An adolescent Caucasian surveys her domain in the mountain deserts of Utah.
Were it not for the Aggressive Protection Response that the breed is known for, Caucasians would fit nicely into that category populated by other big, sweet, dopey, heavily-furred mastiff breeds like Newfies and Saints. It is their aggression that differentiates them and adds value for owners who want and need more than a huge canine teddy bear. Their temperament is regarded by ethical breeders as an asset to be guarded and propagated without dissolution, for without its aggression, a Caucasian would not be a Caucasian. Ethical breeders also recognize that this temperament could be used gainfully by those aspects of society for whom dog-fighting, drug-protection, or other illegal activities are desired ends, and thus, careful screening, references, and interviews with prospective homes are utilized to select only the most responsible, ethical owners. Puppy contracts are the norm and quality breeders all have a buy-back or take-back policy in place so that the dogs they produce will never end up contributing to the overcrowding of the nation's shelters. Centuries of hard natural selection have resulted in a vigorously healthy breed, unfortunately, unethical breeders and puppymills are using breeding stock with visible eye anomalies, temperament problems and the type of serious gait defects associated with hip dysplasia. Puppy buyers are advised to carefully question the breeders they contact: if the breeder does not adhere to the standards listed under the "Breeder's Code of Ethics" heading, it is strongly recommended that they find another breeder. Only by adhering to these higher standards can we hold hope of preserving a gene pool that took centuries to evolve, but will only take a few generations of poor breedings to destroy.
If it is from their flockguardian phase that the Caucasian got their animal and man aggression, then it is from their use as service dogs by the Soviet Military that they got their trainability. As military service dogs, Caucasians were utilized for border patrol, suppressing malcontents, escorting prisoners of war, and other high-risk duties, and as such, the need was for a more aggressive -- but trainable and controllable -- dog. It is our belief that the Soviet Military bred specifically for these working traits and thus, the Caucasian of today is differentiated from other flockguardian breeds by their trainability and by their higher level of aggression. A Caucasian that does not exhibit man and dog aggression by the age of five years does not have a correct Caucasian temperament and may be of mixed parentage. Likewise, purebred Caucasians are intelligent and eager-to-please, which makes them highly trainable. A pedigree is not a guarantee of purity -- there are many Caucasian-mixes in the U.S. today that carry purebred Caucasian papers. In Caucasian mixes, the delicate balance of aggression to strangers and sweetness with family is lost, and the result is a dog with unreliable protection instincts. Only by careful selection of parents based, not solely upon pedigree, but also upon a trained, experienced, temperament evaluation can the highly unusual and desirable combination of traits that the purebred Caucasian offers be preserved.
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