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Lapcha des Youjaks de CriméeThe South Russian Ovcharka (SRO) is commonly known in Russia as Yuzhak, from its real name Yuzhnaya Russkaya Ovcharka. However, the official name of the F.C.I. Ovcharka of Southern Russia dates only from 1924. It is a very old Russian breed.

Indeed, as early as 1797, fine-fleece sheep were imported from Spain and with them the ancestors of the Youjak: the Asturian Shepherd.
The Crimean shepherds became interested in this herdsman, who had excellent working qualities.
The only major faults of the Asturian Shepherd were its small size and weak constitution, which made it vulnerable to carnivorous predators.

Blood from the Tatar Shepherd, Borzoi and Ruskaya Psovaia (an old Russian breed which has now disappeared) was mixed into the breed. The breed was developed and improved in the locality of Askanïa-Nova in Crimea.

At the end of the Second World War, the Youjak was on the verge of extinction. Only a few specimens were kept by dog breeders. Finally the breed was preserved thanks to its qualities as a guard dog and its accommodating character.
Then the Yuzhak began to be used systematically for guard work in large companies, kennels and certain units of the Red Army.

At the same time, private breeding of this breed was secretly banned and placed under the control of the Red Army, which explains the small number of subjects. The Yuzhak is listed in the Red Book of endangered species in the former Soviet Union. Its survival is now ensured by the Voluntary Association of Activities with the Army, but it is regrettable that there are so few lovers of this breed in Russia today.

At present, the main breeding centres for Yuzhaks are the cities of Moscow and Leningrad. In Europe, other countries where South Russian Shepherds can be found are Poland, Germany, Holland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Its introduction in France is recent : only a few years, and it is still very rare...

 

Old SRO pictures

 

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Updated on 23 August 2021