The Ovcharka, or Caucasian Shepherd Dog, is a guardian dog breed native to the Caucus region.
Equipped with a thick coat and muscular build, the Caucasian Shepherd Dog was originally bred to protect livestock from predators.
Nowadays, you will mostly find this breed being used as a guardian or watchdog for a family or estate.
The Caucasian Shepherd, sometimes called ‘Russian Bear Dog’, was originally bred in the Caucasus Mountain region. They primarily served as guardians to livestock, protecting cattle and sheep from wolves and other predators.
Throughout history, the Caucasian Shepherd was primarily been utilized as a guardian/companion. Prisons in Russia have even been known to utilize the Caucasian Ovcharka as guard dogs.
Today, the breed is mostly used as a guard dog, or companion, to family, livestock, and property.
Caucasian Shepherd dogs are large in size, typically reaching a height between 25 – 28 inches, and weighing in between 99 – 154 pounds. Mountain breeds tend to be bulkier, while regular breeds are often smaller.
The life expectancy for most breeds is 10-11 years.
Serving as mostly guard dogs, Caucasian Shepherds are bold, fearless, and confident in their abilities.
But, don’t let their massive, fluffy size fool you! This breed can come off as intimidating, but you’ll have a hard time finding a more loyal, loving, family-friendly dog.
Because of its guardian roots, the Caucasian Ovcharka is not a recommended breed for first time dog owners. Unless properly trained and socialized, the Caucasian Shepherd can exhibit unmanageable, aggressive behavior.
This breed is very alert and wary of strangers. Therefore, you should not leave small children alone and unattended with a Caucasian Shepherd.
If you are looking into getting a Caucasian Shepherd of your own, be prepared to spend a lot of time training and socializing, in order to weed out those bad qualities and aggressive tendencies.
As with any dog breed, especially larger ones, you should start training as early as possible.
Caucasian Shepherds are strong, independent, so obedience training may take some extra effort. Caucasian Shepherds are not very social with strangers and other dogs. Because of this, it is recommended to train one-on-one first.
However, be sure to consistently socialize your dog with other people and dogs, to make training in a group session more feasible.
Health and Care Needs
When grooming a Caucasian Shepherd, keep in mind the various coat types: short, medium, and long. The longer hair breeds will require frequent brushing, paying extra attention to the spots where tangles often occur, like behind the ears. The shorter hair breeds will require less grooming, but they require brushing/combing and detangling.
Caucasian Shepherds are generally healthy dogs, and don’t have too many health complications. You may run into common breed ailments, like hip dysplasia, but this can prevented, or treated, with help from your breeder and veterinarian.
Like most large dogs, this breed does not do well in small living spaces.. The more space, the better.