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Caucasian Ovcharka?
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Caucasian Ovcharka?

I am looking for a new dog that will be a companion that will protect me and my property. I have considered a livestock guardian as well but, I really need a livestock guardian and a "Sid" guardian dog. My previous dog was a German Shepard and I loved him but, while he was an awesome city dog, my life changed and now I find myself in a rural Texas in a high crime rate (drug problems) area and I have livestock predation issues.

I am seeing a lot of bad internet stories about this breed but, I question the validity of them. I need a big dog that can hold his own against coyotes and dogs wandering in from drug houses down the road and general wild strays that occasionally threaten me on my 40 acres. What I don't want is a dog that will attack the neighbor kids that go fishing on my pond (with my permission ) or the mailman but, will show appropriate aggression to people and strays that show me harm or intend to commit various criminal acts on my property.

Owning a Caucasian Shepherd is not an easy task. This independent and strong-willed dog will obey only a dominating an equally-willed owner whom it respects. Obedience training and early socialization is mandatory for this breed. Forming a strong protective bond with its owner, the Caucasian Ovcharka would not raise other family members to the same level. It mostly suits active singles, experienced handlers as well as farmers and ranchers.

This seems to be a fairly common 'assessment' of what to expect with this breed. What does it really mean to me as a former German Shepard owner? I will spend many hours a day with my dog and will train them some each day, sometimes a little sometimes a lot depending on what life demands of me.

Or, am I 'barking up the wrong tree' and need to search out a German Shepard working dog or some other breed like a Russian Terrier? I want a big dog that is happy with a reasonable level of activity each day as I won't be running marathons but, I will be outside roaming the property doing normal 'farm stuff' in addition to shooting feral hogs at night.

TIA,
Sid
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Old 03-18-2016, 01:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Caucasian Ovcharka?

Is there anyone breeding these dogs near you? Where were you planning to get one from?

I would reach out to other ranchers and landowners in your area and find out what they use for livestock protection and guarding. Ask what they like about their dogs and where they obtained them and how they trained them. I suspect they will be very different to train from your GSD.
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Old 03-18-2016, 01:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Caucasian Ovcharka?

A good Anatolian would be a better choice for you. The Caucasian needs a very experienced owner.
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Old 03-18-2016, 03:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Caucasian Ovcharka?

Hi, yes they are a beautiful and a fascinating breed from what I have researched. I own a Great Pyrenees that is always watching my 2.5 acres and he is very level headed, and confident, but makes his presence known with new people and dogs. We have a fenced yard, chickens wandering about and other dogs. I think all LGDs have many similarities to include the caucasion. The breed has been involved in being bred by some for dog fighting, which is a shame, at least I read that somewhere, but the breeders here in the US say that they can still do live stock gaurdian duties just fine. I think if he were properly socialized you could likely handle one fine and he wouldn't be a liability (if you don't fence him though, I think any dog COULD be a risk, don't know if your place is fenced, some breeds wander less, don't know which) As for training, even though I've seen videos of people that are doing "some sort" of protection training with them and they look scary as heck, I wouldn't go there. LGDs think a lot for themselves. To call a LGD off from protection work, I can't imagine. This type of dog needs socialization, but won't respond quickly to obedience. He should have common sense and not be overly aggressive if socialized right. Natural guardian of the property, but I walk my Pyr and feel confident too. He has twice, calmly, put his huge mouth over a dog following me to get them to leave us alone. His confidence provokes no fights. The Pyr is supposed to be a bit softer than most LGDs though. Not cowardly in anyway though. Like others mentioned, if it were me, I'd look into all types of LGDs and find a breeder that does health checks. Many, many, don't and hip and elbow problems are huge in these giant breeds. Health first! The Kuvasz is another LGD and Kangal. These dogs are supposed to be pretty tough with people and predators, but should still be level headed. The anatolian too. Some pyrs maybe a little too friendly to people for some. Good luck with a caucasian or whatever you choose, but I think you will enjoy the qualities of a LGD. A LGD expert is a lady in Winemucca Nevada. Something like Brenda Nigeri maybe. She has emailed me back before and has written many articles. Google LGD nevada. You should find her. Just stay away from dogs without health checks please. Could turn out great, but you don't want too support people who breed crippled dogs.
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Old 03-18-2016, 03:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Caucasian Ovcharka?

Letting a dog decide who is bad and who isn't will land you in trouble. The dog doesn't know the kids fishing, or the mailman are okay but the druggie who wanders onto the property isn't. Caucasians are notoriously nasty and to allow one to run loose with the expectation of protection is crazy, especially if they will actually engage unprovoked (the one's I've seen are defensive in nature and only bite when pressed). With a dog like you describe, it has to be all or none. Either all wild critters and people are fair game, or they're not.

You live in Texas so carrying a firearm is no biggie. You could have a personal protection dog by your side when you are out and about, and have a livestock dog when you are safely indoors. No visitors allowed until they call you. Mailbox moved to the edge of the property. The Caucasian is not the breed you want in Texas IMO. Too big, too hairy, too slow, easily gassed under stress. A pack of coyotes would tire that dog out, then kill it if they wanted to....and they could do it fairly quickly.
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Old 03-18-2016, 03:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Caucasian Ovcharka?

Me again,
I read the 40 acres part. So not fenced then or? I think a lot of people would see that as a lot of land, but many LGDs will wander out of 40 acres from what I've researched. That would be my MAIN question for the breeder besides health. Also, are you used to the company of a dog that likes to be by your side like your old GSD? A LGD will love on you when you go and see them, but won't be so attentive as a herding type breed. Other members, help me with this, but I've read a Briard doesnt wander. This would be a somewhat independent, but still trainable breed (even in protection!), and tough. Maybe it would over heat or be too small to handle major predators. With that acreage, I'd have more than one dog to keep it safe. Also, a healthy GSD. The folks on here could help on the type of GSD that could work for you because there are definitely big differences between types of GSDs. As for a Black Russian terrier, be ready to break the bank. Have met a few and they are VELCRO dogs, but most people breed them as show dogs and don't seem to think of them as actually doing anything, a shame. Okay, thats plenty of my opinion.
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Old 03-18-2016, 03:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Caucasian Ovcharka?

I know a woman in Scotland who has Briards for protection and estate security. Very good dogs actually, and tenacious. Only problem you have with Briards in this country is getting one that actually works instead of walking in circles at a dog show. BRTs are also a good choice but yes, expensive. I understand the mentality and concern that more than one dog would be desireable but sometimes 2 or more dogs become a hunting party instead of herd security.
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Old 03-18-2016, 06:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Caucasian Ovcharka?

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

As noted above, one of my concerns was heat so, that is definitely a disqualifier for me. Sometimes a double coat is good thing at holding heat at bay and sometimes it is a killer as noted. Also, if they don't have the stamina to deal with a group of coyotes, that is a non-starter as well because the last thing I want to do is feed a precious pet and companion to a pack of wild dogs or coyotes who won't appreciate an expensive meal and are in dire need of some high velocity vitamin Pb.

Health checks and a good family tree are a REQUIREMENT, period with no exceptions. No puppy mills or backyard breeders at all. The problems they foist on an uninformed public should be criminal IMHO. My last GSD had direct parentage to German Schutzhund parents that were at the highest levels and needless to say in this crowd, he did not come cheap and was WORTH EVERY PENNY!

My mailbox is outside my "pipe fence" at the road and when I have the gate closed and locked, no one is coming onto my property. So, while not perfect, the kids are pretty safe because I will have control of my dog if I open the gate to "let or allow" the public at large in. If the gate is closed, I have appropriate signage to cover me if law enforcement or lawyers enter the picture. I obviously view that as a last resort if all else has already FAILED. And, yes firearms are an option too but, I am only one person who has other things to worry about and focus on so I need and want help in addition to companionship.

And yes my 40 acres is fenced for cattle, not deer (a Texas game law issue), not hogs, and definitely not dogs. The house area has a standard chain link fence so, it isn't going to a be physical barrier to any dog I would consider owning.

Owning a Pyrenees just doesn't appeal to me for reasons I can't really articulate. I have considered an Anatolian Shepherd but, I have been told they wander too much to be a good choice for me. While a German Shepherd is a wonderful all round dog, my last experience has me looking for a larger tougher dog for when the chips are down. This is in no way meant to disparage GSDs but, I have already had one killed and I don't want to go through that again. Two dogs is something I will consider but only when the first dog is 4 or 5 years old so I always have an older experienced dog when the new enters my world and starts training.

I definitely want a "working" dog whether it is a German Shepherd, Giant Schnauzer, Cocker Spaniel, Black Russian Terrier, etc. Show dogs and pet trade dogs are not my thing.
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Old 03-19-2016, 01:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Caucasian Ovcharka?

I agree with Howard on the CO. I've seen only three in my lifetime but all three fit the seriously nasty reputation.

My older SCHIII GSD did an excellent job at herding and my personal choice for guard dogs is a yappy little terrier and a good GSD.

When I had a JRT and a GSD the little bassid would alert way before the GSD gave it any thought but then the GSD would then quickly fire up because of the terrier's alert barking.

Also consider the godawful heavy coat on the OC and many of the LGD breeds.

Without a ton of work that coat will become a matted, smelly door mat.

The farm I herded at had a nice working Great Pyr with sheep..........once it outgrew it's duck maiming habit.
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Old 03-19-2016, 02:10 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Caucasian Ovcharka?

you are looking for a do everything dog but focusing on a special purpose guardian type dog. that will make it harder to fill your wish list

my first suggestion :
- spend the time to find a GOOD GSD from a GOOD working breeder
- they are still out there
- there is healthy stock available if you know what to look for regarding gsd health issues
- they can come close to giving you the cake you can eat too if you lower your preference for the "big" part, and if you get a black one they will look even bigger and badder and more intimidating to the scum bags who might pass through

don't expect any dog to do what you want and make correct decisions without TRAINING it. training is control and you need that in a dog that will be forced to make independent decisions when you are not around to guide it

or, if money is no object get a well bred show line tibetan mastiff and go a different route
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