Strength, dignity, nobility, intelligence, beauty — and that’s not even a complete list of the Caucasian Shepherd dog and its advantages. If you’re looking for a bright and serious dog that can perform a range of tasks on the farm and be a devoted family member, this may be the perfect breed for you.
But before you get a Caucasian Shepherd dog, you need to consider a few facts about this adorable giant. Let’s discover this charming breed and determine whether it fits you.
We’ll answer all your questions about this beautiful dog, including:
- What Is a Caucasian Shepherd?
- Where Does It Come From?
- Physical Appearance
- Nutritional Needs
- Training and Exercise
- Health and Life Expectancy
- Do Caucasian Shepherds Shed?
- Where to Get One?
What Is a Caucasian Shepherd?
The dog’s history and name have roots in the Caucasian mountains, where these dogs likely evolved. People bred them to help with a range of tasks, including herding livestock and serving as watchdogs.
The Caucasian Shepherd has many nicknames, which is no surprise as it’s existed for over 2000 years. You might find it as Caucasian Sheepdog, Caucasian Mountain dog, Caucasian Ovcharka, Russian Bear dog, Bashkhan, or just CO.
Let’s dig deeper into the history behind these mountain dogs.
The Caucasian Shepherd dogs are an ancient breed from the Caucasus region. The dogs appeared simultaneously in several places at once: in Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Dagestan. So you’ll find Caucasian Shepherd dogs of various types, depending on their origin region.
For almost a century, there were two breed types and standards: the mountain one, which is heavy and has a long coat, and the steppe type, which is lighter and with shorter hair. The Tibetan Great Dane is likely an ancestor of this breed.
Though they’re more like general herding dogs, they can also be livestock guardians. They can watch over flocks of sheep, cattle herds, or other animals and protect them from possible threats.
A picture of the Caucasian Mountain dog even decorated the coats of arms of Georgian grand dukes. They gained worldwide popularity after an exhibition in Germany (Nuremberg), where the breed was first introduced to the European public in the 1930’s. Major kennel organizations accepted the breed, including the AKC, FCI, and UKC. Nowadays, these dogs are more prevalent in Russia and the CIS countries.
The AKC added the Caucasian Shepherd dog to its list of recognized breeds in 1931. The club described it as a strong dog with wide paws, a large head, small ears, widely-set eyes, and a fluffy tail.
Typically, the minimum Caucasian Shepherd dog weight for males is 110 pounds, while the females reach at least 99 pounds. The breed has a height of around 27–30 inches, and female representatives usually grow up to 25–28 inches. You can see why these dogs aren’t a good choice for small houses — they need adequate space for their bodies.
The Caucasian Shepherd dog has a dense and thick coat which helps it cope with the harsh climate. It can be long-, medium-, or short-haired. The most common color is gray and strongly resembles a wolf coat. They can come in red, fawn, brown, and white colors.
The Caucasian Shepherd dog temperament exudes patience, intelligence, and loyalty. Overall, this breed is very gentle and caring towards its family, but it can be wary of strangers. Still, that’s what makes them perfect guard dogs. They’re aggressive in defense and fearlessly protect everything within their territory.
Caucasians get along well with other pets. Their inner qualities, such as nobility and intelligence, prevent them from attacking defenseless animals or offending a child. These dogs can stay happily with little kids if raised with them from childhood.
The Caucasian Shepherd dog puppy should start socializing with other puppies and humans at an early age to feel comfortable around them.
The breed needs specific bone development support. Since it’s related to the wolf, its diet should provide plenty of meat and animal products. For starters, we recommend puppy food for large dogs with balanced energy levels, protein, calcium, and phosphorus to support steady growth.
The adult Caucasian Shepherd dog should receive top-quality food for giant breeds. Note that the breed gains weight quickly, so be careful with the daily amount. Another way to prevent indigestion is to buy a dog bowl for slow feeding.
Training and Exercise
The Caucasian Ovcharka needs at least 10 to 15 minutes of training and exercises a day to stay healthy. They like outdoor activities and make excellent companions for long walks or hikes. Also, they can be stubborn at times, making their training a challenge for impatient or inexperienced owners.
You can practice basic obedience training, but you should also include fun games to keep the dog interested and engaged. That’s how you’ll build a strong bond with your furry companion. Making training sessions short and entertaining is essential to help you get the best results.
Health and Life Expectancy
While taking care of this breed isn’t as overwhelming as you might think, there’s still a bit of work to ensure your mountain dog stays healthy. The Caucasian Shepherd dog lifespan is 10–12 years, but the breed is prone to several problems we’ll cover below.
Before getting a dog it’s essential to recognize the early signs and symptoms of typical health issues. They can impact these dogs no matter their age. Caucasian health problems can include:
- Obesity: They like to eat everything and tend to do it very fast. To prevent more health issues, you need to control the Caucasian Shepherd dog weight. Ask your vet for advice if you have any concerns about your pet’s food intake.
- Hip Dysplasia: The breed may inherit canine hip dysplasia — a chronic skeletal condition that affects dogs of all ages. The disease is most commonly noticed in large breeds, which is why you should keep your Caucasian Shepherd dog puppy at an average, lean weight.
- Eye Issues: These dogs are prone to numerous eye issues — from small eyes (microphthalmia) to cataracts, glaucoma, and progressive retinal atrophy. We recommend getting some dog eye vitamins to support your pet’s vision.
- Heart Problems: Some Caucasian Mountain Dogs inherit a heart condition named pulmonic stenosis. The disease causes a narrowing of blood outflow from the heart to the lungs, and the heart must work harder to pump enough blood.
Do Caucasian Shepherds Shed?
The breed has a remarkable weather-resistant double-coat that keeps it warm in winter and cool in summer. It consists of a coarse overcoat and a soft undercoat. The shedding process occurs once a year and usually lasts for three weeks, during which the fur color and texture change.
Caring for the coat of a Caucasian Mountain dog involves 30 minutes of brushing once or twice a week. During the shedding period, you’ll have to comb it every day. For best results, you’ll need a brush, slicker, and metal comb.
These dogs love water but don’t bathe them more than once every two months. Frequent bathing causes coat problems like tangling and excessive shedding. Also, pay attention to the nails, ears, and eyes.
Where to Get One?
Prepare to spend more money for a reliable breeder. The average Caucasian Shepherd dog price is between $1,500 and $3,000. It might be even more, depending on your region and the parents. Beware of unqualified breeders or uncertified online sellers, which you can usually spot by the huge discount. Also, always ask for paperwork proving pedigree and health.
One of the best ways to find a dog of this breed is through adoption or rescue. Plus, it’s incredibly rewarding. Since the breed is unique, you’ll be happy to learn that many rescues and shelters offer healthy Caucasian dogs.
The Caucasian Shepherd dog has a big body and an even bigger personality. They possess many good qualities, which is why people find them to be excellent companions. Nevertheless, these dogs aren’t suitable for all people.
They’ll feel best in homes with lots of space where they can move around freely. If you’re ready to spend your time, energy, space, and patience on a Caucasian Shepherd dog, you may find that this breed offers everything you might be looking for and more.