Caucasian Shepherd Dog
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|Other names||Caucasian Mountain Dog|
|Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog (Georgian: კავკასიური ნაგაზი; Russian: Кавказская овчарка, romanized: Kavkazskaya ovčarka; Azerbaijani: Qafqaz Çoban iti) is a large guard dog breed from the Caucasus Mountains, commonly bred in the mountainous regions of Georgia.
The Caucasian Shepherd Dogs are strongly boned, muscular, but handsome and even-tempered molossers. Plain dogs have a shorter coat and appear taller as they are less strongly built. Mountain dog types have a heavier coat and are more muscular.
Caucasian Ovcharka are large dogs. The minimum height for females is 64 centimetres (25 in), with a desirable height between 67 and 70 centimetres (26 and 28 in). The minimum weight for females is 45 kilograms (99 lb). The minimum height for males is 68 centimetres (27 in), with a desirable height between 72 and 75 centimetres (28 and 30 in). The minimum weight for males is 50 kilograms (110 lb).
The Caucasus Mountains are home to many of the oldest living molosser landrace dogs, such as the Azerbaijani Volkodav, Azerbaijani Shepherd Dog and Georgian Shepherd Dog. During the 20th century the Soviet breeders selected some of these varieties among Caucasian dogs and created the Caucasian Shepherd Dog breed. The modern show class Caucasian Shepherd is a hybrid of established Caucasian types, fundamentally based on the Georgian Shepherd Dog, which is the largest and most muscularly built dog with attractive long hair.
Since ancient times 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.
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is an extremely independent, self-confident, fearless and intelligent dog. It is a highly protective territorial dog that is wary of unfamiliar people.
It is a low-activity dog, seemingly lethargic when not working, but noisy and intimidating when it feels its family is threatened. Although certain strains are more vicious than others, they are often very territorial and aggressive towards other dogs, needing early and careful broad socialization, as well as consistent, but never forceful, handling. This breed can be a good family-dog, if it is well-trained and socialized.
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is generally healthy and long-lived, averaging a life span of 10–12 years. Some dogs may have health problems in the form of hip dysplasia, obesity and occasional heart disorders, but the majority of these dogs are healthy if taken care of correctly. Good dog-breeders use genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the chances of diseases in the puppies.
The ears of the Caucasian Shepherd Dog are traditionally cropped, although some modern dogs are unaltered, as many people believe that this practice is unethical and cruel. If brought up by someone with extensive knowledge on the needs of a Caucasian Shepherd Dog, a dog should have much less chance of suffering from bad health.
Exercise and play-time are important to help prevent obesity in this breed. Outdoor activities such as hiking, chasing balls and retrieving flying discs can be a way to keep dogs active and mentally stimulated.
Variants and co-existing Molosser breeds
- Astrakhan type is found in the Kabardino-Balkarian region and is believed to be a cross between the Russian show type and the old Balkarian and Georgian mountain dogs, but Balkarian Molossers are also rooted in the Sarmatian Mastiff.
- A variant of the Circassian sheepdog (also called shepherd or mountain dog) was also introduced to the Ottoman Empire after the Russo-Circassian wars. As a result of crossing Ottoman, Kangals with the Circassian mountain dog (not to be confused with the Circassian wolfhound), the mixed Cherkes dogs emerged.
- Dagestan dogs are tall, wide-headed and athletic, short-haired and multi-colored.
- The Armenian Gampr dog is a breed different from the Caucasian Shepherd Dog. In general, Armenian dogs are divided into the large, short-haired and often solid-colored type and the slightly smaller wolf-grey or multi-colored dogs of medium-length coat with longer muzzles.
- The Georgian Shepherd is a related dog breed. It is muscular and athletic and is divided into two types: the short-haired Kazbegian dog, also known as "Nagazi", and the long-haired Georgian mountain dog. They are wide-headed, tall, often pure white colored or multi-colored. However, the Georgian Shepherd is not recognized as a standardized breed by any major kennel club.
- The large, short-muzzled, shorthaired fawn, brown, red, with or without white markings and extremely vicious Garban (Gorban) was developed from the Kars and the Kangal, as well as other Turkish dogs, being crossed with Armenian and Georgian dogs. The Georgian Akhaltsihnske type was created from Garban crosses with the Georgian Nagazi variant and gomik Turkey, resulting in longhaired, lightly built solid fawn, gray, and white dogs.
- A result of matings between the dogs of southern Kavkaz with Iranian Sarabi and Sage Mazandarani and the Kars Dog of Turkey, the impure Sage Ghafghazi is a lean, powerful and richly coated Mastiff, used as a caravan protector of the Shahsavan nomads who have been breeding it since the 17th century. These dogs come in a variety of colors, both solid and bicolored. A short-haired version of this dog with a very aggressive attitude towards anyone other than the caretaker is called a Sage Gorgy (Wolfdog). Its color is usually black or mixed with black and yellow. This dog is used for home protection, farm animal protection, and other efforts. This dog is often kept as a solitary dog because of its aggressive temper.
- The Volkodav variant also comes in two types, with the longhaired mountain and short-coated steppe dogs, always having black masks.
- There is also a rare short-haired Kavkaz Mastiff, known as the North-Caucasian Volkodav, which is on its way to receiving a separate breed recognition.9
- South Russian Ovcharka
- Mountain dog
- Georgian Shepherd
- Central Asian Shepherd Dog
- Armenian Gampr dog
- East European Shepherd
- "Caucasian shepherd dog" (PDF). FCI. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
- "Caucasian Shepherd Dog". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
- "Caucasian Ovcharka Breed Standard". United Kennel Club. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
- "Russian prison guard dog: Caucasian ovcharka". smartdogowners.com. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
- "Caucasian shepherd in Azerbaijan". Gurd Basar. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
- "Azerbaijan Shepherd Dog". Molosser Dogs. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
- . Molosser Dogs. Access 29 April 2019
- Qualities of Georgian Shepherd – First ever Georgian dog breed. Georgian Journal. Access 12 March 2019
- "Breed history". Caucasian Ovcharka Working Dog Club of America. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
- "Caucasian Shepherd, the Russian Bear Dog". russiandog.net. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
- "Caucasian shepherd dogs bred for hunting Russian bears go on sale in Northern Ireland for first time". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
- "Caucasian Ovcharka". Embrace Pet Insurance. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
- "Description & Information". Armenian Gampr Club of America. Archived from the original on 2016-11-27. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
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