Caucasian Shepherd Dog

INTRODUCTION

Loyal, strong and courageous, the Caucasian sheepdog is a fierce protector of the family. They were bred to guard flocks and defend the home against wild predators in the rugged region of the Caucasus Mountains. They are also known as Caucasian Mountain Dogs, Russian Bear Dogs, Baskhan (Karachay) Pariy, Caucasian Ovcharka Dogs or simply CO, and there are many variants and types. This huge breed is very territorial and will not back down from a fight, even against bears or wolves. Caucasian Shepherd Dogs are intelligent, but their stubborn and independent nature can make them difficult to train. Their natural distrust of strangers and other animals can also lead to aggressive tendencies if an experienced handler does not keep them under control. This breed is not a good choice for novice owners and, although they are fairly low energy dogs, the large size of Caucasian Shepherds makes them unsuitable for apartment living and homes with small children. However, with proper training and socialization, Caucasian Shepherds can make good watchdogs, family companions and even therapy dogs. Although they may not appeal to first-time dog owners, Caucasian Shepherd Dogs will reward experienced, patient and consistent trainers with gentle love and affection that will make them excellent lifelong family members.

HIGHLIGHTS

The region of the Caucasus Mountains is vast and the shepherds of the area had different needs, resulting in several breed variants that were created to provide what the shepherds needed. However, most kennel clubs consider the Georgian Caucasian Shepherd Dogs to be the breed standard. Female Caucasian Shepherd Dogs only give birth once a year. Caucasian Shepherd Dogs are fierce guardians of their territory, but they are also low energy dogs. Weight gain is a strong possibility and must be addressed with proper diet and exercise. The communist USSR used this breed to guard prisoners and kept dogs in army kennels to create new breeds for military use. East Germany used Caucasian shepherd dogs to patrol the border created by the Berlin Wall. When the wall came down, the dogs were given to German families to live out the rest of their days. The Caucasian shepherd dog is one of the oldest Molossian breeds. Some archaeological finds trace them back to Mesopotamia. The coat of the Caucasian Shepherd has three lengths and a wide variety of colors. They shed quite a bit, but their thick fur keeps them warm even in very cold weather. Although they are naturally aloof with strangers and do not get along well with other animals, Caucasian Shepherds can be very gentle and affectionate, and some have even become therapy dogs with proper training.

HISTORY

The Caucasian Sheepdog is one of the oldest Molasser breeds, and the origin of these gigantic, protective dogs is a bit of a mystery. They originate from the mountainous Caucasus region and have been around for more than 2,000 years. Some believe they come from wolves that were domesticated, while others believe their ancestry includes mastiffs and other breeds. Many experts claim that the Caucasian sheepdog is descended from shepherd dogs that migrated from Tibet, but some modern archaeological evidence suggests that the breed dates back to Mesopotamia. Whatever their origin, Caucasian sheepdogs were invaluable companions to the shepherds of the region for centuries. They fiercely protected the flocks of sheep and their owners from dangerous wildlife such as wolves, jackals and bears. They had to be fearless, strong and intimidating, and at the same time resistant to cold and harsh conditions. Shepherds bred the qualities they needed in their dogs, and because the Caucasus Mountain region is so vast, many different variants of the breed emerged, although the Caucasian Sheepdogs that developed in Georgia became the breed standard recognised by most kennel clubs today. Sometime in the 1900s, the communist USSR began using Caucasian Shepherds as prisoner guard dogs and used them to develop other breeds in army kennels. In the 1960s, East Germany put the breed to work as border patrol dogs along the Berlin Wall. When the wall came down in 1989, some 7,000 patrol dogs were dispersed and many were given to German families to live out the rest of their days. Today, Caucasian shepherd dogs are primarily family companions, watchdogs and property guardians, although shepherds still use them to guard flocks. They have retained many of their cautious, aloof and sometimes aggressive traits and need early socialisation and firm training to avoid incidents. Breeders are likely to try to eliminate some of the breed’s less desirable tendencies as it becomes more popular.

Breed Characteristics:
Adaptability:
3/5
All Around Friendliness:
3/5
Health And Grooming Needs:
4/5
Trainability:
3/5
Physical Needs:
3/5
Vital Stats:
Dog Breed Group: Working Dogs
Height: 24 to 34 inches
Weight: 80 to 220 pounds
Life Span: 10 to 12 years

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