(aka: Caucasian Ovcharka or Shepherd, Caucasian Mountain Dog, Caucasian Ovtcharka)
The Caucasian Ovcharka has moderate deep-set, dark eyes. The ears are densely covered with hair for insulation. The hips are slightly raised from the line of the back. The tail is profusely covered with a long feathering of heavy hair. The forelimbs are long, straight, and densely boned. The paws are large and heavy, with hair between the toes, providing excellent insulation and protection. The nose is black and prominent with well opened, large nostrils. The thick, dense, weather-resistant coat has profuse feathering and is especially effective at keeping out the cold. Puppy coats are finer then adult coats. Colors vary from gray, fawn, tan, pied, brindle and white. The FCI prohibits brown dogs. In its native country the Caucasian Ovtcharka's ears are cropped short.
Caucasian Ovcharka Temperament
The Caucasian Ovcharka's original purpose was to protect livestock. The typical Caucasian Ovtcharka is assertive, strong-willed, and courageous. Unless properly socialized and trained, the Caucasian Ovcharka may exhibit ferocious and unmanageable tendencies. It is very brave, alert, strong and hardy. It does not accept people it does not know and it has a powerful urge to defend. Everything and everyone who belongs to the family, including children, cats, other dogs, etc, will be regarded by this dog as part of "its" family and will be respected and protected.
This dog should not be left alone with children, because if play becomes too rough, the Caucasian Ovtcharka my feel the need to protect your child, and may do it extensively. It has no time for strangers, but it will greet family friends warmly. It can be rather dominant towards other dogs it does not know. Some German fanciers employ the dogs as foremost guardians and deterrents. This is not a dog for everyone. It requires an owner who knows how to display strong leadership and who is willing to spend a lot of time socializing and training. The objective in training this dog is to achieve a pack leader status. It is a natural instinct for a dog to have an order in their pack. When we humans live with dogs, we become their pack. The entire pack cooperates under a single leader. Lines are clearly defined and rules are set. Because a dog communicates his displeasure with growling and eventually biting, all other humans MUST be higher up in the order than the dog. The humans must be the ones making the decisions, not the dogs. That is the only way your relationship with your dog can be a complete success.
There are two coat varieties: short and long. The coat of the long-haired variety requires frequent brushings, paying special attention to the spots where tangles may occur. The short-haired variety needs less grooming, but should still be combed and brushed.
The Caucasian Ovcharka is a flock guardian developed from pre-historic molosser breeds in Caucasus by local herders. Caucasians are used to protect sheep from predators and thieves. These dogs always attract everybodys attention due to outstanding working qualities and striking appearance. The lack of organized kennel clubs and written standards partly explains why the Caucasian Ovtcharka varied in type from country to country and even from locale to locale. For centuries, flocks of sheep have existed in Caucasia, the mountainous land mass between the Black and Caspian seas and neighboring Turkey and Iran. Dogs similar to this superb guardian have protected these sheep from both humans and animal predators for at least 600 years. The Caucasian Ovcharka is most popular in Russia. "Ovtcharka" means "sheepdog" in Russian. In Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union, it is commonly shown at dog shows. In Hungary, Poland and the Czech and Slovak Republics, extensive breeding programs are ensuring that it remains a popular dog, even though its original use as a sheep guardian is declining. The Caucasian Ovtcharka arrived in East Germany in the late 1960's to serve as a border patrol dog, especially along the Berlin Wall. In 1989, when the Wall came down, the 7,000-strong band of patrol dogs was dispersed . Many of these dogs were given new homes with families throughout Germany. Careful breeding in Germany safeguards the future of this cautious and independent dog. It is likely that as its popularity increases, breeders will selectively breed out some of the most fierce protective personalities.
Training must be firm, patient, and inducive. Due to its close association with man, the Caucasian Mountain Dog breed is one of the most willing of the flock guardians and is very trainable. However, the Caucasian is still a more independent thinker than a shepherding type dog such as the German Shepherd Dog. Because the Caucasian is slow to mature, the hundred-pound yearling with the mental maturity of a 3-month old can be quite a challenge. And the Caucasian can be very head strong, especially during the first 2 1/2 years of life. Very highly intelligent, the young Caucasian Mountain Dog will find many creative ways to get into trouble!
These dogs are extremely healthy, though at a minimum they should be screened (as any large dog) for hip or elbow dysplasia.