Friendly / Intelligent / Devoted
The Caucasian shepherd is a large dog breed from the Caucasus mountain region that spans both Europe and Asia, which explains the very furry coats they often have.
They are considered giant dogs and are one of the largest dog breeds in the world.
Are you looking for a good guard dog? The Caucasian shepherd might be the pup for you.
Caucasian shepherds are not dogs for the faint of heart. They need a firm, guiding hand and a lot of time, so if you’re a first-time pet parent, you might want to look at other breeds. Their giant dog status is complemented by their bear-like appearance, and they are potentially descended from other large breeds like Tibetan mastiffs and Balkan shepherds. These pups were typically used as watchdogs for the herds of livestock in the Caucasus region. Now, they usually serve as watchdogs of their owner’s home or as an excellent companion. At Spot Pet Insurance, we know that t’s important for your pup’s happiness and yours that you understand your dog’s needs and how to care for them. If you’re thinking about adopting a Caucasian shepherd or own one already, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve gathered the information you might need to know to be the best pet parent for your Caucasian shepherd.
What are the two types of Caucasian shepherds?
If you’ve seen a picture of a Caucasian shepherd, you’re probably thinking of one with long, fluffy fur. However, there are actually two kinds of Caucasian shepherds. One has a long coat and is heavier, and the other one has a shorter coat and is lighter.
The first type with the long coat is called the Mountain type. Since they were from a more mountainous part of the region, they needed thicker coats and hardier bodies to survive. They have a sort of mane around their heads, making them look intimidating.
The type with the short coat comes from a slightly warmer region, although they still have fairly thick coats. These are called the Steppe type.
Not only are there two types of the Caucasian shepherd, but they also have many different names. These gentle giants can be called:
- Caucasian Sheepdog
- Caucasian Ovcharka
- Kawkasky Owtscharka
- Kaukasische Schaferhund
- Russian bear dogs
Average Sizes and Life Expentancy of The Breed
- 23-30 inches
- 99-170 pounds
- 10-12 years
What are the health risks for Caucasian shepherds?
All humans and all pets, unfortunately, can become ill. The Caucasian shepherd dog is no exception. This ancient breed can get cancer or may have heart issues, among other health risks. Fortunately, these conditions are fairly rare, so the likelihood of your pup getting sick is not very high. Reputable breeders generally also screen for these health problems.
We understand how scary the idea of your dog being sick can be, but we believe that it’s important that you recognize the signs and symptoms of certain health issues. The sooner they can be treated, the better.
Not only can we provide information for you, but we also offer personalized plans to help you if your pet ever needs it.
What is it?
Hip dysplasia occurs when the hip joint becomes malformed. It’s usually an inherited condition that can cause lameness. It causes grating in the affected joint, so your pup won’t be very comfortable, especially when going up and down stairs or other such activities.
% of dogs affected:
- Avoids climbing stairs or jumping on furniture
- Loss of muscle mass in the thighs and gaining more muscle in the shoulders
- Lameness in the hind end
- Smaller range of motion and activity
- Grating in the affected joint
- Swaying gait
- Restricting exercise
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Joint fluid modifiers
- Weight loss
- Complications during surgery
- Deterioration causing loss of function
Average Vet Bill
90% = $2,160
80% = $1,920
70% = $1,680
What is it?
Ectropion is a genetic condition where your dog’s eyelids grow outward abnormally, sometimes called “rolling.” If your dog’s eyelid appears to be sagging, ectropion might be affecting them.
Ectropion can be congenital (inherited) or acquired (caused by another condition, such as injury or disease). Bullmastiffs are at risk for Congenital ectropion, as are both breeds they come from (Mastiffs and Bulldogs).
- Abnormality of the lower eyelid, including drooping, sagging, or rolling outward
- Discharge of thick liquid from the eye
- Redness of the eye
- Rubbing of the eye
- Tears, which can cause discoloration of fur beneath the eye
- Eye drops
- Medical therapy
Other potential health conditions:
- Elbow dysplasia
- Mast cell tumors
- Gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV)
- Gastric torsion
Average Vet Bill
90% = $1,800
80% = $1,600
70% = $1,400
How do Caucasian shepherds interact with their families?
Around their families, Caucasian shepherds are like giant teddy bears. They are loyal and affectionate, and they don’t have particularly high energy levels. They’re pretty calm dogs. They prefer to take long walks rather than rush around in a frenzy.
However, your Caucasian shepherd will be firm, courageous, and aggressive if your family is threatened. They want to be sure their people are safe. After all, they were bred and raised to protect the herds that they lived with from wild animals like coyotes or wolves.
Are Caucasian shepherds good with kids?
As a giant dog, your Caucasian shepherd will do very well with older kids, but smaller kids present a little problem.
A well-trained Caucasian shepherd will not intentionally harm your kids, but their size could cause accidents involving your little ones. That means they might not be the ideal family pet if you have young ones.
How well do Caucasian shepherds interact with strangers?
Many dogs have different reactions to having strangers around. Watch or guard dogs can be especially wary when it comes to strange people, so how does the Caucasian shepherd measure up?
If your pup is well-socialized and receives proper training, they probably won’t respond aggressively toward strangers in public unless they see a threat. However, they will remain aloof and wary.
If a stranger enters your home, that might be a different story. Since an unfamiliar person is within their territory, they might respond more aggressively. With good training, this shouldn’t be an issue, but that doesn’t mean they will like having strange people around.
How are Caucasian shepherds around other dogs?
If you introduce your Caucasian shepherd to your other dogs as a puppy, they will grow up thinking of your other dogs as part of their family. With careful planning, you may also be able to achieve this end with an older shepherd, as long as they have prior training.
However, it’s not really a good idea to take them to a dog park or invite other dogs over for a playdate. Although they are okay with dogs that are a part of their family, strange dogs are outsiders.
With the proper socialization, your Caucasian shepherd should be able to control themselves to some extent, but it’s better to be on the safe side, especially with intact males.
Are Caucasian shepherds smart?
These shepherds are intelligent, so they will need help exercising their minds as well as their bodies. You can do this by training them and teaching them tricks. While the Caucasian shepherd is more laid-back, most dogs that become bored have a tendency to be destructive.
Are Caucasian shepherds easy to train?
These working dogs can be a bit stubborn at times, but their easy-going nature and intelligence mean that they can pick up tricks. Their independence just means that you need to be firm but innovative in how you train them.
Coat:Their coat lengths can vary from short to long. The general expectation is a medium length, though. They have a thick double coat, perfect for winter. The smooth undercoat and the rougher outer coat help keep the dog warm in cold climates. They may have some feathering around their legs. Expect heavy shedding, thanks to all that long hair. Potential coat colors: White White and agouti Cream Sable Grizzle Gray Black and gray Red Fawn Rust Brindle Piebald They might also have white markings on the body and darker patches on the face.
Grooming:Daily brushing, occasional bath, regular nail trims
Training:Easy to train.
Life Time Care Cost:$11,621-$15,336+
Are Caucasian shepherds hypoallergenic?
No, Caucasian shepherds are not hypoallergenic.
What kind of grooming is involved for Caucasian shepherds?
Depending on the length of the coat, brushing could be required either once a week or daily. Longer coats need more frequent brushing. They do need their ears checked and cleaned regularly. They should also get regular teeth cleaning and nail clipping.
What is the lifetime care cost of a Caucasian shepherd?
The lifetime care cost of a Caucasian shepherd is $11,621-$15,336+.
How to be the best pet parent for a Caucasian shepherd?
Like humans, dogs have their individual wants and needs. While we can’t help you with the personality quirks of your specific dog, we can give you a general idea of what your Caucasian shepherd will need in terms of cost, time, and exercise.
How much does a dog or puppy cost?
Adoption fee: $750-$2,200
Food: $446+, $446+
Water/food bowls: $10, N/A
Collars: $10-20, N/A
Leashes: $15, $0-$15
Dog crate: $240, N/A
Toys and treats: $217+, $217+
Vaccines and routine care: $220-$395, $220-$395
Total: $1,158-$1,333+, $883-$1,073+
Basic training and behavior etiquette for your dog
- The Caucasian shepherd should be taught basic commands from a young age. Since they’re big dogs, an untrained Caucasian shepherd will be a lot more difficult to control than an untrained Chihuahua.
- It’s very important to socialize your Caucasian shepherd as a little pup, so they get used to the idea of new dogs, people, and places. They’re watchdogs, so they need to be able to know what’s a threat and what isn’t.
What type of foods should a Caucasian shepherd never eat?
If you are considering cooking food for your Caucasian shepherd, you need to know what kinds of foods your pup can or can’t have.
Some foods that are toxic to dogs are:
- Grapes and raisins
- Macadamia nuts
- Wild cherries
If you want more information on foods your pup can or cannot eat, check out our tips and information here.
Exercising tips to keep your dog to stay fit and healthy
Although your Caucasian shepherd will be pretty laid back while they’re indoors, they still need some exercise. If you like going for long, contemplative walks, this guardian dog would love to join you, although you should make sure they’re on a leash.
A doggy-proof, fenced-in yard is also a good place for a Caucasian shepherd to play and get all of his energy out. They also have a lot of stamina, so they may also be able to join you on a hike.
Caucasian shepherd life stages
Puppy: Birth to 12 months. They may be smaller than an adult Caucasian shepherd, but Caucasian shepherd puppies are pretty big for dogs their age. They’re still adorable, though.
Adult: One to seven years. At the prime of their life, your Caucasian shepherd will stay with you through thick and thin to make sure you are safe. They will be the strong protector when there’s a threat but a cuddly friend in times of peace.
Senior: Seven years to end of life. As your Caucasian shepherd ages, their size might start getting the better of them, so they probably won’t be as active as they were in their youth, but we’re sure they will still love some cuddles.