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.
Real name: Caucasian Shepherd
Other names: Caucasian Mountain Dog, Nagazi, Caucasian Ovcharka
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:
- The Mountain type: long-coated with a heavier body mass
- 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
- sharp hearing
- 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.
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.