This ancient breed is large and in charge. They were bred in the mountains of Caucasus, somewhere between Europe and Asia and is known by many different names; the most common being the Caucasian Ovcharka or the Caucasian Shepherd. It comes as no surprise that these large dogs were used primarily to guard flocks of sheep from any predators, whether the threat was human or animal. Because of this role, the temperament of the Caucasian Mountain Dog can vary greatly. They can be either friendly and calm, completely warm and loving to their families, or they can be ferocious and unmanageable. How these dogs turn out relies completely on their owner’s ability to train firmly, yet kindly. This means, that while the protective nature of this breed may seem very attractive to some, the Caucasian Mountain Dog may not be the best fit for an inexperienced dog owner. While these large, fluffy dogs were used for protecting flocks originally, they are now used most often as a family dog; however, the aggressive and protective tendencies of this breed have caused its popularity to be rather low in the past. Most likely, as the popularity of the Caucasian Mountain Dog increases, selective breeding will work to decrease the protective overdrive of the Caucasian Mountain Dog.
The Caucasian Mountain Dog takes its name from the Caucasus Mountains which lie between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. The official standard for this dog is actually set by the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) as opposed to the AKC and is based on the Georgian Shepherd dogs. These dogs are large, sturdy, and well built. They were created from pre-historic Molosser dogs (such as the Tibetan Mastiff) and had a specific job of guarding flocks against human and animal threats, meaning that the Caucasian Mountain Dog is fearless and loyal. In the year 1990, Stacy and Russell Kubyn, a couple from Ohio, imported the first Caucasian Mountain Dogs to America and formed the Caucasian Ovcharka Club of America. While the popularity of these dogs has yet to sky-rocket, the United Kennel Club did accept it as an official breed and allowed the dogs to compete in events like obedience and rally. Despite the fact that this breed is still fairly rare in the United states, the Caucasian Mountain Dog is especially popular in Russia. It is commonly known by the name “Ovcharka”, which means sheepdog in Russian. While the need for sheep herding has declined significantly over the years, this popularity with the Russians ensures that the Caucasian Mountain Dog continues to be bred and used in shows, as well as becoming excellent family guard dogs and companions.
The Caucasian Mountain Dog is a massive dog that has a double-coat, consisting of a soft underlayer and a coarse outer layer. After the puppy fur has grown out and the dog has reached adult hood, the fur can vary in length, either becoming long, medium, or short. This will purely depend on the individual dog’s parents. The Caucasian Mountain Dogs that have long hair will possess a mane that encircles the neck, as well as feathering that trails down the back of the legs and tail. Medium coats will have less predominate feathering and hardly any mane, while the very rare short-haired Caucasian Mountain dogs will have no feathering or mane at all. Coloring can range from a white to a rust red. Black accents are common in this breed. The stature of the Caucasian Mountain Dog is firm and well balanced, with a large head and loose ears.
Just like all double-coated breeds, the Caucasian Mountain Dog will need frequent brushing. This is because shedding will happen consistently throughout the year and a good brushing a few times a week will help to decrease the amount of shedding. Once a year when the Caucasian Mountain Dog blows his coat in a heavy shed, frequent baths and daily brushing will help to shed the old coat faster. Besides brushing, routine cleaning of the ears and clipping of the nails in necessary. Dogs that have loose ears like the Caucasian Mountain Dog are more susceptible to ear infections, so frequent ear checks and cleaning are a must. Keep your dog’s nails trimmed so that they do not scratch others if the dog jumps up. If you can hear clicking on the floor when the dog walks, the nails need to be trimmed.