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Caucasian Mountain Dog Breed Description

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Breed Organization

United Kennel Club

Native Country

Other Names
Caucasian Sheepdog, Kavkazskaya Ovtcharka, Caucasian Owcharka, Caucasian Owtcharka, Sage Ghafghazi, Caucasian Ovtcharka, Russian Caucasian Ovtcharka, Russian Caucasian

Life Expectancy
Approximately 9-11 Years

Litter Size
Average 3-10 Puppies

Breed Group
Flock Guard

General Description

The Caucasian Shepherd Dog, otherwise known as the Caucasian Ovcharka, is a popular breed in Russia, Georgia, Armenian, Azerbaijan, and other countries where flocks and properties are protected by shepherds. The Caucasian Ovcharka is a large dog with a strong musculature and massive backbone. The male Ovcharka is larger and more massive than the females. They have larger and heavier heads, with a more expressed mane. The Caucasian Ovtcharka has ears that are quite furry for insulation and also dark eyes that are deep set. The tail of the Ovtcharka is covered extensively with heavy hair. Their forelimbs are straight and long, with a dense bone mass. Their paws are quite large, with hair between the toes. This helps provide the breed with good insulation and protection. The nose of the Ovtcharka is black and quite prominent, with large nostrils. The thick dense coat of the Caucasian Ovcharka is weather resistant and is very effective at keeping out the cold. Adult coats are coarser than the coats of puppies. The color of the Ovtcharka varies from fawn, pied, tan, gray, white, and brindle. The Caucasian Ovtcharka’s ears are usually cropped short in its native country.

Breed Standard

Head: Massive and broad. Distinct stop. Relatively short muzzle with large black or brown nose. Thick, though tight, lips.
Ears: Set on high, drop, cropped short.
Eyes: Small, oval. Dark color.
Body: Slightly longer than tall. Powerful, short neck. Deep, broad, slightly rounded chest. Short loin. Belly moderately tucked up. Broad, muscular back. Broad, muscular, almost horizontal croup.
Tail: Set high, hanging down in the shape of a sickle, hook, or ring. Docked tails are permitted.
Hair: Straight and coarse. Shorter on the head and front of the legs. Extremely thick undercoat of lighter color.Three types:- Long hair with mane, feathering, culottes, and plume.- Short hair without mane, feathering, etc.- Medium length hair, long, but without mane, feathering, culottes, or plume.
Coat: Gray in patches with a variety of nuances, normally light and tending toward red, white, reddish-brown, brindle and piebald and speckled.
Size: Dog: at least 65 cm. (26 in).Bitch: at least 62 cm. (24 in).
Weight: 45 to 65 kg. (99-143.5 lb).


For centuries dogs similar to the Caucasian mountain dogs have served shepherds in the Caucasus mountains as livestock guardian dogs, defending sheep from predators, mainly wolves, jackals and bears. Caucasian Shepherd Dogs served as guard dogs, bear hunting dogs and today they work as prison guard dogs in Russia.

During the twentieth century Soviet breeders selected some of these varieties among Caucasian dogs and created the Caucasian Shepherd Dog breed. Caucasian shepherds were first described by the famous Russian cynologist Aleksandr Mazover, noting that the center of distribution of the breed, both in terms of numbers and quality, were Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Dagestan. These dogs have been used throughout history by many different militaries, but the Caucasian Mountain Dogs existence dates back to ancient times.

While the dogs from different areas of the region shared the general features today present in Caucasian shepherds, Caucasian Shepherds from Georgia were considered to be the best examples of the breed due to their size, powerful musculoskeletal structure, and attractive long hair. For this reason, Georgian SSR became a principal region of cultivation of Caucasian Shepherd Dogs in the Soviet Union.

The breed was definitively accepted by the Federation Cynologique Internationale in 1984, under the patronage of the Soviet Union.


This very rustic breed requires little care and adapts easily to all climates. The Caucasian Sheepdog is well-balanced, active, and even-tempered. However, he is suspicious of strangers and may bite. Firm training is required.

The Caucasian Sheepdog requires space and exercise. Weekly brushing is sufficient.


Herder, Guard and Defense Dog, Pet.


Hip dysplasia, obesity and occasional heart problems are known to occur.

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