History & Overview
Central Asian Shepherd Dog, also known as Alabai, is an ancient dog breed that is believed to descend from dogs kept by Central Asian nomads for several thousand years. They were used to guard against large predators, such as bears and wolves. The modern dog is believed to be similar to the original nomadic Central Asian Shepherd Dog, although there are up to ten new forms developed in Russia.
The breed continues to be used as a livestock guardian and is rare in the United States.
This is a very large and powerful dog. The broad head has a deep, blunt muzzle and a large, black nose. The ears are small and may be cropped close to the head. The tail can be long or naturally docked. Those with tan markings over their eyebrows have been dubbed as “the four-eyed Mongolian Dogs.”
The double coat is white, gray, straw-coloured, brown, gray-brindle, parti-colored and ticked. Height is 23.5 – 25.5 inches, and weight is 90 to 150 pounds. The best examples today tend to be in Turkmenistan, where it has been recognized as the “national treasure.” They have a resemblance to smooth St. Bernard.
Although fierce, the Alabai is obedient to its owner. It has remained the main “helping hand” of a shepherd, helping him to manage the flock while moving to another place, changing direction or camping. Alabais can find a sheep strayed from a flock and drive it back, can fight a wolf and can endure heat easily.
- Kristin Mehus-Roe – Original Dog Bible: The Definitive Source for All Things Dog
- David Hancock – Dogs of the Shepherds: A Review of the Pastoral Breeds
- Agajan G. Babaev – Desert Problems and Desertification in Central Asia