Fédération Cynologique Internationale

United Kennel Club

Caucasian Shepherd Dog

(Kavkazskaïa Ovtcharka)

Caucasian Ovcharka


ORIGIN

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FCI
USSR.

PATRONAGE

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FCI
Russia.

PUBLISHED

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FCI
13.10.2010.

UTILISATION

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FCI
Guard- and watchdog.

CLASSIFICATION

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FCI
Group 2Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid
Section 2.2Molossoid breeds, Mountain type
Without working trial

UKC
Guardian Dog

TRANSLATION

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FCI
Anna Samsonova. Revised by Renée Sporre-Willes / Original version (EN).

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY

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FCI
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog (CSD) is considered to be the breed taking its origin from ancient Caucasian dogs.
The breed’s expansion covers territories from the Caucasian Range and the steppe regions of Southern Russia.
The evolution of the breed was not only a result of natural selection but also influenced by nations that inhabited the Caucasian Region. Historically Caucasian Shepherd dogs were used for guarding and safe-keeping of herds, flocks and dwellings from beasts of prey and predators. The first mention of a large molossoid dogs used by the army of Armenian Tsar Tigran the II dates from the 1st century BC.
Selection work with the breed started in the USSR in the 1920s. Obligatory qualities such as physical power, self-confidence, fearlessness, sharply developed hearing, good sight, and a dense and waterproof coat have been cultivated in the process of selection.
All these qualities as well as endurance allows people to use the Caucasian Shepherd Dogs in all kinds of climatic condition including the most severe ones.
UKC
The Caucasian Ovcharka, also sometimes known as the Caucasian Mountain Dog, is a guardian breed from the Caucasus Mountain area. The breed's origin is shrouded in antiquity. Some claim the breed is a domestication of the wolves of this region, others that the breed developed from Mastiff-Spitz crosses. Some experts contend that the breed naturally developed from a group of sheepdogs that migrated to the Caucasus from Tibet. More recent archaeological findings point to breed origins in Mesopotamia. What is known for certain is that herdsmen in the mountains of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Daghestan, and surrounding countries, and the steppe regions of the northern Caucasus, have for centuries depended on the Caucasian Ovcharka to guard flocks and villages. Legends are written of the breed's faithfulness, protectiveness, and ferocity when called upon to defend. Type varies geographically throughout the mountain range, and also varies according to the purpose for which the dogs were used. Generally, dogs of the trans-Caucasus regions are more massive, while those found in the steppe regions have a somewhat rangier build, are leggier, and are often short-coated. Modern breeding conforms to a single standard. The former Soviet government developed state kennels and used the breed for guarding factories and government facilities throughout the former U.S.S.R. In the United States, Caucasian Ovcharka have earned a reputation as trustworthy service dogs. The United Kennel Club recognized the Caucasian Mountain Dog in 1995.

GENERAL APPEARANCE

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FCI
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is a harmonious built, large, strong dog with plenty of bone and powerful muscular system; of a slight rectangular format.
Sexual dimorphism is well pronounced. Males are masculine, with well developed withers and a bigger head in comparison with females. They are also more massive, bigger and often shorter in body than females.
In dogs with longer coat-variety males have a distinctly pronounced mane.
UKC
The Caucasian Ovcharka is a powerful, athletic dog, strongly muscled, and heavily boned in proportion to height. The head is large, wedge-shaped, and tapers slightly to a blunt muzzle with high-set hanging ears, which may be cropped, and deep-set, oval-shaped eyes. The thick tail hangs down to the hock but may be carried above the back as a sickle-shaped hook or ring when the dog is excited or moving. Three coat lengths are accepted, all double-coated and thick. Coat colors include shades of agouti gray, fawn, and reddish, with white markings and often a dark facial mask. Solid white dogs with dark pigmentation occur occasionally in the breed. Gender differences are well expressed in this breed. Males are more massive and more powerful; females are smaller and lighter in build. Honorable scars resulting from field work are not to be penalized.

IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS

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FCI
The body length exceeds the height at withers by 3-8 %. The length of the forelegs averages 50-52% of the height at the withers. The length of the skull correlates with the length of the muzzle as 32.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT

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FCI
Behaviour is steady, active, self-confident, fearless and independent. The Caucasian Shepherd Dog shows a devoted attachment to its master; it is an excellent guard dog.
UKC
Caucasians are spirited, intelligent, strong-willed guardian dogs. While gentle and demonstrative with family members, the Caucasian’s active defense reaction and strong territorial instincts make this breed very suspicious of strange people or dogs. They are steady and even tempered but will protect their flock, family, and property from danger - real or perceived - with lightning-quick speed. Caucasian Ovcharka have keen senses, so they are very alert and good trackers. Any change in their surroundings can result in warning barks and growls, particularly at night. The breed is slow to mature and headstrong. Socialization and patient training techniques can be used to temper the Caucasian Ovcharka’s characteristic suspicion and aggressiveness toward strange people and dogs, resulting in a mature dog with good judgment. This breed is hardy and able to adapt to a wide range of climates.

HEAD

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UKC
The head is large, with a broad skull and strongly developed cheek bones. Viewed from the top, the gradually tapering skull and muzzle form a one-piece, blunt wedge shape. The stop is slightly defined and not abrupt. The width of the head is emphasized by dense coat that stands away from the sides of the jaws. The male head is more massive than the female head, which is more refined.

CRANIAL REGION

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FCI
The head is large, massive, and broad in cheekbones; when viewed from above the head looks like a wedge with broad base.

Skull

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FCI
Massive and broad; forehead is almost flat, with a marked but not deep furrow. Superciliary ridges are developed, but not protruding. Occipital bone inconspicuous.
UKC
The skull is flat, broad, and divided by a slight median furrow. The width of the skull is equal to its length. The skull tapers just slightly toward the muzzle. Faults: Narrow skull; excessively protruding forehead.

Stop

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FCI
Noticeable but not clearly marked.

FACIAL REGION

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Nose

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FCI
Black, large, with correct open nostrils, not proceeding the muzzle outline. A black nose in solid, spotted or piebald colours is desirable but not obligatory (but genetic blue or liverbrown nose is not allowed).
UKC
The nose is large, broad, and black, although a brown nose is acceptable in white and light fawn colored dogs.

Muzzle

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FCI
Broad and deep, gradually tapering towards the nose; with strong jaws and chin; great depth and is well filled under the eyes. The bridge of the nose is broad. The upper lines of the muzzle and skull run parallel.
UKC
The muzzle is shorter than half the length of the head, but powerful and well filled in under the eyes. It tapers slightly to the nose. The topline of the muzzle is parallel to the topline of the skull. The blunt end of the muzzle is formed by thick, dry lips tightly covering a powerful lower jaw. Lip pigment is black.

Lips

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FCI
Thick, close-fitting, well pigmented.

Jaws/Teeth

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FCI
Teeth should be healthy, white, strong; incisors are close to each other and in one line. Complete scissor or pincer bite (i.e.42 teeth).
Injured, broken or knocked out incisors or canines which do not affect the use of the bite is of no consequence, neither is absence of PM1s.
UKC
The jaw provides ample space for a full complement of large, evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors bite. The line of the incisors is straight and perpendicular to the outside lines of the jaw. Canines are large and long.

Cheeks

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FCI
Well developed and emphasized by well pronounced chewing muscles.

Eyes

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FCI
Moderate size, oval in shape, not too deep set, wide and obliquely placed. The colour is different shades of brown from dark to hazelnut. Eyelids are black, dry and close-fitting. Expression is serious, attentive and inquisitive.
UKC
The eyes are brown, of medium size, and oval-shaped. They are set slightly obliquely and deeply under the brow. The tight, dry eyelids are rimmed with black pigment.

Ears

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FCI
Moderate size, thick, triangular shape naturally pendant, high and wide set. Inner part of ear is close lying to the cheeks. Ears are traditionally cropped in country of origin. Natural ears are of equal value.
UKC
Cropped or uncropped. Uncropped, the ears are high set, triangular-shaped, and hang tight to the head. The outer margin of the ear should not be located below the level of the eyes. The ears may be cropped in what is known as a “shepherd’s crop.” The ear flap is removed horizontally and bluntly, close to the head.

NECK

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FCI
Of medium length, powerful, low set; rounded in the cross-section. Crest is pronounced especially in males.
UKC
The neck is powerful and short, and is carried at an angle of 30 to 40 degrees to the line of the back. Throatiness should be discouraged.

BODY

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FCI
Very well developed in all dimensions; broad, well-muscled and well balanced.
UKC
The proportion of the length of body vs. the height at the withers is 100:108. The ribs are well sprung and let down to, or slightly below, the elbows. The chest is broad and deep. The line of the back inclines very slightly downward from broad, muscular, prominent withers to a strong, broad back with a straight upper line. The loin is short, broad, and slightly arched. The croup is broad, long, muscular, and nearly flat. Tuck-up is moderate. The skin is thick and elastic.

Withers

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FCI
Well pronounced, moderately long. The height at the withers slightly exceeds the height over the rump.

Back

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FCI
Straight, broad, firm.

Loin

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FCI
Short, broad, slightly arched.

Croup

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FCI
Moderately long, broad, rounded, slightly sloping to root of the tail.

Chest

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FCI
Long, broad, well ribbed up, deep in general as well as in its frontal part; in cross-section has broad-oval shape. Ribs well sprung, false ribs are long. The forechest is marked.

Underline and belly

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FCI
Belly moderately tucked up towards rear.

TAIL

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FCI
Set on high, sickle curve or curled. In repose hanging down reaching the hocks; when the dog is alert, tail can be carried above the backline.
UKC
The tail is set on high. When the dog is in repose, the tail just reaches to the hock, with the bottom third of the tail forming a hook. When the dog is in action or excited, the tail is carried as a sickle-shaped hook or ring above the level of the back. Docked tails are permitted.

LIMBS

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FOREQUARTERS

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FCI
Well muscled. Viewed from the front, straight, parallel forelegs that are set fairly wide apart.
UKC
The shoulder is moderately laid back, forming, with the upper arm, an angle of about 100 degrees.

Shoulder

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FCI
Strongly muscled. Moderately long, broad, slanting to form an angle of approximately 100 degrees with the upper arm. The shoulder-blade lies close against the chest.

Upper Arm

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FCI
Strong and muscular, close fitting.

Elbow

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FCI
Placed strictly back in parallel axis; turning neither in not out.

FORELEGS

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UKC
Viewed from the front, the forelegs are straight, well-boned, and set parallel and well apart. The length of the front leg (measured from point of elbow to the ground) should be slightly more than one-half of the dog’s height (measured at the withers). The pasterns are short, strong, and, when viewed from the side, slightly sloping. Circumference of the pasterns ranges from 5½ to 6¾ inches in mature males and from 5 to 6 inches in mature females.

Forearm

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FCI
Straight, massive, moderately long, well muscled; rounded in cross-section.

Pastern

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FCI
Short, massive; almost straight viewed from the front and the side.

FEET

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UKC
Big, oval, compact and tight. Rear dewclaws, if any, are removed. Front dewclaws may not be removed. Toenails may be light or dark.

Forefeet

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FCI
Large, rounded in shape, well arched, well-knit.

Hind feet

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FCI
As Forefeet.

HINDQUARTERS

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FCI
Viewed from the rear straight, standing parallel and moderately wide. The stifles and hocks sufficiently well angulated when viewed from the side. The hindquarters should not be set too far back.
UKC
The rear legs are well-boned and moderately angulated at stifle and hock joints. The hocks are strong, broad, and well let down. Viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to each other. From the side, they are perpendicular to the ground. When standing normally, the rear legs are spaced moderately apart and positioned so that a line dropped from the point of buttocks to the ground would fall through the center of the point of hock and the rear pastern.

Thigh

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FCI
Broad, well muscled, moderately long.

Stifle

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FCI
Sufficiently well angulated.

Lower thigh

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FCI
Broad, well muscled, moderately long.

Hock joint

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FCI
Broad and lean, sufficiently well bent; firm, turning neither in nor out.

Rear pastern

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FCI
Not long, massive; almost straight viewed from the front and the side.

GAIT / MOVEMENT

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FCI
Free, elastic, unhurried movement with good driving power in the hindquarters. Good stability in all joints and with good co-ordination. The trot tends to be the typical movement. The withers are on the same level as the rump, and the backline is relatively stable during movement.
UKC
At the trot, the Caucasian moves freely with strides of moderate length, usually unhurried. The back remains level, and the front and rear legs on each side move in a parallel fashion. The front and rear pasterns flex freely. The back and loin are elastic and springy. As speed increases, however, the width between the legs decreases and the tendency to single track increases until the dog breaks into a heavy, lumbering gallop.

SKIN

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FCI
Thick, sufficiently elastic, without any folds and wrinkles.

COAT

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HAIR

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FCI
Straight, coarse, stand-off coat with well developed undercoat. The length of guard coat as well as the undercoat should not be less than 5 cm. The coat on the head and forelegs is shorter and thicker. The tail is completely covered with dense coat and looks thick and furry. The longer outer coat forms “brushes” on the ears, a “mane” around the neck and “trousers” on the back sides of the thighs.
UKC
The Caucasian Ovcharka has a double coat consisting of longer, coarse outer guard hairs and dense undercoat made up of soft, fine hair. Coat on the muzzle, forehead, and the front of the legs is short and smooth. Longer coat on the cheeks and the backskull stands away from the body and contributes to the bear-like appearance of this breed. Three types of coat lengths are accepted without preference: Long coat. The hair of the outer coat is very long, forming a “mane.” Extensive feathering on the hind legs gives the appearance of long, silky “pants.” The long hairs feathering the tail on all sides makes it look thick and fluffy. Intermediate coat. The outer coat is still fairly long, but the mane, pants and tail feathering are less than with the long-coated type. Short coat. The outer coat is shorter and the mane, pants and tail feathering are absent. This is the least common type of coat.

COLOUR

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FCI
Any solid colour, piebald or spotted colour. Except for solid black; diluted black or black in any combination or genetic blue or liver brown colour.
UKC
The following are acceptable colors and markings: Agouti gray - dark, light, silver, reddish, or yellowish - with or without white markings; White, cream, fawn or reddish fawn, tan or reddish tan, fulvous, with or without white markings; Brindle; Piebald; or White with gray patches. The undercoat is light colored. The head often has a distinctive dark mask.

SIZE

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UKC
Minimum height at maturity, measured at the withers, is 25½ inches for males and 24½ inches for females. Dogs over 27¼ inches and bitches over 25½ inches are preferred. Weight should be in proportion to the height, giving a balanced, imposing appearance.

Height at withers

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FCI

Males Desirable height 72-75 cms;
Minimum 68 cms;
Females Desirable height 67-70 cms;
Minimum 64 cms.
Larger stature is accepted, as long as conformation is harmonic.

Weight

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FCI

Males Minimum 50 kgs;
Females Minimum 45 kgs.

FAULTS

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FCI
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
UKC

Head: Head disproportionately light or narrow; abrupt or insufficient stop.
Muzzle: Snipey muzzle; muzzle too short or too long; pendulous lips; drooling.
Teeth: Absence of a single premolar; yellow enamel.
Eyes: Light eyes. Eyes of two different colors.
Ears: Low-set ears.
Neck: Neck too long or too weak; dewlap.
Body: Shallow or narrow chest; long loin; swayback; roached loin; narrow or steep croup; high in the rear.
Hindquarters: Hocks turned inward or outward; legs set too closely together or too far apart.
Feet: Flat or splayed feet; extra toes.
Tail: Low tail set.
Gait: Elevated croup when moving; excessive up and down motion of the topline; pacing

SERIOUS FAULTS

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FCI

  • Too light or too coarse in built.
  • Lack of self-confidence.
  • Deviations in the sexual dimorphism.
  • Head small in proportions to the body; light; narrow; long; coarse; blocky or apple head.
  • Abrupt stop.
  • Muzzle downfaced; dishfaced or snipy.
  • Teeth too small; widely spaced; incisors not set in one line; any deviation from the dental formula (except for absence of the PM1s).
  • Insufficiently marked cheekbones.
  • Eyes large; bulging; very light; showing haw; slack eye lids.
  • Ears large; thin or set too low.
  • Top line roach or sway back; long, sagging or arched loin; rump higher than the withers.
  • Body square; too cobby; too long; narrow in both front and rear; too leggy; chest very short, flat or shallow; croup short or steep.
  • Stumped tail.
  • Weak bone; muscles and ligaments in joints.
  • Lacking correct angulations.
  • Bowed forearms.
  • Unbalanced movement.
  • Lack of driving power in the hindquarters.
  • Coat that is very soft; curly; has very short guard coat or no undercoat.
UKC

Characteristics: Fearfulness; sluggishness.
Teeth: Narrow jaw causing incisors to be crowded; small, widely spaced teeth.
Forelegs: Straight shoulders; crooked or fine forelegs; out at elbows; down at pasterns.
Hindquarters: Overangulated stifles or hocks; rear legs extended too far behind the dog.
Coat: Soft coat; wavy coat. Absence of undercoat.
Size: Less than minimum height.

DISQUALIFYING FAULTS

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FCI

  • Aggressive or overly shy dogs.
  • Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
  • Any deviation from the required bite.
  • Incompleted dental formula (absence of any tooth except the third molars (M3) or the first premolars (PM1s).
  • Entropion.
  • Wall eyes; deep blue; green shaded or eyes of different colour.
  • Docked tail.
  • Constant pacing or impossibility to assess the gate.
  • Black colour in any variation; solid; diluted; piebald, spotted or as saddle (except for mask).
  • Genetic blue colour in any variation or nuance.
  • Bluish-grey pigmented nose, lips and eye rims.
  • Genetic brown colour in any variation or nuance.
  • Genetic brown nose, lips and eye rims.
  • Tan-marking in black, blue or brown dogs.
  • Height below minimum.
  • Severe deviations in the sexual dimorphism in males.
UKC

Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Extreme viciousness or shyness. Missing teeth other than a single premolar; overshot bite or undershot bite; wry mouth. Solid black (defined as black to the skin with no shading, such as in the Newfoundland). Black and Tan (defined as black and tan like the Rottweiler). Solid chocolate (defined as any shade of solid brown without lighter undercoat or sable overlay, like a Grizzly bear). Albinism.
Teeth: Missing teeth other than a single premolar; overshot bite or undershot bite; wry mouth.
Color: Solid black (defined as black to the skin with no shading, such as in the Newfoundland). Black and Tan (defined as black and tan like the Rottweiler). Solid chocolate (defined as any shade of solid brown without lighter undercoat or sable overlay, like a Grizzly bear).
Note: Note: Caucasian Ovcharka are not to be penalized for mild dog aggression as it is a normal characteristic of this breed. Handlers, however, may be penalized for failure to properly control their dogs.


Anatomical Features of the dog

N.B.:

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.