Caucasian Ovcharka Society of America 

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Along with health and conformation, temperament is an important consideration when breeding. A poor temperament dog can be out of standard just the same as one with poor form, and potentially more dangerous. Unfortunately, many Caucasian Shepherds are being produced with poor temperaments, having weak nerve and low threshold.

There are three main aspects to temperament: drive, nerve, and threshold. Drive is the internal mechanism that pushes the dog into action, nerve is the innate confidence a dog has in situations, and threshold is the level of stimulus at which a dog's drive is triggered. It is the balance of these three things that forms a dog's (and a breed's) temperament. 

For a Caucasian Shepherd Dog to be within standard in terms of temperament, he needs to have strong nerve, good defensive drive, and a decent threshold. A CSD should have a good drive to defend his family and territory. However, the dog needs to have good nerve and a decent threshold in order not to aggress inappropriately. Too low of a threshold and the dog will go into defense mode in inappropriate, and potentially dangerous situations. Too high of one and the dog won't have his drive triggered, creating a Caucasian Shepherd that won't guard. Of those two situations, too high of a threshold is a much safer place to be and breed from than too low of one.

Unfortunately, many Caucasian Shepherds are being produce with both weak nerve and poor threshold, creating potentially dangerous dogs that often either end up in rescue or euthanized. A dog with poor temperament, be it from weak nerve or low threshold or both, should not be bred. 

A Note About Drives

There is a lot out there about the Caucasian Shepherd as a livestock guardian. To address this, let's look at the types of drive that determine temperament in dogs. As mentioned previously, dogs have a defensive drive. Different breeds have different levels of defensive drives, with livestock GUARDians having high defensive drives. Successful LGDs also have low prey drives, which is a dog's innate desire to chase, capture, and kill. A dog with any sort of a prey drive can be a dangerous LGD, as domesticated livestock are prey animals.

The Caucasian Shepherd Dog was developed to be a guard dog. This played well into the defensive drive of its foundation stock of landrace livestock guardians. However, the CSD was then bred to protect people from other people. This does use a dog's defensive drive, but it also utilizes a dog's prey drive. This is because a dog's play drive is tied closely to its prey drive, and attacking a decoy is a game to dogs. Many lines of Caucasian Shepherd have been bred selecting for such a drive, which leads to a high defense, high prey drive dog, suitable for guarding people and property, rather than the high defense, low prey drive dog suitable for livestock.