Caucasian Ovtcharka.jpg
Breed Group Group 10: Pastoral and Stock Dog Breeds
Sub-group :
Origin Country Russia/Caucasus Mountains Region
Weight Males: 110-220 pounds. Females: 99-155 pounds.
Height Males: 25-30 inches. Females: 24-28 inches.
Other Name(s) Caucasian Mountain Dog, Caucasian Ovcharka, Caucasian Owtcharka, Caucasian Sheepdog, Caucasian Sheepdog, Caucasian Shepherd Dog, Kaukasische Schaferhund, KavkazsKaia Ovtcharka, Kawkasky OwtsCharka
Breed Type Pure
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Caucasian Ovtcharka

Breed Group Group 10: Pastoral and Stock Dog Breeds
Sub-group :
Origin Country Russia/Caucasus Mountains Region
Weight Males: 110-220 pounds. Females: 99-155 pounds.
Height Males: 25-30 inches. Females: 24-28 inches.
Other Name(s) Caucasian Mountain Dog, Caucasian Ovcharka, Caucasian Owtcharka, Caucasian Sheepdog, Caucasian Sheepdog, Caucasian Shepherd Dog, Kaukasische Schaferhund, KavkazsKaia Ovtcharka, Kawkasky OwtsCharka
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Origins

The Caucasian Ovcharka is quickly rising to fame throughout the world as one of the latest trending breed. However, the dog that we see today throughout the United States and much of Western pet-dog culture is far different from the original. His ancestors are not new, they have existed as sheep dogs and mountain pastoral dogs for thousands of years throughout areas of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Balkan Mountains, Caucasus Mountains, Chechnya, Dagestan, Georgia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Ingushetia, Iran, Kabardino-Balkaria, Ossetia, Turkey, and all of the surrounding regions. Therefore, like the Central Asian Shepherd Dog, the Caucasian Ovcharka is an umbrella term that covers a variety of regional landrace breeds.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Somewhat broad mesaticephalic skull type, large in size, yet in proportion to the overall size of the dog. The head appears as a blocky wedge. It is fairly clean-cut and without excess skin or wrinkle. The skull is broad, with the blocky wedge shape being visible from above and in profile. It is as broad (measured across the top in front of the ears) as it is long (from stop to occiput), and well-padded with muscle. The forehead is broad, deep, and somewhat flat. It exhibits a moderately well-developed, yet never overly deep, median furrow running from the stop and disappearing toward the occiput. The zygomatic arches are broad and well-developed and well-padded with powerful muscles, but not overly prominent. The supraorbital arches are only slightly defined.
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval to almond in shape, and any shade of brown. Amber or hazel are permitted in nonstandard color varieties. Their eyes are set oblique. The eye rims are well fitted and well pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Medium in size, set high on the skull, and above level with the eyes. Triangular in shape. Ears may be natural (preferred) or surgically cropped. Natural ears are drop and hang with the inner edges and tips close to the head. The ears are never long or overly large. Cropped ears are often cut short.
Muzzle: The muzzle is full, deep, and broad. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight and level. It tapers slightly from the broad base toward the nose. Upper and lower jaws are well developed, approximately equal in length, and have good bone substance, never appearing snipy or weak.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black (preferred), black faded to pink (snow-nose), butterfly nose. Self-colored (in liver, flesh-tone, blue, or gray) according to the coat allowed in nonstandard color varieties. The nostrils are well opened.
Neck: Moderate in length, yet sufficient to allow for good head carriage and movement. Powerfully muscled with a good arch. The neck tapers just slightly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, with a slight amount of loose skin at the throat area, but without excess skin, throatiness, or pendulous dewlap.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest is well developed without being excessively pronounced.
Body: Compact, solid, and substantial. The body is never racy or refined, or cloddy. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.
Tail: Set high on the croup. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. The tail is carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, usually approximately level with or just above the topline, but never tucked. The tail is of a moderately long length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be straight, gently curved, or sabered.
Movement: Free, energetic, elastic, effortless, and efficient, the characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: The Caucasian Ovcharka is a dog bred for protection of sheep from bears and wolves in the Caucaus Mountains. He is prized for his independence, loyalty, and when needed: willingness to engage in combat to protect his flock. For this reason, the breed is known to naturally tend toward being territorial and aggressive towards any person or animal outside of his or her flock or family. For those wanting to keep a Caucasian Ovcharka as a part of the family, this means that strict obedience and socialization must occur from early puppyhood to prevent problems later down the road. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 10: Pastoral and Stock Dog Breeds

Proportions: Off-square to somewhat rectangular, with the length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump, being just slightly greater than the height at the withers. The ideal body-height-to-length ratio is between 10:9 and 5:4. Females may be slightly longer. The body is robust, athletic, and well put together, with sturdy substance and sturdy bone. Males should appear masculine, being more substantial in size and mass, while females should appear more feminine and slightly less substantial. Neither should lack overall type.

Head

General Appearance: Somewhat broad mesaticephalic skull type, large in size, yet in proportion to the overall size of the dog. The head appears as a blocky wedge. It is fairly clean-cut and without excess skin or wrinkle. The skull is broad, with the blocky wedge shape being visible from above and in profile. It is as broad (measured across the top in front of the ears) as it is long (from stop to occiput), and well-padded with muscle. The forehead is broad, deep, and somewhat flat. It exhibits a moderately well-developed, yet never overly deep, median furrow running from the stop and disappearing toward the occiput. The zygomatic arches are broad and well-developed and well-padded with powerful muscles, but not overly prominent. The supraorbital arches are only slightly defined.
Expression: Serious, dignified, attentive, self-confident, and self-composed.
Stop: The stop is visible, but never abrupt.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is 2:3 with the topskull being just longer than the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is parallel, but may appear slightly convergent in dogs with thicker fur on the skull.
Muzzle: The muzzle is full, deep, and broad. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight and level. It tapers slightly from the broad base toward the nose. Upper and lower jaws are well developed, approximately equal in length, and have good bone substance, never appearing snipy or weak.
Lips or Flews: Lips are well-pigmented, fairly clean, and fit fairly well over the teeth and jaws. The lips should never extend beyond the lower plane of the bottom jawline.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black (preferred), black faded to pink (snow-nose), butterfly nose. Self-colored (in liver, flesh-tone, blue, or gray) according to the coat allowed in nonstandard color varieties. The nostrils are well opened.
Cheeks: The cheeks are well developed and powerfully muscled. They never appear chiseled or coarse.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth preferred. Bite may be level or scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized.
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval to almond in shape, and any shade of brown. Amber or hazel are permitted in nonstandard color varieties. Their eyes are set oblique. The eye rims are well fitted and well pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Medium in size, set high on the skull, and above level with the eyes. Triangular in shape. Ears may be natural (preferred) or surgically cropped. Natural ears are drop and hang with the inner edges and tips close to the head. The ears are never long or overly large. Cropped ears are often cut short.

Body and Tail

General Description: Compact, solid, and substantial. The body is never racy or refined, or cloddy. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: Moderate in length, yet sufficient to allow for good head carriage and movement. Powerfully muscled with a good arch. The neck tapers just slightly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, with a slight amount of loose skin at the throat area, but without excess skin, throatiness, or pendulous dewlap.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest is well developed without being excessively pronounced.
Topline: Straight and level, or just slightly sloped from prominent withers to croup. The back is of a good length, broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is broad, taut, flat and level, or slightly arched, yet supportive. The back is never elongated, swayed, or roached.
Croup: Flat and level with the back, or gently sloped.
Underline: Slight to moderate tuck-up present. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, and oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: Set high on the croup. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. The tail is carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, usually approximately level with or just above the topline, but never tucked. The tail is of a moderately long length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be straight, gently curved, or sabered.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are moderately well angulated. Shoulder blades are long and approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The distance from the ground to the point of the elbows is approximately half or just over half (50-52%) the dog’s height at the withers.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, of sturdy bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are fairly long, and equal in length, strong, of sturdy bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Fairly well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: The Caucasian Ovcharka comes in three coat varieties: the smooth coat, the long-coat, and the intermediate coat.
Smooth-coat variety: The coat is shortest on the face and fairly short, smooth, and close to the body throughout. The texture is harsh and thick. The undercoat is dense, soft, and protective. The coat is somewhat uniform in length throughout the body, but may be slightly longer on the neck, forming a light ruff, and on the tail. No major discernible fringe or feather is observed on the back of the legs, but a brushy tail is often present.

Long-coat variety: The coat is short on the face, forehead, and front of the forelimbs and hindlimbs. The outer coat is abundantly thick and long, being longer on the neck, around the ears, and back of the forelimbs and hindlimbs, feet, and tail, forming well-developed “mane,” fringe, furnishings, and tail plume. Undercoats are dense, soft, supportive, and protective.

Intermediary coat variety: The coat can fall anywhere in between the two types, with characteristics of both in length, density, and furnishings.
Coat Color or Pattern: CKC recognizes two color varieties of the Caucasian Ovcharka breed: the standard color and nonstandard color variety.

Standard-color variety: Solid colors of white, red, tan, cream, gray, fawn, rust, brindle, agouti, or piebald variations of these colors. Black piebald permitted.
Nonstandard-color variety: Solid black, or any of the above patterns in a liver or blue eumelanin base.

Movement

Free, energetic, elastic, effortless, and efficient, the characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

The Caucasian Ovcharka is a dog bred for protection of sheep from bears and wolves in the Caucaus Mountains. He is prized for his independence, loyalty, and when needed: willingness to engage in combat to protect his flock. For this reason, the breed is known to naturally tend toward being territorial and aggressive towards any person or animal outside of his or her flock or family. For those wanting to keep a Caucasian Ovcharka as a part of the family, this means that strict obedience and socialization must occur from early puppyhood to prevent problems later down the road. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.