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CAO Puppy Assessment

Replies (59)
    • I don't believe that you did anything wrong by putting your pup through this test. I believe that the breeder is not breeding with the breed standard in mind. That breeder is breeding towards their own ideas odds what they want for the breed.  This could be a change in temperament and size.  This may have everything to do with political correctness of the culture in your country.  

      It is possibœle that the dog is slower to mature and will still make a great guardian. However, if it doesn't do not get a dog from anyone in the east. You should get an import. Do some research on the breeders before you select a pup .There are a number of people on here with years of experience in this breed. I suggest you learn what to look for from them. 

      • Unfortunately, importing a puppy from overseas is not a very simple process in Australia (http://www.agriculture.gov.au/cats-dogs).

        • Here's my fear. The breeders in your area because of the culture and fears may breed towards having dogs with less guarding instincts.  In order to have a dog with the correct temperament you may need to seek elsewhere to get it. 

          • This is what the breeder who introduced the breed in Australia told me about the previous stud she had and what she is now breeding: "With him i was constantly scared for peoples safety as he could do a lot of damage. With these dogs i am a bit more relaxed".

            I think that a confident dog will not cause harm out of nothing, and will not be confrontational unless there is a need, because of the confidence the dog won't be scared and will have nothing to prove. Of course, these are only thought based on my limited experience; I am not an expert in K9 psyche :)

            • Large breed dogs can cause a lot of damage.  They can also prevent loss of livestock and personal property. 

              A confidant dog can and will protect and or warn people who are crossing the line. Every dog especially dogs that has a guardian temperament will develop a radius.  This will determine in the dogs mind what us too close for their comfort.  If a stranger comes within that radius the dog will respond. We don't know what that radius is.  It's  generally more than our fence line. 

              Dogs also communicate using body language.  Two dogs staring one another down is confrontational. Therefore, when a human stares down a dog the dog also should consider this behavior  (body language ) as threatening or confrontational.  The dog can choose to attack or warn with a growl or bark. In most cases a warning will suffice. If the dog's owner is doing the staring the dog should be submissive.  But I don't know why an owner would do the staring. 

              This isn't just about confidence.  This is instinctive.  After a dog reaches a certain age these instinctive behaviors should be evident. 

              Example : 

              We were doing some personal protection training with a group of dogs. There were a variety if breeds and ages.  There was a 6 months old presa. The decoy began shaking a rattle stick . The pup had never seen that before and began to  show protective instincts . This was a good sign. There was a South American Boerboel that was 13 months old. When the rattle stick towards her she didn't show any protective instincts. She was uninterested. The owner of the dog stated that she would respond like that before it was done.  He said it was typical of thus breed that they don't start being interested in doing bite work until they are around 18 months. That is getting more common today for that breed.  That wasn't always the case.  

              • I dont think you did anything wrong. You want another respond but were disappointed. 

                I owned gsd in the passed and one of them was very submissive. When poeple approched he pied and lay on his back. In the fallowing months that changed thank god. He didnt lay doen anymore but wasnt protective at all.

                When he became 1.5 years old he became the most steady dog i ever owned. Only protective when things were wrong. Very dominant but not agressive, pure bodylanguage. Very pleasant dog. Ofcourse i know a cao is diffrent but you must be patient. My first co was protective from day one but not that stable i wanted. Oh he would kill you because when he didnt feel secure he made the choise to attack and never backed down. My second became to bark when he was a year old.

                So give him time to mature, the character will change a lot


              • I am fairly confident that my puppy will become a good guard dog in time. Whether she will become very alert or not; will have to wait and see. The breeder is intentionally breeding milder CAOs. The breeder might have had bad experience with the dogs she bred in the past as they were true full on CAOs with hot temperament. Tzar's father was bred by this breeder. For us, Tzar had the perfect temperament. The breeder also decided to go for a smaller/leaner CAO variant. Maybe to get rid of the bloat issue; not sure. The breeder believes that CAOs should not be too big as they do a lot of walking in rough terrain in normal life. Cannot really claim that I am fond of this smaller/leaner variant. To me, this variant is too narrow chested, very fine boned, too leggy looking, the head is small and the neck does not give the impression of being powerful. However, CAOs mature slowly, so body wise it might improve over time. I think my puppy is not lucky. If I didn't lose Tzar, I wouldn't have been that critical of my puppy. Tzar was also an exceptional dog of different type so hopefully soon I will fully recover from my lose, and accept my puppy for what she is; at the end, she is a lovely, beautiful and intelligent pup.

                • When I first moved to the US from Europe, about a year after I got here somebody gave me a 9 weeks old puppy they found on the street. I learned later that the mother was a Chow Chow and the father a Pit.  This dog went through all the struggles and obstacles I encountered over the years and I can say that I would not have made it without him.  He was extremely healthy, and had nerves of steel.  He also had one mission in life, to protect me!!  He lived a great life and remained healthy until he died at 16 1/2 years of age.  I was REALLY hoping to get the same type of personality with my next dog, but when I got my other dog, it didn't turn out that way for sure.  My current dog is now 8 years old and I've learned to accept the fact that while she has a tremendous potential, I could never trust her to protect us from a real threat.  I still love her and she is having a great life of course.  P.S. I got her from a so called "breeder" in Illinois that guaranteed she would be THE protection dog.

                  • Castanha, 

                    Sorry to hear that you didn't get the pup with a temperament that you desired and expected. Not every breed nor every dog will be a guardian.  However, it is expected of certain breeds.  

                    What breed of dog is this dog? Have you ever done any type of bite work with the dog with a qualified trainer?

                    • She is 50% American Bulldog, 25% Catahoula, 25% Black Mouth Cur.  I did only 2 sessions with her and she did good in defense. That said, due to her weak nerves, I did not want to pursue too much training with the fear that she will develop to much defense based on fear.  Right now, she displays aggression towards weird acting homeless or people that just act strange, but I am pretty sure she would not engage. 

                      Just to tell you how unpredictable she is.  Two weeks ago at my in-laws house in the Palm Springs desert, some weirdo rang the door bell at 4:00 AM in the morning asking if he could charge his cell phone in our house.  Hahaha, welcome to the desert.  At that moment, my dog was sleeping right by the door and she didn't even bark. :(   On the other hand, I spoke with the the people that own her brother, and he is a beast of a protection dog.  Not all dogs are born equal and even breeds that are meant to be protection breeds don't always produce puppies that will do the job.  In my opinion, it is the responsibility of the experienced breeder to be able to differentiate which are the pet quality puppies, which are the guard quality puppies and which are the protection quality puppies.

                      • I agree that every dog will not make a good protection dog even breeds that are supposed to be protection breeds. I differ  on the opinion that the breeder should know the difference in pet quality and guard dog quality.  

                        Pet quality is a dog that has too many faults or disqualifying faults. This is related to conformation and a dog that is too shy. A dog that is pet quality can also be a great protection dog. 

                        Any time you get a pup you are taking a gamble. There's no fool proof method to determine if a pup will be a champion of record,  Schutzhund,  IPO, French Ring or personal protection dog. We do know certain breeds are excellent in these types of work. Certain lines exvel, but can and will produce a dog that is not the best suited for the work. There's some puppy implanting that can be done to increase the probability that the dog will be a good worker with solid nerves. But as with every dog things can change as the dog grows and matures. There are environmental things that can affect the dog and cause the dog not to  perform the best. 


                        Considering your 8 year old dog without evaluating it personally it is possible that that dog will protect.  I'm basing this on your statement of its defense with a trainer.  With more training and confidence building it might be possible.  Some dogs take to it right away.  Others require more training.  


                          With more training and confidence building it might be possible.  Some dogs take to it right away.  Others require more training

                           Your entire post is excellent ad I find this to be absolutely true.

                          • Thanks . I based this on my personal experiences.  I've only been doing this most of my life.


                            It is critical that you find the right trainer the n order to bring the best out of your dog. 

                            • I am working on Tzarina to build up her confidence, and she is showing very positive signs; she is 8 and half months now and started to show more interest in her surrounding, especially after I introduced her to the sheep and alpacas and let her spend time with them every week unsupervised:)

                              • ahhhh - stimulate her natural instincts! What a wonderful idea. I hope that works and gives her the balance she needs.  

                                It is amazing how quickly a dog will take to what was embedded in their genes for hundreds of years.  A new awakening.

                                • Good to hear the positive news!  

                                  • Awesome!  Sounds like this is just what the pup needed. We all must keep in mind these are working dogs. They thrive best when doing a job. 


                                    Looking forward to hearing about more success. 

                                    • Hi there

                                      Our puppy is now a bit over 9 months old; no major change so far but it is still a bit too early to tell.

                                      I was told that she would be fully matured by the age of 3 years old; possibly 4; what do you guys think? What would be the most suitable age to test her? Of course, the sooner the better for me, but I am prepared to wait to give her the best chance to prove her guarding ability.


                                      • Are you planning to do any foundation work? Or just test her abilities?

                                        • Just to test her ability 

                                          • I would personally wait till 2/3 years of age. I prefer to make sure they are fully mature first. I typically start earlier, but I like to create foundation as I work them.

                                            • Thank you Jessica; I thought so; I didn't any training for Tzar; he proved himself as an intelligent superior guard by coincidence when he was about 18 months old or less; from what I saw from him, I didn't want him to feel that bite work is condoned; Tzar was a very serious dog but very kind; Tzarina on the other hand doesn't come across as very kind so I don't want her to feel the same either even though she doesn't exhibit any of Tzar's guarding ability or traits; my understanding is that the true nature of CAOs is very protective by nature; CAOs in Australia are very limited in numbers and were not manipulated until the breeder, who brought this breed to the country, decided to produce a milder strain, so that she would feel more relaxed when she receives visitors...

                                              • Guys/Gals; my puppy is now 10 and half months old; last night I left the gate open so that an old friend visiting would just drive in when he arrives;

                                                I put the puppy in the car port, which is an enclosure under the house roof, fenced by swimming pool fence i.e. not brick walls and she can see what is happening outside; the car port is about 35m from the property gate;

                                                When my friend arrived and drove in, there wasn't even a bark from the puppy to alert us; and again she was happy and excited to see a new face that she has never seen before;

                                                I feel very disappointed; started to feel that I should not wait on her for another year to discover later that she hasn't got it in her and she is no good guard; perhaps I should seriously be considering re-homing her.

                                                I am very surprised because this puppy shares the same grandfather and great grandfather as Tzar who was an exceptional dog! This is from her mother's side. However, the puppy is nothing whatsoever like Tzar in physique or guarding ability. Here father must have very strong genes indeed!

                                                • That is completely up to you, each dog is different and will mature differently. Not all are as defensive and the other, but at this time it would be much easier to place her into a nice home than waiting till she is even older...

                                                  • This is a 10 month old pup. There is still time for the pup to display his/her guarding instincts. As stated dogs develop or mature differently. While it may be typical of certain breeds to begin displaying their guarding instincts by a certain age this is not going to be true for every dog. Some dogs mature more slowly. Some begain to display it early.


                                                    Just because a couple of dogs on the other side were great guardian does not automatically mean that all of its offspring will be great guardians. If that were true every dog from a "working" line would all be great schutzhund dogs. Every dog from a so-called "show" line will all be champion of record. Thesed dogs are often bred having working or show champions on both the Sire and Dam in the pedigree. But they both will produce more dogs that are not going to be great schitzhung (IPO) or Show champions. In fact many are going to produce some pet only quality pups.. The dog may still be a great dog. But it might not meet the criteria to be a champion of record or a good working dog.


                                                    I don't recall if I asked this previously. I kind of think that I have. Have you had the dog evaluated by a professional? This may give you a better ideal on whter or not this dog will meet your need for a guard dog.

                                                    • All true and thanks for sharing your thoughts. It is a tricky one. From conformation prospective this puppy's type also seems to deviating a lot from the mainstream CAS; lighter in bone; smaller head; not as powerful neck and narrow chest. We love her; my wife and son resisting letting her go; she has a very nice personality; but we are not really after a pet companion.Following the subdivision of massive rural block (16 squared Kilometres) near us, which started about 8-10 years ago, and the building of 100s of small houses, there have been 3 break-ins in our supposedly quiet street in the past year; one of the break ins, the neighbour next to our neighbour found a man in her kitchen; the neighbour opposite to her they stole his ute and drove through two rural fences on his property before going out; the neighbour next to him they stole all his tools from the shed. So, perhaps we keep the pup as a deterrent until we find another suitable CAS, which is not easy to get by in Australia. Will see and will keep you posted...

                                                      • Another friend visited us last weekend; this time the gate was looked; the gate is solid and 6' high so couldn't really see my friend's van behind it; I looked from the window; my puppy was mid way in the middle of the driveway watching; again not a single bark; I am very intrigued:/


                                                          my puppy was mid way in the middle of the driveway watching; again not a single bark;

                                                           That is normal. Your pup is learning the world around her.  Give it a few months to see if she gets switched on.

                                                          • i had 3 litters, pups start to alert(barking) at 6 weeks old. they should NOT be aggressive though. but all cas dogs i owned were agressive to strangers after age 12 m old.so this breed is slow maturity.

                                                          • Mine will be 12 months old in two weeks and still would lick strangers to death, if she meets them for the first :)


                                                              would lick strangers to death

                                                               Hi Alaa,

                                                              that is not good if she is bred true and supposed to be a guard. You should have seen "something"  by now. Can you share with us the breeder and if she has a website so I can check it out and learn something about the program and lines if any.  I have met many CAOs in the USA and other countries and they are very alert and attentive guardians.  Always wary of strangers and ready to defend. 

                                                              • On a personal level, I like the breeder; she is a lovely lady. I have known her for years. She brought Tzar's grands to Australia from Russia over 20 years ago.

                                                                I have just exchanged messages with the breeder who acknowledged that the behaviour that I described is: "Not typical for adult males at all and not so typical for a mature female. At 1 year she is still a pup though and peeing is a communication thing showing respect" "Normal for wolves and wild dogs species" "She may be a bit more of the gentle nature than a usual cao". The breeder further added that she is happy to take her back or I can put her for sale.

                                                                My wife and son are resisting the idea of re-homing our girl. Will have to decided very soon as the longer I wait the more difficult it will be to find her a suitable home.

                                                                The breeder used to have a website; however found this recent video for her https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSb_6mo-cMU

                                                                • Gyess is one of my puppy's grandfathers


                                                                  • Hello Alaa,

                                                                    How is your pup Tzarina doing now?  Any change in temperament as she matures? I hope she has started to show some good guarding instinct. In the video she was too friendly and interested in the strange vehicle and person.  I would like to know if there has been any changes in behavior.


                                                                    Best wishes,


                                                                    • Hi Gary; no change so far; our final decision is to keep her and get a male from the type we prefer when one is available.


                                                                        keep her and get a male from the type we prefer

                                                                         Excellent!  I am glad you did not abandon her because of her temp.

                                                                        This is not the first time I have discussed situations like this with some of our members.  Normally breed clubs and enthusiasts love the temperament of the original breed but because of local laws and pressures to join kennel clubs they soon abandon the natural temperament and start to soften the dogs so they can be more popular. For that reason, I usually look more closely at breeders that purport to "preserve" the breed and see what they are doing. 

                                                                        I believe the quarantine rules prevent direct importing to Australia without long wait times in quarantine.  However, it is my understanding that the dog can be quarantined at the origin and then shipped directly to Australia after.  If you are interested in importing a fine specimen maybe I can help.  

                                                                        The difficulty is finding a dog that is switched on to strangers and switched off to other things. In our situation, we chose dogs that are switched on ALL the time as (like your place) we are completely fenced in and no one can just walk up to the house. 

                                                                        There must be some balance between having a natural guardian dog and the social responsibility that goes with owning such a dog. My number one recommendation is:

                                                                        MaxoMagic Central Asian Shepherds

                                                                        Middletown, NY 10940, USA

                                                                        Phone: 845-343-2592

                                                                        Send us an email we would love to hear from you!

                                                                        Steve and Daniel Nash are the proprietors of this Kennel and have the best dogs in the USA.  They also have a large facebook presence.


                                                                        A few others are:



                                                                        For hard dogs, you should look at Akmenu Gele - ran by Arunas Derus.  Not sure of his website anymore but he is on FaceBook. Here are some of their older photos. If needed I can try to contact Arunas for you.

                                                                        Best regards,



                                                                        • Well summed Gary; I believe that there is an exceptional matting in the making locally; hope that it will be fruitful; will keep you posted...

                                                                          • Excellent! Please let me know how it goes.

                                                                            • Thank you Gary; we are hoping to hear whether the mating were fruitful in the near future; fingers crossed :) will let you know.

                                                                              • The mating happened a week or so ago using; a different sire than what I hoped; still a good mating; the dam is Tzar's mother and it will be her last litter; the sire is imported from Belarus and looks very impressive; booked a male and made a deposit; if the mating is fruitful, the litter is expected by 22 September; will keep you posted to share the excitement with you!

                                                                                • Thank you for the update.  I wonder which carries the most dominant trait - the sire or the dam.  I think it is the damme but I think there is an article on here or in the forum about this. So, if the mother is soft you will have a fairly good chance of getting a softer offspring.  Maybe worth looking into.

                                                                                  • Thank you; this matting was done in the past more than twice, I think, and produced good guard dogs; so I am hoping for the best; Anastasia/Lagertha is one of their offsprings; unfortunately, I lost her to a snakebite when she was 5 months old (http://molosserdogs.com/m/photos/view/Lagertha-10-weeks) I haven't been very lucky with my dogs over the past couple of years! Hope that things will start changing now :)

                                                                                    • As promised, to keep you updated, unfortunately, the mating was not fruitful :(

                                                                                      • I'm a little late to this discussion. I shouldn't be but I am still stunned that you got the kind of reaction from the breeders that you did. Any breeder touting perfection isn't telling the truth anymore than any human (since Jesus Christ) is perfect. And saying you somehow damaged a pup by having a stranger stare at the pup at that age should be a joke but obviously wasn't.
                                                                                        I've owned or handled several slow maturing breeds. Anyone who says having someone eye an 8 month old guardian breed is doing damage is just plain batty. That's life & they better be breeding dogs that can handle life or they're doing a disservice to their breed. My slowest maturing individual is my current guardian. She's darn near perfect now but as a pup, she should have came with a case of aspirin & barrels of alcohol. She was goofy.  Only guardian I've ever raised that thought the couch was trying to kill her (because she stuck her head under it, raised up with the full couch on her head). So she ran off with the couch. No kidding. It was like living in a three ring circus & the clown was this goofy dog however at 5 months old, being with us less than 48 hours my husband saw something in the dog's eye. We had a visitor & he told the visitor to raise their hand up over their head. The person did. The pup went stock still. When he told them to do it again but this time the hand in a fist, the dog went from watchful & sharp to full on bear growl, a bark that rumbled the floor under my feet & my holding her collar feeling just how strongly she wanted to advance. This from a dog who would bump something with her nose & then bark like mad when if fell over. I nearly hurt my eyes from rolling them at this goofy dog but she'd fight to the death for my safety. Go figure. I'm thinking those breeders would want me locked up because I begin testing pups soon after they arrive at my house. I've a lifetime experience so I don't do this in big ways but little things like you did with your female are very good indicators. There is a chance that if you get a strong male who is more to your type of dog, the female might get in the game with a partner to work beside. She may not ever be as strong but then again, she might wake up & you have yourself a new dog. I have an old fashioned type Collie. She's the dog everyone assumes is a huggie cuddly dog. She looks it. She acts quite friendly. I have learned however her growing up with my guardian (a Giant Schnauzer) has taught her a few things. She doesn't have to be the guardian, she's the watch dog (alert dog) so long as the big black has the yard. The Giant is in charge. When the Collie has the yard, it's a different matter. She patrols that perimeter like a soldier. If you try to breach the fence or - heaven forbid - try to unlock the gate from the outside you could lose something you're rather fond of. The Collie looks sweet & cuddly but she's got teeth & the Giant's taught her well. She just prefers to work predator critters rather than humans.
                                                                                        So when you get your male, watch for signs that the female is catching on. Praise her for it when you see a spark. If my older dog is one I don't want the pup to emulate, then I don't allow them free time together alone. I have that pup grow up a little more independent. When he's old enough that he & I have the bond we need, he's obedient & answers to me... then I give him some time with the other dog & I supervise. So long as there's not an aggression issue between the two, this has served me well & saved me some headaches from the pup picking up bad habits. 

                                                                                        I'll check back as I hope you'll soon have a pup that's to your liking & I'd love to know if he's helping the female grow into her job. Sometimes they can really surprise us.

                                                                                        • Alaa posted that he rehomed the female CAO at 2.5 years old because she never showed signs of guarding and is not suitable for his purpose. It seems to be a common thing with the Guardians these days where they are softened to the point of being useless as Guardian dogs. Choose the next pup very carefully then. :)

                                                                                        • This is our stud Safar few weeks ago.our website www.guardiandog.net Michigan 


                                                                                            • Very nice; thank you for sharing; very impressive dog you have; well done. We actually had a chat on Facebook recently. Unfortunately, the overall cost including shipping makes it very difficult.

                                                                                              As I plan to relocate to Turkey in future, and Russia is closer to Turkey, I tried to ask Olga Sukhacheva about whether she is still breeding the same, or similar, bloodlines to her foundation stock in the 1990s. She replied but I couldn't really understand her reply due to language barrier it seems.

                                                                                              I had a chat with Daniel Nash who recommended Patrik Nemeth in Hungry. I couldn't friend Patrick on Facebook as he reached 5000 followers. I looked up his dogs. I tend to prefer the mountain strain of Central Asian Shepherds.

                                                                                              I visited the first CAO breeder in Turkey, Haktan Cevik, during our stay there. I was very impressed by the superb condition of his kennels; nicely designed, roomy and exceptionally clean. As I am not familiar with the bloodlines he has, when time comes, I will be seeking help from experienced breeders like yourself and Daniel before I get my next pup(s).

                                                                                              I plan to wait until I get settled in Turkey before I get another puppy; so there is plenty of time for more research.

                                                                                              Thanks once again; any feedback and comments about what I said are much appreciated. I learn from you so please be generous with your replies :)

                                                                                              • Safar and unknown vehicle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHAvcHrzWLg

                                                                                                we dont breed dogs for sweet temperaments,we dont create gentle giants.our dogs are not therapy dogs for public . we keep breed as it know for thousands years- mobile, devoted to family, not social butterfly to outside word,  our dogs are UKC champions.


                                                                                                • The "Central Asian Shepherd' that I just re-homed wouldn't give a bark to alert us to a 4x4 driving into our drive way even after a big scary dude came out of it.

                                                                                                  At 2.5 years old, she wee'ed out of excitement greeting the couple who took her who she never met before. She was never good as a shepherd either; although she was told many times firmly since she was young not to play with the life stock, the moment we turned our back she was at it again, either causing the sheep harm in the process or getting injured herself with cuts in her legs caused by the alpaca.

                                                                                                  Let me close by excerpt from what another breeder said about my girl's brother from the same litter:

                                                                                                  "Unfortunately we cannot keep him. We are breeders of Central Asian Shepherd dogs and we love this breed. In our opinion this boy deviates from the breed standard by far too much. So this is our reason to re-home him. This is a nice boy and good-natured dog in many aspects strong and well founded doubts the he is actually a pure Central Asian Shepherd. In our opinion his exterior and behaviour are different to those mandated by the standard of the breed."

                                                                                                  "We think he won't be suitable for farm or security work since he lacks the courage and he would prefer to chase and play with stock animals. His behaviour is more characteristic of a hunting dog."

                                                                                                  "He may give a warning bark or two to a stranger but wouldn't harm anyone. He rarely barks."

                                                                                                  Anyway, this is a closed chapter for me, and now I am eager to learn about the different strains of the Central Asia Shepherds, as this breed, as per its name comes from a massive vast area with differing terrains. I am also interested in the breeders of these strains. 

                                                                                                  As I plan to be in Turkey when I get my next puppy, I am focused on breeders in Turkey, Russia, East Europe and maybe Central Asia.

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