Caucasian Shepherd Dog

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Caucasian Shepherd Dog
Large heavy set dog standing in front of trees. Medium length thick hair, white base with orange/brown spots on back and top of head. Reminiscent of a Saint Bernard.
Other names Azerbaijani Shepherd Dog
Caucasian Ovcharka
Georgian Nagazi
Caucasian Mountain Dog
Circassian Sheep Dog
Armenian Khobun Dog
Kars (Kafkas) Köpeği
Origin Georgia
Armenia
Azerbaijan
North Caucasus
Traits
Weight Male 55–100 kg (121–220 lb)
Female 45–80 kg (99–176 lb)
Height Male 70–90 cm (28–35 in)
Female 65–75 cm (26–30 in)
Coat Tan Leather
Colour Any solid colour, piebald or spotted colour, except black and liver.
Classification / standards
FCI Group 2, Section 2 #328 standard
AKC FSS standard
The AKC Foundation Stock Service (FSS) is an optional recording service for purebred dogs that are not yet eligible for AKC registration.
UKC Guardian Dogs standard
Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)
Size of adult caucasian shepherd

The Caucasian Shepherd Dog (Adyghe: Хьапарий, Hapariy, Karachay-Balkar: Парий, Pariy, Armenian: Կովկասյան հովվաշուն "Kovkasyan hovvashun", Azerbaijani: Qafqaz çoban iti, Georgian: ნაგაზი "Kavkasiuri nagazi", Ossetian: Аргъонахъ Arghonaq, Russian: Кавказская овчарка Kavkazskaya Ovcharka) is a large breed of dog that is popular in Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and North Caucasus area. It is extremely popular in Georgia which has always been the principal region of penetration of the Caucasian shepherd dogs, and the official standard of this breed is fundamentally based on the Georgian-type Caucasian shepherds for being the largest, muscularly built dogs with attractive long hair.

Description[edit]

Appearance[edit]

Also known as Caucasian Ovcharka or Bashan (Karachay) pariy, Caucasian shepherd dogs are strongly-boned, muscular, and even-tempered molossers. Plain dogs have a shorter coat and appear taller as they are more lightly built. Mountain dog types have a heavier coat and are more muscularly built. Caucasian shepherds are large dogs; however, there is no recorded maximum height or weight. The minimum height for females is 64 centimetres (25 in), with a desirable height between 67 and 70 centimetres (26 and 28 in). They weigh at least 50 kilograms (110 lb). The minimum height for males is 68 centimetres (27 in), with a desirable height between 72 and 75 centimetres (28 and 30 in). Males usually weigh between 60 kilograms (132 lb) and 100 kilograms (220 lb), while some large individuals may even reach 120 kg.[1] The Caucasian shepherd is rather intelligent; however, they can be insolent and refuse to listen at times. They also can be fairly aggressive towards people they do not know and with incorrect handling this can be problematic. This can be overcome by proper training.

Health[edit]

The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is generally healthy and long lived. Some dogs may be faced with health issues in the form of hip dysplasia, obesity and occasional heart problems. But 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 Sheperd Dog are traditionally cropped, although some modern dogs are unaltered, as many people believe that this practice is unethical and cruel. The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is long lived averaging on a life span of 10–12 years. If brought up by someone with extensive knowledge on the needs of a Caucasian Shepherd Dog, the chances of health problems should lower dramatically. Exercise and play time is a crucial part of the Caucasian Shepherd dogs life to help prevent obesity. Outdoor activities such as hiking, chasing balls and retrieving flying discs can be a good outlet of releasing energy.

Training[edit]

Caucasian Shepherd Dogs require very specific and detailed training. From the ages of 0–9 months the obedience of the dog has already been formed. It is recommended that an expert begins to train the dog from the ages of 7–8 months old. The training that is involved in this early stage should be light guidance on the teaching of obedience. Puppy school has been described as a bad option for the Caucasian Shepherd dog. They don’t tolerate other dogs very well and get out of control easily; this can be difficult to manage even if they are still young. After the early stages and training of a Caucasian Shepherd Dogs life, they can move on to learn about how to herd different types of livestock and defend them if the situation arises. Caucasian Mountain Dogs are suited for experienced dog owners that are able to display strong leadership so that the dog always knows who is in charge, otherwise the dog might assume that he needs to take on the alpha role, which could result in deadly circumstances. It is important to expose the dog to extensive amounts of socialization to teach it that not all humans are enemies, starting this routine from a young age could be helpful. Caucasian Shepherd Dogs are not recommended to be adopted into families with young children because of their guardian instinct and powerful bodies.

Breed structure[edit]

History[edit]

Caucasian shepherd guarding poultry

The Caucasus mountains are home to some of the oldest living Molosser breeds, the Caucasian Mountain Dogs. There is a great variety of types among the Caucasian dogs depending on their home region, but a single type has come to be favored in the show rings and literature, at the expense of other breed variants.

Although its first official Show-Ring appearance outside the Caucasus was in the 1930s in Germany, the Caucasian Mountain Dog has existed since ancient times, like many Eastern Molossers. They served shepherds in the Caucasus mountains as guard dogs, defending sheep from predators, mainly wolves, jackals and bears. They are still successfully served in this job, especially in Georgia, and the shepherds life is impossible without these dogs. The show dogs, also known as Caucasian Ovcharka, were created by the USSR during the 1900s using the dogs taken mainly from Georgia. Now, Caucasian shepherd dog is a fully standardized breed recognized by the major kennel organizations, including FCI, AKC and UKC.

Recent history[edit]

  • Georgian dogs are tall, heavier and wide-headed as usual. Georgian dogs are divided in two types white short haired dogs(Kazbek types) and long haired dogs.
  • The Armenian dogs are divided into the large, short-haired and often solid-colored type and the slightly smaller wolf-grey or multi-coloreddogs of medium-length coat with longer muzzles.
  • Daghestan dogs are tall, wide-headed and athletic, short-haired and multicoloured.
  • 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.
  • The Turkish Caucasus dogs are divided into four types, those being the Garban, the Georgian Akhaltsikhe type and the Kars Dog.
  • 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 the Armenian and Georgian types.
    • The Georgian Akhaltsihnske type was created from Garban crosses with the Georgian Nagazi variant and gomik turkey, resulting in longhaired, lightly built solid-coloured white, fawn and grey dogs. The Circassian variant is believed to be a result of crossing the Kangals with the Cherkes dogs introduced to Turkey after the Russian-Circassian wars.
    • The Kars Dog is a variety closely associated with the Kars Province of modern Turkey (historically Armenian area around city of Ani) and is today seen as a separate breed. The Armenian Gamprs are sometimes smaller than the Georgian dogs and are longer than they are tall, and come in a variety of colors.
  • The Volkodav variant also comes in two types, with the longhaired mountain and short-coated steppe dogs both being smaller than Georgian and Armenian types, always having black masks.
  • A result of matings between the dogs of southern Kavkaz with the Sage Mazandarani and the Kars Dog of Turkey, the Iranian 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 Iranian Caucasians come in a variety of colours, both solid and bicoloured.
  • There is also a rare short-haired Kavkaz Mastiff, known as the North-Caucasian Volkodav, which is on its way to receive a separate breed recognition.

A short haired breed of this dog with a very aggressive attitude towards any one who is not the care taker of the animal exists in Iran. Normally black or black and yellow color, it is called a "sage gorgy" (Wolf dog). 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.

As mentioned above, the modern working Caucasian dogs have established a civilisation in Georgia. Historically, the Caucasian Molossers were used for centuries to protect properties, guard livestock, and kill wolves. Today, especially outside the Caucasus, they are widely employed as companion animals and watchdogs, while in their native Caucasus they are still protecting sheep as well. Most prized as a property guardian, the Caucasian shepherds are good protectors. The Caucasian Mountain Dog is a low activity dog, seemingly lethargic when not working, but agile and convincing when it feels its family is threatened. Although certain strains are more vicious than others, all Caucasians are very territorial and dog-aggressive, needing early and careful broad socialization, as well as firm, but never forceful, handling. This breed can be a family dog, if well trained and socialized.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ FCI breed standards, group 2, section 2.2, Molossian / Mountain type

External links[edit]