Protective and Fearless The Central Asian Shepherd!

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.

General appearance…
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.

Historical background
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.
Grooming needs…
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.


Kaizer -(Imported from Ukraine) – Champion Blood Line. (Son of
CH Ukraine, Belorussian, Russia, Ukraine Grand Champion.)

Healthy breed…
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 ( in Ludhiana. He is an avid dog lover who imports rare breeds like the Central Asian Shepherd Dogs to India).

Breed Profile

Anatolian Shepherd: The Guardian Dog

Magnificent ancient working dog who presents an impression of functional utility without exaggerated features!

Tall and handsome…

Uma (Owned by Maria Marrero)

Anatolian Shepherd, originated from the region of Turkey, is a large working dog used primarily as a livestock guardian. Large, rugged and impressive, they possess great endurance and agility. These dogs are tall and powerful, yet not massive in build. They have a large, broad head with a slight centerline furrow. The eyes are medium sized, almond shaped and are seen in shades of brown or amber colours. The tail is long and carried low with a gentle curve or is impressively curled over the back when the dog is at attention. When walking, the topline becomes quite level, giving a smooth impression of a powerful, stalking lion.
Anatolians have a dense double coat that is thicker and slightly longer about the neck. Most Anatolians have a short or medium long coat that is easy to care for. Hard textured enough to shed dirt, it does not tend to matt or tangle. Short and rough coats as well as a wide variety of coat colours can be found among pups of the same litter.
Males are 29-32 inch tall and weigh 50-65 kg. Females are 27-31 inch and weigh 40-55 kg, though many may be larger boned or slightly racier in appearance and do not fit within these averages.

Colour variations…Untitled-2
All colours of the Anatolian Guradian are acceptable and some colour variations have been given special names. The classic and most frequently occurring colouration is fawn with black ears and black mask, sometimes called karabash (meaning ‘blackhead’). Kangal, another name for that colour variation of the Anatolian, has been used to describe some black masked dogs who can be found in the Sivas region of Turkey. The solid white or cream dogs are sometimes called Akbash. Other colours frequently seen are pinto, brindle, grey, even black.

Extremely agile…
They are long-legged with a definite tuck up at the loins. This conformation permits them to be fleet and extremely agile, capable of overtaking and bringing down a predator with awesome efficiency. Clocked by visitors driving alongside fenced property containing a herd guard, Anatolians have been observed running at speeds over 35 miles per hour. They can leap into the air, turn and come down in front of, or on, the shoulders of the animal behind them, which ever they choose.

Loyal and possessive…
Anatolian Shepherd is first and foremost a guardian dog. He is a hard-working breed whose function is to guard his flock. Thus, an Anatolian is a loyal guard and can be fiercely possessive and protective of his family, stock and territory. They are steady and bold, without aggression. They have a naturally independent and very intelligent personality. Young males in particular can be pushy during adolescence while they are figuring out their rank and status in the household. Anatolians will be aloof when off their property and may be leery of strangers both off and on their property. They do need to be socialised from a very early age and that training and socialisation need to be maintained throughout the dog’s lifetime.


Hannah, Zoran and Babe (Owned by Audrey Chalfen)

Living with them…
Independence is a primary characteristic of the livestock guardian breeds. They have varying degrees of territoriality, but most will expand their territories if they are not fenced in. They are generally wonderful and tolerant with children, but may be aggressive, unless well socialised. Anatolians are fairly dominant dogs, generally best suited for people who have not let other dogs take over their families. Obedience training is a requirement for responsible ownership of this breed. Anatolians are highly intelligent and very quick to learn new ideas, but are not particularly keen on repetitive exercises. This breed has a strong inclination towards independent thinking and may seem stubborn. Responsible owners have been successful with these dogs in directed work such as obedience trials; however, they must keep the training motivational and interesting to get the best out of these dogs.
Anatolians can be very good house dogs, but they are very large, shed with enthusiasm, and may knock things over with their large tails. If you are a finicky house cleaner, this breed would be a challenge for you.
Anatolian Shepherd seems to adore children and think of them as their own ‘kids’. A child does, of course, need to learn how to behave respectfully when around any animal and should be supervised when with any type of dog. It is imperative not to let the child play as a ‘littermate’ would play (inviting nipping and roughhousing), due to the large size of the breed.

He will need lots of exercise, as any large breed does, so, even though he seems lazy, exercise him with long walks, as well as with running and playing in a fenced, supervised area. A fenced yard is mandatory,
to prevent an Anatolian from expanding his territory, and to keep the dog away from traffic.

Pup care…

Breed Profile

Kiowa and Brittany (Owned by Linda Raeber)

As a puppy, an Anatolian should be fed a premium puppy food for the first year. A young pup needs to be fed small amounts of food at least two to three times a day. An adult should be fed once or twice a day. A measured serving is better than free feeding (the all-you-can-eat method) as this can lead to an overweight Anatolian Shepherd. No growth supplements should be fed to puppies, as this can cause nutritional imbalances and skeletal or joint problems.

Anatolian Shepherd will shed small amounts all the time and ‘blow out their coats’ twice a year. Also, females tend to blow out their coats after a heat cycle. They need to be brushed out when they are ‘blowing coat’ and that will minimise your mess somewhat. Also, bathing in warm water seems to make some difference in shedding and may lessen the amount of work as it will encourage the fur to loosen and you can brush off more of it at once.

As this is a breed close to his working origins and most breeders prefer to outcross different lines to make the best use of the available gene pool, the breed seems to have few serious health problems. Anatolians can be sensitive to anaesthesia, and this may be of concern if some veterinary procedures are performed. Like most large breeds, hip dysplasia is a concern. Generally, a healthy, well-bred Anatolian will live into his teens in a safe, optimal environment.

On a concluding note…
This is not the breed for everyone, and should not become ‘the breed of the month’, as has happened to some breeds. This breed is, first and foremost, a guarding dog, with strong independence and dominance drives, and he requires a responsible approach to successful management. If you are looking for a dog who will obey at the drop of a command, then this is not the dog for you.
(Source: Anatolian Shepherd Dogs International, Inc., A Florida Non-Profit 501C4 Corporation under The Provisional Parent Club of the United Kennel Club).

Royal Canin’s pawfect diet for a truly noble-the German Shepherd

Powerful, liverly, intelligent, loyal..the German Shepherd has many impressive qualities. An excellent guard dog, he is also a perfect rescue dog due to his exceptionally refined sense of smell. He is appreciated not just for his physical aptitude and flexible character, but also for the beauty of his black and tan coat… a perfect blend of looks and character!

Caring for a dog who gives his all:
Blessed with outstanding physical abilities, He is a remarkably robust dog. Marrying power and watchfulness, he sets himself no limits, an element which needs to be considered to keep him in ideal shape throughout his life. The diet which he takes need to address the following:

Ensuring digestive safety:

The German Shepherd has a sensitive digestive system due to a proportionally smaller digestive tract, major intestinal permeability, and increased risk of gastric fermentation.

A sensitive immune system:

His natural immune defences are not always very effective in protecting the skin and mucosa, hence it is essential to reinforce his immune system to help him fi ght oxidative stress, which is responsible for ageing.

Watching over an alkaline skin:

Increased cutaneous pH levels predispose him to bacterial infections.

The joints of an athlete:

From growth onwards, his food needs to protect the cartilages to help fi ght against the development of arthritis.

Growth…a key phase in puppy’s life
Growth is a key phase for the puppy, because it sets the pattern for his future health. Over the period of a few months, the German Shepherd puppy goes through some major upheavals: weaning and transition to solid food, very rapid physical development, lifestyle changes, separation from his mother.

From weaning to 5 months – Intense and rapid development:

The skeleton requires considerable protein and mineral amounts, with exactly the right amount of calcium – neither too little nor too much. Also, the transition to solid food demands great care, because the puppy is incapable of assimilating large quantities of food or digesting starch. Weight gain needs to continue, but must be controlled so that the puppy does not gain too much too young, which will weaken a still fragile bone structure. During the fi rst weeks of life, the puppy benefi ts from maternally transmitted antibodies, but this protection is lost between the 4th and 12th weeks. With his own immune system still immature, he is then exposed to risk of infection, particularly as he has not yet been vaccinated. Only a specially developed food can help him through this immunity gap in total safety.

From 5 months to the end of growth – Consolidating his assets:

During this period, weight gain slows down while the bone structure achieves to consolidate itself. The food must be less rich, although the puppy still needs 50% as many calories as an adult dog. From 5 months onwards, the puppy can digest larger amounts of food, but it is important to watch his weight gain carefully as being overweight at this stage can lead to joint problems in later age. The milk teeth, which came through at around 3 weeks, are replaced by the adult dentition at around 7 months old. From now on, it is important to encourage the puppy to crunch his food before swallowing, not only to slow down his speed of ingestion but also to encourage good oral-hygiene.
A pawfect diet for juniors < 15 months… Royal Canin’s German Shepherd 30
The diet ensures maximum digestive security which meets the needs of the German Shepherd’s puppy’s sensitive digestion, thanks to a selection of highly digestible proteins (L.I.P.), an energy concentration and Acti-Flora complex (probiotics and Psyllium) adapted to avoid overloading the stomach. Besides, its osteoarticular reinforcement ensures harmonious growth of the skeleton and of its mineralization, which helps to support the joints. It also supports the skin’s “barrier” role (pH>7) and maintains the natural beauty of the puppy’s coat. The diet also helps support the young puppy’s natural defences.

A pawfect diet for adults > 15 months … Royal Canin’s German Shepherd 24

It ensures maximum digestive well-being, aimed at the German Shepherd’s digestive sensitivity, thanks to highly digestible L.I.P. proteins, with copra oil and rice as the sole source of carbohydrates. A selection of fi bres specifi cally limits intestinal fermentation while maintaining intestinal fl ora. Besides supporting the skin’s barrier role and his natural defences, it helps maintain vitality in the older dog. Not only this, they support joints of active dogs.

Glory of the German Shepherd

Which breeds come to your mind when you hear the words ‘king of dogs’? Undoubtedly, the name that flashes in our minds is ‘German Shepherd’ or ‘GSD.’ People all over the world prefer to be owned by a GSD because of his royal look and an equally loyal and passionate attitude.

If you have never owned a GSD, you have missed one of life’s greatest pleasures.

If you are looking for a superb companion dog, then GSD is for you. For here’s one dog who will be devoted to you at all times. I still remember the time when I got married into a dog-loving family. I knew that they have a GSD at home but I never had a chance to meet him before marriage. Once I stepped into the house, I was welcomed by a strong and handsome GSD, who conveyed a sense of strength and intelligence. He did not bark at me but gave me a warm welcome. Very soon, I developed a strong bond with him.

German Shepherd or GSD, also known as Alsatian, is one of the most versatile dogs, who has excelled as a sentry and guard dog, police and army dog, tracker, drug detection dog, guide dog for the blind as well as a search and rescue dog. Apart from these utilities, he is an excellent show and companion dog.

As Sasikala Giri of Ginzberg, Bangalore, a reputed breeder of GSDs, puts, “A GSD is probably an international favourite of all breeds. He differs from other breeds as he fills in many different jobs. Since the earliest dates of history, he has been employed by armies to aid in fighting, as sentries, guards of prisoners, defend camps from enemies, detecting mines, working with rescue units, to find wounded soldiers and carry medicine.”

General appearance

A GSD is a handsome and well-proportioned dog. He is strong with a sturdy, muscular and slightly elongated body with a light but solid bone structure. He has a harmonious development of forequarter and hindquarter. “Position and setting of limbs harmonise in such a manner that a far-reaching endurant trot is assured. The gait is supple, smooth and long-reaching, carrying the body along. His croup is long and gradually sloping,” adds Giri.

His head is proportionate to his body with average size ears, which are wide at the base and high on the head. His almond-shaped eyes are slightly slanted and their colour matches that of their coat. His eyes radiate intelligence and confidence, full of life. His tail is bushy and his coat is thick and dense, comprising of straight, rigid hairs, tightly layered on the body. There are different colours of coat found in GSDs, which include black with tan, all black and steel grey.

According to Giri, he has a beauty which is undisputed. “He is stamped with a look of quality and nobility, which is difficult to define, but unmistakable. He gives an impression of perpetual vigilance, liveliness and watchfulness, alert to every sight and sound, with nothing escaping attention,” she adds proudly.

The average height of dogs is 24-26 inches while that for female dogs is 22-24 inches. Their weight ranges between 35 to 40 kg. They have a life expectancy of around 13 years.


GSD is an intelligent dog and his intelligence should be utilised in a positive way. You can teach obedience training or else keep him involved in the family activities. GSDs are often used as working dogs as they are alert and fearless. They are bold and cheerful and are easy to train. A GSD is full of loyalty, courage and confidence. They love to please and demand companionship of their families. You should never isolate a GSD for long period of time. Their protective nature towards their family makes them wary of strangers but proper training and early socialisation prevents this problem to surface. They possess highly developed senses, mentally and temperamentally. Besides, he is strongly individualistic. They are good with children and other pets in the family. “A GSD loves and craves for human companionship and thrives on love and affection, without which he is a miserable and neurotic dog. When you have a GSD as a companion, he is a guardian, protector and your children’s playmate,” adds Giri.

GSD puppy

Giri tells that the best age to acquire a pup is about 8 weeks, as by then the pup would have been dewormed, vaccinated and weaned. She advises to follow the feed chart given by the breeder. Also, the pup should be kept in a dry, clean place with lots of ventilation. It is not advisable to isolate him. He should be kept on a rough surface so that he will get a firm grip. “The bones of a pup are very supple, if they are on smooth surface, their movement gets affected,” explains Giri. Give him good nutritious food at regular intervals. “He needs a lot of calcium, Vitamin B and multivitamins,” tells Giri.

A GSD puppy should be socialised from an early age to avoid behavioural problems at later stage. They should be trained lovingly but firmly.


GSDs are easy to maintain and you can keep them in your apartment if they are sufficiently exercised. They are relatively inactive indoors but a large yard to run around is an excellent option. “He is not a cage or kennel dog and requires freedom for his mental and physical development. In turn, you get protection and companionship. He will share your joys and sorrows and will never ask for anything in return except to be at your side,” says Giri.

Giri also tells that GSD make wonderful pets in city apartments as well as country homes or farms, because they are so easily trained.


A GSD needs regular exercise. Physical activity benefits mental and emotional health. He loves strenuous activity, combined with moderate training. They love challenges and perform well. According to Giri, “Exercise is as important as food. To keep him fit, healthy and happy, he needs at least 8 km brisk walk or trot daily. A game of fetch, swimming, Frisbee disc, etc will be equally welcome by a GSD.”


A GSD sheds hair constantly and is seasonally a heavy shedder. A quick daily brushing is an excellent idea. But, they should not be bathed frequently. “Start grooming when he is a pup and he will enjoy it for the rest of his life. Daily brushing will give the coat a healthy appearance and sheen,” adds Giri.


A GSD is prone to hereditary diseases such as hip dysplasia, dermatitis and ear infections.

GSD shows

Sieger Show in Germany is an exclusive event for German Shepherd dogs and their breeders and handlers. Here, more than 3,000 dogs compete and are watched by over 70,000 spectators. The dogs are put to real test not only for confirmation but also for their working abilities, since GSD is a shepherd dog.

(With inputs from Sasikala Giri, a reputed breeder of German Shepherd dogs for nearly 30 years. She can be contacted at: Ginzberg, 710 Shyama Kamal, 47th Cross, 5th Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore -560041, Tel: 26632671, 26647648.)

Nutrition needs of your German Shepherd

German Shepherd is perhaps the world’s most popular utility dog. Their robustness, rusticity and intelligence, steals everyone’s hearts. They convey a sense of strength, intelligence and litheness. They radiate a harmonious sense of nobility and self-confidence that commands respect. Nevertheless while rearing a German Shepherd, their specific characteristics should be kept in mind and accordingly a well-balanced nutritious diet should be given to them.

GSDs have an established digestive sensitivity:

A higher intestinal permeability, a lower digestive capacity and a greater fermentative activity among large dogs are many factors that may explain their lower digestive tolerance. Hence, it is important to ensure maximum digestive security among German Shepherds through nutrition. Proper diet ensures digestion and absorption of nutrients and fermentation of undigested matter. It also helps in protecting and nourishing the intestinal and colonic mucosa, limiting fermentative activity and improving the consistency of stools.

GSD’s immune system put to test everyday:

German Shepherd is a utility dog par excellence, as a guide dog, rescue dog, police dog or defence dog. These varied chores put his immune system under severe pressure every day. The German Shepherd is among the breeds showing a weak plasmatic concentration of immunoglobulin A (IgA), which increases the risk of infection. IgA are antibodies specialised in the defence of mucosae and the skin against infectious agents and are essential ingredients of secretions such as saliva, tears and intestinal juices.

Sensitive skin of a GSD:

The dog’s skin pH is one of the highest among mammals (an average of 7.4). Among the canine species, the skin pH appears to vary according to breed.

An alkaline skin is more conducive to bacterial proliferation than an acidic skin. A German Shepherd’s relative deficiency in IgA (Immunoglobin A) and the high alkalinity of his skin can explain his sensitivity to bacterial skin diseases, such as pyoderma. So, it is essential to reinforce the integrity of the skin barrier, while preserving natural beauty of his coat, through nutrition.

The epidermis forms a barrier that limits water loss by the body and prevents its penetration by allergens. This barrier role is made possible by ceramides, which are lipids that form ‘cement’ that bonds the epidermis cells. The synergic action of a supply of various vitamins (choline, nicotinamide, inositol, pyridoxine and panthotenic acid) and amino acids (proline and histidine) augments the synthesis of ceramides, which helps limit water loss and prevent the penetration by bacteria or any allergens (pollen, dust mites).

GSD’s bone structure is under great daily stress:

The German Shepherd’s exceptional morphology enables him to perform as well in his work or walking with his master, as in the most diverse and most demanding of sporting disciplines: ring, mondioring, protection, campagne, and not forgetting search & rescue of course. This means that the joints of this versatile dog are put under great stress. Hip, elbow and knee dysplasia, cauda equina and articular osteochondroses are unfortunately not rare in this sporting dog. With time, his cartilages will be damaged and this wear and tear may gradually give way to osteoarthritis when the dog grows older. This means that it is essential to help prevent joint complaints and associated inflammatory mechanisms through nutrition.

Royal Canin’s made to measure kibble:

Royal Canin offers a nutritional programme for a German Shepherd of all ages. For 2-15 month old puppies, there is MAXIjunior, which offers a very high digestive security which ensures equilibrium of intestinal flora and regular digestive transit. German Shepherd 24 is for the adult dog, which is exclusively formulated taking into account his digestive sensitivity, reinforcement of natural defences, protection of the skin and the coat and articular capital. The advantages of feeding this food includes:

  • Guaranteeing optimal palatability : Born with an exceptional olfactory acuity, a German Shepherd is able to detect up to 5,00,000 different odours, compared with the mere 4,000 that humans can distinguish. His exceptional nose makes guaranteed optimal appetence of the food essential to satisfy his very high demands. The food is formulated with premium quality ingredients and exclusive aromas, based on a secret recipe.
  • Improving oral hygiene: The dog’s teeth are brushed mechanically as he chews, which helps limit the accumulation of tartar. This effect is reinforced by the presence of chelating agents of calcium, which render calcium unavailable for the mineralisation of dental plaque and so the formation of tartar.
  • Helping to prevent gastric dilatation-volvulus: After a meal, the stomach can achieve a volume of 3-4 litres in a 15 kg dog and up to 7 litres in a large dog. This predisposition to distension, associated to a relative laxity of the stomach’s means of attachment to the abdomen, means that the dog is predisposed to the gastric dilatation-volvulus. This complaint is fatal in 30% of cases. So, it is essential to feed the German Shepherd very digestible food that can be digested fast and efficiently.
  • Protecting joints: The food also protects joints and prevents or slows down osteoarthritis. It has an extra source of chondroitin sulphate and glucosamine, the combined action of which helps stimulate the regeneration of articular cartilage and slows down cartilage degeneration.