BaxterBoo Blog
December 14, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Caucasian Ovcharka

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  • Height: 
  • Weight: 
  • Historical function: Flock guard
  • Modern function: Guard dog 
  • AKC classification: Foundation Stock Service, Working Group designation

Physical Characteristics:

The Caucasian Ovcharka is a massive, naturally-occuring dog that varies depending on the region it is from. When from the mountainous regions of Georgia, Azerbaijani and Armenia, it is sturdier in appearance with thicker hair. Dogs from the plains are rangier in appearance with shorter coats. The Caucasian Ovcharka has deep-set, dark brown eyes. The hips are slightly raised from the topline. The tail is profusely covered with long feathering of heavy hair. The legs are long, muscular with heavy bones. The paws are large and heavy, with hair between the toes, providing excellent insulation and protection. The nose is black and prominent with well opened, large nostrils. The thick, dense, weather-resistant coat has profuse feathering and is especially effective at keeping out the cold. Coat colors vary from gray, fawn, tan, pied, brindle and white. In its native country the Caucasian Ovtcharka's ears are cropped short. 

History of the Breed:

The Caucasian Ovcharka breed originates in Georgia (the nation, not the state) but has spread through many countries. They were selected to be hardy and intelligent by both nature and shepherds, as they guarded livestock from predators in the Caucasus Mountains of the former Soviet Union. For hundreds of years the Caucasian Ovcharka has functioned as a guarding dog, herding dog, and historically as a fighting dog. Their faithfulness, protectiveness, and ferocity when called upon to defend is legendary. 


The Caucasian Ovcharka's original purpose was to protect livestock. The typical Caucasian Ovtcharka is assertive, strong-willed and courageous. Unless properly socialized and trained, the Caucasian Shepherd may exhibit ferocious and unmanageable tendencies. It is very brave, alert, strong and hardy. It does not accept people it does not know and it has a powerful urge to defend. Everything and everyone who belongs to the family, including children, cats, other dogs, etc., will be regarded by this dog as part of "its" family and will be respected and protected. This dog should not be left alone with children, because if play becomes too rough, the Caucasian Ovtcharka my feel the need to protect your child, and may do it extensively. It has no time for strangers, but it will greet family friends warmly. It can be rather dominant toward other dogs it does not know. 

  • Best suited for: This large dog needs room to play and roam. Excellent for rural living. 
  • Preferred living conditions: This serious dog needs at least a large yard and a job. 

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: This dog needs quite a bit of brushing and sheds heavily. 
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk or run, preferably off leash in a safe area.
  • Life expectancy: 10-11 years.
  • Health concerns: Health issues are unknown.

Breed Club Links: Caucasian Ovcharka Club USA Perfect Pairings:

Have any stories about a Caucasian Ovcharka? Please share!


joyce on December 14 at 7:00 PM said:

the dog looks like a big beautiful lion.
Lynn on December 15 at 5:10 AM said:

A big beautiful hairy lion
Z. on December 16 at 5:45 PM said:

Why is no one doing some proper research before they write a profile about a breed anymore? This article is filled with flaws. Caucasian Ovcharka's were NEVER used as herding or fighting dogs throughout history. And they most certainly were NEVER used to hunt bears with! They are a property and livestock guardian breed and the size for this breed that is indicated in this article is all wrong! Please read their official breed standard at:
Mary on December 17 at 1:12 PM said:

Z- I did the best I could with what is out there on the Internet. I spent a long time trying to sift out all the conflicting information that seems to be inherent in these rare breeds. Half the sites can't even agree on the proper name. Even choosing a photo is risky. Your passion for the breed is admirable. Thanks for taking the time to voice your concerns both here and on an email.
Z. on December 18 at 3:25 PM said:

Mary, you are right about that. But this is why I told you in my email that you should just stick with the official FCI breed standard for this breed. A lot of the conflicting information about this breed online is due to ignorance, personal agenda's, greed and nationalism. Thank you for changing some parts of this article, but I'm disappointed to see that it still says Caucasian Ovcharka's were historically used as a herding and as a fighting dog. This is not correct. Please just read the official breed standard, it says there what they were used for. I suppose I'm glad you at least removed the whole "bear hunting" part. The whole concept of a livestock guardian breed is for the dog to have a low prey drive and be able to function in a pack. A dog with high prey drive that wants to herd and fight won't make a good livestock guardian dog. There are several health issues that can occur in this breed (hip/elbow dysplasia, thyroid problems, allergies, heart conditions and so on and so forth). People interested in this breed need to look for an ethical breeder that at the very least x-rays all their breeding stock. Not to be rude or anything, but articles on dog breeds should in my opinion only be written by people with a lot of knowledge about that specific breed. In order to avoid all this incorrect and conflicting info being put online. Anyway, thank you for taking the time to respond.

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