The Central Asian Shepherd Dog is a protective dog who bonds with his pet parent and his possessions. He is independent, strong, brave and responsible, besides being self assured, calm, balanced, proud, alert and fearless flock guardian. The dogs are very courageous and have high working capacity, endurance and a natural instinct of territory. Fearlessness towards large predators is a characteristic feature.
With their strong guarding and territorial instincts, Central Asian Shepherds are herders and watchdogs with an imposing attitude and attractive appearance that
make them much-loved companions. They are appreciated for being problem solvers who have independent mind. Their distinguished characteristics comprise calmness, alertness, responsibility, self-assurance, alert, fearless, to mention a few. They are considered to be thinking dogs who excel in basic obedience. They have worked towards guarding herds for many hundreds of years. And are also brilliant watchdogs!
Powerful and muscular, a Central Asian Shepherd Dogs seems like polar bear and wolf combination, but with a movement like a cat – yes they are one the most different and handsome breed. This relatively big breed is a large but agile dog, sometimes described as a cat in dog’s clothing and never heavy, generally, coming across as a vigorous dog.
The Central Asian Shepherd Dog/Alabai is a dog of robust built, great size with massive bone structure and powerful muscles. They look very different from many of the other giant dog breeds who are commonly seen. The body is slightly longer than tall while the head is massive. Ears are close to the head but are naturally small, drop and set low on the head. The tail is highly set and thick at the base. They have long straight heavy-boned legs. Typical motion trait of Central Asian Shepherd is gallop, though they can trot at ease for hours without getting exhausted. Their coat is double-coated and thick. Gender differences are well expressed in this breed. Males are more massive and powerful; females are smaller and lighter in build. The average height of males is 27 – 32 inch (65 – 78 cm) while that of females is 24 – 27 inch (60 – 69 cm) while the weight for males is 55 – 79 kg and for females is 40 – 65 kg. They are found in various colours like white, black, grey, straw coloured, russet (reddish brown), grey/brown, brindle, parti-coloured and flecked. Some have a black mask.
Ancient origin of Central Asian Shepherd Dogs can be traced back to the era before Christ when this breed was adopted by sheepherders to ward off predators. However, in the book History of Mastiff by Waynn mentions the evidence of this breed around 100 years ago. They are believed to be originated from Ural Mountains of Russia. But from time to time, they were migrated to several Central Asian countries where they worked with native nomadic tribes as guardian dogs to protect herds from wild animals like bear, tiger, hyena, wolf and marauders. Besides protecting herds, Central Asian Shepherds are known for their excellence in guarding homes, estates, families, etc for which their popularity has been gaining across different parts of the globe.
Living with them…
The Central Asian Shepherd Dog is a devoted family member – a wonderful companion, equally good with elderly and children if socialised from a young age. They also get along with cats and other animals. They are extremely active, full of life and intelligent.
They can tolerate a wide range of climates. They adore cold weather and snow, but can tolerate heat equally well with sufficient shade and water.
Exercise and training needs…
They love to move around, protecting their property. So, a yard with a fence is a must to keep them occupied and exercised. Hence, it is not a good idea to keep them in apartment. They like to be outdoors watching over their territory. They need to be trained but any negative training will backfire with this breed while positive training will make him a devoted companion. Even a check on the their ancient roots shows that training is important for Central Asian Shepherd Dogs and pet parents should be aware of the breed’s confidence of his strength, independent nature and self-decision making.
They are quite active for their size and require room to run on a daily basis in order for their muscles and bones to develop properly. A fence at least six feet in height is required to contain these athletes, as they can easily jump anything shorter and many can jump much higher. They also need strong boundary training, they are quite territorial and will expand their chosen territory if given the chance.
If you find a huge hillside or boulder on the way during a walk with your Central Asian Shepherd, he will surely climb himself to show you his temperament to tackle any obstacle. He will never stumble or fall in such an act. He will be contended strongly with precise leaps and excellent co-ordinations to stand still on the top attentively observing the surrounding environments. When he finds something interesting around, he will be fixed downward to encounter it.
Surprisingly, the Central Asian Shepherd Dog does not require a lot of grooming. It is advisable for pet parents to begin routine maintenance procedures such as bathing and nail clipping from as young an age and as gently as possible. It is much easier to bathe a willing 40 pound puppy than a frightened and resistant 150 pound adult. For most of the year they are light shedders, with easy coat care of weekly brushing. However, these dogs shed their coats heavily in the spring so the coat should be brushed daily at this time to remove dead hair.
This breed is healthiest of all large breeds. This dog benefits from having perhaps the most extensive gene pool of any large breed. The Central Asian Shepherd Dog’s health has also benefitted from its ancestry. These dogs lived in some of the harshest conditions on Earth and were tasked with battling dangerous predators. Only the strongest could survive, and any genetic defects would have been quickly eliminated.
(Paramjeet Singh Dhesi runs ELITE SQUAD KENNEL (www.EliteSquadKennel.com) in Ludhiana. He is an avid dog lover who imports rare breeds like the Central Asian Shepherd Dogs to India).