The Central Asian Shepherd Dog, commonly called Alabai by the Central Asian people, is an ancient breed of large-sized dogs bred for herding, guarding, and protecting flocks of sheep. It is of strong, muscular build, characterized by a slightly rectangular head, large nose, blunt muzzle, medium-sized, oval eyes, triangular, low-set, hanging ears, well-muscled neck, broad chest, straight legs with strong bone, and a moderately high-set tail. The males are larger, more courageous, and have a more massive head, and pronounced withers than the females.
|Other Names||Central Asian Ovcharka, Mid-Asian Shepherd, CAO, Middle Asian Ovcharka, Turkmen Alabai, Central Asian Sheepdog, Aziat, Sredneasiatskaia Ovtcharka|
|Coat||Short/long, straight, coarse, dense undercoat|
|Color||Black, white, gray, straw, russet, brown, brindle, piebald|
|Category||Livestock Guardian, Utility, Molosser, Mountain type|
|Weight||Female: 88-143 lb
Male: 121-176 lb
|Height||Female: 24-27 in
Male: 27-32 in
|Temperament||Curious, bold, adaptable, independent, balanced|
|Litter Size||5-7 puppies|
|Good with Children||Yes|
|Country Originated in||Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan|
|Competitive Registration/Qualification Information||ANKC, AKC/FSS, ACR, ACA, ARBA, APRI, FCI, DRA, NKC, NAPR, UKC|
The Central Asian Shepherd possibly evolved over 4,000 ago as a result of natural selection in a vast region extending from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east and from the Ural Mountains in the north to Afghanistan in the south. It is thought to have descended from ancient cattle dogs that are related to the Tibetan Mastiff and the Mongolian Shepherd Dog. These early CAOs protected cattle, dwellings, and caravans of the nomadic tribes.
Over the years, the population of these shepherds has remained stable despite being used as military dogs for the Soviet army. Today, these dogs are rarely seen outside Central Asia, although a few dog fanciers have started breeding them in the US. The modern Alabai has a strong genetic resemblance with other livestock guardians from that region including the Kangal and Akbash.
The Central Asian Shepherd is an affectionate family pet noted for its devotion to its people. It gets along well with its family members, also having a patient demeanor with children. However, interactions between toddlers and the Alabai require supervision else it can accidentally knock down young kids due to its enormous size and strength.
While it does not show unwarranted aggression, it is naturally suspicious around strangers and will quickly assume a defensive position if it feels threatened. It will alert its owner to any intrusions with a loud bark, resorting to protecting its territory till death.
It can coexist with other dogs and non-canine animals. However, being a self-assured, fearless flock guardian, it will be bossy around other pets, not putting up with those challenging its authority.
These bold, intelligent, lively, and independent dogs are not for a timid or an inexperienced owner. They need firm, consistent, and fair training to help them become a gentle and loving family guardian.
Since the Central Asian Shepherds have an innate protective instinct, you need to be calm and assertive when introducing your pet to unknown people and animals. If you are nervous that it might act out, it will read this energy, which might cause it to behave aggressively. Invite your guests and their dogs to your house but be sure to choose those who can remain calm and relaxed around your CAO.
Train your Alabai to stop barking on the “Quiet” command. If your dog does not learn this, it may bark continuously at anybody or anything unusual, which may become a nuisance at times. First, you need to teach your dog to bark upon hearing the “Speak” command. Then use a word like “Enough” or “Quiet” and give immediate praise when it stops barking.
As a large working breed, the Central Asian Sheepdog requires a nutritious diet featuring food with a balanced proportion of protein, fat, and carbs.