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North-Caucasian Wolfdog

When the legendary Caucasian Ovcharka started getting popular in Russia and Europe in the mid-20th century, it's northern cousin, the Severno-Kavkaski Volkodav remained a closely guarded secret, only to be mentioned occasionally as its smaller and less attractive type. In recent years, the North-Caucasian Wolfdog has been making appearances in the Russian Dog Shows, but it's usually presented as a short-haired sub-variety of the Kavkazkaya Ovcharka. However, this will likely change in the future, due to the efforts of the North-Caucasian Volkodav fanciers, which are fighting for the breed's official and separate recognition in Russia. Contrary to the claims made by some "experts" with questionable motives within the C.O. community, this ancient breed is not a cross of the Central Asian Shepherd Dog and the Caucasian Ovcharka. It is also much more than simply a short-coated variant of the Caucasian Shepherd Dog. The North-Caucasian Wolfdog is closely related to the Armenian Gampr and the Georgian Nagazi and is considered by some authorities to be the true aboriginal Kavkaz mastiff, unlike the modern Caucasian Ovcharka breed, which is believed by some to have little in common with its old self.

Traditionally employed as a fighting dog, livestock protector and property guardian, the North-Caucasian Volkodav is a very serious and resilient worker. Said to be extremely aggressive towards strange dogs, while being very protective of its own canine pack, this breed is also much friendlier towards humans than the Caucasian Shepherd Dog. However, the North-Caucasian Wolfdog is a committed watchdog and will not tolerate any intruders, especially after dark. This is a valued wolf killer and a prized contestant in the mountain fighting tournaments, but is a surprisingly relaxed and even-tempered Molosser when not working. Commonly found in many areas of the Northern Kavkaz, the most respected bloodlines reportedly come from the small town of Pyatigorsk, known for some of the most famous dogs within the breed.

The North-Caucasian Wolfdog is a very fast runner, with excellent jumping skills and impressive stamina. This is a wide-chested and broad-headed breed, with a fairly short muzzle and large teeth. Compared to the popular Kavkazkaya Ovcharka, the rugged North-Caucasian Volkodav is generally a smaller dog, but equally powerful and noticeably more athetic. The body is squarely built, with a slightly shorter neck and a straight back. The moderately short, hard coat is known as "wolf-hair" and is densely undercoated and fully weatherproof.

The coat is usually longer during the winter and comes in a wide range of colourings. Solid white, yellow, fawn, grey and brown specimens are very common, but there are also quite a few brindled, white with darker patches and multi-coloured dogs to be found. Average height is around 25 inches, but larger examples exist.

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