Q: Has anyone ever heard of a Caucasian Ovcharka? If so, what are some of your opinions of the breed?
Is this a good dog to have to protect my home from intruders?
Photo Credit: Ger Dekker
Answers and Views:
Answer by easy way is always mined
no, unless you own a 20 square miles ranch in Wymoing.
the name of the breed translated into english is caucasian shepard dog.
it is a breed selected for autonomy, decisive encounter with intruder, hunting of wolves and attacking of bears.
it can not be trained using usual methods working for "european" breeds; it is renowned for its restraint regarding food and shelter.
loyal to family, potentially deadly to intruders. it can and WILL challenge your alphadog position, and easily may be the family TYRRANT.
it is CAUCASIAN dog and it is where it belongs to.
Answer by Phil
Well I have owned ovcharkas for 14 years. I have to say I agree with most of the below. Although it does depend on the dog. And generally east european breeds (northern / central Russian have also been mixed btw) are pure and have few exceptions to the standard personality not like generally in the US. I find the crosses more dangerous than the pure & diluted of the breed as the intellect is lost in some cases & the "love the family no matter what" seems to disappear which is the only reason I allow this breed in my home. (click for video)
As a breeder this is my synopsis of the personality. They are;
1. Killers if not trained. Their instinct is to REMOVE the threat until it has no life in it. Not secure, not chase it away, not scare it, not sound an alarm …. they just turn from a gorgeous, cuddly, loving and wonderful pet, into a killing machine immediately under "threat" conditions.
2. Not for the weak. This breed are generally quite dominant. The females are a little better but generally you have to be the boss without question. If not then you will have NO control. and I mean no control. He/she will consider himself/herself the head of the family & even force you to do things. Although these dogs, unless you get really unlucky and get an unstable personality or treat it with violence, will never bite you or the family, he will use his weight, growl & general scare the crap out of you if you sit in "his" seat on the sofa. And he will choose who can come into your home and not him. He may even make you wait until he has finished eating your food from YOUR plate and then allow you to eat. a 90 klg, 80 cm (when fully grown) at the shoulder killer should NEVER consider himself the leader at any point. You will be safe but he will completely control your life, even punishing you for leaving him alone when you go to work :) And once an adult this character
3. Cannot be brought up with violence. An ovcharka will learn quickly and immediately from you. They must be heavily trained and constantly as their personalities change as they develop into maturity and beyond, and if you bring him up with violence he will learn this is the way to act. One way to have your lovely docile, family loving killer bite you is smack the living ….. out of him while a puppy. Only positive reinforcement.
4. They require expertise & training. You MUST, please for the love of everything that is holy, know what you are doing with dogs and be willing to put in the time. The caucasian ovcharka MUST be socialized, trained & worked (given a job) from 2 months old. Yes 2 months. Everyday from 8 weeks to 4 1/2 years old and then beyond but to a lesser degree, they MUST be socialized. You must also make sure the release time is immediate. And if nothing else please make sure this is the case.
An ovcharka will hit its target with its massive weight & forward force (their speed and agility in "kill mode" is just …. er scary) knocking the threat to the ground. They then take the stomach or throat depending what is the easiest to access. Their intention is almost always to kill. You must brian them to stop or release immediately. You kinda see why these dogs should not be owned by 99.9% of the population.
With 20 year experience breeding & training, and 40 years of owning dogs, I still go through a long laborious process in validating the personality of any Ovcharka I buy. They can be tested at 3 weeks, then again at 5 and then again at 8 weeks for aggression. I would NEVER own a high aggression Ovcharka, especially a caucasian.
5. Space. Now there are a lot viewpoints on this but I will give my experience on it. ovcharkas do not require huge amounts of space. A big garden, at least 200 m2 is required, and this a minimum, but they do work well in large open spaces as they need to know where the border of their territory is. Firstly you need to have control over what is their territory, then a nice 7-8 foot fence strong enough to have a ton of force applied to it. Ovcharkas don't tend to jump over a fence, no matter how they jump or warn passers by. They stand some 6-7 foot tall, and can jump a 9 foot fence easily, but as long as they only see the fenced area as their own they will stay within it.
A good ovcharka will not leave your side even off the lead (I do not suggest this btw) as once they reach 2-3 years of age the "job" kicks in. From that point on their whole existence is not based on chase balls, eat, reproduce, sleep, play or anything apart from – protect everything that it considers is his – everything,with NO regard for its own life. but with that in mind the ovcharka is used to following a herd slowly. Lazying around and due to hip dip (opening of the joint holes in the back legs) they should NOT be walked until 6 months, then only a little till 1 year, then again only a little, I would not suggest long walks or stairs until they reach 2 years or even 3 years old. Take them tot eh park and let them run around and stop when tired. This is ofc only my experience & some breeders will argue. But I find it positive in this breed that they do not require lots of space and when fully mature two walks a day are sufficient.
What matters and will always matter to your dog is time spent with the family. In our present life setup this is the most important part of socializing your dog. They are your baby until 15 years old (well fed Ovcharkas can live till 15-17 years old and average between 12-15) and you should treat them as such, but as their leader.
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My final comment is that this dog breed is the best I have ever had and have lots of different breeds as pets and for studding. They really are amazing dogs. Loving to the last, easy to train, compatible with the family, loving my cats, the imprint on one or two but bond with everyone including friends that come around regularly & local dogs that they know well, and they love to be cuddled and taken care off. They protect to the last, when I go to work, my family will never be hurt or have ANY trouble from anyone. But I put in the time every day, I am always the boss, I take their food away while they eat, any aggression to no-threats are seriously punished (bad dog in a stern, deep & very loud voice and thrown into the garden and made to lie down and stay preventing him/her from being able to do their "job" and having to be away from the family) and constant socialization.
I know how to train a dog in general behaviors, tracking & defense work so I can just about control this breed so they are not a danger to everyone they meet. So be warned this is not a show off dog, he will kill you on command aren't I so amazing cause I own a killer, this is a dangerous extremely skilled mass murderer in any but the most trained & dedicated individuals. (click for video)
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