Caucasian Shepherd Dog – The Guide To Caucasian Ovcharka

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Caucasian Shepherd is a large mountain dog known for his impeccable guarding instincts and boldness. Many say that Caucasian Shepherd is the most aggressive dog in the world. Read on and discover if it's true or not.
Dog Breed Group:
Working Dogs
24 to 34 inches
80 to 220 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 12 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Caucasian Shepherd is known for being a serious guarding breed with massive self-confidence, and for being fearless. However, underneath that bold and big appearance, lies a soft dog utterly devoted to his family protection and happiness.

Quick Facts

Real name: Caucasian Shepherd
Other names: Caucasian Mountain Dog, Nagazi, Caucasian Ovcharka
Origin: Georgia
Breed type: Guardian Dog
Weight: Male 50–100 kg (110–220 lb), Female 45–80 kg (100–180 lb)
Height: Male 72–90 cm (28–35 in), Female 67–78 cm (26–31 in)
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Color: Any solid color, piebald or spotted color, except liver, blue and solid black
Coat: Straight, coarse, stand-off coat with well developed undercoat.

Caucasian Shepherd: History

The Caucasian Shepherd was used for centuries to guard livestock against predators, to protect properties and for many other duties. Every single of those duties was linked with humans, so Caucasian Shepherd had centuries to make his relationship with humans strong.

Nowadays, the strong connection with humans remains, although Caucasian Ovcharka is now more of watchdogs and great companions. Interestingly, there is a significant variety of types among the Caucasian dogs depending on their home region.

For almost a hundred years, there has been two breed types and standards:

  1. The Mountain type: long-coated with a heavier body mass
  2. The Steppe type: short-coated dog with a lighter body mass

Where Is The Caucasian Shepherd From?

The Kavkaz (Caucasus) is a mountain region of Eastern Europe and this is the original home of forever-loyal Caucasian Shepherd. Even nowadays you can find this breed or breeds mixes with Caucasian Shepherd in this area living and working side by side with humans.

Interestingly, this breed first appeared officially in the 1930s in Germany. Scientists believe that Caucasian Shepherd takes part of bloodlines of many of today’s dog breeds. In addition, many believe that Caucasian is a close relative of the sheepdogs of the Balkans and mastiffs of Asia.

As mentioned earlier, Caucasian Ovcharka dogs were used as working and guarding dogs. The first note about this breed dates from the first century BC when this large dog was used by the army of Armenian Tsar Tigran the II. However, the selection work with the breed started in the USSR in the 1920s. In the process of selection, certain qualities have been cultivated including:

  • good sight
  • dense coat
  • waterproof coat
  • fearlessness
  • sharp hearing
  • self-confidence
  • physical power

These qualities altogether, allow people to use Caucasian Shepherd Dogs in all kinds of climatic conditions, including the most severe ones.

Caucasian Shepherd: Physical Appearance

The Caucasian Shepherd is a muscular and strongly boned dog. In other words, this is a really large dog, although steppe Caucasians are slightly smaller than mountain Caucasians. Overall, Caucasian has a powerful muscular system and well-developed withers.

Interestingly, there is a difference between females and males when it comes to their head size, as males have slightly bigger heads than females. Males are also bigger, heavier, and often shorter in the body. Eyes expression is always serious, analytical, and watchful. In country of origin, ears are traditionally cropped.

How Tall Is Caucasian Shepherd?

Because of its massive body and dense coat, Caucasian Shepherd seems bigger than he is. The average height of males is 28-35 in (72-90 cm), while females are slightly smaller and their height is 26-31 in (67-78 cm).

How Big Are Caucasian Shepherd Dogs?

Long story short, Caucasian Shepherd is really big. Compared with small breeds they seem enormous. In general, there is a small difference in the appearance of females and males, both in terms of height and weight. Males can reach 220 lb, while females can reach 180 lb.

When Does A Caucasian Shepherd Stop Growing?

Large dog breeds take more time to grow. This also means that they need more time to reach their sexual maturity. For a large breed, Caucasian Ovcharka grows surprisingly fast. That being said, Caucasian Shepherd will grow the most between the first 3 to 9 months. He will be full grown by the end of the ninth month.

Caucasian Shepherd: Temperament And Personality

One thing is sure about this breed – it’s not a dog for a first-time dog owner. This breed is strong, muscular, and strong-willed. Firstly, the Caucasian Shepherd is a natural protector and he is capable of protecting his home from anyone who is not a family member. If you have children and their friends come over often this is something that you should take into consideration when you are getting the Caucasian.

Secondly, they may look like giants and cuddly dog-bears, but in reality, this a natural protector capable to make a decision in a split of a second and act toward it.

Important: this is a breed for experienced dog owners who know the breed and can invest a lot of time to train and socialize this giant and majestic breed.

Are Caucasian Shepherds Aggressive?

They are intelligent, loyal, fierce protectors, and naturally distrustful of strangers, including other pets. Overall, Caucasian Shepherd has low energy and laid back attitude, but it doesn’t mean that they will back down from a fight, even if its a wild and bigger animal.

In general, they need patience, strict boundaries, and consistency. That being said, proper socialization has to be done as soon as possible and properly to have a well-behaved dog. Otherwise, their behavior may result in aggression.

You must understand that this bread is a natural protector and if he has no training or an inexperienced owner, he will attack. If he feels that he or any of his family members are threatened he won’t bark. He will attack.

Caucasian Shepherd Attack

Your Caucasian Shepherd dog attacks by running at the intruder and knocking them to the floor. He will attack while the intruder is down. As a mountain dog, Caucasian Ovhcarka will know instinctively where are the most vulnerable parts of the victim’s body and he will aim for the throat.

If needed, he will stand on his back legs to reach someone’s face. Yes, he will stand over six feet in height. Natural protection instinct can be seen in puppies at 3 weeks old, and that’s why an early socialization and training is a must.

Interestingly, they will be active outdoors, and quiet in the house. As a highly protective of their family members and property, it will be difficult to bring people into your home unless you really dedicate a lot of time to socialization and expose your dog to all sorts of different situations from the early age.

Think twice about welcoming this breed in your home if you are prone to having guest over all the time, social meeting, or often parties.

Can Caucasian Shepherd Kill Wolf?

Because they can feel the weak spots of their attackers or intruders there are high chances that they could wound wolf badly. A massive injury could lead to a fatal outcome. Also, as a protector of the herd, Caucasians used to wear metal collars with nibs all over it. Since, wolfs are experienced hunters and they aim for the neck first, the metal collar was a clever protection humans invented to save their shepherd dogs from injury.

Good to know: Did you know that Caucasian Shepherd is often promoted as one of the large dogs that look like lions?

Caucasian Shepherd: Training

This is an independent and intelligent breed. If you don’t want for your Caucasian Shepherd to overuse his need for protection, you should organize proper training sessions. He may be unwilling and even stubborn to learn, but you must be in control and train him.

As mentioned earlier, this breed works best with experienced owners. Make sure that you use positive training methods only and never aggression. This dog is independent and proud and he will not take easily being threatened or being beaten. After all, no dog should have to experience negative actions toward him. He will think that he is a pack leader unless you teach him otherwise.

He must know that all humans members of the family are above him when it comes to the pack status. Don’t forget: the pack leader always walks ahead. Make sure that this is you and not the dog.

Caucasian Shepherd: Exercise

Caucasian Ovcharka dogs are the best when they have a big yard and active family members. Therefore, they are suitable for a family that doesn’t mind walking every day for at least 60 minutes. In walk they should be kept on-leash and always by someone who can physically contain them.

Moreover, when they are at home, they do the best when they can walk freely inside a fenced yard, for example. Caucasian Shepherds are low energy dogs, but they do have great endurance for hiking and walking. Make sure that you provide enough physical activity and that you keep your Caucasian mentally stimulated.

Caucasian Shepherd With Children And Other Pets

Caucasian Shepherd can be a great family dog as long as he is properly and early socialized and knows his way around children. It’s important to have a dog’s nature on your mind all the time because you will be able to better understand your dog and socialize it properly.

Their natural herding instinct can take over occasionally and cause them to be pushy toward children. Also, they can see the rough play with new kids as an attack and they won’t think a second to protect their human and to act as they see it appropriately.

They are territorial and they can be aggressive to other dogs unless they are raised together. Children should be supervised with Caucasian, just as with any other dog, to avoid any possible incident. Even if your Caucasian is the best dog in the world, he is still a large dog and his size may be an issue. He may accidentally knock the child and result in injury. All in, this breed is best suited to homes with older children and no other pets.

Caucasian Shepherd: Grooming

This is a mountain dog, so it comes as no surprise that they have a dense and thick coat, followed with a dense undercoat. After all, their coat has the purpose of protecting them. Their heavy coat means that Caucasian Shepherd works best in outdoor and cold climates.

In general, Caucasian Shepherd has a long coat, but three coat lengths are seen in this breed: long, medium, and short. The longer the hair, the heavier the maintenance. They are double-coated, meaning that the outer coat is longer and coarse, while the undercoat is fine and soft.

Longed-coated dogs need to be groomed daily. Yes, this will demand a fair amount of your time, but on the other hand, grooming can be a wonderful experience for you and your dog. Moreover, this can be seen as an opportunity where you get to search for any strange appearances on your dog’s skin.

Grooming is a good opportunity to check your dog’s health. Their nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipped to avoid overgrowth. Also, check regularly ears to avoid a buildup of wax and debris. Also, bear in mind that only a dog with healthy teeth and gums in a healthy dog, so check weekly gums and teeth.

Do Caucasian Shepherd Dogs Shed?

Yes. Just like any other double-coated breed, your Caucasian Shepherd will shed and he will need frequent brushing. Furthermore, the shedding will happen throughout the year and a good weekly brushing will help to decrease the amount of shedding.

Once a year he will blow his coat and shed heavy. If you bath him in that period and brush daily you will help to shed the old coat faster.

Do Caucasian Shepherd Dogs Drool?

Caucasian Shepherd has a strong tendency of drooling, so make sure that you have a clean towel on-hand for those moments. However, this doesn’t mean that he will drool all the time. Keep an eye out for the drool and wipe it away.

Can Caucasian Shepherd Live In Hot Weather?

Yes, but if they could choose, they would opt for the colder weather. Actually, the colder the better. He will need a lot of freshwater and significant shaded area. Also, this breed shouldn’t stay outside for long in hot weather. If you are moving, make sure to check the weather condition and talk with your veterinarian about temperature and if your Caucasian can handle that.

Caucasian Shepherd: Health

This is one of the healthiest dog breeds.

However, just like any other breed Caucasians Ovhcarka may suffer from some health issues. Some dogs may have health problems in the form of hip dysplasia, heart disorder, and obesity. But if take proper care of your dog and especially his diet, you can expect him to be a healthy and happy dog. Your Caucasian Shepherd may live up to 12 years, which is unusual for large breeds.

Caucasian Shepherd: The Takeaway

This breed is descendant from ancient Molosser breed and over the centuries it was bred to guard property and protect the herd from predators. The breed is most popular in Russia and other Caucasus countries. If you socialize this breed while still a puppy you won’t have any problems.

If you manage to set yourself as a pack leader and find the way to work around the stubbornness that this breed may demonstrate, you will have a loyal and sweet teddy-bear-looking dog. Did you know that bear hunters might choose Caucasian Shepherd to be part of their hunting team?

Popular Caucasian Shepherd Dog Comparisons

Compare Dog Breeds: