While the Central Asian Shepherd is gaining in popularity outside of its native countries, it still is not officially recognized in all registered kennel clubs. It is recognized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (the World Canine Federation, based in Belgium) and in America, it is recognized by the United Kennel Club. Being recognized allows it to participate in a variety of kennel-sponsored events, including conformation, in which dogs compete in the show ring not against one another but against the standard of their own breed. The breed standard for the Central Asian Shepherd dog at the moment takes into consideration the variation present in this breed, though some dog fanciers would like there to be breed standards for each geographical subtype of Central Asian Shepherd.
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As of now, though, in general a show-quality Central Asian Shepherd must be massive boned, be of large size and have a muscular build. The length from its shoulders to its buttocks is slightly longer than the length from its shoulders to the ground. Its head is quite large, with ears traditionally cropped; natural ears are relatively small, low set and folded over. The tail is thick and also traditionally docked, set high; if undocked, it assumes a sickle shape and hangs downwards. CAS are double coated dogs, though coat length can vary and the UKC accepts two lengths: long coats are 2 3/4 to 3 inches in length, while short coats are 1 1/2 to 2 inches in length. Black, straw-colored, white, reddish brown, brindle, gray, gray brown, ticked and parti-colored are all accepted coat colors. The male must be much more massive than the female; minimum height should be 23 1/2 inches for females and 25 1/2 inches for males. Weight should give an appearance of balance and imposing power. Judges do not penalize for working scars, nor do they penalize for mild dog aggression; instead, owners may be penalized for not being able to properly control their dog. Dogs must show an even temperament.
The head has a slight stop and flat forehead, with a massive and broad skull; cheek bones are not prominent but are well developed. The muzzle is a bit shorter than the skull length and is blunt and deep. It goes from being wide at the base to narrowing somewhat in the direction of the nose. The CAS should have a thick upper lip that should hang over the lower jaw, which is quite wide. It has a scissors bite and a large, broad black nose. The eyes are not very large, and must be oval in shape and dark; wide set and deep, they must have pigmented eyelids. The CAS has a short, thick, powerful neck with tissue folds beneath the skin. The angle between the shoulder blade and the upper arm should be about 100 degrees, with straight and parallel forelegs, set well apart under the body. The distance between the elbow and the ground should be only slightly greater than half the height of the dog. There is a deep, broad chest and a slightly downward sloping back; feet are oval in shape, arched and large, with compact toes. Their gait should be determined but unhurried.
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