The Caucasian Ovcharka, also known as Caucasian Mountain Dog, Tatar Shepherd Dog, Nagazi (in the Georgian Republic), Gampr (in Armenia) and Caucasian Shepherd Dog, is a powerful animal with an imposing presence standing 25-32 inches at the withers and weighing up to 150 pounds. It descends from the Mastiff-like dogs of Tibet related to fighting and shepherd dogs of Asia. For many years they were hardy workers for the cattle breeders thoughout the vast territories that stretched from the Caucasus steppes and foothills to the Persian Plateau.
Swift, agile, ferocious when need be, and fiercely loyal, it was obvious why they'd been the breed of choice for both the Russian military and the East German border patrol. Though technically a livestock guardian breed, the Caucasian Ovcharka has also been bred to a fighting or protection dog, making it a challenging choice for most people. This breed absolutely needs a dedicated owner who is capable to ensure the dog's safety and well-being.
Although this bear-like dog strongly bonds with his owner, he might not obey the family's children or can overreact to protect them in play.
Caucasian Ovcharkas have a strong prey drive which makes keeping them around small animals and poultry problematic. A six-foot fencing is recommended.
The Caucasian shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia.
In the USA the Caucasian Ovcharka can be registered with the AKC FSS. The dogs of Russia (Kavkazskaïa Ovtcharka), where the largest breed population is found, are judged by the Russian breed standard, while the rest of Europe's Caucasians are judged by the FCI standard (Caucasian Shepherd Dog).
- Farm Dogs: A Comprehensive Breed Guide to 93 Guardians, Herders, Terriers, and Other Canine Working Partners. Janet Vorwald Dohner
- Caucasian Mountain Dog. Stacey Kubyn, Layne Grether