Moscow Water Dog: The Ultimate Dog Guide


The Moscow Water Dog might not be as famous as some breeds, but its rich history and unique attributes make it a fascinating subject. This guide will delve deep into this interesting breed, exploring its origins, characteristics, and much more.

Aspect Details
Size and Appearance Muscular physique with a dense, curly coat; typically black with brown or rust-colored markings.
Temperament and Behavior Protective, alert, loyal, and can be wary of strangers; effective as watchdogs.
Life Expectancy 10 to 12 years on average.
Origin Developed in the Soviet Union during the late 1940s and early 1950s for rescue operations.
Physical Traits Broadhead, strong jaw, deep-set eyes, sturdy legs suitable for swimming; weighs between 30 to 50 kg and stands 55 to 60 cm tall.
Health Issues Generally healthy but can be prone to hip dysplasia, ear infections, and some hereditary conditions.
Diet and Nutrition Requires a balanced diet rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Regular vet consultations are recommended.
Exercise Needs Active breed requiring daily physical and mental stimulation.

Moscow Water Dog Breed Overview

Size and appearance

The Moscow Water Dog boasts a muscular physique that hints at its strong swimming abilities. With a dense, curly coat and powerful stance, they’re both majestic and practical in appearance.

Temperament and behavior

Naturally protective and alert, these dogs are known for their loyalty and a slight wariness around strangers, making them effective watchdogs.

Life expectancy

Generally healthy and robust, the Moscow Water Dog has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years.

Historical Background of the Moscow Water Dog

Development during the Soviet era

Originating in the Soviet Union, this breed was initially bred for rescue operations. They were developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily to save people from drowning.

Use as a rescue dog in Russian waters

Their strong build and water-resistant coat made them perfect for aquatic rescue operations in Russia’s cold waters.

The transition from working dog to companion animal

While initially bred for work, their temperament and loyalty have endeared them to families as beloved companion animals.

Physical Characteristics of the Moscow Water Dog

Size and weight range

Adults typically weigh between 30 to 50 kg and stand at a height of 55 to 60 cm.

Coat type and colors

Their coat is thick, curly, and water-resistant. Common colors include black with brown or rust-colored markings.

Common physical traits and attributes

Distinct features include a broad head, strong jaw, and deep-set eyes. Their legs are sturdy and well-suited for swimming.

Moscow Water Dog Temperament and Behavior

Natural instincts and behaviors

Being a working breed, they have a strong drive to please and protect. They’re also naturally alert and can be wary of strangers.

Socialization tendencies

Early socialization is crucial for this breed to ensure they’re well-adjusted and comfortable around different people and environments.

Compatibility with other animals and children

While they can be friendly with family members, caution is advised when introducing them to other pets or young children. Proper training and socialization can make a difference.

Known behavioral challenges and solutions

Some may display dominant behaviors. Consistent training and establishing a clear hierarchy can alleviate such issues.

Training and Socialization of the Moscow Water Dog

Importance of early training

Early training helps mold a well-behaved and balanced dog. It’s crucial for this breed to prevent unwanted behaviors.

Tips for effective training

Positive reinforcement, consistency, and patience are key. Avoid harsh training methods.

Handling dominant or stubborn behaviors

Ensure you’re seen as the pack leader. Employ techniques that establish your dominance without resorting to aggression.

Recommendations for socialization

Expose them to various people, places, and experiences early on to cultivate a well-rounded temperament.

Moscow Water Dog Health and Nutrition

Common health issues

While generally healthy, they can be prone to hip dysplasia, ear infections, and certain hereditary conditions.

Diet and nutrition needs

A balanced diet rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals is vital. Consult a veterinarian for specific dietary recommendations.

Importance of regular vet check-ups

Regular check-ups ensure early detection and treatment of potential health issues.

Exercise requirements

Being active dogs, they require daily exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.

Grooming and Maintenance of the Moscow Water Dog

Coat care and grooming frequency

Their dense coat requires regular brushing to prevent matting. Monthly grooming sessions are ideal.

Bathing and cleaning

Bathe them as needed, ensuring to use of dog-appropriate shampoos. Regularly check and clean their ears to prevent infections.

Nail trimming, ear cleaning, and dental care

Monthly nail trims, weekly ear checks, and routine dental care ensure their overall well-being.

Activities and Exercises for the Moscow Water Dog

Recommended activities for physical stimulation

Swimming, fetch, and agility training are great activities for this breed.

Mental stimulation and puzzle toys

Interactive toys and problem-solving games keep their minds sharp.

Suitable environments and conditions for outdoor play

Large open spaces, preferably with access to water, are ideal play areas for them.

Adoption and Buying Considerations

The importance of responsible breeding

Ensure breeders follow ethical practices and prioritize the health and well-being of the dogs.

Rescues vs. breeders

Consider adopting from a rescue. If opting for a breeder, research thoroughly to ensure they’re reputable.

Price range and associated costs

Prices can vary based on lineage and breeder reputation. Remember to factor in costs for food, vet care, and other essentials.

Moscow Water Dog’s Unique Swimming Style

An innate love for water

The Moscow Water Dog has an inherent love for water. This passion can be traced back to their origins as water rescue dogs.

Distinguishing swimming technique

Unlike some other breeds, the Moscow Water Dog uses a powerful and efficient dog paddle, allowing them to navigate strong currents and reach victims swiftly in rescue scenarios.

Companionship and Bonding with a Moscow Water Dog

The value of companionship

This breed, while historically a working dog, deeply values the bond it shares with its human companions. Their loyalty and affection are unmatched.

Bonding activities

Activities like fetch, long walks, or even simple play sessions in the backyard can strengthen the bond between owner and pet.

Moscow Water Dog in Popular Culture

Movie appearances

Though not as commonly featured as some breeds, the Moscow Water Dog has had a few appearances in Russian cinema, showcasing their skills and natural charm.

Literary mentions

Various Russian literature and folklore occasionally mention or are inspired by the bravery and tales of the Moscow Water Dog.

Traveling with a Moscow Water Dog

Travel considerations

Given their size and temperament, it’s essential to prepare adequately when traveling with a Moscow Water Dog. Ensuring they are comfortable and safe during travels is crucial.

Adapting to new environments

While they can be wary of new places, with the right comfort measures, the Moscow Water Dog can quickly adapt and enjoy new environments.

Children and the Moscow Water Dog

Safety First

While they are generally affectionate, it’s essential to supervise interactions between young children and the Moscow Water Dog to ensure safety for both.

Teaching children

Children should be taught how to approach and play with the dog, understand the dog’s signals, and respect its boundaries.


While not as renowned as some other breeds, the Moscow Water Dog is a breed rich in history, character, and versatility. Whether you’re considering adding one to your family or are simply intrigued by their past, understanding them is a journey worth undertaking.


Sergey Uhanov, a certified veterinarian, has authored all of the content here. With over 20 years of experience in dog care and breeding three dogs of his own, he has a deep passion for these furry friends. Sergey owns a pet clinic in Israel where he provides care and treatment to dogs. He enjoys sharing his expertise and knowledge to assist others in caring for their dogs.

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