The Caucasian Ovcharka is a very special Russian shepherd dog. In some cases they reach enormous sizes. They were once bred to take on large predators. They protect homes and livestock in the remote regions of Russia. The dogs themselves look a bit like a mixture of bear and wolf.
The official breed designation is caucasian shepherd dog or Kavkazskaïa Ovtcharka. They are very widespread in Russia Shepherd and guard dogs. The breed standard is defined and controlled from Russia to this day.
Depending on the region and requirements, different forms of the Ovcharka have formed. In the vast steppes of Russia you can find the lighter and more agile type. Larger and more sedate they are in the mountainous regions.
The Caucasian Ovcharka is an imposing dog that reaches an enormous size. The height at withers starts with at least 68 centimeters for males and 64 for females. Small bitches weigh from 45 kg, the average is incredible 50 to 90 kg.
The breed has remained very original and makes special demands on its owners.
As a pure family dog, leisure companion or for the apartment it is not suitable. His guard and protective behavior is very pronounced. Extremely sensitive to any abnormality and strangers. If this dog has nothing to do, he quickly develops oversensitivities. This includes an increased aggression against actually harmless things, people and animals.
Unfortunately, due to its imposing appearance, he was in vogue for a while. Often these animals were kept in circumstances that were very bad for them. In certain circles they were considered a status symbol and followed other dogs that had long been on the list.
The abusive attitude of the Caucasian Ovcharka led to the fact that he, too, was put on the Lists of dangerous dogs landed. In some German federal states and Swiss cantons the keeping is subject to authorization. In Denmark introduction, keeping and breeding of the Owtscharka are completely prohibited.
The acquisition of such a special dog must necessarily be very well considered. Only those who own a really large estate and preferably maintain a whole cattle farm should keep an Owtscharka. Unusually for a dog of this size, they reach a good 12 years and more.
Those who can meet all these conditions for owning this dog will find in the Ovcharka a faithful and reliable guard dog. With proper exercise and safe upbringing, these animals are wonderful family dogs. They always lived very close to the man, but just not only with him. An Ovcharka will always keep its own head and demand a life in its role as a guard and protection dog.
The right food
It should be obvious that you can't make such a dog happy with soft-boiled paté. Who now keeps an Owtscharka, may well barfen and provide bones.
This breed of dog has remained very archaic. This means that they are still accustomed to the diet as hundreds of years ago. With the shepherds they got the remains of slaughtered animals, as well as what was left over from the human meal, or they provided their own food.
The Caucasian Owcharka stands out for its unusually high life expectancy. This is due to the primitive handling and precisely the special diet of these dogs.
Surely, you can feed an Owtscharka with conventional dog food and offer him only raw and bones from time to time. However, you should see whether this modern dog food is good for the animal.
The digestion of dogs adapts over generations to the food offered. Most modern dog breeds therefore metabolize carbohydrates without problems, even in larger quantities. In a primitive breed like the Caucasian Ovcharka, this can be different.
In the end, it is always the dog that decides. In any case, the diet should be balanced, taste good to the dog and promote its health. You can usually tell very quickly if this is true by his behavior, clear eyes and a shiny coat.
Caucasian Owtscharka care
When it comes to grooming, it depends on the type of hair and the attitude of the animal. If he romps outside, herds cattle and rolls through the mud puddles, the dog will look accordingly. It is questionable whether he wants to be brushed or wants to go indoors at all. It is quite possible that the Owtscharka prefers to lie on an elevated position outdoors, leaving the grooming to the wind and weather.
If you now own such a rarity and are concerned about the care of the nature boy, then do not worry. The coat of the robust breeds actually takes care of itself to a large extent. If the hair becomes greasy, dull and matted, it can also be due to improper nutrition.
Also a robust Owtscharka should you regularly check for small injuries or ticks. Between the Bale dirt, small branches or even a thorn can get stuck. A good signal is, if your dog cleans or gnaws itself conspicuously at a place. If he can't solve the problem on his own, you can also help him.
The Caucasian Owtscharka is a stubborn fellow. Nevertheless, you should teach a puppy in time that he will let you touch him everywhere. This procedure is like a pleasant game. The dog should feel joy when you come and lovingly take care of him. This facilitates later visits to the vet.
And remember, you will not have much success with such a dog.
The considerable size of the dogs makes it difficult to find conventional accessories. An Owtscharka is also not suitable for fancy walking on a leash. Of course, you should still have leashes. There are enough situations when you will need them. The selection criteria are practical aspects and stability.
Of course, your dog should have a secure and stable collar or a harness wear. In these sizes there are both rather rarely. Probably you will find most likely in the accessories for St. Bernard and other Molosser.
When it comes to the dog bed, you will also XXL department have to look. Accessories or even custom designs for such a large dog can be quite a drain on the wallet. If you have an Owtscharka that prefers to stay outside, you'll need a Cottage. Alternatively, a shelter or a small garden house where the dog can find shelter.
Origin & History
Caucasian Ovcharka is a very old herding dog breed. Its existence is documented for 600 years. The actual age of the breed is estimated at about 10,000 years. Having long been at home in the lonely expanses of Russia, the Ovcharka have remained very primitive and pure.
The task of the giant shepherd dogs lay in the Guarding the livestock and the farm. The harsh expanses of the Caucasus had to produce a robust, strong and large dog. Bears and other large predators are not uncommon in the area.
An agglomeration of the occurrence was, as the name suggests, the Caucasus with all the adjacent areas. The Owtscharka can also be found in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Dagestan. Basically, these animals were and are distributed over the entire territory of the former USSR, only in the far north, in the Arctic Circle they are absent.
In the West, the first Owtscharka appeared in the former GDR. There they were kept in military service or they guarded the large estates of the collective farms.
In 1977 the first Caucasian Ovcharka was presented from a pedigree dog exhibition in Cologne.
A breed standard was defined and officially recognized by the FCI from August 1984. In Germany, as a subsection of the VDH, there is a club called Kaukasischer Owtscharka Club since 1981. The official breeding produces only 10 to 40 puppies per year.