hangs low against their backside. The coat around the neck is very thick and ruffled. Dark, oblong shaped eyes complete their exotic look. Brushing should be done twice a week, but during shedding season, once a day. Dry shampoo the coat and trim the hair between the toes as needed.

Proper socialization for a Borzoi is essential. Without it, they will either become too aggressive or too shy. They typically tend to be reserved around strangers. Don’t tease a Borzoi or needlessly startle him, they’ll resort to aggressiveness. A Borzoi tends to get bored easily. As a hound, a Borzoi tends to be difficult to train. Positive training methods that build a trust is the only way to accomplish successful training. If you seek outside help to train him, find a professional that doesn’t rely on discipline.

Black Russian Terrier

AKC Group: Working

Black Russian Terriers were bred by the Former Russian Red Army to withstand Russia’s varied weather conditions. They wanted a dog that could work independently, to aid the military and police forces. These terriers were created from 17 breeds, including the Giant Schnauzer, Rottweiler, Airedale breeds and Russian Water Dog.

Size: 26 to 30 inches tall, 80 to 145 pounds.

Color: Black (may have a few gray hairs).

Life span: 10 to 11 years.

Health problems: Hip or elbow dysplasia. Otitis (ear infection or inflammation) if the ears aren’t cared for.

Black Russian Terriers (BRT) are extremely large, powerful dogs used for guarding and military work. Their tousled double coat is coarse to the touch and always black. Looking at them, you’d never guess that they’re light on their feet. BRT walk with a spring in their step. They have dark oval eyes and high-set small triangular ears. Their tails are thick and usually docked. Their feet are large and round.

Brave to a fault, BRT are naturally observant, but not aggressive. When a quick response is needed, they’re there for you. They bark only when necessary. Highly intelligent, they learn quickly and make loyal companions. They are naturally dominant and suspicious, meaning proper socialization is imperative to live in harmony with a family. Handling by anyone outside the family isn’t likely to be successful.

BRT are late bloomers and mature slowly (about two years). As puppies (until they mature) they will have endless curiosity and get into EVERYTHING! They are great with kids. Female BRT play more with child companions than males do. They are even tempered and tolerant. They desire — no, more like crave — human contact. Due to their slow maturity, patience and firmness in training is required to give your BRT success in later life. BRT tend to get along well with other animals but shouldn’t live with other large dominant dogs. Amazingly, BRT avoid fighting.

Black Russian Terriers need a professional trim 2 to 3 times a year. Brush your BRT once a week. This regular brushing will keep your BRT from shedding. Remove hair from the ear ducts and cut the hairs under their paws.