The 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 video). The coat may be longer or shorter depending on the region the dog comes from.
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 Russia its 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.
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 Russian 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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Frequently asked questions about Caucasian Ovcharka
View the Caucasian Shepherd Breed Standard
Find a name for your Ovcharka dog in Russian!
Learn some Russian dog commands!