Caucasian Ovcharka Guardian Dogs (also known as: Caucasian Ovtcharka, Caucasian Sheepdog,   Caucasian Shepherd's Dog,  Kavkaskaya Ovcharka,  Caucasian Owtcharka  (NOT mountain dog!)

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*early neutering






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Last updated:
December 24, 2008

Interesting Quotes:

"In the last 4-5 years, parvovirus in the US has been the biggest problem for kennels, even in vaccinated dogs."
(Foster-Smith Pet
Catalog, Vol. 03-57)


"She was a seven-month-old, gorgeous, taupe-colored devil in dogs clothing. But I loved her."
(Paul Loeb)


"The diet of our companion animals is deplorable. So many dogs and cats eat out of bags full of poor ingredients, rancid fats and powerful preservatives."
(Don Hamilton, DVM
from Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs)


Command; he thee obeys most readily.
Strike him; he whines and falls down at thy feet.
Call him; he leaves his game and comes to thee
With wagging tail,
offering his service meek.

If so thou wilt, a collar he will wear;
And when thou wish to take it off again,
Unto thy feet he crouchest down most fair,
As if thy will were all his good and gain.
(J. Molle)


"The more confidence you have in your dog, the more he will believe in you."
(From: Smarter Than You Think, by Paul Loeb)


"The housebound dog leads a stressed existence. It cannot express its natural behaviors: stalking, chasing, exploring, investigating."
(From: The Dog's Mind, by Bruce Fogle)





SHOULD I Own a Caucasian Ovtcharka?

"Rudi" comin' at you!

As you research and learn about this lovely and amazing breed, you will often hear - and rightly so! - "This is not a breed for everyone!"  I think that the simple reason for this statement is that owning CO requires a much higher level of commitment and understanding on the part of the owner than with most other breeds.

1. One person recently said to me that she had heard that you have to be the "alpha" with this breed.  A lot of people, when they think of the term "alpha," have in mind pictures of a raving German Shepard being "strung up" when he gets out of line, or doing the "alpha rollover" and biting the ear of a Rottweiler to prove to the dog "who's boss."

To me, "alpha" means consistency.  Setting the rules, and then following those rules every - single - time - from - the -very -beginning.  That's what happens in a wolf pack.  If the alpha wolf were to let his rule drop just one time, he'd not be the alpha any longer; another pack member would take his place.  And if you have ever witnessed a bitch with her puppies, she lays down the law and does not take any "static" from them.  As John and Mary Holmes put in their book, The Complete Australian Cattle Dog, "Unlike many human parents, a bitch is never dominated by her puppies, in spite of there being a whole litter of them.  If she wants a bone, she takes it.  If a puppy were to be so rash as to try to take it from her, that pup soon regrets the action."

The 'stare' and soft growl from Mom
"Svetlana's" puppies really want that bone -- but they
dare not take it!

There are also alpha/dominance areas within our living situations.  That is one reason we don't let dogs on the couch or bed.  Our dogs love to come into the house and consider it a privilege just to lie on the carpet by our feet.  They are happy; we are happy.  No potential arguments about pulling dogs off couches, no muddy feet or hair on the cushions.  They literally "know their place," and feel secure and happy in that knowledge.

Puppies first learn submission from their parents and older dogs

Plus, let me tell you, I am not at all interested in "stringing up" a 150-pound Caucasian!  My dogs are just going to have to learn the rules and all their manners when they are pick-up-and-carry sized puppies.

Luka tips the scale at 120 pounds BUT at 9 months old,
she is STILL a puppy!
I certainly am glad she learned her basic obedience commands
and good manners while she was little!

2. A person considering buying a Caucasian Ovtcharka should be an experienced dog owner.  If you have never had a dog before, especially a large, robust dog, I suggest that perhaps you start with a smaller variety and "practice" with him or her.  For example, mistakes made with a little French Poodle could mean, "Ooooh, cute and funny," as he jumps onto the back of the sofa and rams into the picture window, then races to the door and gloms onto the vistor's leg.  Out of control?  Yes.  Cute and funny?  Well, I wouldn't say so (I think all dogs should be well-mannered regardless of size), but some people might.  Now, can you imagine the same scenario with your CO?  Absolutely not!  Training mistakes or no training at all with your CO could make your life miserable and/or mean the end of that CO's life.

When you get little "Frenchy" to the point where he is obedience-trained, has wonderful manners, obeys your commands, is controllable on and off leash; when you have gained knowledge of proper canine nutrition and simple first aid techniques; when you have developed an understanding of basic canine psychology/pack sociology; and most importantly, when you have trained yourself to respond to your best friend with respect, patience and understanding, then buy a Caucasian, from a breeder who has dogs with the kind of temperament that you need.  Then and only then can you mold your new Caucasian pup into a dog that will be your best friend ever.

Do you have room to exercise your pup off-leash?
Remember, a tired puppy is a good puppy
("Luka," nine months old and still growing)

I don't mean to discourage you.  In a lot of ways, the CO is easier to train than a lot of breeds.  We have found the CO to be very intelligent and very eager to please - a winning combination in anyone's book.  While I could take a 2x4 (figuratively speaking, of course!) to my Blue Heeler and it wouldn't phase him, a simple, soft-voiced command is all that is necessary with my big shaggy guys.

Different breeds for different purposes.  You might want an independent Border Collie to take it upon himself to chase a sheep back to the flock without your having to tell him.  You might esteem stubbornness in a Blue Heeler who will get kicked in the head by a cow but go immediately back to his job.  With the CO we find a certain amount of ruthlessness when it comes to predators; and in a guard that is what we want.  However - and this is very important - that trait had better be balanced with good judgment and controllability.

Training Soyuznik was easy.  He simply did what I told him to do.  He was not uncertain.  He did not get nervous or upset.  The "heel," the "automatic sit," the "sit-stay," the "down," he just simply learned it and did it.  eager to please and confident, he enjoyed his lessons.  He seems to ask my permission to do things when I am around him.  "Can I run here?"  "Okay."  "May I chase this chicken?"  "No, you may not."  "Can I eat meat off this bone of the lamb you just butchered?"  "Of course, bon appetite!"

When I am trying to take photos, he runs to me.  "No, I don't want your big face in my camera - it won't focus."  After he romps off again, I call his name so he will look at me and then yell, "STAY!" so I can take the pictures that appear on this Web site.  I have to say that Soyuznik minds better than any dog I have ever had.

I have confidence in "Svetlana's" sit-stay at four and a half months old

Svetlana was just as smart, but her personality was different.  Her attitude is:  "Oh, I have to be the best one!"  She tries a little too hard to please, hugging my leg during the heel exercise, her auto-sit a bit crooked as she is saying, "Am I doing this right?  Am I?" 

"Yes, Svetlana, you're doing just fine."

Ditto with Rudi, except that he does everything with a bounce!

Our dogs tend to live up (or down) to our expectations.  I expect my dogs to be well-behaved in the house and car.  If you expect them to come when called, if you expect them to obey your commands, guess what?  They will; because you will train them with that result in mind.

Puppies are expected to be well-behaved in the house and car.
And young Soyuznik certainly was!
(I wish I could say the same for kitties.)

3. Examine your own personality.  Know this:  Your anger must never be vented on this dog!  Devoted to their masters, but also very physically strong and powerful, as well as proud and sensitive, Caucasians do not take well to being beaten or threatened.  In other words, do NOT loose your temper with your dog!  It is up to you to lead, to punish only if warranted and only if he knows he has done wrong.  Again, the rules must be taught before they can be enforced.

Powerful, swift and agile

4. Do you have a job for your Caucasian?  Please do not expect your CO to merely be a "fixture" or "conversation piece," left and forgotten, alone in his kennel day after day.  Our dogs crave the attention and interaction with their people.  Pent up energy can become destructive if not given an appropriate outlet.  The Caucasian Ovtcharka is a working breed.  Use him as he was intended as much as possible.  As a guard for person, property or livestock, he will need no training; as a companion, he is completely devoted, versatile.  Spend as much time with him as you can.  If you must be away at work many hours a day, consider getting a second dog or cat to keep each other company.  Put yourself in your dog's place.  Forced "solitary confinement" for long periods can be torture.

Okay, so let's come right out and sum it up:  When raised correctly with firmness, consistency, understanding, patience and love, this breed has the potential for being the best dog you have always dreamed of!

"Having bred this unique breed for 20 years, I know that after purchasing a Caucasian Ovtcharka and rearing the puppy, you will never be able to replace it with another breed.  Your soul and heart will bond with the dog.  Caucasian Ovtcharkas are not merely gifted animals - they are intellectuals, who actually think and impress with their actions, noble souls and expressive looks.  Nature gave birth to the Caucasian Ovtcharka, the best of all dogs, and has been gently protecting its remarkable creation for several millennia.  Perhaps God Himself envisioned a man's loyal friend as clever, strong, enduring, as well as incorruptible and tender with its master and other members of the household."      (Vasili Platunov of Est-Alfa Kennel, FCI judge)

So, knowing all this and with careful consideration, you decide that a Caucasian is the dog for you, I congratulate you!  I wish for you and your Caucasian Ovtcharka a happy and interesting life together!

Our Montana landscape, extreme, wild and rugged,
most often includes a Caucasian Ovtcharka



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