The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is a large mountain dog selected in the former Soviet Union to guard flocks and livestock from wolf attacks. Introduced to Europe in the 1970s as a defense dog, it possesses a balanced, strong, and calm temperament.
Origin and History
The origins of the Caucasian Shepherd are intertwined with the stories of ancient Central Asian herding and guardian dogs, believed to have originated from the majority of Molosser breeds, especially mountain dogs. It is the result of years of selective breeding and repeated crosses conducted within the famous Soviet ‘Red Star’ kennels.
Starting in the 1950s, Russian military canine experts aimed to create a breed capable of assisting border guards and military bases.
The name “Caucasian Ovcharka” comes from the Russian Кавказская овчарка (Kavkazskaja Ovčarka) indicating a breed obtained from the selection of various mountain dog types from Caucasus countries (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, etc.). Initially bred as herding dogs to protect flocks from wolf attacks, their introduction to Europe began in the 1970s through Polish, Czech, and Hungarian breeders who migrated to Western Europe after the dissolution of the Soviet bloc.
Though scientific evidence regarding its lineage is uncertain, some experts suggest that the Caucasian Shepherd is a descendant of Tibetan Mastiffs.
Caucasian Shepherd: Size and Appearance
The most immediately striking aspect of the Caucasian Shepherd is its massive size. These dogs are giants among canines, with males often reaching heights between 72 to 75 centimeters at the shoulder. Females, while slightly smaller, still possess a commanding stature, averaging between 67 to 70 centimeters. What truly sets them apart, however, is their weight. Males can tip the scales at an astonishing 90 kilograms, showcasing a muscular and robust build. Females, though somewhat lighter, still carry a substantial weight ranging from 45 to 50 kilograms.
This size places them among the heaviest and most imposing dog breeds globally, making them an awe-inspiring sight.
The Caucasian Shepherd’s physical characteristics are a testament to its origins as a guardian and herding dog in the rugged landscapes of the Caucasus region. Their head is massive, adorned with pronounced cheekbones that add to their imposing visage.
A distinct feature is their thick, long coat, which provides insulation against the harsh mountain climates. This dense double coat varies in color, offering a range that includes shades of gray, fawn, white, and reddish-brown. Their coat may also exhibit patterns such as spotting or mottling, adding a touch of individuality to each dog.
The coat’s texture is generally rough and straight, contributing to their overall robust appearance. While the traditional long coat is prevalent, some individuals may have semi-long or shorter hair. This variation in coat length does not diminish their striking presence, maintaining the breed’s allure and distinctive aesthetic.
Further enhancing their appearance are pronounced facial features, including dark, expressive eyes that exude intelligence and a powerful jawline. The ears are usually medium-sized and set high, adding to the breed’s alert and vigilant expression.
In addition to their majestic coat, the Caucasian Shepherd’s physical structure is characterized by a strong and well-developed musculature. It can be considered one of the strongest dog breeds in the world. Their bodies are built for endurance, a necessity in their historical role as protectors of flocks and guardians of territories. The bones are robust, contributing to their overall strength and stability.
Caucasian Shepherd: Temperament
As a good herding and flock-guarding dog, it is naturally inclined to defense and guarding.
The temperament is balanced, strong, calm, but becomes very responsive and, in some situations, even fierce when alerted. Courage is its main trait, and due to its tendencies, it tends to form a deep bond with the owner while remaining indifferent or wary of strangers. It is important to provide ample space for it to expend its energy and avoid triggering its aggressive nature.
Confined in small spaces, it tends to become sad and develop potentially dangerous behaviors. It is advisable not to disturb it during sleep and meals, as its proud and proud character does not tolerate annoying behaviors during these ‘sacred’ moments.
Caucasian Shepherd: Training and Education
Although it proves to be a good playmate with children, any inappropriate behavior that undermines its serenity should be avoided—no excessively noisy or annoying violent games to prevent aggressive reactions. Its physical structure and pronounced dynamism make it an unintentionally dangerous playmate.
Due to its size and character, it requires ample spaces, making a house with a garden its ideal home.
The strong personality requires early education in respecting family roles and hierarchies without resorting to violence. By earning respect and obedience, this dog becomes a faithful guardian of the household and a fearless guardian.
Caucasian Shepherd: Price
The value of a breed like this varies depending on age, with younger dogs having a lower price, and its pedigree and specific genetic characteristics. Prices can start from a minimum of $1,000, but each breeder has their pricing policy. Quality and pedigree come at a cost, and titles won by the parents in various exhibitions can also contribute to higher values, averaging around €1,500-2,000.
Caucasian Shepherd: Breeding
When purchasing a dog from a breeder, the presence of certain documents will give you an idea of the seller’s seriousness. Always obtain a microchip, health booklet with vaccinations against viral diseases, and parasite treatments. A sales contract, guaranteeing the puppy’s good health, should also be present.
There are several breeders of this particular breed, and beautiful specimens can be found in various kennels. Beware of those attempting to sell or give away puppies on various online platforms, as they may lack proper documentation or pedigrees.
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