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Caucasian Ovcharka

Club USA

Breed Standards

 A well-bred Caucasian Ovcharka should be healthy, strongly boned, muscular and even-tempered, but some of today's bloodlines are prone to hip dysplasia, obesity, soft back as well as overly vicious temperaments.

The body is powerful and strong, with a broad, straight back, a wide, deep chest and a short, muscular neck. The height ranges anywhere from 23 to 34 inches among working specimens, but most modern dogs are around 28 inches tall.

Depending on whether the dog belongs to the Mountain or Steppe type, the length of the strong sturdy legs can vary, with the Steppe variety of the breed having longer legs, as well as being overall leaner and oftentimes taller than its Mountain type counterpart, whose legs tend to be slightly shorter and thicker. The heavy Mountain type, while less athletic and rarely found performing the breed's traditional livestock guarding duties in the Caucasus, is today seen as more impressive and thus much more popular than the Steppe variety, especially in Russia and the West, where it is often presented as the "correct" Caucasian Ovcharka, while the true rustic leaner representatives of the breed are usually overlooked in literature and rarely encountered in Dog Shows.

Although the popular "bear" type is known for having massive, at times enormous heads, the CO of any variety must have a large head, with a broad skull, flat forehead, fairly soft stop, a slightly tapered strong muzzle, which is somewhat shorter than the length of the skull. However, females should not resemble male dogs, having lighter heads with strong feminine features.

The nose must be strongly pigmented, preferably black, although a dark brown nose is permitted for white-coated dogs. The lips are quite heavy, but should not ever be overly loose. The deep-set eyes are moderately small, dark and oval.

The ears of the Caucasian Ovcharka are set high on the head and have traditionally been cropped, although a large number of modern dogs can be seen unaltered. The tail is high set, usually curled over the dog's back. It should be noted that in some regions, working Caucasians could have their tails cut off, which leads neophytes to the breed to mistake them for Central Asian Ovcharkas, even though the breed Standard allows a docked tail and are accepted for Shows.

Even though many coat-types and beautiful colors exist, such as golden-yellow, fawn, brindle, reddish-brown, creamy white, pearl white and various piebald shades, the preferred Show-types are the long-coated grey dogs with or without some white markings present. No black or black-n-tan dogs are acceptable for Show, but they do exist and are just as ancient as the other traditional colorings.

However, tan dogs with a black "saddle" are undesired, while such markings on gray-coated dogs are naturally common and completely acceptable. Occasionally, blue-colored Caucasians can be encountered, but are not accepted for Shows, although this unusual coloring can also occur naturally at times in purebred breed representatives.