Free shipping on orders over €15

Alabai - meet the great Central Asian Shepherd

Alabai - conoce al gran Pastor de Asia central

Lobo Azul |

The Central Asian Shepherd Dog , also known as the Alabai , is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. Without a doubt, its dimensions and the expression of its eyes make it a dog capable of commanding respect. This is why the International Cynological Federation (FCI) officially recognizes it as a molosser dog. Thanks to its strength and intelligence, it is one of the preferred dog breeds for guiding livestock.
  • Size : Large/giant.
  • Weight : Between 40 and 79kg.
  • Hair type : Medium length and very dense.
  • Character : Strong, Curious, Imperturbable, Bold, Independent, Adaptable
  • Health : Healthy
  • Life expectancy : Between 12 and 15 years.

Origin of the Central Asian Shepherd

This dog is also known by names such as Alabai, Tohmet, Sage Koochee, Sredniaziatskaya and Ovcharka. In fact, the word Ovcharka in Russian perfectly describes this breed, as it means “guard dog” or “shepherd dog.” To date there is no exact definition of its place of origin. However, as its name indicates, it is known to come from the rocky areas of central and southern Asia . In particular, there is data that proves that this dog is native to the region that extends from the Caspian Sea to the Pamirs and from the border between Afghanistan, Russia and Iran to southern Siberia. Currently, it remains a little-known breed outside its native area. On the other hand, it is known that it is one - or perhaps the oldest - of the dog breeds in the world. It is estimated that it has existed for approximately 4,000 years, and is considered a pure breed.

Physical characteristics of the Alabai

He is characterized by having considerable height and an imposing physique. Males can grow up to 65-90 cm, while females average 60-75 cm. In addition, males weigh between 55 and 90 kilos and females between 40 and 65 kilos. They have a harmonious body and wide back. And despite its large dimensions it is an agile, fast and resistant dog. Their life expectancy ranges from 12 to 14 years, under normal conditions. They are generally very muscular and robust dogs, but they have a fairly thick coat that gives them a “bear” appearance. This makes them tolerant of the cold and, throughout history, they have been subjected to extreme weather conditions during their work as herding dogs. The hair color of this dog varies between white, brown, black and cream, including their combinations. Regarding hair length, there are dogs of this breed with short hair (between 3 and 5 centimeters) and long hair (between 5 and 8 centimeters). Another important characteristic of this breed is the shape of the head: rectangular and considerably larger in males than in females. The nose is broad and black, although in white shepherds it may be a little lighter. The muzzle is wide and imposing, but not too long, and tapers slightly towards the nose. A feature of these dogs that attracts a lot of attention is their eyes. In fact, he is known for having an incredibly penetrating gaze. His eyes are dark, sunken and widely separated from each other, with the upper eyelids slightly drooping. Under normal conditions, the lower eyelids do not droop and are black. The lack of pigmentation on the eyelids of these dogs could indicate that something is wrong with their health. Due to the role they play, the tail and ears are traditionally docked. However, it is a practice that fortunately has been banned in many countries.

Care and maintenance of the Central Asian Shepherd or Alabai

As it is a mountain dog and has historically worked under adverse weather conditions, it does not require particularly delicate care. Despite this, it is advisable to start training it from its first months if the intention is to tame it. In general, the Eastern Shepherd should be bathed at least once a month, always protecting its ears and eyes.

Most of the year they shed little hair and weekly brushing is enough to keep their coat in order. However, especially when they have long hair, it is advisable to comb them regularly in the direction of hair growth. This need increases especially during summer or shedding, periods in which brushing should be done at least every two days. Like any dog, it needs constant monitoring by the veterinarian. This includes all worming and helminth vaccinations, and any other preventative measures against the spread of bacteria and infections.


Regarding food, our companion must have a meat-based diet. You can consume it both raw and cooked and should preferably be lean beef or veal. It can also consume some waste products such as the kidneys, heart and liver. Pork is not the best option to feed this breed, since the fat contained in this type of meat is not absorbed by its body. In addition, they can be fed cereals such as rice and oats, and fresh or steamed fruits and vegetables. Vegetables represent the main source of vegetable fiber, so it is good to include zucchini, carrots and spinach in our dog's diet. In adulthood, the Alabai can be fed twice a day, in the morning and at night, using portions that correspond to its weight and height. Of course, feeding a dog home-cooked food can pose a problem for people who have a hectic lifestyle. In these cases, packaged or canned food will always be a good option. However, it is important to ensure the origin of these products in order to satisfy all the dog's nutritional needs. You can find this type of food in our store, of course. In addition, some solid foods should be included in the diet of the Alabai or Central Asian Shepherd Dog to help it develop its powerful jaw.

Physical activity

Since ancient times, this dog played the role of guard dog. He is able to guide cattle, protect his owner and his property. Work that, over time, has strengthened his character both physically and morally. He may seem a little lazy when he is focused on his role as a guardian, but he is a dog with a lot of energy that needs to be released to grow in good conditions. For this reason, physical activity is another main requirement in the life of this breed , since it must develop its strength and endurance. Generally, it is capable of withstanding demanding physical efforts, but it also requires long periods of rest.

The ideal would be to take it for a jog or long walks daily. It should be in a large space, where it can run and practice jumping. Otherwise, you may start to suffer from heart disease, weight gain, diabetes, or joint problems. If at least two hours a day of physical activities are not allocated for him (walking, playing, jumping, taking active walks) his life expectancy could decrease.

Most common diseases in the Central Asian Shepherd

This is a very healthy dog, if you follow a proper eating plan and exercise routine. But in general terms, he does not develop many diseases throughout his life. This is because it was born and was predisposed to develop in truly extreme conditions such as living with minimal resources, outdoors and subjecting itself to the effects of natural selection over time. Among the most common diseases that this breed can develop are hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a very common condition in giant breeds due to their weight. Additionally, it is a hereditary disease, meaning that certain breeds may be prone to it. It can cause a lot of pain to the dog, to the point of incapacitation, and it is a degenerative pathology. However, it is a condition that develops during the puppy's limb growth phase and is detected after 2 or 3 years of age. It can become osteoarthritis in the animal's hips. For this reason, it is recommended that the puppy not be subjected to rough play or significant falls during its development. Although no specific studies have been conducted to determine other incident conditions, other illnesses recorded for this breed include: heart problems, back problems, arthritis, swelling, deafness, glaucoma, cataracts, and heat intolerance.

Alabai Temperament

This furry friend was born to be a leader, and his physical appearance definitely confirms it. It is a dominant but calm and balanced breed . Additionally, as long as you don't consider them a threat, you can even get along with other animals, such as cats or other smaller dogs.

However, when they find themselves in unknown territories, they could behave with a much more reactive attitude. After all, they have evolved with a well-defined mission since their appearance on Earth: to protect. That is why this breed needs an owner who is able to understand and manage its behavior in any situation. It has even been classified as a potentially dangerous breed, which requires the typical licenses for this type of animal. They must be raised and domesticated from puppies with a calm but defined character, so that they can abide by the rules from a young age. They have a great sense of responsibility and carry out their duties with impressive ethics. In environments where there are more than one specimen of this breed, puppies tend to accompany adults when grazing from a very early age (around 4 months). Thus, even the little ones learn the trade by imitating older dogs. They are brave, intelligent dogs with a very defined personality. In fact, they tend to evaluate for themselves when they should intervene and when not. Generally, they really enjoy walks outdoors and living in spacious places, which does not make them suitable for life in the city or in small apartments. They do not usually bark, so they usually go unnoticed when they are working.

Relationship with people

As mentioned above, this is a calm dog that is not intimidating . They are very independent, trustworthy and are not aggressive unless they determine a reason to attack. When they are raised from a young age in a family environment, they become a faithful and devoted companion. Despite being a sweet and cheerful dog, it is not suitable for any type of family. From an early age he needs a person to help him manage his instincts. It is not the best option for inexperienced or weak-willed owners. It must be a person capable of making you understand who is the one who sets the rules.

He tends to get offended very easily if he is scolded for no reason and is also capable of remembering that offense for a long time. It is a dog that is very sensitive to the emotional environment that surrounds it. Normally, you do not know how to handle stress, conflicts or fights. These types of situations have a negative impact on your health. When they are puppies they are characterized by being very playful, but this trait disappears as they grow. As an adult, it is a dog that is dedicated to its work and usually positions itself at strategic points to see all the territory they must protect. This attitude might make them seem a little indifferent or unfriendly, but the truth is that they are putting their full attention into every detail. In reality, this dog is extremely good and affectionate with children and family . He is also very obedient and is always very attentive to the needs of those around him. However, it is important to pay attention to the interaction with the little ones in the home due to their large size.
Other dog breeds that may interest you:
Previous Next