As guard dog through and through, the Caucasian Shepherd dog temperament is all about protecting the people he loves. With these people, he’s a gentle and affectionate dog that can be the best companion. But in the wrong hands or situation, these dogs can pose a significant threat. Due to this, the Caucasian Shepherd dog temperament has some traits that you must understand before bringing one home.
Caucasian Shepherd Dog Temperament & Personality
The following traits will express why the Caucasian Shepherd dog isn’t a suitable dog for first-time owners. These dogs need a firm and experienced owner who can teach them right from wrong.
A Caucasian Shepherd dog (or also called Caucasian Ovcharka) develops a strong bond with the people he feels are family. In fact, this bond is so strong that he’ll attack anyone he sees as a threat.
Don’t let his fluffy, teddy bear-like coat fool you. This dog isn’t an animal you want to make angry. However, the innate distrust of strangers this dog has doesn’t mean it can’t be a lovable family pet.
With the right training, this dog could be the ultimate companion thanks to its loyal personality. The Caucasian Ovcharka has the capability of being a lovable sweetheart, but you need the right person to coax it out of him. A first-time owner isn’t this person.
Once these dogs are in the right hands, their sense of loyalty also makes them incredible watchdogs. You’ll never feel safer in your house than with a Caucasian Shepherd watching the premise.
Laidback and Sweet
The part of the Caucasian Shepherd dog temperament that often goes unreported is their sweet and laidback side. This aspect of their personality comes out frequently when there's nothing to guard.
These massive giants become loving teddy bears when interacting with the people they love. There’s also been a recent surge of using them as therapy dogs because of their loving and sweet personalities.
Fierce and Protective
When a threat does present itself to a Caucasian Shepherd dog, there will be a significant shift in their personality. The gentle, sweet teddy bear will become a fierce, relentless guardian that’ll do anything to keep their loved ones safe.
You can see how this trait would be problematic in the wrong hands. It also doesn’t help that these dogs have an embedded distrust of strangers — another reason why you need a firm owner guiding a Caucasian Shepherd dog’s training.
This heightened sense of distrust toward strangers extends to other dogs as well. As a result, these dogs will try to act dominant over other dogs, which could cause some significant issues. Their massive size is often too much for other dogs to reasonably handle.
And their fierce protective trait is also a reason this dog shouldn’t be left alone with children. If the dog feels protective over a child engaging in play, they might feel the need to protect them.
Given the Caucasian Shepherd dog size, this situation would result in a nightmare scenario that nobody wants to experience. This protective quality will also cause him to frequently bark. You should expect to be woken up by their loud barking in the middle of the night.
The Caucasian Shepherd dog temperament has another challenging part as this dog has a high level of intelligence. This quality allows them to be quick learners, but it also ensures they’re quite stubborn.
If you don’t approach the training sessions with a firm attitude, these dogs won’t give the time of day. Caucasian Shepherds are completely fine with being stuck in their ways as they love being a protector.
And their high level of intelligence makes them able to sniff out “threats.” If god forbid an intruder tried getting into your house, they’d have no shot with this dog alerting you.
But every time a “stranger” comes even close to your door; the response will be a loud bark. As you might expect, this constant barking can get quite annoying after a while.
Often described as extremely independent, these dogs like to do their own thing. It comes from their pre-destined role of being a guardian. As a guardian, they’ll always have to be on high alert in case a threat presents itself.
It doesn’t mean these fluffy teddy bears won’t cuddle or hang out. But most of the time, they like keeping to themselves and staying alert of the potential threats around them.
This sense of independence also makes them harder to train. After all, these dogs aren’t known to be willingly submissive; they're used to being the leader of the pack.
A Brief History of the Caucasian Shepherd Dog
Among experts, the origin of the Caucasian Shepherd dog is often a source of debate. Some experts believe these massive dogs are the result of crossbreeding between mastiffs and sheepdogs. Others will swear they descended from Tibetan Mastiffs about 2,000 years ago.
Either way, there’s one thing most experts agree on: Caucasian Shepherds are an ancient breed, that were created and remained largely isolated from others. Over a long time, this isolation made them a relatively full-blood breed that was unaffected with any crossbreeding.
But recently, there has been more intruders into the region, the Caucasian Mountains, that these dogs call home. And with this increased foot traffic, the genetics of these dogs has been severely diluted.
Anywhere between 70 and 80 percent of the Caucasian Shepherds you see today are the products of crossbreeding: their most likely crossbreeding partner is the St Bernard Dog.
In recent times, there has been a movement among people to restore this breed toward its full-blood stature: mainly done for breeding purposes.
One notable organization supporting this action is the Caucasian Ovcharka Club of America, which was founded in 1991.
Before the crossbreeding became a factor, these dogs spent six centuries protecting livestock in the Caucasian mountain range: this mountain range is in south-western Russia and parts of other nearby countries.
This job of protecting livestock is where the Caucasian Shepherd dog temperament was molded. Their primary purpose was always defending vulnerable animals like sheep against would be predators such as wolves.
It shouldn’t shock you that their priorities haven’t changed much since then. Now, their primary function is protecting you rather than livestock.
Training Your Caucasian Shepherd Dog
As we discussed previously, the Caucasian Shepherd dog is an intelligent breed. You would expect them to pick up on training rather quickly. However, their independent personality makes this process a bit more difficult than you’d expect.
In ideal circumstances, the training with an expert would begin around the age of 7 to 8 months. At this stage, the process should be trying to teach them obedience, but do it with a light touch.
It’s essential we note that puppy school isn’t a suitable option for this breed. These dogs aren’t known to having favorable actions towards other dogs. This behavior has to be learned, but it’s not something you should try teaching at this early stage.
After the early stage, providing them with socialization becomes key. Even during the early stage, you should have friends come over and meet the dog. It’ll help teach them that not all humans represent threats.
And once you’re completely comfortable that your dog will listen to your commands, try meeting a friend’s dog. Don’t do it in a place where the Caucasian Shepherd feels territorial or a chaotic situation like a dog park.
Instead, have them meet at a neutral site such as an empty field. It’ll provide them with even ground and give you enough maneuverability in case something goes wrong.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
For help with training your Caucasian Shepherd Dog dog take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.
A Caucasian Shepherd Dog Health Issues
Overall, these dogs are relatively healthy and have long lives: the Caucasian Shepherd dog lifespan is typically anywhere from 10 to 12 years. However, there are some health issues that you should be aware of before bringing one home:
But if you take proper care of your gentle giant, you shouldn’t see these issues become a problem. Offering them plenty of exercise such as walking, fetch, or even swimming can reduce the risk of these conditions significantly.
The best way to ensure your Caucasian Shepherd won’t have any issues is by asking the breeder. If you’re dealing with a reputable one, they’ll have evidence showing that the puppy’s parents have OFA or PennHIP clearances for their hips.
They’ll also be able to provide evidence that the Canine Eye Registry Foundation certified the parents as eye disease free. It’d be wise to stay away from any breeder who can’t offer you both these assurances about the dog’s health.
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The Grooming Requirements of a Caucasian Shepherd Dog
Despite their incredibly fluffy coats, the grooming requirements for a Caucasian Shepherd aren’t that extensive. Brushing these dogs thoroughly at least twice a week should be enough to keep their coat in pristine condition.
You should also understand that these dogs go through a heavy shedding period once a year: this process is called blowing coat. During this period, you should give them warm baths and more frequent brushings to help the old coat shed away.
If you do help them through this period, it’ll make more likely the fur doesn’t land on your valuables: clothing, furniture, or floor.
Aside from brushing and warm baths, the rest of the grooming requirements are general care:
- Clipping their nails once a month
- Cleaning their ears when they’re dirty
- Checking for ticks
It’s quite surprising these dogs are relatively low-maintenance given their double coat. However, this quality is one of the many perks of having a Caucasian Shepherd around your home.
Finding Your Caucasian Shepherd Dog
If a Caucasian Shepherd dog temperament seems like an excellent fit, there are two ways about getting one: you can either adopt or buy. It’s up to your personal preference to decide which is a better option for you.
Caucasian Shepherd Dogs for Adoption
If you’re looking to adopt, the Caucasian Ovcharka Rescue USA keeps their Facebook updated with recent listings. Likewise, Esquire Caucasians have been working to find lost Caucasian Shepherds new homes since 1990.
There are also sites such as PetFinder.com or Adoptapet.com that should have a few available near your location. If you feel weird about searching online, try going down to your local shelter or humane society and asking around.
But regardless of the path you take, you should ask the following questions before finalizing the adoption:
- Does he/she have a high energy level?
- How old is he/she?
- Are there any biting incidents you need to know about?
- Is he/she good with other animals?
- Does he/she have any issues with certain people such as men, children, or strangers?
- What is his/her personality like?
- How well-trained is he/she? Is he/she housetrained?
- Are there any health issues?
All of these questions will help you get a better idea about whether this dog is a good fit.
Once you do decide on the dog to adopt, the price will vary depending on the organization. But animal shelters and humane societies tend to top out at $250 for a breed such as this one. A far cry away from what you should expect when buying from a breeder.
Caucasian Shepherd Dogs for Sale
Finding a reputable Caucasian Shepherd breeder in the US requires a lot of research. This process isn’t something you should take lightly as there are many fraudulent breeders out there.
Being aware of the following warning signs should keep you away from the awful breeders:
- Numerous puppy litters on the property at the same time.
- They always have puppies for sale.
- You can buy a puppy online with a credit card.
- Give you the option of buying a puppy without papers for a lower price.
If you encounter any of these situations, you should move onto a new breeder as soon as possible.
The key in finding a reputable one is they’ll be able to answer all your questions regarding the dog’s health/temperament. Top-notch breeders will also go over family history and breed history to get you more comfortable with the process.
When you do find an acceptable breeder, you should expect to spend anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 dollars.
Conclusion: Why The Caucasian Shepherd is the Right Dog for You?
If you’re an experienced dog owner, a Caucasian Shepherd dog temperament could be a fantastic option for you. These dogs are loyal, protective, and sweet giants that take a little more effort than your average dog.
But if you’re a first-time owner, please stay away from this breed. When mishandled, Caucasian Shepherds can represent an accident waiting to happen. These dogs need a firm, experienced hand to encourage them into becoming the sweet, gentle giants we all love.