Height: Ranges from 26 to 32 inches.
Weight: Weight can range from 70 to 160 lbs.
Other Names: Caucasian Ovtcharka, Caucasian Sheepdog, Caucasian Shepherd’s Dog, Kavkaskaya Ovcharka, Caucasian Owtcharka
The Caucasian Ovcharka originated in the Caucasian Republics, Russia. In his native Russia, he is known as the Kavkazskaya Ovcharka, in the Georgian Republic he is called Nagazi and in Armenia, he is known as Gampr. He is very powerfully built with a bear-like head and bluntly cropped ears. His thick coat can be short, medium or long and ranges in shades of dark to light gray or reddish to fawn with white markings and usually a distinctive dark facial mask. The breed is used as a Livestock Guardian, Protection Dog, and was also used as a fighting dog.
The Caucasian Ovcharka is protective, territorial by nature, alert, suspicious and a willing worker. He is even tempered, bold, intelligent and an independent thinker. The Ovcharka is faithful, fearless and can be ferocious when called upon to defend his territory. The breed must be properly socialized and requires early training. With proper training, he can be gentle, loyal and well-mannered but is not the breed for everyone.
In general, the Caucasian is very healthy; however, like other large breed dogs and as a minimum, breeding stock should be screened for hip and elbow dysplasia.
If you are considering the adoption of a Caucasian Ovcharka puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the General Information page.)
Additional Health Resources:
- Health and Nutrition — Growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website which includes information on several health and nutrition related issues.
- Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) — Providing a source of health information for owners, breeders, and scientists that will assist in breeding healthy dogs. CHIC is a centralized canine health database jointly sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).
- AKC Canine Health Foundation — Working towards developing scientific advances in canine health.
- OFA – Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER)
- Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
- Ontario Veterinary College (OVC)
- University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHip)
- HealthGene — HealthGene Corporation is the leading provider of veterinary DNA diagnostic services in Canada.
- Labgenvet — Laboratory of Veterinary Genetics is a Canadian diagnostic laboratory that offers a comprehensive service of DNA tests for veterinary genetic diseases.
- Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.
- Working Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD) — What is their Job?
- Livestock Guardian Dogs: Their Current Use Worldwide by Robin Rigg
- Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
- Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.
*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit: www.caninehealthinfo.org
*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.