The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is a large livestock guardian dog that is native to the Caucasus regions including Armenia, Georgia, Dagestan, and Azerbaijan. They are also known as ‘Caucasian Ovcharka Dog’ and are known and valued for their strong, loyal, and courageous personality.
Different dog breeds are bred for different reasons. These dogs were bred to herd flock and guard the home and property against intruders in the harsh Caucasus Mountain area. Besides the Caucasian Shepherd Dog, these dogs are also known as Caucasian Mountain Dogs, Baskhan Pariy, Caucasian Ovcharka Dogs, CO, and Russian Bear Dogs.
These dogs are extremely territorial and given to their guardian and strong fight instincts, they are not scared to fight off other dangerous animals like wolves and bears. These dogs are quite intelligent and this makes them stubborn, independent, and difficult to handle. Due to their distrust for other animals and strangers, they could be aggressive and dangerous.
To know more about these strong and fierce dogs, read the entire blog.
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is one of the ancient breeds and it originated in the Caucasus mountain region of Eastern Europe. The dog is quite ancient in its history and these canines are the closest relatives of the mastiffs of Asia and sheepdogs of the Balkans.
Besides the Caucasus mountains, the dog is believed to be a native of a number of regions including Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Daghestan, Ossetia, Turkey, Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Iran.
These large dogs were bred and used to safeguard and herding the flock and livestock. The army of Armenian Tsar Tigran, II, used a large dog that originated from the family of molossers canines.
The selection of the breed started in the 1920s, in the USSR, and the selection was used to propagate the breed’s distinct qualities.
These qualities include fearlessness, self-confidence, immense physical strength, sharpened senses, endurance, and a dense and water-resistant coat. Due to this, these dogs could survive in harsh climates also.
These canines are excellent companions for the shepherds and protect their owners and flocks from dangerous predators like wolves, bears, and jackals.s
The shepherds cultivated their required qualities in their dog and since the Caucasus Mountain is a wide and massive region, there are a number of variants of the dog. However, the one developed in Georgia is considered and recognized as standard breeds by several kennel clubs, including the United Kennel Club. It is also included in AKC’s Foundation Stock Service list.
In the 1960s, East Germany used the dogs as border patrol dogs for the Berlin Wall and after the wall’s collapse in 1989, thousands of these dogs were given to the German families. These dogs’ first show ring appearance was in the 1930s, in Germany.
Now, these canines are used as watchdogs, property guards, and family dogs. They still have some of their aggressive, reserved, and cautious traits.
Early socialization and training help in toning down these traits and making him a more amiable house animal.
These dogs are big and massive. They have a heavy bone structure and the males are a bit bigger than the female dogs. The males could reach the height of 27 to 30 inches and they could weigh anywhere between 110 to 220 pounds. The females could reach 25 to 28 inches and could weigh between 100 to 180 pounds.
These dogs are well-muscled, powerfully built, and well-proportioned. Their structure is a bit rectangular and the differences between the males and females are quite prominent and pronounced.
The males have bigger heads and more developed withers than the females. The length of the body is 3 to 8 percent more than the height and the length of the forelegs is 50 to 52 percent of the height at the withers.
According to the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), below is the standard structure of a Caucasian Shepherd Dog.
|The head is massive, large, and has broad cheekbones. If viewed from above, the head appears wedge-shaped and has a broad base.|
|The skull is broad and imposing with an almost flat forehead and a marked but shallow furrow. It has well-developed superciliary ridges and the occipital bone is concealed and low-key.|
|Medium in size, oval, set at an oblique angle, wide, and has a moderate depth. They could come in different variations of brown; hazelnut, dark, and different other shades of brown. The eyelids are dark, closely fit and dry and the expression is serious, alert, and curious.|
|Thick, triangular in shape, medium in size and they are set at a high and wide-angle. The inner of the ears lie close to the cheeks and in some regions, they are traditionally cropped.|
|Deep and broad with strong jaws and chin. It is set in the entire area under the eyes and stays close to the nose. The nose has a broad bridge while the upper angles of the muzzle and skull are parallel to each other.|
|Well-pigmented, thick, and fitted closely.|
|Jaws and Teeth|
|Ideally, the teeth are white, healthy, and strong with closely located incisors. The bite must involve the entire scissor or pincer. In case of broken teeth, if the bit is not affected then it will not be of consequence.|
|Has well-built and prominent chewing muscles and is well developed.|
|Black, large and has developed and open nostrils. It could be solid black, spotted, or piebald but liver brown and blue colors are considered faults.|
|Powerfully built, set at a low angle, medium in length, and has a rounded shape. The crest is quite prominent and well-built.|
|Well-built and has proportioned and balanced angles, broad and has well-developed muscles.|
|Medium in length, pronounced, and the height of the dog at withers is a bit more than its height at the rump.|
|Broad, firm, and straight.|
|A bit arched, board and short.|
|Broad, rounded, a bit inclined to the base of the tail, and medium in length.|
|Deep, broad, long, and has well-developed ribs. In its cross-section, the chest has an oval shape, false ribs are more in length, and with a marked fore chest.|
|Slightly tucked up.|
|Curled or in a sickle shape, set high and touch the hocks when hanging low. When alert, the tail could be above the backline.|
|Well-built and muscled, straight and parallel to the forelegs.|
|Has strong muscles, broad, medium length, and forming a 100 degrees angle with the upper arm. The shoulder blade lies close to the chest.|
|Closely fitted, well-muscled, and strong.|
|Straight, well-built, and placed on a parallel axis.|
|Strong and well-built, straight, medium length, the cross-section is rounded.|
|Short, well-built, strong, and approximately straight when viewed from the side and front.|
|Round in shape, large, well-arched, and well-knitted.|
|Moderately wide, and strong-built.|
|Medium in length, broad, and has sufficient muscle.|
|Medium in length, broad, and well-muscled.|
|Firm, well bent, lean, broad, straight - neither turns overly in or out.|
|Almost has a straight angle, powerful, and medium in length.|
|Round in shape, well-knitted, large, and well-arched.|
|Stable, powerful, calculating, flexible and free, and good coordination among the muscles and limbs.|
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is a big, powerful and imposing dog that is considered one of the best guard dogs. They are a bit standoffish, a trait they retain through the centuries, and they make excellent and loyal family pets and emotional support animals.
‘Are Caucasian Shepherds good family dogs?’
While these massive dogs can make excellent family pets and ESAs, they need a firm and equally strong-willed handler and owner. They make loving and protective family dogs but they do not like strangers and other animals that did not grow up with them.
At home, they love to be couch potatoes that like to spend their days staying indoors and with family members. However, they are very territorial and anyone, including your guests and intruders, will have to reconsider their decision to enter your household.
They are very affectionate and loving with their family members. They may seem aloof but they are one of the most affectionate dog breeds that secretly crave hugs and cuddles.
These canines are very intelligent, a quality that makes them quite stubborn and difficult to handle also. They will need firm handling, discipline, lots of time, and a patient handler and trainer to make the training successful.
The training should start as soon as you bring the puppy home because early training and socialization will help in making them better and well-rounded adult dogs.
Ample and timely socialization will help in minimizing the bred’s natural distrust for strangers. Exposure to different people, experiences, and people will help him get familiar with different humans and control their aggressive traits.
Proper socialization and training will make him a loving and loyal guardian that you will be proud to have in your home.
Yes, Caucasian Shepherd Dogs are generally healthy and there are no known health problems that are specifically associated with this breed. However, like other giant breeds, these dogs are also prone to hip dysplasia, heart issues, and obesity. Besides, they could develop cataracts also.
Reputable breeders do not breed dogs with hip and elbow dysplasia that could be hereditary in nature.
Obesity is one of the most common health issues in this breed and this is why they must be fed carefully. They are not excessively high energy and when getting food for them, their energy levels must be considered. Because they can put on weight quite easily, their weight must be monitored by veterinarians.
For grooming. You can take the dog to a professional dog groomer to learn how to groom a dog at home for your ease. You should brush and clean your dog’s teeth two to three times a week and clean them as per the vet’s instructions.
To avoid weight gain, it is important that you consult a veterinarian and a dog nutritionist to formulate the right kind of food for them. Besides, make an easy-to-follow and effective exercise plan also to keep them healthy and active.
As per the vets, these dogs should not be fed large meals but frequent small meals throughout the day.
The ears must be checked properly for anything that is not natural or looks dirty like debris, wax, and unpleasant odor. Clean them once a week. Their nails grow rather quickly and they are quite strong.
These dogs have a heavy and dense coat that needs sufficient and timely brushing and grooming. If your dog has long hair then daily brushing is suggested but if the coat is short then weekly brushing will also do well.
Their fur could tangle and matt easily due to which it is important that you brush them regularly and keep the hair free from any tangles.
Clip the nails to prevent nail breaking, injuries, and difficulties in walking. Use good quality dog nail clippers to do it at home or take him to a professional dog groomer. These dogs are notorious for their drooling and you should clean it when needed.
‘How much should you feed a Caucasian Shepherd Dog?’
Since these dogs are massive and have weight management issues, it is important to feed them a specifically formulated diet. These are not those dogs for whom you could feed over-the-counter dog foods because you will need a professional nutritionist to design a special diet for them.
Besides, the vet and the nutritionist will also guide you about the recommended amount of food for your dog. Moreover, the dietary requirements change with age, and your dog will need a different amount of food during puppyhood and adulthood.
The amount also depends on the dog’s medical condition also. These dogs are prone to weight gain and this is why it is recommended that you do not give them heavy meals. Divide the food as per the nutritionist’s guidelines and give frequent meals throughout the day.
Small frequent meals will prevent bloats that could be life-threatening and try getting some limited ingredient dog food options to limit certain ingredients from your dog’s diet.
‘What is the best food for Caucasian Shepherd Dogs?’
Large dog breeds need nutritionally dense food that provides all the essential nutrients to them. The food designed for such dogs is usually rich in protein but the amount must be adjusted as per the dog’s activity level.
Below are some good dog food options for the Caucasian Shepherd Dogs.
For Adult Dogs
For Senior Dogs
All of these food options are best for large breed dogs but you must not give anything to your canine without consulting the veterinarian and nutritionist. You can check low protein dog food options to manage your dog’s diet and to keep him healthy.
Do they make good emotional support animals? If properly trained and socialized then yes, these dogs could be a perfect combination of a guard and emotional support dog. However, they will need a firm and dominating person to lead and control him.
If you think you could handle the strong and imposing personality of this dog then fill the questionnaire to see if you qualify to get one as an ESA.
Liked the Caucasian Shepherd Dog? Check other breeds also.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are the Caucasian Shepherd Dogs dangerous?
No, inherently, these dogs are not dangerous but due to their immense size, they could be quite intimidating and damaging, if he chooses to attack. But they protect their family members with their life and stay by their side no matter what.
2. What is the price of a Caucasian Shepherd Dog?
Between $1,500 to $2,000. However, do not buy the puppy from someone who is offering them at a first-cheap price. Find a reputed breeder to buy your puppy. Moreover, you can also check local rescue groups and pet adoption centers.
3. Do they make good family pets?
Yes, with early socialization and training, these dogs can make excellent house animals. However, they may not be a good choice for a household having other pets and small kids.
4. Caucasian Shepherd Dog vs. Pitbull - who will win?
Pitbulls have extremely powerful jaws but they do not stand much chance against a large Caucasian Shepherd Dog.
5. Can a Caucasian Shepherd Dog kill a wolf?
Possibly yes. These dogs were bred to fight off ferocious wild animals and this includes wolves also. This fact makes these dogs quite interesting also because they are among the few dog breeds that could actually give wolves a strong fight.