Faithful, strong and courageous, the Caucasian Shepherd Dog is a formidable family protector, raised to care for herds and defend the home of wild predators in the wild Caucasus Mountains.
They are also known as Caucasian mountain dogs, Russian bears, Baskhan (Karachay) Pariy, Caucasian Ovcharka, and there are many types and variants of them.
This massive breed is highly territorial and will not retreat, even against bears and wolves. The Caucasian shepherd or ovtcharka is a large breed of dogs, especially known in countries like Armenia, Georgia or Russia, places where grazing has always been one of the main activities and where the needs of dogs for guard were raised.
Not every dog is able to withstand the wolf, the Caucasian shepherd is included in the list of daredevils, whose forces are to defeat the predator. No wonder the Caucasian shepherd is often called the Caucasian wolfhound.
The representatives of the breed have a complex character, they are independent, they do not like to obey. Only a person who is confident in himself, strong-willed, can become the master of a Caucasian shepherd, and can achieve obedience from a dog. If you need a reliable guard and if you have experience handling large guard dogs, the Caucasian Shepherd Dog is the best for you.
In its place of origin, it is also known as kavkazskaïa ovtcharka, and this animal has been and continues to be an important working tool for many people. This ‘ Pets Feed ‘ breed sheet will tell you all about this wonderful dog.
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is one of the oldest breeds, and the origin of these gigantic protective dogs is a mystery. They come from the mountainous region of the Caucasus and have existed for more than 2,000 years. Some think they come from domesticated wolves, while others believe that their ancestors include mastiffs and other breeds.
Many experts claim that the Caucasian Shepherd Dog comes from sheepdogs who emigrated from Tibet, but some modern archaeological evidence suggests that the breed dates back to Mesopotamia.
Characteristics of the Caucasian Shepherd
The Caucasian shepherd is a moloid type dog, large or even giant, with very striking proportions, strong and very muscular bones. Its appearance is imposing, compact and solid, a physical sign, capable of intimidating anyone with a single look. Its standard varies slightly between countries, because its morphology has adapted to the circumstances of each place.
What they all have in common is that they are a little longer than tall, with straight, broad limbs and a deep, muscular back and chest. Its body is also striking with a rather large and rounded head, with drooping ears on both sides, large dark eyes and a wide and not too long muzzle, which gives a good image of the power of its bite. The tail is quite long and usually takes it to rest, as it is an animal that is generally impassive.
The size of this dog is extremely impressive, which is why it is among the largest breeds in the world. It can easily reach 75 centimeters at the withers, a size not surpassed by many other breeds. As for the weight, it is around 50 kilos, although it can be a little lower in the case of females.
With the proportions of the Caucasian Shepherd, it is not surprising that he has historically been one of the most popular dogs for keeping farms and protecting livestock and herds, although it is easier to find as a pet.
The coat also cannot be forgotten as one of the characteristics of the Caucasian shepherd dog. The coat of this dog is shown in two layers, it is very long and strong, although we can find varieties of the breed with semi-long or even short hair. It is a type of fur that is smooth and rough to the touch, quite hard, perfect for protecting the animal from low temperatures.
It is common for its color to be gray at the base, although it may have spots of another color, such as straw, white, reddish brown and brindle.
Temperament of the Caucasian shepherd dog
Although it is believed that this breed is aggressive in nature, the truth is that the Caucasian Shepherd is a very balanced and generally calm dog. It is very loyal to its owner, but it will have to earn its trust and respect. This breed shows great bravery and security, so it is able to make good decisions in all situations.
His intelligence is another point to consider, because it helps him to discern whether or not to trust a stranger, although his natural tendency is to be wary. He can be territorial and aggressive within his property, which is why he needs a qualified person to treat him, understand him and educate him.
The Caucasian shepherd is a dog who will only accept as owner capable of showing leadership and balance, so it is very important to earn their respect from the first moment. It is a very protective dog, very attached to its family, which will defend all its members in the way it deems appropriate.
On the other hand, it is not a breed that easily adapts to life in an apartment because of its size, but it will especially appreciate a house with landscaped land. With proper education and socialization, it will be possible to enjoy a balanced and calm dog, as well as docile and willing to please its owner. This is something that should be done as a puppy, because otherwise this large dog could develop dominant, destructive or even aggressive behaviors, becoming a disobedient and difficult to treat animal.
That is why it is recommended only for people who already have experience with this type of animal or at least with large breeds, since their characteristics do not resemble those of any other breed.
The Caucasian Shepherd as a working dog
One of the main reasons why the Caucasian Shepherd is not one of the most popular breeds as a pet is that since its origins, it was mainly a territorial working dog. It is not that the Caucasian shepherd possesses an aggressive or rude temperament by nature, it is that his habitual education was aimed at strengthening his strong character in order to have a tool for the protection of cattle and the house.
For this reason, even today, the Caucasian Shepherd and his character are not welcome in too many families. However, you should know that it is a dog qualified to perform all kinds of tasks, to obey and also to offer love, play and fun. It is a strong and powerful animal, and because of its size, the Caucasian Shepherd could challenge whoever he wanted.
But the truth is that he also has a strong protective instinct that will always take care of his family. The key to getting a balanced Caucasian sheepdog is to start your education from an early age. His intelligence enables him to learn quickly, so he will only need a firm person with sufficient knowledge of this breed of dog to achieve total obedience. Always by the affection and the respect of the animal and its nature.
Choosing a Caucasian Shepherd puppy
Caucasian Shepherd puppies are more like teddy bears, they cannot really move on their paws, and often just roll around and frolic. At this age, they are naughty, but extremely cute, so many are tempted to take this particular breed home.
At 6 months, the puppy already grows to a large size, and in a year, it becomes a full-fledged large dog.
When choosing a puppy, you should definitely think about whether you have a place to keep this giant shepherd dog, since even in a spacious apartment she will not be very comfortable.
The varieties of Caucasian Shepherd Dogs can confuse you when choosing, as a rule, fluffy puppies can come in different colors. It is difficult to predict how the dog will develop externally, in other ways, as well as looking at puppies of St. Bernard or other large breeds.
Caucasian Shepherd females are more agreeable, easier to train, males are more capricious, strong, effective, they need a confident and experienced owner.
Mating Caucasian Shepherd dogs
Dogs with excellent pedigree are allowed to mate, meeting the standard, without serious deviations. Males can be mated already in the first year of life, but females not earlier than after the onset of 2 years of age – with the onset of the third estrus.
Nature rewarded the Caucasian Shepherd with good health, but the owner must constantly monitor the condition of the pet. By this is meant: glistening, scheduled timely vaccination, treatment for skin parasites and regular preventive examinations in a veterinary clinic with an x-ray.
Such control will help to avoid many health problems. It is also important when buying or adopting a puppy to study his pedigree. After all, many diseases are inherited. It is also worth noting that the health and longevity of the animal is directly dependent on nutrition.
For example, dogs with obesity live much less than their normal weight relatives. With proper maintenance and nutrition, the Caucasian Shepherd can live up to 11-12 years.
The following diseases are inherent in the Caucasian Shepherd breed:
- Cardiovascular diseases – often large males with a large weight suffer from heart failure.
- Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease inherent in all representatives of large breeds. This is a pathology of the joints, which takes various forms in the course of development. In critical cases, it leads to immobility.
- Obesity is one of the most common problems this dog faces.
Overweight dogs usually have high rates of diabetes and usually live shorter lives. Dogs love running and jumping, and anything that hinders them will have a negative impact on their quality of life.
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is already at the limit of a dog’s size and heaviness without experiencing any problems.
In addition to proper nutrition, we can help our dogs stay in shape through regular exercise. Anyway, a large breed like the Caucasian Shepherd Dog will probably enjoy a considerable amount of time outdoors.
This type of dog requires regular physical activity, and this will prevent it from becoming restless or bored. Bringing a Caucasian Shepherd Dog for walks and errands will help keep it fit.
Caucasian Shepherd Dog feeding
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog requires a balanced diet, but in no case should you overfeed it, otherwise it will become lethargic, inactive.
Excess weight negatively affects the health of the dog. This does not mean that you need to force the pet to starve, it is important to choose the optimal diet with a veterinarian, based on gender, age and how actively the dog spends time (runs a lot, or mostly walks in the yard).
You can feed your pet premium dry food. On average, one kilogram of the shepherd dog’s weight should be given about 40 g of feed with a 75 percent liquid content, and 15 g dry.
Experts recommend feeding the Caucasian Shepherd Dog with raw meat, they easily digest skins, small bones, so it is important to recreate a natural diet for them.
It is undesirable to give boiled meat. In addition, it is worth feeding the dog raw rolled oats, fruits and vegetables, parsley and dill, onions, celery. An indispensable source of essential vitamins and nutrients for this breed is fish oil and seaweed.
In winter, when there are no fresh fruits and vegetables, you should give your pet chopped dates, raisins and other dried fruits.
Proper nutrition for a dog is a guarantee of cheerfulness, activity and good mood. If the dog is sluggish and reluctant to eat, then you should contact your veterinarian.
Dogs should never be exercised just before or immediately after eating, as this puts them at greater risk of bloating.
Once a puppy is 18 months old, it can be fed with food for adult dogs.
Keeping a Caucasian shepherd dog in the apartment is not recommended. The huge dog will itself suffer because of the restriction of freedom and will cause permanent problems to the owners. This shepherd dog vitally needs a large space and daily physical activity.
This dog loves to run around the territory, loves to bark at intimidation of possible opponents. Therefore, it will be better for both the dog and the owner if the pet settles in the yard.
Keeping a Caucasian shepherd for days on a chain is not an option. He will bark, try to break the chain, his strict temper will grow into unbridled aggression, which can even be directed at the owner. Therefore, it is important to pay enough attention to the pet, if it is on a chain, then arrange long walks with the ability to run in the wild.
The ideal option is a large, spacious open-air cage with a warmed booth. But in this case, the dog should be able to frolic outside the aviary.
If a Caucasian shepherd walks freely in your yard, make sure that strangers cannot enter the territory, this is dangerous. A strict Caucasian watch dog and strangers will not match. There must be a warning sign on the gate.
The wolfhound is not afraid of frost, but he can suffer from heat. In summer, it is necessary to provide a shelter for him from the sun’s rays and make sure that there is always clean, fresh, cool water in the bowl.
Regarding coat care and other hygiene procedures, there are no special difficulties. The main thing is to fulfill all the rules for caring for a Caucasian shepherd in good faith in time:
- If the Caucasian shepherd belongs to the short-haired type, it needs to be combed 1-2 times a week, saving the coat of dead hair. Long-haired Caucasian shepherd dogs need to be combed out more often, paying special attention to the decorating hair (mane, tail, pants). The hair of this dog is prone to tangling, if you do not take care of it, the dog in a short time will turn into a groomed animal with a bunch of mats on the coat. During molting, comb the pet daily. The Caucasian shepherd molt is very plentiful, it happens once a year.
- Bathe once a year, unless heavily soiled.
- Wipe the eyes once a week, if excessive discharge from the eyes or inflammation is observed, immediately consult a veterinarian.
- Teeth should be brushed regularly with a special brush, for Caucasian shepherd dogs it is recommended to buy bones for brushing teeth.
- Ears to be cleaned every 7-10 days. If excessive congestion of ear discharge is found, show the pet to a specialist, as this phenomenon may be the first sign of infection.
- Claws grind on their own with street content, but if necessary they need to be cut.
Training and education
From the first days it is necessary to show the dog his indestructible leadership, just like that, a Caucasian shepherd will not execute any command.
Raising a Caucasian shepherd puppy takes a lot of time, during training and education the owner must take into account the character, temperament, and quick wit of the pet.
Until the age of two, dog handlers do not recommend developing aggression in a Caucasian shepherd. The first commands may be “to me”, “place”, “not to”, etc, and of course the owner himself can educate his ward.
From the age of 5-6 months, the puppy needs to undergo a training course. It is better to go through it together with an experienced dog handler, he will tell you how to behave with a dog in difficult situations. As a result, a socialized, adequate, obedient and loyal dog will grow out of the puppy.
Caucasian Shepherd Dog Breed Highlights
Before buying a Caucasian Shepherd puppy, think carefully about whether you have enough time and energy to educate and maintain it. No need to blindly obey the desire to have a huge watchdog, because such a large dog has a difficult character. To make the right decision, get acquainted with the advantages and disadvantages of the breed.
- The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is extremely loyal and dedicated by nature.
- It is smart and in good hands, easy to train.
- It is a superb guard dog and considered among the best in the world.
- The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is generally good around children (if it is well socialized as a puppy)
- It is also good around the animals with which it grew up.
- This dog tolerates being alone, but never too long.
- The Caucasian does not need to be trained in protection because it is a trait deeply rooted in its genes.
- The ideal guard of the house and surrounding area.
- Fearless and fierce bodyguard.
- Distrustful of strangers.
- Quickly adapts to difficult climatic conditions, is not afraid of frost.
- The Caucasian Shepherd Dog loses a lot of hair all year long and even more so in spring and autumn.
- It is known to love the sound of its own voice and barks constantly if allowed.
- Considering its size, this breed is not suitable for living in an apartment.
- Gardens must be ultra-secure to keep a big Caucasian safe.
- It has a high maintenance coat that needs to be brushed almost every day.
- It is a very huge dog and therefore expensive to feed.
- The Caucasian Shepherd Dog may have a very strong will, which means it is not the best choice for new owners.
- Not suitable for weak, weak-willed and irresponsible people.
- It can be aggressive towards other dogs.
- The Caucasian must be extremely socialized from an early age.
- Requires a long period of education and training.
- Poorly tolerates heat.
- Unsuitable for apartment living.
- Excessive aggression to be controlled