Last Updated on August 5, 2023 by Pets Feed
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 Alabai 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.
Central Asian Shepherd photos
Impressive size, strong build and thick coat are the main exterior characteristics of the Central Asian Shepherd.
The height at the withers is 65 – 78 cm for males and 60 – 69 cm for females. The weight is 55 – 79 kg and 40 – 65 kg respectively.
- Head: Massive, large, broad, proportionate to the physique. The shape, viewed from the side and from above, resembles a rectangle. Flat and long skull with a well-developed occiput. Arcs developed above the eyebrows.
- Muzzle: has a medium length. Pronounced chin, big black nose. Thick lips have black pigmentation.
- Eyes: Medium sized, oval, set wide and straight. Eye color can vary from light brown to dark brown. Black eyelids.
- Ears: The hanging and low bearings have a triangular shape. From the first days of life, ears are bought briefly. Unmoorings are also allowed.
- Coat: Thick, straight and coarse, with a good undercoat. The head and the front of the legs are covered with short, closely spaced hairs. Depending on the length of the wool, there are:
- Short-haired dogs – the length of the coat is 3-5 cm;
- Short-haired dogs long (5-7 cm).
- They are also characterized by the presence of a small mane in the neck, feathers behind the ears, on the legs and tail.
- The front legs. Medium length, strong bones. Thick fleshy pads with hard skin. Strong claws.
- Hind legs. Straight, relative to the wider front assembly. Strong hips, strong bones, thick skin pads, hard claws.
- Movement. Soft, balanced. Red gait with forelimbs and strong impetus from the hind legs. The joints are well extended.
- Broad and muscular body. The body is slightly stretched, the abdomen is rolled up.
- Neck Massive, has medium length and shape. His muscles are well developed. Pronounced dewlap.
- Back. Broad, straight, well muscled. The short and powerful loin protrudes a little.
- Breast. Ribs wide, of sufficient length and rounded, widening towards the back. Its lower part falls to the elbows and below.
- Tail. High rise, thicker at the base. It has a crescent shape or can be twisted into a ring in the last third. An anchored or natural version is allowed.
Character and behavior
Dogs of this breed are calm and patient, it is natural for them to analyze the situation and not act hastily. In the family, the Central Asian Shepherd shows an extreme degree of devotion and affection.
Alabai is a fearless, very loyal and intelligent dog. He has the innate skills of a security guard, he always carefully monitors his territory, knows every corner of it, ensuring maximum protection and safety of the property and the health of the owners. If you live in a private home, you won’t find a better security guard. Moreover, the character and innate properties of the dog are such that it is better for him to be on the street.
The Central Asian Shepherd, whose character has its specificities, is not recommended for inexperienced or shy owners. On the other hand, mistreatment and injustice will cause internal conflicts in the animal, which should be avoided.
With the children
The Central Asian Shepherd is very fond of children. However, it should always be supervised when playing with children, as it can accidentally knock over or injure the little ones due to its extremely large size.
With other animals
Alabai is a shepherd, which makes him accept as part of his order the animals he knows from the first moment. Or those dogs he gradually associates with. But he is also a dominant and very protective dog, so relationships with dogs are not always easy.
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.
With proper care, maintenance, and nutrition, the Central Asian Shepherd will serve you faithfully for 12 to 15 years.
The Central Asian Shepherd does not require special care. It is enough to comb the coat with a special brush 1-2 times a week. Clean the ears, bathe the dog and trim the nails as needed.
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.
Other names: 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.
Alabai: 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.