A dog with many names, the Caucasian shepherd is a large mountain dog with beautifully thick winter fur. This breed also goes by Caucasian Ovcharka, Caucasian Sheepdog, Kawkasky Owtscharka, and Kaukasische Schaferhund, showing that its lineage has traveled all over the world. Caucasian shepherd puppies are cute, but keep in mind they’ll grow to be giant dogs! Plenty of training and socialisation is in order with these protective, smart pups. This is a relatively rare breed, especially in the West.
Born and bred in the Kavkaz (Caucasus) mountains of Eastern Europe, the Caucasian shepherd was first mentioned as early as the first century BC. Research suggests that this breed is closely related to the sheepdogs of the Balkans and mastiffs of Asia, and was used in guarding herds all across the Caucasus mountains.
In the 1920s, the Caucasian shepherd was known in the USSR as the “Russian Bear Dog.” During this time, breed experts officially bred the Caucasian shepherd for traits like improved sight and hearing and the fearless self-confidence that comes from being a resilient mountain dog.
Before they develop into large-and-in-charge protectors, they’re adorable fluffball puppies. Here are some facts to consider before getting your Caucasian shepherd puppy:
|Size||Large. Caucasian shepherds reach heights of 58-76cm (23-30 inches) at the shoulder and weigh between 45-77kg (99-170 pounds).|
|Breed Characteristics||Slightly rectangular in build, the Caucasian shepherd is strongly built with muscle and bone mass for cold mountain weather. There are two main types of this breed, the Mountain type (long-coated and heavy body mass), and the Steppe type, which is a little leaner with a shorter coat. They come in a variety of colours that are usually mixed. Some of the most present colours are agouti, white, black, grey, fawn, red, rust, and cream.|
|Temperament||Equal parts fierce and gentle, the Caucasian shepherd was bred to guard, and guard they shall. They have a natural self-confidence that comes with being a large dog and can be quite fearless at times.
However, when it comes to their pack (you and your family), they are quite kind and gentle and love affection from their little tribe. However, they can get temperamental when unknown people are in your household as they are bred to be highly protective animals.
|Grooming and Health Needs||The long-coated varieties of the Caucasian shepherd need to be brushed regularly 2-3 times a week as they shed quite frequently, while the short-haired versions less so. Their nails grow fast and strong, so it’s important to clip them regularly as well.
In general, the Caucasian shepherd is a healthy and strong breed, but it’s very important to check with accredited dog groups on what ailments this particular breed faces.
|Training||Due to their size and temperament, the strong-willed Caucasian shepherd can be a hard breed to train properly. It will take a lot of patience, as they are too independent at times, and may not want to take your direction.
They’re wary of strangers and unfamiliar dogs, so traditional group training courses with other animals may not be ideal. Instead, working one-on-one with a well-informed trainer could be a better situation. However, as with all dogs, it’s important to take them to puppy socialisation classes early.
|Energy Level||Caucasian shepherds tend to be low-energy and may appear to not move much indoors, with spurts of energy once outside. They’re generally calm unless on alert against potential intruders and enjoy a daily on-lead walk with their family members.|
|Life Span||Caucasian shepherds live between 10 – 12 years on average.|
Caucasian shepherds are fiercely loyal dogs. They are great protectors of your household, yet get along well with children and other dogs alike—as long as they are within your family unit. It’s important to note that these dogs do not like strangers, and may have difficulty if you invite people over that they do not know. Thus, a busy household with many guests may not be the best fit for a Caucasian shepherd puppy.
Caucasian shepherds do best in a cooler climate due to their thick coats and love having a fenced-in outside area to run around in. A big dog can mean big responsibility. Doing extensive research on this impressive breed will ensure success in adding a new furry family member to your tribe.
Choosing to adopt or go through a breeder for your new Caucasian shepherd puppy is a personal choice that requires research. Thankfully, there are many resources out there to help you find a rescue or breeder that offers healthy, ethically sourced Caucasian shepherd puppies.
Knowing what you’re in for when you get a Caucasian shepherd puppy is an important step in being a responsible pet owner. Whether you find a responsible breeder or are planning on adopting, it’s up to you to be prepared for an energetic and friendly addition to your household. If you can’t be around to give your dog the mental and physical exercise they need, Rover.com‘s got your back! Plenty of our sitters offer dog boarding as well as cuddles.
Adopting Caucasian shepherd puppies
It may be surprising to know, but adopting a Caucasian shepherd puppy is possible.
Most breed rescues report that a majority of their rescue dogs come from individual owner surrender, with the most common reasons being a change in lifestyle or the breed not being right for them. This means that there may be many dogs and puppies out that that are looking for a new forever home.
The main difference between a breeder and a rescue is that a rescue may not always have young puppies to choose from. The benefit, however, is that most are mandated to only adopt out dogs that have been microchipped and spayed/neutered. This means you may end up with a dog that’s already been housebroken, and doesn’t need these common medical procedures.
Finding a Caucasian shepherd rescue can be as simple as searching the internet. This German shepherd rescue group also re-homes Caucasian shepherds on their site.
Finding a Caucasian shepherd breeder
The first step is to do your research. Sadly, there are many puppy mills posing as reputable breeders along with many online scams. Be aware, and reach out to different online forums for conversations about getting your future furry family member.
Be sure to ask questions, make arrangements to meet the parent dogs or mother, and follow your gut. If something seems wrong at a breeder you visit, or the Caucasian shepherd puppy seems to good to be true, there’s likely something going on.
After you find the right Caucasian shepherd puppy, it’s time to prepare your home! More than just showering love on your new family member, creating a healthy environment for your pup means storing away a few things and purchasing the right kind of food. Here are a few resources to get you started: