Species group: Unrecognized and Rare Breed dogs
Other name(s): Caucasian Sheepdog; Caucasian Ovcharka Guardian Dog; Caucasian Shepherd's Dog; Kavkaskaya Ovcharka;
The Caucasian Ovcharka is a large, powerful livestock guarding dog native to the mountain regions of the Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani Republics, as well as the steppe regions of the northern Caucasus. For centuries, it has lived in a semi-wild state functioning as a watchdog, a herding dog, and sometimes as a fighting dog, while surviving the fierce climate and terrain. They are popular in the nations of the former Soviet Union for their hardiness, strength, and ability to withstand any climate. Indeed, they have been known to fight wolves and coyotes.
As a result, this breed has been developed into a tough, independent-minded dog that demands an experienced owner who knows how to provide consistent training and socialization. If you are fragile or easily intimidated by a large dog, this is not the right choice for you. The ideal owner is a confident trainer with deep insight into dog psychology, coupled with the time and desire to train the pet to do something worthwhile.
The American Kennel Club registers Caucasian Ovtcharkas as part of the Foundation Stock Service-- the first step on the path to official recognition for the breed in the US. It has already been assigned to the working group.
Appearance / health:
The Caucasian Ovcharka's head is massive, wedge-shaped, and tapers slightly to a blunt muzzle with high-set hanging ears. The slightly almond-shaped eyes are set deep. The skull is wide with well developed pronounced cheek bones. The forehead is wide and flat. The bone structure is massive with well-developed muscles. The thick tail hangs down but may be carried above the back as a sickle-shaped hook or ring when the dog is excited or moving.
They shed heavily once a year. Regular brushing and combing removes dead hair. The coat of the longhaired variety requires frequent brushings, paying special attention to the spots where tangles may occur. The shorthaired variety needs less grooming, but should still be combed and brushed.
They require moderate amounts of exercise. Short sprints of 15-20 minutes are necessary to keep them happy. Dogs may accompany their masters on a bike ride as they run along. Walking is a good form of exercise, but with large breeds, it may not be sufficient.
Caucasians are a relatively healthy breed. However, as with all large dogs, they can be afflicted with hip dysplasia, a condition marked by abnormal hip formation that can cause lameness.
Behavior / temperament:
The Caucasian Ovtcharka's original purpose was to protect livestock and hence they protect their family as "flock." They are very catlike. Caucasians are serious dogs and are not usually very playful though some of them can be. They virtually fear nothing though they are not aggressive. They are not attack dogs but their protective instincts are strong. They do not trust strangers and dislike unfamiliar situations. They love snow.
Early socialization and obedience class are necessary to help Caucasians adapt to different people and situations. Training needs to be consistent, firm, and patient. Harsh training methods may not work for a Caucasian.
They are not very noisy though they may bark at anything they think is suspicious.
gentle giant, best guard dogs, alert protector, tough dog, working dog, livestock guardian dog
natural aggression, aggressive dog, strong defense drive
great primative breed, huge powerful dog, rare breeds, strong fence, guys worst nightmare
My Caucasian Shepherd Woland
As I was growing up, our family dog was growing up with me. When we first got Woland, he was two months old and about the same size as a St Bernard puppy. Within the first year of living with us, he ate two sofas, one armchair and chewed up all four legs of a wooden dinner table. We only lived in a small apartment back then, and by the time Woland was three, he was as tall as a five-year-old me (1.20 meters) and could barely fit on the sofa. A Caucasian Ovcharka is NOT a dog you should keep in a two-bedroom apartment – he needs a yard.
Woland was not the sort of dog who’d approach you for affection – the most you’d get out of him is a paw high-five if you have a treat. And a treat can be anything – Woland ate absolutely everything. He was not a fussy eater, although he was very fond of meat and my sister’s baby food. In fact, he did actually eat my homework once! A Caucasian Ovcharka eats a lot, but he would take whatever you give her. He also demands to be walked at least twice a day and brushed with a metal brush at least once a week – Woland shedded A LOT. The neighbours often compared him to a bear and he was fluffy and ferocious enough to pass as one. They may have been a little wary of him, but our neighbourhood hasn’t had any burglaries for the ten years Woland’s been with us. He barked loudly, hated strangers and growled at anyone he didn’t like. We really didn’t have any need for an alarm system.
I’d recommend a Caucasian Ovcharka if you have a lot of space in the house, don’t understand the point of fancy dog foods, and have no desire to spend a lot of money on the state-of-the-art security system – these dogs are better than any alarm codes!.
From katesorenson Jul 13 2015 2:24PM
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From Angela Dwyer DVM 54 days ago
Committing to set your dog up for success
Helping your dog to avoid fearful stimuli is simple in theory but can be difficult in practice. How many times has a dog owner with a dog who has a fear of something thought, "just this once, she'll be fine" or "it's only for a minute, I don't have time to avoid this right now"?
Owners must understand that if a dog is fearful of something, that is a real emotion for the animal. The owner might understand that fireworks are harmless or that a small toddler is innocent but for a dog who is afraid, they are simply afraid.
When dogs feel fear, they have the same two options available to all animals: fight or flight. Many, many bites could be avoided if owners understood that the fear their animal feels for a certain stimuli is real and that the animal has one of two options available to them.
Unfortunately, many owners do not take their animals fear seriously until a bite occurs. A dog with wide eyes, who freezes in place, begins to lick their nose, yawns, or lowers their tail/posture are all signs of fear or emotional discomfort that can go unrecognized.
If a toddler or child approaches a dog who begins to lick their nose, avoid eye contact or freeze in place while slowly wagging their tail low they are not ok with being approached by the child. Some days they may be able to handle this if the dog has been mostly free of fear or stress. Somedays the dog may have had too many triggers. (Think of how you feel some days when you didn't get enough sleep, or a mishap occurred at work. When you get home, you may be more likely to snap at your family or have less patience.) The dog doesn't have the ability to remove themselves from the situation- the owner is responsible for that.
Thus, as owners we must respect what our dog is fearful of and do our best to seek out knowledgeable professional help in the way of a behavioral vet or trainer who works with one. Ideally, the dog can overcome the fearful stimuli but in cases where progress is only beginning or the fear is too entrenched it is best to avoid the situations which will cause the dog fear. Dogs always want to please people but it is important to know that they have their own emotions and limitations to how they can react in life.
It is our obligation to return the adoration of our dogs and protect them from fearful stimuli while also working to overcome frightening situations. .
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