The Central Asian Shepherd, also known as the Alabai dog, is a versatile working dog native to Russia and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. The breed is used for several purposes, including the protection of livestock, the protection of personal and property, fellowship and military work. The Central Asian Shepherd is one of the most popular breeds in its region of origin, although it is still quite rare elsewhere.
This breed is known to be one of the largest, strongest, and most protective of all breeds, as well as its ability to not only survive but also thrive in some of the most hostile environments on Earth. But, at the same time, it is a dog that also adapts to life in family homes, with a particular predisposition to appreciate with the little ones.
In this ‘ Pets Feed ‘ breed sheet, we are going to share with you everything you need to know about the Central Asian Shepherd dog, its origin, characteristics, character, health problems and care needs.
The Central Asian Shepherd Dog is a balanced, very brave, extremely sensible dog, devoted to its owner
History of the breed
Almost nothing is known with certainty about the origins and beginnings of the Central Asian Shepherd. It has been maintained almost exclusively by nomadic herders who have left little or no archaeological remains. And this documentary silence is aggravated by the distance from the breed’s home and the transitory nature of its inhabitants. All that can be said with certainty is that the breed originated in the steppes and mountains of Central Asia, a region which is today divided between the countries of Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and that has been protecting livestock from local shepherds since time immemorial.
Alabai, Central Asian Ovtcharka, CAO, Aziat
Theories on its origin
There are two main groups of theories that attempt to explain the origin of the Central Asian Shepherd. The first contends that the breed originated from ancient breeds of cattle herders from the Middle East, and the second contends that the breed originated from the Tibetan mastiff. There is currently an almost universal agreement that the dog has been tamed by the wolf. And this domestication occurred somewhere in Asia (particularly in the Middle East, India, Tibet and China), and the process was completed between 40,000 and 14,000 years ago.
The Central Asian Shepherd Dog is a very proud dog, but if you earn his respect, then he turns out to be a loyal and fearless protector and friend
Central Asian Shepherd Dog: The wolf as origin?
Even in the most suitable regions for agricultural production, agriculture has created new problems. One of the most urgent was the need to protect livestock from predators. Wolves, bears, hyenas and other wildlife soon discovered that it was much easier to attack farms and kill sheep and goats than to hunt more dangerous prey in the desert. To protect their precious livestock, the first farmers turned to their oldest ally, the dog.
Wolves have strong protective impulses towards the members of their pack. Initially, humans exploited these instincts by becoming members of the group, but the first farmers went further by also making their members of the cattle herd.
And because farmers had to be able to easily distinguish their dogs from their predators when the two were in combat, they deliberately raised these dogs with the most striking coloration. To successfully fight wolves, these dogs needed strong jaws and heads large enough to support the muscles they needed. Farmers have also discovered that short, wide snouts give their dogs the largest bite area possible to support themselves.
Characteristics of the Central Asian Shepherd
This powerful working dog is considered a potentially dangerous dog in certain regions of the world. This is due to its use as a fighting dog and as a dog for military use and population control, above in the former USSR. He is perhaps the strongest and most powerful dog on earth and should appear as such. A Central Asian Shepherd must be extremely powerful and muscular, giving the impression that he can fight a tiger at any time. However, a Central Asian Shepherd should never appear bulky or stocky, but rather have a body more like a Rottweiler than an English Mastiff.
Appropriate training and socialization from an early age are ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for a Central Asian Shepherd in order to prevent serious aggression problems. Training and socializing will greatly reduce the problems of aggression, but some members of the breed, especially those on the military lines, may still develop more bizarre aggression. Owners should be aware that even the slightest aggression from this breed is extremely serious due to its immense power. Even the least aggressive members of the human race will generally remain very wary and hostile to new people. The Central Asian Shepherd dog is extremely protective, intensely territorial and always on the alert, which makes it an unexampled watchdog.
General statements about the appearance of the Central Asian Shepherd are difficult to make because this breed has a very variable appearance. There are literally dozens of different varieties of this dog, most of which have been crossed, giving an even greater variety. This variety is further reinforced by the fact that these dogs regularly cross with other breeds, which leads to many mixtures. This breed is generally similar to other massive cattle watchdogs, but it is noticeably lighter and more athletic than most.
This breed is one of the most sexually dimorphic of all dogs, which means that males and females tend to be very different in terms of size and appearance. The tail of the Central Asian Shepherd is traditionally attached to a very short bob, a procedure that is performed on virtually all members of the breed where it remains legal. Tail docking is no longer in vogue and is in fact prohibited in some countries. The natural tail of this breed is quite long, starting very thick at the base and decreasing sharply towards the end. The lower third of the tail forms a thief. This tail is carried low when the dog is at rest, but in sickle curve or in a ring when the dog is excited.
He is characterized by a considerable size and an imposing physique. Males can reach 65 to 90 cm, while females average 60 to 75 cm. In addition, males weigh between 55 and 90 kilos and females between 40 and 65 kilos. They have a harmonious body and a broad back. And despite its large dimensions, it is an agile, fast and resistant dog. Their life expectancy varies from 12 to 14 years, under normal conditions.
The head and face of the Central Asian Shepherd are huge and have immense power, although they are not disproportionately large, as is the case with most mastiff dogs. The top of the skull should be flat and the entire skull should be wide enough at the back. The head and muzzle connect very easily to each other, although they are quite different. The muzzle itself is generally slightly shorter than the skull, although it is very wide. The mouth of this breed barely shrinks towards the end, making it appear square. The ears of the Central Asian Shepherd are traditionally cut very close to the head, leaving the dog almost without visible ears. This practice is almost always practiced on puppies where it is legal to do so.
The Central Asian Shepherd Dog is independent, calm, freedom-loving and quite wayward
Personality and temperament of the Central Asian Shepherd
One of the most important aspects of understanding the temperament of a Central Asian Shepherd is to understand its breed type and the associated instincts and characteristics that accompany it. For example, dogs that come from combat lines will often be much more aggressive towards dogs and will require a lot of socialization and supervision compared to other dogs.
In general, however, these dogs are very self-assured, intelligent and extremely courageous. Although they are not unduly aggressive, they will not hesitate to attack if they feel that their owner is in great danger and will protect their masters to death. The Central Asian Shepherd naturally remains alerted to strangers and will quickly alert his master of any strange intrusion. He also has a strong bark and makes an excellent watchdog.
This furry friend was born to be a leader, and his physical appearance definitely confirms it. It is a dominant breed but calm and balanced. Also, as long as he does not consider them a threat, he can even get along with other animals, such as cats or other small dogs.
However, when he is in unknown territory, he could behave with a much more reactive attitude. After all, it has evolved with a well-defined mission since its appearance on earth: PROTECT. This is why this breed needs an owner capable of understanding and managing its behavior in all situations.
The Central Asian Shepherd has even been classified as a potentially dangerous breed, which is why it requires the typical licenses for this type of animal. It must be bred and domesticated from the puppy age with a calm but defined character, in order to be able to respect the rules from an early age. He has a great sense of responsibility and performs his duties with impressive ethics.
In environments where there is more than one specimen of this breed, puppies tend to accompany adults on pasture from an early age (around 4 months). So even the smallest children learn the trade by imitating older dogs.
The Central Asian Shepherd Dogs are brave and intelligent with a very defined personality. In fact, they tend to assess for themselves when to intervene and when not to do so. They generally enjoy outdoor walks and live in spacious places, which does not make them suitable for city life or small apartments. They are not used to barking, so they tend to go unnoticed while working.
Important: Despite its large appearance, the Central Asian Shepherd Dog is quite agile, and if you like to walk, then this dog is yours
Central Asian Shepherd Dog with Children
The Central Asian Shepherd loves children very much. However, it should always be watched when playing with children, as it can accidentally knock over or hurt the little ones due to its extremely large size.
With other dogs and other animals
The Central Asian Shepherd Dog e is a Shepherd, which makes him accept as part of his command animals he knows from the first moment. Or those dogs with which he gradually associates. But it is also a dominant and very protective dog, so relationships with dogs are not always easy.
Despite the fact that Central Asian Shepherd Dog is an excellent guard, a properly trained dog will never attack a person.
Despite good health from birth, from the first months of life it is necessary to show the pet to a veterinarian for preventive examinations. The specialist will draw up a vaccination schedule. In no case should you self-medicate, if you find symptoms of the disease in a pet, immediately seek help from a veterinarian.
The Central Asian Shepherd Dog most often suffers from the following diseases:
- Diseases of the joints (arthrosis, arthritis, myositis, etc.) – the cause of the disease is the heavy load of the dog’s heavy body on the paws. You can prevent such joint problems if you formulate a correct and balanced diet.
- Diseases of the cardiovascular system (heart attack, arrhythmia) – heart problems often occur in Central Asian Shepherd Dogs, who are kept in cramped apartments. A sedentary lifestyle leads to similar diseases.
- Diseases of the endocrine system – the affected dogs are not tall; they have a dull coat. Problems with the endocrine system negatively affect the metabolism in the body, the appearance of pets.
- Joint dysplasia is a disease that leads to destruction of the hip joints. As a treatment, various therapies and drugs are used to help stop this problem.
A dog cannot tell you in human language what to worry about, what hurts. Therefore, the health of the pet is completely dependent on the owner of the pet.
The Central Asian Shepherd Dog is a freedom-loving dog, he needs space and does not tolerate confined tight spaces. Therefore, it is undesirable to keep such a pet in a small apartment. In addition, the Central Asian Shepherd is an extremely large dog, there will simply be little space for it when it is kept in an apartment and no long walks will help the dog to throw out all the accumulated energy.
Important: The frequency and duration of walks is determined by the owner of the dog, but it should be taken into account that the Central Asian Shepherd Dog need many hours of walks.
For the Central Asian Shepherd Dog, the ideal option is a large, spacious aviary with a booth, which is installed on the site with a country house. But even with the enclosure, it is necessary to give the dog the opportunity to run in the wild.
Despite its large weight and height, this dog does not require special care. Its coat has excellent properties, dirt practically does not adhere to it, thanks to which the dog always looks clean. This does not mean that the owner should not care for his pet at all. Simple care rules must be followed strictly:
- Comb out wool 1-2 times a week. During the molting period, which occurs in the Central Asian Shepherd Dog annually in the spring, combing is carried out daily, since this dog molts very much. In normal times, the coat falls off moderately.
- Clean the ears with cotton swabs, make sure that ear discharge does not accumulate.
- Cut off the claws as they grow, this must be done carefully so as not to injure the animal.
- If necessary, if the dog gets dirty during a walk, wash the stomach and paws with warm water, you do not need to use detergents.
- Central Asian Shepherd Dog’s coat has self-cleaning properties, so you don’t need to bathe it unnecessarily. When bathing, you must use a special dog shampoo.
On occasion, do not miss the opportunity to redeem a pet in a lake or river during the summer period, the Central Asian Shepherd Dog really likes it.
The owner is obliged to provide his pet with a balanced diet. The diet is based on the age, health status, physical activity of the dog. If you decide to feed the Central Asian Shepherd Dog dry food, it must be of the highest quality. When feeding with natural products, the same requirement is quality food. In both the first and second cases, the main rule is to feed strictly at the same time. It is also worth noting that the Central Asian Shepherd Dog’s diet should have enough feed with a high calcium content due to the fact that representatives of the breed are predisposed to joint diseases from birth.
With a natural way of feeding, you must heed the following rules:
- Feed the Central Asian Shepherd puppies 5-6 times a day, giving out the daily ration in small portions. As they grow older, reduce the number of feedings to 3 times a day.
- An adult dog should receive food 2 times a day.
- The following foods should be included in the puppy’s diet: eggs, cottage cheese, vegetables (except potatoes), porridge (buckwheat, rice), offal (stomach, liver, etc.), beef trimmings.
- The diet of an adult Central Asian Shepherd Dog must include: vegetables (except potatoes), porridge (rice, buckwheat), sea fish and lean meat. Chicken and pork are not recommended.
Important: the Central Asian Shepherd Dog’s food is characterized by a seasonal division by the amount of proteins and carbohydrates. In winter, increase their amount, respectively, by 50% of proteins, by 20% of carbohydrates, by summer, reduce the indicators in the same proportions, compensating them with vegetables.
Training and education
Unquestioning obedience is the motto of all Asian dogs. They are very intelligent dogs, but they are difficult to train. The main thing is not to waste time and start the educational process from the first months of the pet’s life. Until the age of six months, an Asian should clearly know and follow the commands: “sit”, “lie down”, “come to me”, “no”.
By the age of three, the Central Asian Shepherd Dog is fully developed physically and intellectually. It is almost impossible to teach an unruly adult Central Asian Shepherd Dog to obedience; only an experienced dog handler can do this. During training, persistent calmness and perseverance on the part of the owner is necessary. There are some nuances that you should pay attention to in the process of raising an alabai:
- If the Central Asian Shepherd Dog reacted to an external stimulus, it can be distracted only by replacing this stimulus with another or removing an existing one.
- You cannot show your weakness to an Alabai, he will definitely notice it and use it for his own purposes.
- Not wanting to fulfill the owner’s command, the Central Asian Shepherd Dog can pretend to be sick. If the owner behaves to such a trick, in the future the dog will use this trick all the time so as not to obey the commands.
- From puppyhood, you need to often walk with your pet in places where dogs of different breeds are walked. This will contribute to the fact that the Central Asian Shepherd Dog will treat other dogs peacefully, and with him it will be possible to calmly participate in exhibition shows, walk along the crowded streets.
The Central Asian Shepherd Dog treats children well, plays with them and protects them
Central Asian Shepherd Dog Breed Highlights
Like any other breed, the Central Asian Shepherd Dog has its own advantages and disadvantages. Before buying an Alabai puppy, evaluate your capabilities and familiarize yourself with all the pros and cons of this breed:
Pros of the Alabai (Central Asian Shepherd Dog):
- Endurance, fearlessness, poise.
- Wool capable of self-cleaning.
- High intelligence.
- Loves children.
- The Central Asian Shepherd Dog is very Loyal to the owner and all household members.
- Cleanliness, unpretentious care.
- Unpretentiousness in food.
Cons of the Central Asian Shepherd dog:
- Excessive independence and willfulness.
- Increased aggression towards other dogs.
- Low socialization.
- Inability to live in apartments.
- Tendency to vagrancy.
- The Central Asian Shepherd Dog requires great physical exertion.
Alabai will become an irreplaceable member of the family, provided there is a strong guiding hand and the love of all household members. With such a watchman, security guard like the Central Asian Shepherd Dog, you can feel safe anywhere and in any safety. With proper care, maintenance and nutrition, Alabai will serve you faithfully for 12-15 years.