Moscow Strays Master Public Transit

In Cesar Millan’s Leader of the Pack dogs that have been deemed impossible to place are given a new life with a family that is just the right fit to manage the dog’s problem behaviors. However, there are hundreds of thousands of other dogs that need good homes and guidance to live happily ever after. There are far too many homeless dogs in this world and it is not necessarily because there is anything wrong with them. Many homeless dogs, even those that are stray or feral are incredibly smart and even make a living being friendly to people. Take for example some extraordinary stray dogs in Moscow.

Homeless Dogs in Russia

There are approximately 35,000 homeless dogs in Moscow, Russia’s capital. Like most urban areas with large dogs populations, most of these dogs choose to steer clear of people. They are found everywhere in the city and come in a variety of shapes and sizes, all of them scrounging for food as best they can. Generally, stray and feral dogs find that it is much safer to stay away from the dangers that many humans pose, but some dogs in Moscow have surprisingly chosen to do the exact opposite. These dogs seek out large groups of people to improve their begging possibilities and they take the subway to do it.

Dogs on a Train

When biology professor Andrew Poyarkov  noticed that unattended dogs were repeatedly taking the subway, he began to study them. In fact, he has been studying Moscow strays for over 30 years and he is certain they know exactly what they are doing. While there is only a small number, many two dozen, dogs that have learned to navigate the Moscow Metro’s complicated system, those that use it, do it with intention.

Poyarkov documented dogs taking the subway where they not only nestle in with people and get some on the road handouts, but also travel to the city center where there are larger numbers of people during the day. Just like people panhandling, the dogs have learned that a bigger crowd means a better begging to hand out ratio. They are more likely to get lunch near office buildings and dinner in residential areas.

Moscow residents are not only accustomed to the subway dogs, but many adore them. When one of the strays was stabbed to death by a woman he had barked at, the community was outraged. A bronze statue of the dog, Malchik, paid for by donations, now stands at the entrance of Mendeleyevskaya station.

Next time you are considering giving a dog a home, think about the amazing dogs in Moscow and consider finding a brilliant dog of your own at your local shelter. Cesar believes that there are many dogs that are not unadoptable, but are just looking for the right fit. In this week’s episode of Leader of the Pack: Dora’s Dilemna, you will meet Dora, a little dog with big issues. She is a terrier mix that comes across as aggressive, making her dangerous to children and unattractive to families. How will Cesar choose the right home for her needs?  Tune in Tuesday March 5 at 8 PM et/pt and find out.


  1. Debbie De morier
    dover, de
    March 11, 2013, 3:23 pm

    Wow great article very interesting that the dogs can figure out the subway system!

    Debbie De morier