Caucasian Shepherd, the Russian Bear Dog

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 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 sheepdog 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 modern show class Caucasian dog is a hybrid of established Caucasian types and some lines of the Central Asian dog. The official standard of the Caucasian shepherd dog is fundamentally based on the Georgian shepherd dogs (Nagazi) that are the largest, muscularly built dogs with attractive long hair.

Russian Prison Dog

During the communist era this severe 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: 28 - 29 inches (72-75 cm), minimum 26,5 inches (68 cm). Females: 26 - 27 inches (67-70 cm), minimum 25 inches (64 cm). Weight: Males: Minimum: 110 pounds (50 kg); Females: Minimum: 99 pounds (45 kg).

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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

View the Caucasian Shepherd Breed Standard. Find a Russian name for your Caucasian Mountain Dog! Learn some Russian dog commands!




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