- Breed Standard -

The Caucasian Shepherd was originally bred to guard shepherds, livestock and families, against predators and thieves.

The breed was first known in Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Dagestan, Turkey and Iran.

In 1933 the import of the breed to Russia began. Under the command of Stalin, the best breeding dogs were taken from their homes and moved to Russia to be bred for the military forces there. Until 1989 exporting the breed was illegal. But as the Berlin Wall was torn down, the over 7000 adult guard dogs became redundant. Most of the dogs were put down, but the younglings were sold or given away to families. In 1990 the breed became popular in Russian and the Baltics. The dog breeders there included almost all bitches who could breed in their kennels.


Does this breed suit your lifestyle?

The Caucasian Shepherd is a loyal, and loving guard dog.

They need a lot of socialicing both when young and growing up, as their instincts are to be wary of strangers.

To raise a shepherd you need to be consistant and calm. They need a patient parent, who sets clear boundaries.

They are great guardians or shepherd dogs, and thrive when they get to live / work with livestock.

This is NOT a dog for an apartment in the city, they need space, nature and relaxation.

A yard/safe place to be outdoors is a must. These dogs love to lie outside and watch the world, this is after all what they are bred for.

You have to earn the trust of these dogs, and work to have a positive connection.

If you want one of these dogs as a family dog, you need to work hard to create a stable and confident dog. And put a lot of effort into training them to deal with people coming and going into your home in a good way. Rutines are important. The dog should know what is the correct way of reacting to new people coming in. And this should be the standard even when the puppy is just brought home.

This breed should not be something you aquire because it looks cool or the puppies are so cute. You need to make a conscious decision about living a lifestyle that involves a lot of work and patience for the first 3 years of the dogs life.

If these dogs are not properly parented and socialised they can quickly become aggressive and dangerous dogs.

Then again, if you do put the work in these first few years, you can have a loyal and loving ball of fluff living with you for many years to come.


As a giant breed the Caucasian Shepherd often has issues with hip and elbow dysplasia. It’s important to x-ray at the right age before considering breeding on both males and females.

Eye scanning is recommended.

Epelepsia and heart issues are also something you want to be aware of when making sure your dog is healthy.


Though this was mostly a issue in Russia when the breed was at it’s most popular there.

Before using a dog in breeding you should at least check hips, elbows, and eyes. But it would be a good idea to also check their heart, and their back for spondylosis. To make sure the genes passed on in the generations are as strong as they can be.

Breed Standard (As listed in FCI)

Other names: Caucasian ovcharka, Russian mountain dog, Russian Caucasian

Group 2 – Pinscher and Schnauzer . Molossoid and Swiss Mountains and Cattledogs

Classification – Molossian / Mountain type

Official breed in FCI since – 23/8 – 1984

Origin – Russia


Very well developed in all dimensions; broad, well-muscled and well balanced.

Withers – Well pronounced, moderately long. The height at the withers slightly exceeds the height over the rump.


Head – Compact, wide, and dark colored. Wide and flat forehead. Wide nose. Lips should be dry, heavy, but firm. Scissor bite, white large and normally fitted teeth. Deep, dark eyes.

Neck – Short and powerfull

Body – Mane should be broad, well noticable and muscular. Wide, straight and muscular back. Deep and wide chest.

Loin – Short, broad, slightly arched.

Croup – Moderately long, broad, rounded, slightly sloping to root of the tail.

Tail – Set high, sickle curve or curled. In repose hanging down reaching the hocks; when the dog is alert, tail can be carried above the backline.


General appearance: Well muscled. Viewed from the front, straight, parallel forelegs that are set fairly wide apart.

Shoulder: Strongly muscled. Moderately long, broad, slanting to form an angle of approximately 100 degrees with the upper arm. The shoulder-blade lies close against the chest.

Upper arm: Strong and muscular, close fitting.

Elbow: Placed strictly back in parallel axis; turning neither in not out.

Forearm: Straight, massive, moderately long, well muscled; rounded in cross-section.

Metacarpus (Pastern): Short, massive; almost straight viewed from the front and the side.

Forefeet: Large, rounded in shape, well arched, well-knit.


General appearance: Viewed from the rear straight, standing parallel and moderately wide. The stifles and hocks sufficiently well angulated when viewed from the side. The hindquarters should not be set too far back.

Thigh: Broad, well muscled, moderately long.

Stifle (Knee): Sufficiently well angulated.

Lower thigh: Broad, well muscled, moderately long.

Hock joint: Broad and lean, sufficiently well bent; firm, turning neither in nor out.

Metatarsus (Rear pastern): Not long, massive; almost straight viewed from the front and the side.

Hind feet: Large, rounded in shape, well arched, well-knit.

Gait / Movement- Free, elastic, unhurried movement with good driving power in the hindquarters. Good stability in all joints and with good co-ordination. The trot tends to be the typical movement. The withers are on the same level as the rump, and the backline is relatively stable during movement.

Skin – Thick, sufficiently elastic, without any folds and wrinkless.

Coat – Straight, coarse, stand-off coat with well developed undercoat. The length of guard coat as well as the undercoat should not be less than 5 cm. The coat on the head and forelegs is shorter and thicker. The tail is completely covered with dense coat and looks thick and furry. The longer outer coat forms “brushes” on the ears, a “mane” around the neck and “trousers” on the back sides of the thighs.

Colour – Any solid colour, piebald or spotted colour. Except for solid black; diluted black or black in any combination or genetic blue or liver brown colour.

Size and Weight –

Height at the withers: Males: Desirable height 72-75 cms; Minimum 68 cms;

                                     Females: Desirable height 67-70 cms; Minimum 64 cms.

Larger stature is accepted, as long as conformation is harmonic.

Weight: Males: Minimum: 50 kgs; Females: Minimum: 45 kgs.

FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.


-Too light or too coarse in built.
-Lack of self-confidence.
-Deviations in the sexual dimorphism.
-Head small in proportions to the body; light; narrow; long; coarse; blocky or apple head.
-Abrupt stop.
-Muzzle: downfaced; dishfaced or snipy.
-Teeth too small; widely spaced; incisors not set in one line; any deviation from the dental formula (except for absence of the PM1s).
-Insufficiently marked cheekbones.
-Eyes large; bulging; very light; showing haw; slack eye lids.
-Ears large; thin or set too low.
-Top line roach or sway back; long, sagging or arched loin; rump higher than the withers.
-Body square; too cobby; too long; narrow in both front and rear; too leggy; chest very short, flat or shallow; croup short or steep.
-Stumped tail.
-Weak bone; muscles and ligaments in joints.
-Lacking correct angulations.
-Bowed forearms.
-Unbalanced movement.
-Lack of driving power in the hindquarters.
-Coat that is very soft; curly; has very short guard coat or no undercoat.


-Aggressive or overly shy dogs.
-Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
-Any deviation from the required bite.
-Incompleted dental formula (absence of any tooth except the third molars (M3) or the first premolars (PM1s).
-Wall eyes; deep blue; green shaded or eyes of different colour.
-Docked tail.
-Constant pacing or impossibility to assess the gate.
-Black colour in any variation; solid; diluted; piebald, spotted or as saddle (except for mask).
-Genetic blue colour in any variation or nuance.
-Bluish-grey pigmented nose, lips and eye rims.
-Genetic brown colour in any variation or nuance.
-Genetic brown nose, lips and eye rims.
-Tan-marking in black, blue or brown dogs.
-Height below minimum.
- Severe deviations in the sexual dimorphism in males.


N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.

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