Breed Organization United Kennel Club (UKC) Website:
http://www.ukcdogs.com Native Country Russia Other Names Central Asian Shepherd, Sredneasiatskaya Ovtcharka, Middle Asian Ovtcharka, Central Asian Ovcharka, Alabai, Turkmen Alabai, Volkodav Life Expectancy Approximately 11-15 Years Litter Size Average 5-10 Puppies Breed Group Working, Flock Gaurdian
Breed Appearance The breed presents a robust dog of greater than
average size with great strength and power. The dog is as long as it
is tall at the withers, or slightly longer than its height. The hair
is short or moderately long with a heavy undercoat. Its ears are, in
practice, cropped very short, and the tail is docked moderately long
(except for dogs from countries where cosmetic surgeries for dogs
are illegal). Most common colors are black/white; fawn of different
shades, from almost white to deep red; brindle.
Breed Description Head: Massive, broad. Flat forehead.
Very slight stop. Large black or brown nose. Ears: Cropped unless it is banned in specific countries Eyes: Wide set, round. Dark color. Body: Powerful. Short neck. Deep, broad brisket. Rounded ribs.
Short, broad, slightly arched loin. Belly moderately tucked up.
Broad, muscular, almost horizontal croup. Strong, straight, broad
back. Tail: Docked unless banned in specific countries. Hair: Harsh, straight, and coarse. Long-haired variety: 7 to 8
cm in length (2.5-3 in); Short-haired variety: 3 to 5 cm in length
(1-2 in), smooth. Thick undercoat. Coat: White, gray, black, straw, reddish-brown, tiger, pied or
mottled. Size: Dog: Dog 26-34 in. Bitch: Bitch 24-28 Weight: Weight 90lbs to 140lbs.
History Central Asians most likely originated in a
geographical area between the Ural, Caspian Sea, Asia Minor, and the
Northwest border of China. Aboriginal Central Asians as well as
mixes still can be found in its countries of origin, such as
Kyrgyzstan, Tadzhikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan,
Uzbekistan and surrounding countries. Some serve as livestock
guardians, some protect their owners, and some are used for dog
fighting, which is a national tradition in many countries of that
region. This breed bears a strong genetic similarity to other
aboriginal breeds of Livestock Guardian dogs from that region such
as Northern Caucasian Volkodav, Kangal dog, and Akbash.
Russian biologists and scientists have studied the local dog
population since the 18th century. After the Communist revolution,
the Soviet government focused on working dog breeds for the Red
Army, and imported the best breed representatives to Russia as per
military dogs' and guard dogs' requirements. Over the decades, this
practice harmed the local population. The introduction of new breeds
to the region led to crossbreeding. Eventually, purebred dogs only
remained with herders, breed enthusiasts and farms, with a number of
crosses elsewhere. However, the Central Asian Shepherd Dog
population is still stable in general, reproducing some true quality
dogs praised for working abilities, regardless of country of origin.
Trading bloodlines and purchasing unrelated breeding stock between
Russia, other "former USSR republics" and countries where CAO still
at aboriginal stage is a common practice nowadays.
Behavior The Central Asian Shepherd Dog is a protective
dog who bonds first to its human caretaker and next with its
perceived possessions. Bred to solve problems, it is independent
minded, strong, brave and responsible. It is a large but agile dog,
sometimes described as a cat in dog's clothing. With its strong
guarding and territorial instincts, it is not a breed for the novice
owner. Sensitive and smart, the Central Asian Shepherd responds best
to someone who can inspire loyalty while also providing strong
leadership. Heavy-handed training will backfire with this breed; but
respectful, thoughtful training will yield an undyingly devoted
Health The CAS has hip and elbow problems that require
screening for all genetic related disorders commonly found in large
Advice It is very important to select only stable dogs
for breeding purposes, and avoid starting protection training of
dogs of this breed at early age.
Function Dogs for personal protection or working dogs
originated from livestock guardian dogs, selectively bred by Russian
breed experts for working abilities. As a result, they excel in
obedience, territory protection, and personal protection, and are
very intelligent. As such, they make perfect house dogs. They do not
need any complicated training to learn basic house rules, and treat
the owner with the same great respect with which their ancestors
treated the herder. These dogs were introduced to the worldwide
sheep breeding community with great success. Guard dogs must be able
to work as a team to protect sheep against predators; thus
excessively aggressive CAOs, as with any other dogs, cannot be
members of the pack, and will not pass this simple test for
compliance with the breed origination purpose.
Asian Shepherd dogs can come from working lines, fighting lines, and
livestock guardian lines, and behave accordingly, regardless of the
country they come from. Simple pedigree research and conversation
with the breeder will reveal what basic instincts one can expect
from the dog. Central Asians from pure show lines are very rare,
because most registries require working tests prior to breeding.
Selected for centuries for their abilities to destroy predators, and
praised for their power and stamina.