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
I never recommend inflatable collars.
Inflatable collars are not effective at preventing dogs from licking their incision sites. The only time I have ever used these is to put them on in addition to a hard e-collar to keep it pushed forward. I never recommend inflatable collars as a standalone preventative..
From Rachel_Muur_DVM yesterday
Counter conditioning works on changing a dog’s emotional response to another dog approaching his food. Although guarding food is a normal behaviour, it doesn’t mean you have to accept it because it can lead to dangerous situations. How can you have one dog feel happy instead of aggressive when another dog is getting food next to him? If two people work on this at a time, and both dogs are on leash far enough apart, you can give a treat to the docile dog and immediately after to the aggressive one, until you notice that the latter is anticipating a food treat when the docile gets one. Once you see that the aggressive dog starts looking happy and relaxed, move the dogs closer.
Counter conditioning and desensitization techniques are frequently used together.
You can desensitize your dog by gradually exposing him to its triggers and creating positive associations with them. Give your dog a reward when exposing him to his "menace". if your dog is triggered by another dog being fed near him or a person approaching to his plate, sit with your dog while the other dog is in view. When your dog is calm, reward him with a tasty treat.
If any of these does not work, specialists are the right people to handle the problem.
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