The proper way to keep and care for a Caucasian breed of dog in Nigeria

By Kodichukwu Okonkwo, DVM | August 2nd, 2016

At 11:30pm, one night, in July 2013, a client of mine called me with a very distressed voice asking me to come straight to his house the following morning to remove his Caucasian dog. He insisted I should come before he goes to work. He went further to explain how the dog chased him into the house and nearly bit him.

According to him, He came home by 10pm but didn’t know that the dog was released into the compound. He saw the dog and attempted to pet the dog only for the dog to growl at him and started chasing him, he started to run until he used the kitchen door into his house because the kitchen door was always open. He thanked God he did not fall on the floor.

I humbly asked him how often he goes to see his dogs and he told me that he doesn’t go there at all that his security men are responsible for them. I had to explain to him that removing the dog will not solve the problem and that the dog did exactly what he was supposed to do if it was a stranger that jumped into his compound. I made him understand that he should try and get himself acquainted to the dog by at least giving the dog food by himself with the help of the handlers. His security guys were later telling me the story of how “their Oga” was always coming to feed the dog himself and to get acquainted to the dog.


In my own experience, 80% of owners of Caucasian breed of dog in Nigeria get it wrong on the care of this breed. This breed has succeeded to gain greater acceptance in Nigeria in recent times. 8 out of 10 requests I get from people intending to buy a dog or dog ask for Caucasian breed but after the purchase of this dog, the care and keeping of this dog becomes very dis-satisfactory to me.

I once came across one client that really took very good care of her Caucasian dog and was inspired to waive all her bills because there are only few Nigerians that will do what she did to caring for that dog.

First of all, Caucasian Ovtcharka breed as it is originally called from its country of origin –Russian refers to a dog used by sheep herding community to herd their sheep and for fending off predators and thieves. The word Ovtcharka in Russian means Sheepdog or shepherd. This dog has a strong dislike against strangers and very good with family members.

Caring for the Caucasian dog in Nigeria

It is worthy to note that Caucasian breed originated in temperate region against the tropical region which we live in here in Nigeria. Temperate regions are usually cold with low temperature and sometimes very low temperatures while Nigeria generally has high temperature in most areas of the country.

This disparity in climatic temperature calls for a much greater care to give relief to the dog from the stressful weather its already experiencing being bred in Nigeria. Many of the dogs born in Nigeria tend to blend very well with the weather conditions against the ones imported into the country. Despite the fact that they were born here does not mean that the dog should not be given the basic care required.

The Caucasian breed is a very hairy breed of dog; they shed a lot making them lose hairs very often and are constantly producing under growing hairs while eliminating the old coat.

The major problem I have with most Nigerians keeping this dog is the fact that they refuse to groom this dog properly or refuse to groom the dog at all causing their hairs to matt and sometimes result in sores and infections under these matted hairs resulting in greater distress on the dog.

Grooming or combing or brushing off the old hair coat of the Caucasian breed is a MUST and should not be taking for granted. You must find a way to ensure your dog gets constant grooming either by you or by the handler, this will relief the dog of stressful weather already existing in Nigerian.

Caucasian dogs are very heavy eaters. This dog eats a lot and must be fed heavily because they have a very huge body mass that must be nourished. They must be given nutritious food to help them develop properly especially during the puppy stage.

There is a need to always include sufficient protein in their meals to help them replace their fur which constantly changes. During moulting, their protein consumption must be increased because they will need it produce fresh fur. Supplements can be added to their food to improve their absorption of proteins and minerals for increased nourishment.

The Caucasian breed requires a lot of exercise and needs to be given the opportunity to exercise properly. You can even take the dog for walks which they enjoy very well and best if started early in their life.

Behaviorally, Caucasians will reject and attack a stranger even if the stranger is the owner of this dog as the story above illustrates.

Caucasians are very good with children and family members especially if they were properly socialized but can be very aggressive against strangers. Unlike German shepherds and Golden Retrievers, Caucasian dogs even when trained can sometimes decide to be stubborn and disobey their handler so the handler must be firm on the dogs training and commands.

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Kodichukwu Okonkwo, DVM

Founder of Fairvet Animal Clinic Ltd since 2011, studied at the University of Nigeria Nsukka. He is well experienced in small animal, large animal & poultry medicine, and also skilled at zoo medicine. He loves animals and builds both professional and personal relationship with pet owners in order to sustain a good interaction with pet and animal owners, coupled with His great skills in programming; he brought about which he personally built from scratch.

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