- Breed characteristics
- History of the Caucasian Shepherd breed
- Appearance of the Caucasian Shepherd
- Character of the Caucasian Shepherd dog
- Education and training
- Care and maintenance
- Health and diseases of Caucasian shepherds
- How to choose a puppy
- How much does a Caucasian Shepherd dog cost
- Breed name: Caucasian Shepherd
- Country of Origin: Russia
- Weight: males 50 – 75 kg, females 45 – 70 kg
- Height (height at the withers): males 68 – 75 cm, females 64 – 71 cm
- Lifespan: 10 – 11 years
- Caucasian Shepherds are friendly only towards members of the family in which they live. All strangers and animals are viewed through the prism of distrust.
- Dogs have lightning-fast reactions. Always ready to stand up for the owner and his property.
- Caucasian wolfhounds are not bloodthirsty, but they are quite aggressive, so they need a firm hand. People who do not have the skills of raising and training guard dogs should think more than once before getting a "Caucasian".
- Shepherds are distinguished by phenomenal sensitivity. A sleeping pet is able to pick up the most insignificant rustles and noises.
- Dogs are relatively easy to tolerate the cold, so they feel great in the aviary and the booth.
- Caucasian Shepherds calmly treat the absences of the owner and do not require special attention to themselves. They can sit for hours, taking a wait-and-see position and looking out for potential border violators.
- Representatives of the breed grow slowly, reaching full physical and mental maturity only by the age of 2.
- Dogs are smart and trainable, although they are inferior to German Shepherds in the speed of mastering basic commands.
- Caucasian Shepherds are easily wound up and unrestrained in anger. The raging "Caucasian" is capable of pretty much ruffling the skin and nerves of even the most eminent representative of fighting breeds.
- Animals have good intuition and easily determine "by eye" the degree of possible danger.
Caucasian Shepherds - the nightmare of all hooligans and hunters of other people's property. Soft on the outside and harsh on the inside, these formidable giants have a number of advantages, among which the central place is occupied by the willingness to stand up for the owner and his material values. But special emotionality, as well as pliability, should not be expected from Caucasians. Any wolfhound is, first of all, a watchman and a guard, with an explosive character and his own views on life, and only secondly – a pet.
History of the Caucasian Shepherd breed
Caucasian Shepherds are among the oldest canine "clans", the history of which dates back thousands of years. For example, the ancestors of today's wolfhounds grazed sheep flocks in the foothills of the Caucasus long before the advent of Christianity. As for the origin of the breed itself, its founders are considered to be Tibetan Great Danes, which in ancient China were used for baiting and fighting. Some experts call Southwest Asia the birthplace of dogs, or rather, Urartu-the Ararat Kingdom, where the animals were in the service of cattle breeders and from where they began to disperse to adjacent territories.
Curious fact: the first "breeders" to whom Caucasian shepherds owe their outstanding guard instinct were ancient shepherds. It was they who were in charge of the binding of animals and the selection of puppies, cultivating and successfully developing useful working characteristics in them. For example, a real shepherd dog, in the understanding of Caucasian shepherds, had to have endurance and sufficient strength to deal with an attacking wolf. In addition, she was prescribed unpretentiousness in food and insensitivity to sudden changes in air temperature.
The Caucasian War became the impetus for the appearance of shaggy "mountaineers" in tsarist Russia. Participants in the fighting brought dogs as live trophies, while none of the newly minted owners of shepherds were willing to seriously engage in breeding the breed. Domestic breeders began to be interested in wolfhounds only in the 30s of the last century, after the Nuremberg Exhibition, but their breeding research was interrupted by the Second World War, which destroyed the entire gene pool of Caucasians. It was possible to restore the breed in the USSR only by the beginning of the 70s. From about this time, consumer demand for Caucasian Shepherds began to grow.
Video: Caucasian Shepherd
Appearance of the Caucasian Shepherd
What Caucasian shepherds can not be blamed for is the lack of charisma and external charm. Indeed, the muscular "mountaineers" look very solid, if not monumental. Long-haired individuals with lush, almost bearish "fur coats" that give the animals a resemblance to gigantic toys look especially colorful.
The minimum weight of a purebred male Caucasian wolfhound is 50 kg. However, most dogs do not stop at such modest indicators, often overcoming the bar of 70, and sometimes 100 kg. Sheepdog bitches are shorter and slimmer than males: the minimum permissible weight of a girl is 45 kg, with a height of 64 cm. But, as in any rule, there are also exceptions.
Wedge-shaped, with a flat forehead and prominent cheekbones. The skull of the Caucasian Shepherd looks massive, but the brow ridges and occipital protuberance in representatives of this breed are poorly expressed. The muzzle is wide, tapers smoothly from the base to the nose and ends with a strong chin. The stop is noticeable, but without a sharp transition.
Dry, fleshy, with good pigmentation.
Massive, white, incisors are located tightly to each other. Both scissor-like and straight bite types are acceptable. It is desirable to have a full set of teeth (42).
The back of the nose is smooth, wide, with a large lobe that does not extend beyond the muzzle. The nostrils are moderately open. Ideally, the lobe should be black, but an exception can be made for individuals with piebald and spotted coat colors.
Caucasian Shepherds have rounded eyes, located slightly obliquely and at a sufficiently large distance from each other. The look of the representatives of this breed is carefully focused, assessing. The colors of the iris fixed by the breed standard are all shades of brown, including dark brown and light walnut variants.
Small, hanging type and high postage. The ear cloth is tightly muscled with the inner part pressed to the head. Both the cropped and the natural shape of the ear is allowed.
Short, dense, with a developed nape.
The body of the Caucasian Shepherd is large, elongated, with a wide back, a short loin and a taut stomach. The croup is slightly rounded, elongated, with a slight sloping at the base of the tail. The chest is deep, noticeably stretched in breadth.
Crescent-shaped, set high. In a calm animal, it hangs down, reaching the hock joints, in an excited animal, it is raised above the back line.
The front and rear legs are set straight. Broad shoulder blades pressed against the body turn into strong, muscular shoulders. Pasterns are large and short. The hips of Caucasian shepherds are strong, "pumped up". The hocks are dry, wide and strong. The paws of all four limbs are large, arched, with fingers clenched into a ball.
Hard, noticeably lagging behind the body of hair with a pronounced undercoat. The average length of the awn and undercoat is 5 cm . On the ears, the wool forms funny tassels, and in the chest area it turns into a chic mane. On the back side of the front paws, the hair gathers into long feathers, the dog's thighs hide under soft downy "pants". The tail is abundantly covered with hair, which makes it seem thicker than it actually is. Depending on the length and structure of the coat, there are three types of Caucasian wolfhounds:
Individuals of the second type are in high demand among buyers. Of the entire tribe of Caucasian shepherds, they have the most striking and memorable appearance. Representatives of the first variety are easily confused with alabayami because of the short undercoat and similar build.
All types of piebald, solid and spotted colors are allowed, except for any combinations of black.
Caucasian shepherds whose anatomical features do not fit into the framework of the official standard are considered defective. An animal can be disqualified at competitions if it has the following malformations:
- insufficient growth (dwarfism);
- non-standard bite;
- brown-brown color and any of its variations;
- blue and black coat colors, as well as any combinations thereof;
- docked tail;
- blue or grayish shade of eyelids, lobes and lips;
- eyes of different shades, as well as uneven color;
- absence of one or more teeth (exceptions: third molars and first premolars);
- brown shade of eyelids, lips and nose lobes.
Photo of an adult Caucasian Shepherd
Character of the Caucasian Shepherd
Having a rather pleasant, and sometimes frankly affectionate appearance, Caucasian wolfhounds remain very serious pets, whose owners will have to constantly keep their finger on the pulse. These harsh brutals are focused on protecting a person and his property. No outsider, even one with the most insinuating manners, will be able to ingratiate himself with them. Intimidation and treats do not work on dogs either, so if you are looking for a first–class watchman with the makings of a professional bodyguard, the brave "mountaineers" will not disappoint you.
Caucasian Shepherds slightly "thaw" only being in the circle of people they love, which is not surprising in general. Endless devotion to home and family is one of the key characteristics of this dog tribe. However, in order to earn the trust of a pet, you will have to work hard on the image of a strict and fair owner, because the cult of strength for shaggy "security" is not an empty phrase.
Most Caucasian Shepherds are smart, balanced and quite adequate pets, with a hardened character. For example, they willingly spend time with children, taking part in their games and tricks. However, do not try to raise a forgiving nanny from a shaggy guard: the shepherd's job is to protect a person, not to serve him as fun.
Despite the natural severity, the "Caucasians" are not averse to sharing the territory with some pets. As for living with other dogs, the best company for a shepherd dog will be a representative of any of the decorative breeds. The miniature dimensions of a four–legged creature are a kind of guarantee of peaceful coexistence of pets, while in a larger individual, the Caucasian wolfhound will immediately feel an opponent that he will try to subdue.
Education and training
There are many myths about the bloodthirsty nature of Caucasian shepherds. At the same time, it is important to understand that no dog is born a killer. But it may well become her as a result of improper upbringing. An owner who neglects the training and socialization of a pet and does not know how to maintain his own authority risks raising an unmanageable and ferocious creature, with which he will eventually have to part. In addition, bringing a small puffer puppy into the house, not every buyer is aware of who this cute will transform into in a year. Keep in mind that growing up, Caucasian wolfhounds completely get rid of "childish" character traits, turning into self-confident and rather stubborn guards.
The upbringing and socialization of a puppy begin from the very first days of its appearance in the house. Special attention should be paid to individuals living in the city. A dog should not be afraid of public transport, growl at every passerby and chase stray cats. Since Caucasian Shepherds are slow-maturing breeds, they begin to be trained in the first teams at the age of 5-6 months. By the year the animal must understand and execute the following commands:
- "You can't!", "Fu!";
- "Sit!", "Stand!", "Lie down!";
- "To me!".
The Caucasian Shepherd is a personality dog, so do not try to persuade her to useless errands for a thrown ball or plate. Such activities cause the animal a feeling of bewilderment: why waste energy in vain if it can be saved up for a possible throw at the enemy? Innate stubbornness and a high level of intelligence prevent Caucasian wolfhounds from fully immersing themselves in the learning process. Surprisingly, a truly effective method of training shaggy "mountaineers" has not yet been invented. Moreover, with them, even the standard OKD (General training Course) gives very inexpressive results.
The qualities that the owner of a Caucasian shepherd dog will need in the process of training a pet are patience and endurance. In addition, it is necessary to establish close emotional contact with the animal, since representatives of this breed are distinguished by developed intuition and easily determine the mood of the owner by his facial expressions and voice. Do not be surprised, but the training of the Caucasian Shepherd dog can be delayed for 2-3 years due to the dog's dislike of repetitions. And it's not about the complexity of nature. The animal simply does not see the point in monotonous repetition of the same exercise, because it is much more reasonable to save energy for more interesting activities.
Do not be fooled by the advice of "experienced" dog owners who claim that Caucasian shepherds need to be beaten periodically so that they understand who is "the boss in the house". Nothing but anger and uncontrolled aggression, you will not achieve in this way. Yes, it is necessary to treat a pet strictly, and sometimes quite harshly, but to apply corporal punishment to him is the last thing. Bribing with sweets and caresses in a particular case is also not good. The Shepherd is not a vulnerable lapdog and she does not need your indulgences.
Like most dogs of large breeds, Caucasian wolfhounds have a tendency to dominate, so it is important to catch the moment when the animal begins to show leadership habits in order to further correct its behavior. It is not difficult to understand that your pet has gained strength and is preparing to subdue the household. Usually such a dog begins to neglect the rules of etiquette: beg for food; run into the house ahead of the owner; walking on a leash, break out and drag the person behind him. Individuals demonstrate aggression by growling at family members.
Specifics of training the Caucasian Shepherd ZKS
Whatever the advertising of cynological schools promises, the ZKS courses for the Caucasian Shepherd dog are pure formality. These harsh giants are born watchmen and bodyguards, and they do not need to be taught the correct reaction to any "alien" who violated the boundaries of the master's possessions. If you still want the dog to comprehend the subtleties of the protective guard service, get ready for the fact that during training your pet will not always show brilliant results. So, for example, an animal can simply ignore a provocation from the trainer and this behavior is explained simply: the dog does not see the need to resist a fake threat.
Ideally, ZKS training is conducted on the territory that the pet considers his own. Training on playgrounds and vacant lots disorient the dog. The animal does not understand why it should guard an uninteresting and completely unfamiliar place that does not belong to it. In addition, many of the skills instilled by the ZKS course contradict the nature of Caucasian Shepherds. In particular, most wolfhounds do not pursue an enemy who has fled, but the protective guard service requires the animal to do the opposite.
Caucasian shepherds also do not like to practice skills on a cotton-stuffed sleeve, preferring to bite into open areas of the instructor's body, which is why many dog handlers do not undertake to work with the breed. A troublemaker who has encroached on the health of the owner or his property, wolfhounds do not grab with their teeth, but fully tear, and to wean them from this habit, titanic efforts will be required. At demonstration competitions, dogs can also cheat and turn on the energy saving mode. Such half-hearted work indicates that the animal has managed to assess the frivolity of what is happening and does not consider it necessary to give everything for the sake of some kind of assessments.
Care and maintenance
The Caucasian wolfhound is a terrible owner who is truly happy only when he has something to protect. Accordingly, the best home for a pet will be a cottage with a courtyard and a plot of land. These shaggy brutals are not sensitive to temperature changes, so they feel quite comfortable in a spacious aviary. Keeping Caucasian Shepherds on a chain is also quite acceptable, but it should be a light chain up to 2.5 m long.
Settling a "Caucasian" in a city apartment is an extreme for a very big fan, which is practiced only by the most stubborn lovers of the breed. Yes, shaggy guards do not suffer from hyperactivity and do not arrange pogroms, but they cannot fully realize their security qualities in such conditions. Do not discount the difficulties with the placement of a pet. The Caucasian Shepherd is a large breed and its representatives need decent places. It is not enough to provide the dog with a spacious couch and a bowl for food, it is also necessary to provide an excellent overview of the room entrusted to her. In addition, when opening the door to each guest, the host will have to carefully monitor the reaction of his pet: a stranger who crossed the threshold of private property is enemy No. 1 for shaggy bodyguards.
You don't have to be a guru in the field of cynology to understand: long-haired Caucasian shepherds require more careful care than their short-haired counterparts. The soft hair of shaggy individuals gets into tangles, and in winter absorbs snow moisture, so long-haired wolfhounds are periodically combed and trimmed (the hair on the legs and paws is shortened). They wash the sheepdogs as needed, for example, when the animal got dirty in the mud or got bloodsucking "tenants". At the same time, it is better not to deny dogs bathing in open reservoirs, especially since the swimmers from them are excellent.
In spring and summer, "Caucasians" suffer from ear mites, so ear funnels in the warm season need to be examined and cleaned more often. If the animal shakes its head and scratches its ears, contact a veterinarian who will sort out the problem. Perhaps it's not the ticks that are to blame here, but otitis media.
The eyes of Caucasian shepherds are trouble-free, but some individuals have a congenital pathology in the form of a loosely adjacent eye eyelid. As a result: an infection from the outside gets into the eyes, causing inflammation. You can fight the problem with a decoction of chamomile or veterinary drops.
"Caucasians" like to gnaw bones at their leisure, or even wooden boards, the remnants of which get stuck between their teeth. So buy tweezers in advance, which you will use to free your pet's jaws from solid particles of food and wood. To remove plaque, which periodically appears in every dog, you can use a special brush and veterinary paste.
Cupping the ears
Previously, the ears of Caucasian shepherds were subject to mandatory cupping. The procedure was carried out far from for aesthetic purposes. In this way, ancient breeders tried to protect pets from blood loss, because the longer the ear, the greater the animal's risk of injuring it in a fight. Today, this requirement has been removed, but for old times' sake, most nurseries continue to practice this surgical operation.
The ideal age for cupping the ears of a Caucasian wolfhound is the first days of life. On the 5th day after birth, the ear tissue thickens, and it becomes more difficult and dangerous to work with it, since there is a risk of blood loss. Owners who have purchased a puppy with normal ears, but would like to stop them, it is better to wait until the dog turns one year old. At this age, the animal is able to undergo general anesthesia, under which the procedure is usually performed.
Important: do not play the know-it-all doctor and do not try to trim the ears of a Caucasian shepherd yourself. Each animal has a unique shape, thickness and size of the ear, so only a veterinarian or an experienced breeder can determine the principle of "cutting" this part of the body.
Of course, it is necessary to walk the "Caucasians", but it is not necessary to spend half a day with them on the street. Keep in mind that the shaggy security guards are not happy with too long promenades, because they prefer to save their strength for more serious matters. In crowded places, in a veterinary clinic and public transport, a muzzle is necessary. Dogs do not like this accessory, so it is better to teach pets to it from puppy age. The Caucasian Shepherd dog will need two leashes to "go out": a short one (from 1 to 1.5 m) to keep the animal at the feet of the owner, and a long one for walking itself.
Caucasian Shepherd Dog walking rules
- The dog is taken outside exclusively on a short leash and in a muzzle.
- It is strictly prohibited to walk Caucasian shepherds by children under the age of 14, as well as by persons in a state of drug and alcohol intoxication.
- If an animal is walking in a private fenced area, it is necessary to notify passers-by. The inscription: "Beware, evil dog!", attached at the entrance to the territory, will do.
Compared with representatives of other large breeds, Caucasian Shepherds are not very good. 35-45 g of natural food or 10-15 g of "drying" per kilogram of animal weight – this is the daily rate of feed consumption for an adult. The metabolism of sheep dogs is high, which allows them to "squeeze" maximum nutrients from a relatively small portion. In addition, their digestive system perfectly assimilates milk – a product that can provoke intestinal upset in most dogs. Here, however, it is worth making an explanation: only those individuals who have been accustomed to it are able to digest whole milk. If such food has not appeared on the dog's "table" for several months, and then unexpectedly returned, prepare for diarrhea.
The most important product in the diet of the Caucasian Shepherd dog is meat, and its coarse varieties: horse meat, lean beef, lamb. Offal and fish (mackerel, horse mackerel) are also not excluded. It is necessary to dilute animal proteins with cereals, as well as fruits and vegetables. Cereals (mainly rice and buckwheat) must be thoroughly boiled, otherwise the dog's stomach will not cope with them. You can cook cottage cheese for your pet: heat a liter of milk on the stove and add 4 tablespoons of calcium chloride to it when boiling. Apple and carrot salads with the addition of butter and banana puree are suitable as vitamin supplements.
Caucasian shepherds are not picky in food and willingly absorb everything that their owner gives them. Experts recommend not to accustom the dog to a special variety of food and delicacies, since representatives of this breed spend energy very sparingly and do not always have the opportunity to "burn" extra calories. So if your pet has started to suffer from loss of appetite, do not be afraid and do not try to force-feed him. It's just that the dog decided to arrange a fasting day, thus getting rid of the excess energy reserve.
Health and diseases of Caucasian shepherds
Caucasian Shepherds are a healthy and hardy breed with good immunity. Of the genetic diseases, they are seriously annoyed only by hip dysplasia and optic nerve atrophy. A little less often, dogs are diagnosed with bursitis and degenerative myelopathy. It is not necessary to discount viral infections, which are especially susceptible to individuals who are in the aviary.
Due to a sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity, many elderly animals gain excess fat, which ultimately leads to diabetes mellitus. Lack of motor activity can play a bad joke with the joints of the Caucasian Shepherd dog, provoking the development of arthritis.
How to choose a puppy
Immediately decide who exactly you need: a pet, a watchman and a bodyguard or a future successor of the Caucasian Shepherd family. If you plan to take an animal to a house where there are children, it is better to choose bitches who are more good-natured and more willing to learn. But keep in mind that "for health" the girl will have to be allowed to have offspring at least once.
Caucasian Shepherd dogs make excellent guards. But since the boys' character is more domineering, it is easier for them to subdue an inexperienced owner. So, before you settle a shaggy brutal male in your house, think carefully about whether you have enough stamina and strength to raise a defender from him, and not a ferocious aggressor.
When choosing a future watchman in the nursery, pay attention to his behavior. Active and contact puppies have the maximum potential. From quarrelsome and pugnacious kids, wayward leaders grow up, whose temper can only be curbed by a strict owner. Remember about the health of the puppy. Animals that have been kept in the right conditions should not have signs of inguinal or umbilical hernias. Cropped ears and the absence of dewclaws are signs that the breeder is responsible for his occupation and monitors the health of the wards.
Note: you can check the condition of a Caucasian Shepherd puppy with a simple test. Bring a piece of raw meat to the dog's nose – a healthy pet will react to this action with lightning speed and try to grab the treat.
Photos of Caucasian Shepherd puppies
How much does a Caucasian Shepherd dog cost
The cost of an average Caucasian Shepherd puppy ranges between $250 and $300. Offspring from parents who have made an exhibition career will cost one and a half to two times more expensive – $400 - $600 . The cheapest options are offered by virtual bulletin boards of the Avito type: on average from $100 to $150.