Caucasian Mountain Dog (Shepherd)

Canis lupus

Last updated: November 14, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Image Credit Jagodka/Shutterstock.com

The Caucasian mountain dog may look intimidating, but they are actually gentle, affectionate, and loyal family companions

Caucasian Mountain Dog (Shepherd) Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Canidae
Genus
Canis
Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Caucasian Mountain Dog (Shepherd) Locations

Caucasian Mountain Dog (Shepherd) Locations

Caucasian Mountain Dog (Shepherd) Facts

Name Of Young
Puppy
Group Behavior
  • Solitary
Fun Fact
The Caucasian mountain dog may look intimidating, but they are actually gentle, affectionate, and loyal family companions
Other Name(s)
Caucasian shepherds, Kawkasky Owtscharka, Caucasian Ovcharka, Kaukasische Schaferhund, and Caucasian sheepdogs
Gestation Period
58 to 68 days
Litter Size
5 to 10 pups
Diet
Omnivore
Lifestyle
  • Diurnal
Common Name
Caucasian mountain dog
Origin
Caucasus mountain range between Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia

Caucasian Mountain Dog (Shepherd) Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Brown
  • Grey
  • Black
  • White
  • Cream
Skin Type
Fur
Lifespan
10 to 12 years
Length
34 to 43 inches
Age of Sexual Maturity
9 to 12 months
Age of Weaning
3 to 6 weeks
Aggression
High

Caucasian Mountain Dog (Shepherd) as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Shedability
Trainability
Intelligence
Tendency to Chew
Size
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
High
Separation Anxiety
Moderate
Preferred Temperature
Cold climate
Exercise Needs
Moderate
Friendly With Other Dogs
Moderate
Pure bred cost to own
$1000 to $3000
Dog group
Working
Male weight
110-220 lbs
Female weight
100-180 lbs

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The Caucasian Mountain dog is a fierce guardian breed that should never be underestimated. They are bold, confident, and fearless when protecting their family. However, they are also kind, devoted, and loving towards their owners. This breed originated from the Caucasus Mountains between Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.

These dogs were used for hundreds of years as protectors of both property and livestock hunted by predators like coyotes or wolves. However, in Russia, they are used as prison guard dogs.

There are two types of Caucasian Mountain dogs: the mountain type and the stepped type. The mountain type has a long coat and is heavier than the stepped type, which has a short coat and is smaller.

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These dogs go by many names, including Caucasian shepherds, Kawkasky Owtscharka, Caucasian Ovcharka, Kaukasische Schaferhund, and Caucasian sheepdogs.

2 Types of Caucasian Mountain Dog Mixes

The two types of Caucasian Mountain dog hybrids include:

Caucasian Husky

The Caucasian husky is a mix between a Caucasian shepherd and a husky. It’s hard to determine what they will look like or how they will behave, as they can take after either parent. However, this mix does not get as big as the Caucasian Mountain dog.

Caucasian Staffy Bull

The Caucasian staffy bull is a mix between a Staffordshire bull terrier mix and a Caucasian Mountain dog. Since both parent breeds can be aggressive, this pup will need training and socializing immediately! However, they make excellent guard dogs and are loyal to a fault.

While they are independent, they also love attention and need a lot of stimulation to keep them entertained and healthy.

Three Pros and Cons of Owning a Caucasian Mountain Dog

ProsCons
A great guard dogAggressive towards strangers
Loving and loyalSuffers from hip dysplasia
Low-energy needsDrools a lot

The Best Dog Food for a Caucasian Mountain Dog 

The Caucasian Mountain dog needs a diet specifically formulated for a giant breed with low energy levels. It’s best to chat with your local veterinarian about what kind of food you should feed this dog because it will differ depending on age, size, weight, and medical conditions.

In addition, these dogs are prone to weight gain and quickly become obese, so owners must stick to the recommended amount of food per day. Never free feed a Caucasian Mountain dog. Instead, give them small meals throughout the day.

Caucasian Mountain Dog Size and Weight

The Caucasian Mountain dog is considered a giant breed! However, their size depends on who their ancestors are, as the dogs living in mountainous areas grow larger and more muscular than dogs living on other terrains.

These massive dogs can reach heights of 23 to 33 inches, and their length ranges from 34 to 43 inches. On average, Caucasian Mountain dogs weigh 99 to 170 pounds. However, males can weigh up to 220 pounds.

Caucasian Mountain Dog Common Health Issues

The Caucasian shepherd has a relatively long lifespan for such a big breed; they can live for about 10 to 12 years. However, as with many giant breeds, these dogs are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. In addition, they are susceptible to heart conditions and entropion, an eye irritation caused by their long, curly eyelashes.

That’s why you must always ensure you are purchasing your pup from a reputable breeder, as they will screen their dogs for any of these issues.

Caucasian Mountain Dog Temperament

The Caucasian Mountain dog may look intimidating, but they are actually gentle, affectionate, and loyal family companions.

These dogs are a terrible fit for first-time dog owners because of their size, strength, and stubborn nature. They need a dominant, experienced figure to put them in their place.

Caucasian shepherds have an amazing ability to read people’s emotions and will comfort their owners when they are feeling down. In addition, they are extremely sensitive about getting into trouble. If you reprimand them, they will spend the rest of the day trying to win back your affection. They don’t like disappointing their loved ones.

Because of their livestock guarding background, this breed does not generally get along with other animals. However, if socialized from a young age, they will protect and love any pet in the home. It’s best to speak to the breeder and request a pup with lineage from show dogs or family dogs.

Unfortunately, they have an aggressive streak since they were bred to be protectors and are cautious around strangers. If this dog senses any sort of threatening behavior towards its family, it will attack, no matter who the person is, even if it’s a child.

How to Take Care of a Caucasian Mountain Dog 

Taking care of such a large breed comes with its challenges; however, if you are willing to put in the effort and time, owning a Caucasian Mountain is worth it!

Grooming

These dogs usually require daily brushing, as the hair behind their ears and around their rear gets matted.

Although they have long, thick coats, they don’t shed that much. Typically they drop their coats once a year, so owners are not constantly cleaning up masses of hair.

Their nails need trimming once every three months or when they start touching the floor. In addition, you must check their ears as a lot of wax can build up in the folds and cause ear infections.

Brushing your Caucasian Mountain dog’s teeth three times a week is essential, as they can suffer from gum disease. Just ensure you are using toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs.

Training

Caucasian shepherds are stubborn and need a strict training routine to discourage rough behavior. These dogs benefit from one-on-one training but still need to be socialized, so take them to a dog park after training as a reward.

If you feel like you are not up to the task, hire a professional. This breed can be challenging, and they need to know basic commands. Otherwise, they may jump up on people, and they can easily knock someone over with their massive bodies.

Exercise

While Caucasian Mountain dogs have a relatively low energy drive, they still need an hour of daily exercise to keep them stimulated and healthy. This could include a brisk walk or a run in a large, fenced yard.

In addition, they have great stamina and are perfect companions for a hike, but never take them off the lead!

Puppies

Because the Caucasian Mountain dog is so rare, they fetch a pretty penny. Depending on location, breeder, bloodline, and coat, their price can vary between $1000 to $3000. These dogs only have one litter a year; on average, females can give birth to five to 10 puppies.

Caucasian Mountain dog puppies
Caucasian Mountain dogs may be small as puppies, but they grow to be quite large in adulthood.

otsphoto/Shutterstock.com

Caucasian Mountain Dog and Children

The Caucasian shepherd is a great choice for families. You couldn’t find a more loving, protective, and loyal companion for homes with older kids. However, because of their massive size, they could easily knock over and hurt younger children by accident.

Should your children’s friends come over to visit, it’s probably best to lock this dog away because even playful tussles could be interpreted as a threat, and the dog may react aggressively. By socializing this gigantic breed from a young age, you might be able to avoid this impulsive behavior. Still, children should never be left unsupervised with a Caucasian shepherd.

Dogs Similar to the Caucasian Mountain Dog 

There are several dogs that are similar to the Caucasian Mountain dog in both size and behavior. They include:

Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan mastiff is a fluffy, adorable giant. These pups grow into determined, powerful, monstrous dogs resembling Tibetan bears or lions! They are an ancient breed meant to protect herds, palaces, and monasteries in the Himalayas. Researchers believe that they are the ancestors of the modern mastiff.

Anatolian Shepherd

Anatolian shepherds are also called kangals, and they were bred to guard livestock against big predators like leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, hyenas, and humans.

These Turkish dogs date back to the Bronze Age and are impressive specimens, with their muscular bodies and independent nature. In addition, they are highly intelligent, but their stubbornness makes them hard to train. However, these traits are what make the Anatolian perfect for protecting livestock.

Neapolitan Mastiff

Neapolitan mastiffs originated from Italy. They are an ancient breed known for their huge size and wrinkled fur. Like the Caucasian shepherd, this breed is loyal and loving towards its family but wary of strangers. These dogs can be quite a handful, so they need an experienced hand to train them.

Estrela Mountain Dog

The Estrela Mountain dog is named after the mountain range where it originated, the Estrela Mountains in Portugal. They also go by the names Cao da Serra da Estrela and Portuguese shepherd. These massive dogs are the perfect protectors and make great family dogs. However, it is extremely rare to find one outside of Portugal.

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About the Author

I am a 33-year-old creative and professional writer from South Africa. Wildlife is one of my greatest passions and led me to become the writer I am today. I was very blessed to work with an abundance of wildlife (mainly big cats) and captured my unique experiences in writing. But I wanted to take it further, and I ventured into the freelancing world. Now, I get to spend my days writing about animals; what could be better?

Caucasian Mountain Dog (Shepherd) FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are Caucasian Mountain dogs friendly?

Yes, they are friendly towards their loved ones, but, unfortunately, they have an aggressive streak since they were bred to be protectors and are cautious around strangers. If this dog senses any sort of threatening behavior towards its family, it will attack, no matter who the person is, even if it’s a child.

How aggressive are Caucasian shepherds?

If this dog senses any sort of threatening behavior towards its family, it will attack, no matter who the person is.

Is the Caucasian shepherd the largest dog?

While these dogs are massive, there are several other breeds that are bigger.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. American Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/caucasian-shepherd-dog/
  2. Dogtime, Available here: https://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/caucasian-shepherd-dog#/slide/1
  3. Daily Paws, Available here: https://www.dailypaws.com/dogs-puppies/dog-breeds/caucasian-shepherd-dog

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