The aim of this study was to investigate the diversity of dogs in medieval Novgorod. Based on the unique osteological collection of canine bones from layers of 10th to 14th centuries AD, research showed that the ‘classical’ medium-sized mesocephalic animals were the most widespread in the city in the discussed times. Well suitable for the alarm guarding, they were rarely used for food or skins. Smaller and larger specimens are rare and most likely represent the luxury breeds of upper classes or prosperous citizens. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.