March 27, 2018

The Caucasian Shepherd: The Dog That Looks Like A Bear!

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The Caucasian Shepherd: The Dog That Looks Like A Bear!Caucasian Shepherd dogs look like a bear and word has it they are bolshie enough to take on an actual bear if they have to! This courageous and confident breed is a dog that will be loyal to you, but is one that you never want to mess with!

Where Did They Come From? History of the Caucasian Mountain Shepherd

Caucasian Shepherd dogs are an ancient breed dating from the first century BC.  They are named after the Caucasian or Caucasus mountains, the area between the Black and Caspian Seas and between Russia and Asia. They have a solid history as working guard or watchdogs of both flocks and people in Russia, Eastern European countries, and the Baltic region.  The breed is registered with the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) and recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Close-up of a face of a caucasian shepherd dog

With such a long history over an expansive region, other names for Caucasian Shepherd dogs vary depending on regional variations and adaptations. The names used to refer to the breed include the Caucasian Ovcharka, COs, the Caucasian Mountain Dog, Caucasian Lion, Kavkasiuri Nagazi, Kavazskaia Ovcharka, North-Caucasian Volkodav, the Sage Ghafghazi, the Georgian Nagazi, the Ovcharka, Russian Bear Dogs, Pastor Del Caucaso Dog, and the Caucasian Sheepdog.

Appearance and Personality of the Fearsome Caucasian Shepherd Dog

The magnificent and mighty Caucasian Shepherd is, obviously, a big dog – and with a big head, and remarkable coat to boot! Although high on the huggable scale, this breed of dogs is honestly not for the faint-hearted!

So How Big Are Caucasian Shepherds?

Adult dogs weigh between 99-170 pounds (45-78 kg). Measuring 23-30 inches (58-76 cm) to their shoulder, on their hind legs they can stand to six feet tall!  In this breed, males are larger than females.

Caucasian Shepherd Dog Temperament

Caucasian Ovcharka are very smart, and a very strong breed in every sense of the word. They are loyal and loving gentle giants with their owners and will form a strong bond.

Guard dogs by nature, they are extremely territorial and will protect their adopted family with all their might. Intelligent and independent thinkers, they must be socialized and trained well from an early age as a puppy and live in homes with experienced dog owners.

Caucasian Shepherd Dog Coats and Colors

Depending on the region they originate from, the length of Caucasian Mountain dog coats is in three lengths – short, medium and long. Their fur is dense, thick and waterproof – they are built to withstand the cold after all. Undercoats are soft, outer coats are coarse. The breed’s colors are varied and can be any single solid color, brindle, spotted or piebald.

Caucasian Shepherd Dogs: Maintenance and Grooming Requirements!

Routine care needed for Caucasian Shepherd dogs, like all dog breeds. This includes regular bathing and:

  • Brushing: Coat brushing is needed at least 2-3 times a week, if not daily. During their main annual shed or molt, frequent brushing and bathing help keep their hair shed around the home to a minimum.
  • Nail Clipping: Regular clipping is needed for the nails of Caucasian dogs. Their nails are fast growing and strong.
  • Ears:  Check their ears regularly for excess wax and dry the exterior after bathing or swimming to absorb excess moisture.
  • Teeth: Their teeth are long, and should be brushed regularly from the time they are a puppy.

A True Mountain Pup! The Caucasian Shepherd Puppy Needs Exercise

Close-up of a caucasian shepherd puppy barking

For a big dog breed, the Caucasian Shepherd Mountain Dog is quite low-energy – but agile in an instant. They do need regular exercise and space to move around in to keep their weight to healthy levels from when they are a puppy and throughout adulthood.

  • Walks: Walk these dogs on a leash for exercise – and be aware as they are training with the weight on the end of the leash they can easily get away – or lead you instead!
  • Hiking: If you’re a hiker and enjoy long steady walks and treks, this breed suits the endurance needed for hills and mountain walking well – they didn’t get named mountain dogs for anything!  Caucasian Ovcharka dogs are perfect companions for walking long distances and steady pacing.
  • Outside Yards: You should have a yard big enough for your Caucasian Shepherd dog to stretch their legs a little, and well fenced and contained to keep them in and others out.

Caucasian Shepherd Dog vs Tibetan Mastiff! Are They Similar?

These two big bear like dogs are very similar in appearance and nature and some think they share a common ancestor way back, which like the Central Asian Ovcharka, and the Kars Dog from Turkey, makes these breeds all distant cousins. They are working dog breeds with a long history of working with stock and flocks in Europe and Asia.

Caucasian Shepherd Dog Lifespan

The average lifespan of this dog is 10-12 years, similar to other large breeds.

The Caucasian Ovcharka Shepherd is generally a healthy dog with no major health issues, aside from common dog problems such as hip dysplasia. Obesity can be a problem if they don’t get enough regular exercise.

5 Fun Facts about the Caucasian Shepherd Dog

  1. Is it a Dog? A Bear? A Lion? Those with a long hair coat can have the face and body of a bear with the mane of a lion! Talk about camouflage!
  2. They are they big breeds with a soft spot for sleeping indoors rather than outdoors. Not only will they be happier in cozier conditions, if chained outside too much without socialization they may literally feel like an outsider.
  3. Females give birth only once a year but those babies grow big and fast! They are an impressive breed already at around six months, and will pretty much be adult-sized dogs by one-year-old.
  4. They are one of Russia’s most popular working dog breeds – for flock protection, as guard dogs, and in the show ring.
  5. While they are working dogs, and excel as a guard dog and for protection, they won’t be fooled into being a servant! These dogs are pretty laid back when not in working mode!

Caucasian Shepherd Dogs for Sale

If you are considering buying an Ovcharka/Caucasian Shepherd dog, contact reputable and registered breeders for more information. The American Kennel Club (AKC) Marketplace is a good place to start.

Breeders should supply you with papers to confirm pedigree, evidence of health checks of both your puppy and its parents, and their temperament tests.

Caucasian Shepherd Dog Price—They Don’t Come Cheap!

The cost of a pedigree Ovcharka puppy ranges from $1,000 to $3,000 from a breeder. Also, bear in mind the costs of food for large dogs.

5 Tips for First-time Caucasian Mountain Shepherd Dog Owners

  1. If you are the first-time owner of any type of dog – stop! A Caucasian Mountain Shepherd needs to be with someone with big dog experience and be able to take the lead, literally. They are independent, strong-willed dogs from the time they are a puppy and said to be a stubborn as teenagers!
  2. Talk with reputable breeders about all the pros and cons of this puppy breed, the temperaments of their parent dogs, and seek their opinion on whether you and your environment are right. These dogs need your commitment for their full 10-15 years.
  3. Be prepared take time to socialize and train and your Caucasian Mountain Shepherd daily throughout its lifespan – not just when they are a puppy. The stranger danger instinct is strong in these breeds. The more they are with you around other people and see your trust the less likely they are to feel threatened.
  4. Caucasian Ovcharkas are big as young puppies and even bigger as adult dogs – make sure you have the physical and mental strength to handle these breeds!
  5. Check your home and surrounds are suitable for this sized dog. While Caucasian Shepherd dogs are considered low-energy and built for endurance work, they have the agility of German Shepherd breeds – so they need high and secure fencing and surrounds.

The Caucasian Mountain Shepherd is a Truly Powerful, Yet Loyal Companion!

With the right people by their side, the Caucasian Mountain Shepherd dog breed is faithful, loyal and very, very protective. The dogs are powerful and strong but loving companions with their owners and vice versa.

Common Questions on the Caucasian Shepherd

Caucasian Shepherd vs Tibetan Mastiff: Do they have the same ancestors?

Is the Caucasian Shepherd dog temperament aggressive?

Does a Caucasian Shepherd puppy need a lot of playing time?

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