Caucasian Shepherd – Russian bear dog

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Russian Caucasian DogThe Caucasian Shepherd, or Caucasian Ovcharka is the most brutal Russian dog breed. It is a large, even-tempered dog with powerful and muscular body, bear-look face, deeply set oval dark eyes, round-shaped cropped ears and low carried long tail. It has a thick and water resistant double coat in shades of gray, brindle, yellow, rust, red or white (click for videos). The coat may be longer or shorter depending on the region the dog comes from.

Russian Bear Dog

The strength and dedication of this Russian dog has made it a popular working, police and guard dog throughout Europe and the former Soviet Union states. They call it Caucasian Shepherd in Europe and Caucasian Mountain Dog in America. In the West it is also known as the Russian Bear Dog. In Russia its usual name is Caucasian Ovcharka that means sheep dog in Russian.

The Caucasian ovcharka is one of the oldest mastiff-type breeds, originating from the Caucasus Mountains between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. It was used for centuries to guard flocks, kill wolves, hunt bears and protect properties against trespassers and thieves. Its type differs a little from region to region. The superior Russian Caucasian dog is a hybrid of established Caucasian types and some lines of the Central Asian dog.

Russian Prison Dog

During the communist era this Russian dog guarded prisoners of the Soviet Gulag camps and served as a border patrol dog along the Berlin wall. It was widely used by the Russian army’s kennels to develop new Soviet dog breeds (Russian German shepherd, Moscow dog, Russian Terrier, Russian Newfoundland, etc.). Being a fearless fighting dog, the Caucasian Ovcharka is still employed in some former Soviet republics for dog fighting, alongside with the Central Asian dog. In Europe and America the Caucasian Mountain Dog is now mostly a companion and a watchdog.

Softness and timidity are considered as serious faults for this Russian dog breed. The Caucasian dog is suspicious and aggressive towards any strangers including dog show referees. If not properly trained and socialized this vicious dog may demonstrate fierce and uncontrollable reactions (click for video). On the other hand, this Russian dog can be extremely loyal to its owner and will stand by and defend him to the very end in any situation.

The Caucasian Ovcharka can live as long as 12 years with just a few health risks, though sometimes may suffer from large-dog problems like hip dysplasia and heart conditions. Its heavy shedding coat needs occasional brushing.

Owning a Caucasian Shepherd

Caucasian Ovcharka fightingOwning a Caucasian Shepherd is not an easy task. This independent and strong-willed dog will obey only a dominating an equally-willed owner whom it respects. Obedience training and early socialization is mandatory for this breed.

Forming a strong protective bond with its owner, the Caucasian Ovcharka would not raise other family members to the same level. It mostly suits active singles, experienced handlers as well as farmers and ranchers.

Caucasian Ovcharka Size:

Height (at the withers):
Males: Desirable height 28 – 29 inches (72-75 cm);
Minimum 26,5 inches (68 cm).
Females: Desirable height 26 – 27 inches (67-70 cm);
Minimum 25 inches (64 cm).
Larger stature is accepted, as long as conformation is harmonic.

Males: Minimum: 110 pounds (50 kg);
Females: Minimum: 99 pounds (45 kg).

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Have You Hugged A CAUCASIAN OVCHARKA Today REFLECTIVE License Plate Frame (T)

Metal License Plate Beware of the Caucasian Shepherd

Rubber Case for iPhone 6 Plus Caucasian Shepherd

CafePress My Caucasian Ovcharka Mug – Standard

And much more!

Breed Names:

Caucasian Shepherd, Caucasian Mountain Dog, Russian Mountain dog, Russian bear dog, Caucasian dog, Russian Caucasian dog, Caucasian Ovcharka, Caucasian Mountain Shepherd, Kavkazskaya Ovcharka,  Caucasian Volkodav, Caucasian sheepdog, Caucasian Ovtcharka

Frequently asked questions about Caucasian Ovcharka

What do you think of Caucasian Ovcharka?

Can caucasian sheperd dog kill a wolf?

Why Caucasian ovcharkas have their ears cropped short?

How much would a typical Caucasian mountain dog cost?

How should I be prepared for a caucasian ovcharka?

What are some of your opinions of the breed?

What are some good names for Caucasian shepherds?

Do Caucasian Ovcharka dogs suffer from heat just like huskies do?

What dog food does the Caucasian Mountain Dog need?

View the Caucasian Shepherd Breed Standard

Find a name for your Ovcharka dog in Russian!

Learn some Russian dog commands!

Browse Questions and Answers about Ovcharkas!

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  1. Alyssa says

    Caucasian males weigh way more than 110 lbs.
    Mine is only 8 months old & he weighs 140 pounds….
    The males usually get to 200 lbs.

  2. says

    Generally speaking, most rescues do not take these dogs after a certain age as their training must begin in puppyhood. Your best bet would be to contact a Police Dog training center or military training center as they would have the most likely to be successful trainers for this breed.

  3. Robin Gifford says

  4. dani says

    Hi am very interested in getting a puppy how much do they usually cost are they usually good with children? Where would I get one in canada?

  5. Deborah says

    Hello, One of these beautiful creatures was left at a rental house near a friend of mind. He is skinny but you wouldnt know it until you touched him. He is very sweet. I have brought him home and he is in a 4 ft fenced area. I have 4 other dogs with one of them my alpha dog. The Russian Shepard has a fit with the other dogs except my small yorkie/schnauser. It has only been 1 day but I feel bad to keep him closed up and not with the rest. I am giving him 2 weeks to see if I can socialize him with my other dogs. I would like to know if you have a recourse for rescues in the U.S. for this breed.

    • admin says

      We appreciate what you’re doing. Unfortunately, we don’t possess information about special rescues for this kind of dogs. Maybe any rescue will be fine if you can’t keep him.

  6. deb says

    Hi just wondering if anyone knows if there is a breeder in Australia for these dogs. If not where is the best place to import one if allowed and how long does it take thank you.

  7. Caucasian Ovcharka owner says

    Thank you for your explanation.

    I just thought I had to clarify that in my previous message because in former Soviet Union the CAO and the (North) Caucasian Volkodav are unfortunately heavily being used for dog fights.
    Whilst this may sound confusing to people that are not (very) involved with the livestock guardian breeds from the former Soviet Union, the Caucasian Volkodav is a separate breed.
    Not yet recognized though and perhaps they never will get recognized as they resemble the CAO and the short-haired CO too much.
    And a lot of people over there think that’s what they basically are: a mix between the CAO and CO. While others claim they are an ancient breed.

    Caucasian Volkodavs are sometimes referred to as the North-Caucasian Volkodav as well.
    Other than having similar ancestors, they are quite different from the FCI recognized Caucasian Shepherd dog.
    Especially in character.

    So a lot of people think the Caucasian Volkodav (the breed people over there use so often use for dog fighting) and the Caucasian shepherd dog (an FCI recognized guardian breed) are one and the same, but they are not.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond.

    • Ashlee says

      What is the best diet for a Caucasian ovcharka dog
      (A) dry with wet dog food
      (B) raw diet dose matter what raw meat you use .

      • admin says

        Dry food is always better because it’s balanced. If you use raw diet you should give your dog vitamins and other additions. Just use a high quality super premium dog food. BTW, Caucasian Ovcharka usually doesn’t eat much.

  8. abdzz says

    hey am really intrested of buying caucasian but i stay in kenya would it be possible to get 2 pupies?and am ready to pay for transport

    • admin says

      25 to 29 inches is 63 – 74 cm, and 102 to 106 pounds is 46 – 73 kg.
      Please check the FCI standard again, it’s in centimetres not in inches.
      You can find it on this site.

      • Caucasian Ovcharka owner says

        First of all, why did you edit my message and replaced the link I placed here with the link to the old standard?
        You do know a new standard for this breed has been issued in 2011, don’t you?
        And second of all, I’m perfectly aware of the difference between centimeters and inches.

        Thirdly, this is what it says in the Caucasian Ovcharka breed standard:

        Height at the withers:

        Males: Desirable height 72-75 cms;
        Minimum 68 cms;

        Females: Desirable height 67-70 cms;
        Minimum 64 cms.

        Larger stature is accepted, as long as conformation is harmonic.


        Males: Minimum: 50 kgs;
        Females: Minimum: 45 kgs.

        The key word here is desirable, there is no maximum height or weight for this breed. But the dog’s confirmation has to appear to be in harmony.
        RKF even prefers a slightly bigger dog, read it, it’s in Russian.

        Bigger is not always better and for me functionality and health has to come first, but don’t spread wrong info about this breed please.

        Last, but not least, I will repeat this again: Caucasian Ovcharka’s are not a fighting breed!
        They are a property, family and livestock guardian breed.

        • admin says

          Thank you for your valuable input. The article has been updated.

          No one says it’s a fighting dog. The article states that Caucasian Ovcharka is fearless in fighting. It’s a guardian breed for sure.

          • George Galloway says

            I read earlier that this breed only has one master, well I work long hours and my wife is unable to work. At the present time we have one rottie in the house and three smaller dogs in the house, all are trained by my wife and myself. As a puppy and early interaction along with training, will he or she still prefer one over the other ?

  9. Deogratiius says

  10. Anders says

    Are there breeders in Europe?

    Because i live in Greenland, me and my family had a Bullmastiff, as our Guard dog, and we had to put it to sleep, cause of old age, it was a great dog, but in winter time it gets cold, it froze some times, so we had decide our new dog will have to do great winter time, as well as a guard dog, we have discussed about tibetan mastiff, anatolian sherperd and russian causcasian, there all great guard dogs and we really want a new dog, life is kinda empty with out a Big dog,

    I want to know are there breeders in Europe close to Denmark?

  11. k says

    It looks to me from the puppy and awkward stages that these dogs and keeshounds are related. They can not be mastiffs etc. Can anyone fill in the blanks?

    • liz says

      yeah . the ovcharka is one of the most ancient of all the mastiff breeds . the ovcharka is the badass dog of the canine world . this dog has a bite force of 550 pounds per square inch . this dog is a weapon with fur . this dog has been known to kill wolves , bears , and there are tales of this dog actually taking on tigers (Siberian Tigers ). This dog aint no joke . There is only one breed of dog that rivals the ovcharka, with regards to sheer power , and that is the Kangal(Anatolian Shepherd).

  12. Pavel says

    This breed of dog is known under more names, but the most correct one is Caucasian Ovcharka. You all are invated to my site and I do thank that they benevolently allowed us to leave such comments here.

  13. says

    Caucasian Ovcharka dogs have a long history of village guarding in the mountains and continue their security tradition by protecting families and properties throughout the US. Several US breeders are land owners with dogs guarding their property. The breed adapted to the many climatic conditions of the former Soviet Union and are now thriving in most of the 50 US states. Showing currently is through rare breed exhibitions and the United Kennel Club, and is not detrimental to territorial guarding ability. Prices reflect breeder commitment to temperament and health, the costs of xraying of breeding stock and testing for genetic problems such as hypothyroidism, and the costs of frequently imported breeding stock to maintain genetic diversity.

    • admin says

      Thank you for your comment. "Mastiff-type" doesn't mean the mastiff itself :) The Caucasian Ovcharka is the molosser for sure.

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