Russia celebrates three major Holidays of Appreciation: Men’s Day (Feb. 23; Defender of the Motherland Day), International Women’s Day (March 8), and…Cat Day (March 1). Those who know me know I’m not a huge fan of cats, but rather than getting into petty (or shall we say….catty?) arguments, I’m just going to enjoy the holiday and celebrate it my own way. By blogging about Russia’s dogs! Facts:
- There are admittedly a lot more pet cats than pet dogs in Russia, so this would explain why dogs don’t warrant their own holiday. But to be fair, I think the overall numbers may even out, because there is a decent number of domestic dogs—in addition to a comparatively large population of stray dogs.
- Along with Samoyeds and Siberian Huskies, which rank up there on the Coolest Dogs Ever Index, Russia is also the home of two other semi-well-known dog breeds, the Borzoi (or Russian wolfhound) and the Ovtcharka (or sheepdog). Originally a hunting dog, the borzoi became a symbol of the Russian aristocracy, although the English also grew fond of them: In contrast to the graceful and runway-thin borzoi is the Ovtcharka. Ovtcharkas come in several varieties, but all are huge, hairy, and can best be described as “bearlike”:
- Russia’s stray dogs are equally notable, but not for looks or breeding. Scientists today stand in awe of Moscow’s stray dogs, who have taught themselves to commute downtown using the metro, among other skills. The average Moscow stray can also score in the top percentile on GRE Verbal tests.
- In my personal experience, Russian dogs are indeed very businesslike. Unlike American domestic dogs out on their daily walk, who eagerly run up to passers-by to introduce themselves, Russian dogs have an agenda (perhaps this has to do with the fact that their bathroom has an average temperature of -5C most of the year).