Central Asian Shepherd, Guard dog
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Author: TopDog
January 4, 2009
The Alabai (also known as the Central Asian sheep-dog, Credneasiatskaya Ovcharka, Central Asian Ovcharka, Central Asian Shepherd dog, Turkmen Alabai, Alabay, the Wolfhound, Volkodav) is one of the most ancient dog breeds. Since ancient times, the Alabai was an irreplaceable assistant, a friend and the companion to Shepherds in Central Asia. Today, even with rapid development of technology, the Alabai has not lost its importance in the life of farmers and perpetually accompanies shepherds out to pasture. Loyal, tender, incorruptible, surprisingly strong and wise, the Alabai is becoming the most demanded breed in the world. Such sudden popularity gives rise to many disputes, hypotheses and myths about the breed’s true origin. According to some experts the age of the breed ranges from three thousand to over six thousand years ago. Modern countries of Central Asia such as Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan are the true origins of the Alabai. The breed formation, however, has occurred on a more expansive territory that ranges from the Caspian Sea to Tibet. Primarily, the breed’s development was influenced by the regions climate, environment and the natural development of every day dog life. Human intervention was not a significant factor in the breed’s formation. The Alabai is considered a “natural breed”, or a breed that has formed without intervention of much scientific selections and genetics.

Due to environmental conditions of Central Asia, from high-mountainous areas to hot deserts; people were engaged in cattle and sheep breeding. A dog was needed for the protection of sheep and cattle from predators (wolves, bears). This dog had to be large, athletically fit, with a natural instinct of protection of property, unpretentious, strong, fearless, friendly, smart and mistrustful to strangers. All of these qualities and characteristics are found in the Alabai. In difficult environmental conditions, with lack of food and water, the Alabai has passed a rigid natural selection throughout thousands of years. Along with natural selection, with no possibility of feeding large quantities of dogs, shepherds conducted primitive artificial selection leaving alive only the puppies with the most desirable traits. In villages and mountain camps, dogs that showed in-adequate behavior, excessive aggression to people, family members, children, were killed. A similar practice still even exists today. I wish to emphasize that even with the ancient lineage of the Alabai, the training of the dog is still very important.  It is very necessary not to forget that the Alabai is very confident of its strengths, very independent and is assured in its self –decision making.

The breed has many names: Central Asian sheep-dog, Credneasiatskaya Ovcharka, Central Asian Ovcharka, Alabay, Alabai, Wolfhound, Volkodav, Turkmen Alabai, Central Asian Shepherd dog. Shepherds name these dogs “Buribosar”, which in translation means “kills wolves”. Wolves were a huge problem for shepherds; a family of wolves is capable of killing ten or more sheep in a single night. The main purpose of the dog was for the protection of the sheep from the wolves, that’s where the “kill wolves” comes from.  A huge mass, strong muscles, fighting skills that were perfected over centuries and unbelievable endurance is not used today for the designated purposes, and very often Alabai is used in dog fights. Despite the great fighting skill, their love, tolerance, attachment to children and a quiet independent character are amazing!!!

Centuries-old friendship and nature itself have created a breed that combines great strength, power and unlimited love for people in one beautiful dog.