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This Family From Boston Shares What It’s Like To Live With A Rare Bear-Like Guardian Dog
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This Family From Boston Shares What It’s Like To Live With A Rare Bear-Like Guardian Dog

Interview With Owner
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Yogi, a Caucasian mountain dog, is not your average dog you meet while walking in a park. Some people stop to take pictures and ask if it is not a bear that the owners are walking, and rightfully so.

This breed is known to be used specifically to guard, and you can find them even in maximum-security prisons in Russia. Due to them requiring lots of dedication, training, socializing, and bonding, these dogs are very rare in the US.

However, this family from Boston knew that Yogi would be perfect for guarding their home and decided to adopt him all the way from Romania. Yogi’s mom Laura shares videos on TikTok showing what their life is like living with Yogi. From their content, Yogi seems to be like any other dog who likes cuddles and loves his family, but his size definitely caught the eyes of many viewers.

So, without further ado, we invite you to meet this unique family and their giant dog Yogi.

More info: Instagram | Facebook | tiktok.com

Meet Yogi, a giant Caucasian mountain dog that is capable of protecting against bears and wolves

Image credits: yogibearsmom

Bored Panda reached out to Yogi’s family, and Laura (33) answered all of our questions. First of all, Laura shared how Yogi became a part of their family.

“We got Yogi at 10 weeks old from Romania to Boston, MA, USA. He took two planes to get to us. His parents and ancestors are champions of the breed. We had done lots of research on the breed for many years and had owned many different breeds. We needed a guard dog for our home/property and small farm.”

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Yogi’s mom Laura and dad Brayden got him flown in all the way from Romania to guard their home and small farm

Image credits: yogibearsmom

Image credits: yogibearsmom

Image credits: yogibearsmom

Though the couple did their research and knew how big this breed gets, his staggering size still amazes people online and on the streets

Image credits: yogibearsmom

Laura continued and addressed his size: “He was adorable as a pup and came from a long line of beautiful champion dogs, so we knew he would grow up to be beautiful but not this beautiful! He was huge even as a puppy, he was 31 lbs at 10 weeks old, and at 3 1/2 months he was 50.5 lbs. At 10 months old he was already nearly 140lbs and he outgrew some full-grown dogs in the area he knew such as a Great Dane and Bernese mountain dog.

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We lived in a $5,000-a-month luxury dog community for the first year to help with socialization and training. He loved to play with all dogs of all sizes and all different people. As he got older, other dogs would be intimidated by him and quickly start a fight, lunging at us, and he would quickly put them in their place until they submitted. Luckily, because of his training, things didn’t get worse. We finally moved to our home with more land, etc. away from the heavier traffic of people and dogs.”

Image credits: yogibearsmom

We were curious to learn how people usually react upon seeing Yogi. Laura shared: “When we’re on a walk with Yogi, everyone stops to ask questions and take pictures… from a distance, that is. People have also stopped their cars asking in a nervous way if we were walking a bear or a lion. He ignores people and their dogs, who go crazy when they see him, but is always watching for threats. Most CS owners will not walk their dogs in a more public area with more traffic, especially without a muzzle.”

Image credits: yogibearsmom

Yogi’s favorite activities are guarding his home, playing with dad, and chilling outside

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Image credits: yogibearsmom

Laura also shared what Yogi’s day-to-day life at home is like.

“Yogi’s favorite thing to do is patrol & guard our property, running off coyotes, and lounging outside or inside in his bear cave, aka our empty fireplace, because he likes the cold stone. His other favorite thing to do is to wrestle my husband, who he’s bigger than. My husband, Brayden, is his favorite person. But when Brayden is playing with his sons, Yogi immediately goes into protecting the kids and keeping dad away from them, which is so cute and funny to see. He absolutely LOVES to play and sleep in the snow! He was made for it and he looks so majestic in his natural element,” wrote Laura.

Image credits: yogibearsmom

Image credits: yogibearsmom

The family also has 3 kids. Yogi was introduced when the youngest child Donovan was only 1 year old, and due to them growing up together, their bond is the strongest

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Image credits: yogibearsmom

Laura continued by telling us more about all of the family members, including their kids: “We have four little boys, oldest is Kaedan (10 years old) who was in one of our first of many viral videos with Yogi… When Yogi, as a massive puppy, unknowingly sat on him on the couch, and I playfully pulled him out from underneath. Rylan (6 years old) also featured in many videos. Donovan (5 years old) is featured in the most videos because their bond is so close because they grew up together. Yogi was about 3 months old on Donovan’s 1st birthday.

There are videos of Donovan telling Yogi commands at just 1 year old and Yogi listening to every command, even coming from my son’s tiny body, and just learning to speak himself.”

Image credits: yogibearsmom

Image credits: yogibearsmom

Laura and Brayden recently welcomed a fourth child to their family, Lehan, who unfortunately unexpectedly passed away

Image credits: yogibearsmom

Unfortunately, Laura’s family experienced a heartbreaking tragedy, which left a big scar. It’s the story about their youngest child, Lehan, which Laura told us more about.
“My youngest son Lehan, pronounced Layen (forever 10 days old) unfortunately died unexpectedly last March 18th, 2023.”

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“People often ask me how I think Yogi would react to a new member of the family.” Yogi fell in love with Lehan and was grieving his loss

Image credits: yogibearsmom

“Yogi absolutely adored Lehan. Even before he was born, he sensed I had a baby in my belly. When we brought him home, we took the introduction slow and safe and Yogi immediately sniffed his toes & fell in love, he knew what he had to do and that was to protect that baby with his life. Even while sitting next to Lehan while he slept in his crib, Yogi would whine to me if he made a single noise as if to tell me he was concerned and wanted me to get to him immediately. Yogi’s back almost met the top of the crib so he could look over him with ease. After Lehan suddenly passed away, Yogi continued to check the crib for him and whine. He grieved the loss of Lehan as if he was his own.”

Even though Yogi seems to be the perfect dog, Laura expressed that his needs shouldn’t be taken lightly and that people must do their research before adopting Caucasian mountain dogs

Image credits: yogibearsmom

For Yogi to have a good and healthy life, there are many things that need to be taken into account.

“He needs lots of socializing, training & bonding from day one. If you work a 9-5 or live in an apartment or the city, it’s not best to have this breed. As I said before, most groomers, vets & trainers refuse the breed, so it will be a big challenge. Most owners of the breed do their own grooming. Grooming Yogi is equivalent to about 6 huskies. We also have a special vet who comes to our home to do sedated treatment for safety. The training is always ongoing, they’re a difficult breed to train, very aloof and independent. Yogi was the first male Caucasian shepherd in the world to earn a trick title in a specific organization. He is good with some of my family members who come over, but not with new guests. They’re not dog park dogs after maturing. It is important to remember that these dogs are not giant teddy bears & are unlike typical ‘aggressive/difficult dogs’” shared Laura.

Image credits: yogibearsmom

Laura continued: “They are compared to owning a wild animal or a 45-caliber gun often. A purebred Caucasian shepherd is much different from a mixed breed or a badly bred one as well. They are not always good with children or other dogs. That depends on the specific dog and also how much training & dedication is put into them. I have had my children help with training since day 1. Both Yogi & all my children have been taught boundaries & respect to ensure safety & a good bond.”

Image credits: yogibearsmom

But besides the excessive training, socializing, bonding, and other special care, Yogi’s family loves and adores this big fluff ball and cannot imagine their life without him

Image credits: yogibearsmom

And lastly, Laura added: “Yogi absolutely adores us and is so loyal. He looks like a giant teddy bear & protects like an actual one, so we have the best of both worlds. We have wonderful people from around the world who are experts on the breed that adore Yogi and have been amazing with his upbringing, as well as great friends/family to us along the way.”

Image credits: yogibearsmom

Image credits: yogibearsmom

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vivianekatz avatar
Vinnie
Community Member
3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Impressive dog. I'm glad the owner also discussed the consistent hard work needed and the issues in getting support from professionals. Better to do research ahead of time.

cali-tabby-katz avatar
LakotaWolf (she/her)
Community Member
3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My dog Stilgar is half Kuchi Dog, which is a type of Central Asian Shepherd Dog, a breed very similar to the Caucasian Shepherd Dog. The breed traits of the Central Asian Shepherd Dog show up VERY strongly in my Stilgar! He is very independent, stubborn, and headstrong, but sweet and gentle as a lamb with us and his brother and sister cats. He has a strong need to "patrol his territory" (our yard) and is also very aloof. He is half German Shepherd, so he sheds like MAD, and I also have to groom him myself XD Not because he's aggressive, but OH MAN THE FURNADO. Stilly isn't a purebred, but the breed traits do shine through! He's a wonderful dog and I love him, but he IS stubborn! XD

viviane_katz avatar
-
Community Member
3 months ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Stilgar sounds like a fantastic guard. My sister had a livestock dog (Great Pyrenees) to guard her alpacas. The dog refused to sit for a treat - not in her job description. Greet visitors? Not in her job description. Neighbour drops by? If my sister and brother-in-law weren't there, she made it her job to tell them "Leave NOW, trespasser." Individuals vary, but this one was utterly serious and totally humourless about her job.

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jules_11 avatar
billswallow_1 avatar
Bill Swallow
Community Member
3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Absolutely gorgeous! And if his 'firmware' is anything like Ren's, LakotaWolf is quite correct. These breeds (all very, very old, and which haven't been mucked around with much) are very intelligent, incredibly independent (when off leash), and stubborn and headstrong are good words for them. Mike and Sherry took Ren to 'Taste of Annandale' (annual street fair), and the crowds loved Ren - and vice versa. Especially the little kids - they were all "HE'S SO FLUFFY!" and hanging all over him, and he was eating up all the attention like candy. He looked at Sherry as if to ask "Can I take one of them home with me?" and she said "NO!"

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vivianekatz avatar
Vinnie
Community Member
3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Impressive dog. I'm glad the owner also discussed the consistent hard work needed and the issues in getting support from professionals. Better to do research ahead of time.

cali-tabby-katz avatar
LakotaWolf (she/her)
Community Member
3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My dog Stilgar is half Kuchi Dog, which is a type of Central Asian Shepherd Dog, a breed very similar to the Caucasian Shepherd Dog. The breed traits of the Central Asian Shepherd Dog show up VERY strongly in my Stilgar! He is very independent, stubborn, and headstrong, but sweet and gentle as a lamb with us and his brother and sister cats. He has a strong need to "patrol his territory" (our yard) and is also very aloof. He is half German Shepherd, so he sheds like MAD, and I also have to groom him myself XD Not because he's aggressive, but OH MAN THE FURNADO. Stilly isn't a purebred, but the breed traits do shine through! He's a wonderful dog and I love him, but he IS stubborn! XD

viviane_katz avatar
-
Community Member
3 months ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Stilgar sounds like a fantastic guard. My sister had a livestock dog (Great Pyrenees) to guard her alpacas. The dog refused to sit for a treat - not in her job description. Greet visitors? Not in her job description. Neighbour drops by? If my sister and brother-in-law weren't there, she made it her job to tell them "Leave NOW, trespasser." Individuals vary, but this one was utterly serious and totally humourless about her job.

Load More Replies...
jules_11 avatar
billswallow_1 avatar
Bill Swallow
Community Member
3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Absolutely gorgeous! And if his 'firmware' is anything like Ren's, LakotaWolf is quite correct. These breeds (all very, very old, and which haven't been mucked around with much) are very intelligent, incredibly independent (when off leash), and stubborn and headstrong are good words for them. Mike and Sherry took Ren to 'Taste of Annandale' (annual street fair), and the crowds loved Ren - and vice versa. Especially the little kids - they were all "HE'S SO FLUFFY!" and hanging all over him, and he was eating up all the attention like candy. He looked at Sherry as if to ask "Can I take one of them home with me?" and she said "NO!"

Load More Replies...
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