Les_Football_Mom: What's your experience with Caucasian Ovcharkas?
This is a dog that I've been becoming more and more interested in. I was just wondering if anyone has ever owned one and what your experience was.
Don't worry, I'm not an impulse buyer, I do extensive research before I buy a dog... I did 2 years of research before I decided on a rescue APBT.
2 years is not too much. It wasn't just the pit that I was researching. It was the breed that I choose. I had narrowed my choices down to bully and mastiff breeds and from there researched several different breeds. I then talked to breeders, when to competitions, and talked to breed-specific rescues. I didn't want a puppy at the time, so I started meeting different rescue dogs.
Photo Credit: ThunderHawk Caucasians
Answers and Views:
Answer by oregano13
Beautiful dogs, I have friends with livestock who own them. But, in my opinion, unsuitable for 99.9% of households. They are willful, huge, difficult to train, and need very very consistent, experienced owners and a job to do on a daily basis. They are a breed that is really and truly not appropriate for a pet only home. Great at their jobs (livestock guardians), not great at being a pet without a job.
Answer by Katie
OP, oregano13 is ALMOST right about the Caucasian Ovcharka.
A few notes, however. All comments pertain to a WELL-BRED CO.
1) While considered a 'giant' breed, not all COs will reach 180lbs – only the largest of specimens even come close to them. My female CO is considered medium-sized at just over 110lbs, her brother a medium-sized male at 130lbs (with a bit more growing to do in his bone), so there's variation within the breed. But yes, they are quite large.
2) As for being difficult to train – absolutely not. The WELL-BRED CO is highly intelligent, eager to please, and very trainable. Again, you do get some that are more 'thick-headed' within the breed, however, those are anomalies. All of the COs I've worked with (20+ over the years) were well-bred and highly trainable.
3) This breed is not for everyone, in fact, it's only for a few – those who want/need serious protection, otherwise, the very traits that CO lovers love the breed for becoming a nuisance.
4) As for the CO having a 'mean reputation' – ONLY with strangers. When faced with a threat, the CO is one step higher than your most aggressive Rottweiler. However, the CO is PROTECTIVE-AGGRESSIVE, not dominance-aggressive like some flock guardian breeds (Rotties aren't d-a either, in my experience).
With family (individuals within the home/accepted 'friends' of the family), the CO is just a big suck. As with all dogs, you do need to train them to conduct themselves appropriately in the house (IE: housebreaking, food possession, begging for table scraps) The same dog that will happily try and eat someone that comes too close to my car is the same one that will flop down on her back at the slightest indication of a reprimand.
5) Witters is not wrong in saying that the CO is dog aggressive, HOWEVER, with socialization training, this can be managed. From puppyhood, I've been taking my dog Jade on numerous socialization outings PER WEEK. Petsmart/Pet Valu, outdoor markets, etc. It's a long, time-consuming process however the rewards of such are thrilling to a CO owner. Jade goes on weekly walks with a basset hound and regularly will sniff noses with dogs we encounter on our walks. THIS IS A RESULT OF LOTS OF SOCIALISATION. But yes, they are inherently dog aggressive.
5) They DO need a 'job' – for our girl, one of her twice-daily walks is the same route around a number of blocks so that she feels as though she's on 'patrol'. She is a family pet, so if you were thinking of getting a CO for flock guardianship (livestock), with proper training that would be a sufficient job. For my CO her 'patrols' combined with the occasional obedience session, she is one happy, well-adjusted dog.
Bottom Line: You cannot be a cream puff when owning a CO. It takes a lot of time, money, and will, as well as an ethical and knowledgeable breeder. I AM someone who wants serious protection AS WELL as a loving companion, and I can tell you wholeheartedly that while it hasn't been easy, it is one of the most rewarding experiences.
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