Caucasian Ovcharka

Club USA

Temperament

 Powerful and massive, the Caucasian dog can prove to be a serious problem for an inexperienced owner, because it respects and obeys only those dominant and fair members of the family that it deems superior to itself. Gentle companions and playful clowns when relaxing with their human "pack", these dogs are generally good with children, although they will not see them as their masters. The great Caucasian develops a strong bond with its owner and is quite trainable, but will rarely be completely submissive and blindly follow orders, for this is truly a thinking dog, which relies primarily on its own instincts, sometimes even disregarding its master's directions in certain situations. Being a true protection dog, famous for having well-developed guardian instincts, strong defense drive and lightning-fast reflexes, the Caucasian may become too aggressive and even dangerous when owned by weak-willed, ignorant and unsuitable owners who fail to properly control their dogs or recognize the breed's true nature.

The Caucasian Shepherd Dog also differs from the majority of other Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD) breeds when it comes to its primary drives. It is more than just a typical livestock guardian, which is governed by basic defense drive. Alongside only a handful of other Molosser dogs known for being a "step above" when it comes to the seriousness with which the job of defense is regarded by such dogs, the CO also has an elevated prey drive, which is not a common characteristic of most livestock guardian breeds. Unlike many LGDs whose job was mainly centered around being a deterrent primarily and a "last resort" combatant; the Caucasian Ovcharka was not only kept to protect the flock and property, but was also expected to chase, engage and even kill those predators that refuse to back off immediately. The CO’s prey drive and kill drive in addition to its already intense defensive attitude is what sets the breed apart from most of its relatives and makes the CO an outstanding worker. It also creates some controversy among breed fanciers, some of which refuse to acknowledge the breed's legendary temperament for what it really is and what it has been for centuries.

When faced with the dilemma of breeding these dogs to be true to their heritage or whether to "soften" them up, the breed is constantly creating a number of fans charmed with the size and beauty of the dogs, instead of the actual temperament characteristics of the breed. Although not all modern bloodlines have identical aggression levels, the breed as a whole is known for its outstanding guarding abilities and is by definition immensely protective. Although, most of the “unmanageable” dogs are a result of either poor breeding, irresponsible ownership or bad upbringing; still, with proper care, handling and training, the Caucasian Ovcharka can be a well-behaved and obedient companion to those who understand this majestic breed. While this wonderful ancient breed makes an amenable family dog, it certainly is not the same thing as a Pyrenees, a Bernese or other large LGD and potential owners should be aware of the breed's history and temperament before deciding to tackle the task of raising a Caucasian Ovcharka Dog.