The Moscow Water Dog is an extinct retriever dog breed that was used to create the Black Russian Terrier. These dogs were very large in size as they had a huge and gigantic body.

The Moscow Water Dog was believed to share a close resemblance with the Landseer, also sometimes referred to as Newfoundland. However, both the breeds are totally different in terms of physical specifications.

Origin & History

The origin of the Moscow Water Dog dates back to the time of the reign of the Soviet Union. The Russian Navy created this breed by combining breeds like the East European Shepherd, Newfoundland, and the Caucasian Shepherd Dog. They invented the breed because they needed an ultimate water rescue dog.

A Moscow Water Dog from the late 20th century.

The armed services of the Soviet Union succeeded in achieving Moscow Water Dog which had a heavy double coat. The dog’s coat helped them to survive in cold regions, water, and tough climates.

In World War II, the majority of these dogs were killed which directly hampered its population. After that, these dogs were crossed with other different breeds and the Black Russian Terrier is one of the successful breeds which was created.

How Did Moscow Water Dog Go Extinct?

The Moscow Water Dogs had an aggressive nature that inclined them in biting the drowning victims rather than saving them. There were several cases when the dogs would end up attacking and biting the drowning armies instead of resuing them. Therefore, though they were excellent rescue dogs, the Soviet Army had to stop the breeding program. It is believed that they became extinct somewhere around the 1980s.

Temperament, Behavior & Personality

The Moscow Water Dog had a courageous, gentle, and powerful personality. They were calm dogs and also protective of their owners and pack. They were perfect at guarding the base camp and protecting the armies at night in the forest.

The Moscow Water Dogs possessed a very dominant nature which was a big problem. It was because they would often fight among the pack to gain leadership and establish dominance. They wouldn’t back down to show their aggression and domination even on their owners. Despite being trained for years, they were always a threat to the owners themselves.

Was The Moscow Water Dog Good With Children?

No, the Moscow Water Dog wasn’t good with children. Because they would easily attack the toddlers and hurt them, they weren’t good for families with kids. Also keeping in mind that they were giant dogs and had strong striking instincts, nobody would really consider owning them if they had kids.

A sketch of a Moscow Water-Dog.
PC: Animals Sale

Interesting Facts

  • The Moscow Water Dog is also known as Moscow Retriever, Moscow Vodolaz, Moscow Diver, and Moskovsky Vodolaz.
  • Though this breed was developed for rescuing, they would often attack and bite the victims they were meant to rescue.


The Moscow Water Dog was found in the following colors:

  • Dark Brown
  • Black
  • Black with white markings

Size & Puppies

The Moscow Water Dog used to be around 25-28 inches (64-72 cm) tall and they weigh somewhere between 99-154 pounds (45-70 kg).

On average, a mother Moscow Water Dog gave birth to 4-12 puppies at a time.

Similar Dog Breeds

Check out Doglime if you want to know more about other extinct dog breeds.