Caucasian Shepherd Dog

The Caucasian Shepherd Dog or Caucasian Ovcharka is a large livestock guardian dog native to the countries of the Caucasus region, notably Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ossetia, Stavropol Krai, Krasnodar Krai and Dagestan.[1] It was developed in the Soviet Union from about 1920 from dogs of the Caucasus Mountains and the steppe regions of Southern Russia.[2] The Caucasus Mountains in Georgia has historically been the principal region of distribution of the Caucasian Shepherd dogs, both in terms of numbers and the quality of the dogs present in the area.[1]

Caucasian Shepherd
Owczarek kaukaski 65556.jpg
Height Dogs
preferred 72–75 cm (28–30 in)
minimum 68 cm (27 in)
preferred 67–70 cm (26–28 in)
minimum 64 cm (25 in)
Weight Dogs
minimum 50 kg (110 lb)
minimum 45 kg (100 lb)
Coat straight, coarse, stand-off coat with well developed undercoat
Colour any solid colour, piebald or spotted colour, except liver, blue, and solid black
Life span 10–11 years
Kennel club standards
FCI standard
Dog (domestic dog)
Owtscharka Dschinie.JPG


For centuries dogs similar to the Caucasian mountain dogs have served shepherds in the Caucasus mountains as livestock guardian dogs, defending sheep from predators, mainly wolves, jackals and bears. Caucasian Shepherd Dogs served as guard dogs, bear hunting dogs and today they work as prison guard dogs in Russia.[3]

During the twentieth century Soviet breeders selected some of these varieties among Caucasian dogs and created the Caucasian Shepherd Dog breed. Caucasian shepherds were first described by the Russian cynologist Aleksandr Mazover, noting that the center of distribution of the breed, both in terms of numbers and quality, were Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Dagestan.[1] While the dogs from different areas of the region shared the general features today present in Caucasian shepherds, Caucasian Shepherds from Georgia were considered to be the best examples of the breed due to their size, powerful musculoskeletal structure, and attractive long hair. For this reason, Georgian SSR became a principal region of cultivation of Caucasian Shepherd Dogs in the Soviet Union.[1]

The breed was definitively accepted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 1984, under the patronage of the Soviet Union.[4]


The Caucasian Ovcharka is a large dog, usually weighing 45–70 kg.[5]: 71  The preferred height at the withers is in the range 67–70 cm for bitches, and 72–75 cm for dogs;[2] the minimum heights and weights for registration are 64 cm and 40 kg for bitches, and 68 cm and 50 kg for dogs.[2] Life expectancy is some 10–11 years.[5]: 71 


  1. ^ a b c d Aleksandr, Mazover. Племенное дело в служебном собаководстве (Breeding of working dogs). pp. 2, 3. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  2. ^ a b c FCI-Standard N° 328: Caucasian Shepherd Dog (Kavkazskaïa Ovtcharka). Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Accessed July 2020.
  3. ^ "Caucasian shepherd dogs bred for hunting Russian bears go on sale in Northern Ireland for first time". Belfasttelegraph. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  4. ^ FCI breeds nomenclature: Kavkazskaïa Ovtcharka (328). Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Accessed July 2020.
  5. ^ a b Kim Dennis-Bryan (2020 [2012])). The Complete Dog Breed Book, second edition. London: Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 9780241412732.

Further readingEdit

  • Hancock, David (2014). Dogs of the shepherds: a review of the pastoral breeds. Ramsbury, Wiltshire: The Crowood Press Ltd. pp. 55–60. ISBN 978-1-84797-808-0.
  • Morris, Desmond (2001). Dogs: the ultimate dictionary of over 1,000 dog breeds. North Pomfret, VT: Trafalgar Square Publishing. pp. 399–400. ISBN 1-57076-219-8.
  • Wilcox, Bonnie; Walkowicz, Chris (1995). Atlas of dog breeds of the world. Neptune City, N.J.: TFH Publications. pp. 296–270.